What’s Up With You And Your Once Husband?

My once husband and I have weekly dinner dates. We’ll eat at his apartment sometimes, and follow the meal with a game of Scrabble. We’ve been playing Scrabble since we met, when we were 20, and we still compete with gusto. He tells me I’m the only one who beats him, which is pretty cool, since he’s a voracious reader and one of the smartest people I know, with a darn fine vocabulary.
3Scrabble aside, we enjoy each other’s company (most of the time, that is!) We talk about politics (I’d venture to say that he knows more about subjects like American history and the presidency than most PhD’s in those subjects), current events, movies, music, and, of course, our two “kids,” and Primo, our ridiculously handsome, charming, and brilliant 28-month-old grandson 🙂 .

Ever since we separated in 1988, after 20 years of marriage, my once husband and I have remained friends.


We’ve traveled together; for a glorious week in Paris, a few years ago, with our son and his friend. We’ve weathered storms together (not the meteorological kind). I slept on the floor, next to his bed, after he had brain surgery in 1996. He unhesitantly wrote me a sizeable check to help me pay my taxes when I was strapped for cash a few years ago. He truly cares how FabOverFifty is doing, and I genuinely care about the turnout for the fascinating current events discussions he leads with groups of retired men and women all over New York City.

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We celebrate holidays and milestones together. To this day, my sisters still generously welcome him into their homes and invite him to family events. He’ll be at the wedding of one of my nephews next year. My partners also have willingly accepted that he is part of my life.


I will be there for him as we age, as I know he will be for me. We may not have stayed together as husband and wife, but that didn’t preclude us from moving forward as pals. We’re worlds apart in many ways. (He doesn’t own a TV; I adore TV. He’s a collector; clutter isn’t my thing. He’s watches his pennies; I should watch mine more. He’s determined to see Primo a few times a week; I see Primo a couple of times a month.) But those differences matter not when they don’t interfere with your day-to-day lives.

It’s often understandable, if not unfortunate, when divorce becomes acrimonious. Men and women, who once vowed they’d be together til death did them part, turn on each other and are out for blood. It may have been pretty funny to watch Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas try to destroy one another in War of the Roses, the 1989 movie, but it’s pretty tragic when we see something like this happening in real life. We all react differently when adultery, money problems, abuse and anger wreak havoc on our lives.

I know all sorts of couples, married and not, who’ve stayed together for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with true love and commitment, including comfort, guilt, finances, “the kids,” and sickness. And I know lots of divorced couples, like my once husband and me, who’ve “stayed together” because they really do like and respect each other. They might even love each other. As a matter of fact, I wrote years ago, in teeny tiny letters, on one of the Scrabble racks from the old set we use: “I love Douglas.” You can still see the words.

4 Responses to “What’s Up With You And Your Once Husband?”

  1. Twinkiedawn says:

    I have a once husband – I have not seen him for over 35 years. This is the other side – I loved him like crazy when we married but the truth is, I did not like him. It’s a rich relationship that is based on like – the way my now and forever husband and my relationship is. There are times you won’t “feel the love” but the like is always there and it gets you through. Thanks for your blog, it’s nice to read about another type of relationship that lasts!

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  2. Edie says:

    I read this story nine days after seeing my former husband for the first time in twenty years, We were in court together to show solidarity for our son, who is going to prison.. He blames me for enabling him; I blame him for cutting him out of his life completely when he remarried twenty years ago. As I sat close to him, our elbows fighting for the arm rest, I thought of all the great times we had spent together over seventeen years. When we parted in the courthouse, I grasped his hand and told.him that he looked great (he did) and that I was glad that he is healthy and happy. (I have terminal cancer). To my surprise, he put his arms around me and hugged me close to him. He looked me in the eye and shrugged his shoulders and walked away .
    After reading the above, I feel deep pangs of envy for the author. I know that I will never see my ex again, and I wish that I was in her shoes. We should all be that fortunate.

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    • GeriFOF says:

      Hello Edie,

      I am the author and I know I am fortunate, but I am distressed my blog gave you pangs of envy. That was surely not my intention. I am sorry to read about your illness, and your son’s situation, and I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything happy. I wish the best for you. Geri Brin, FabOverFifty.

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    • Cathy McIvor says:

      Thank you, Edie, for your wonderful comment. I enjoyed your comment as much, if not more, than the above story. I too, have an ex. I hated him so bad at first , then the hate sort of subsided throughout the years. My ex had an affair with my “best” friend. Our son is really the one who was ripped off with not having his father while growing up. Aint life strange, the crap we must go through? I wish you all the best Edie; thanks for sharing.

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