We’re in the midst of Kristen’s story – she was married at 26 and with hindsight felt she was going through the motions. Now, eight years later, she’s has two daughters, one is five-years old and the other is two and a half. Even though she’s now divorced, her ex and her are both involved parents, together.
We have two little girls and they didn’t sign up for this. I remember saying to my ex, ‘Even though our marriage fell apart and we’re not together anymore, it doesn’t mean that being parents and being a mom and a dad to our girls has to fall apart too. I think we can still be successful parents.’
We quickly got on the same page. We decided not to parallel parent but to co-parent. With parallel parenting you’re not necessarily collaborating with the other parent. You have your own set of rules at your house and they’ll have their own rules and there isn’t a lot of communication which in my opinion is where it oftentimes fails.
Co-parenting has brought my ex and I together in a very positive way. We’re actually doing things as a family. We think it’s important to show unity to our daughters. So we will go to dinner together, go shopping together. We’re at soccer games together with the girls. I think being successful parents is a very positive thing in our lives and I think it will make our divorce not the typically hostile divorce.
The girls spend almost equal time with each of us but it’s interesting. When he has the girls, I’m often at his place with them, maybe cooking a dinner for them or giving them a nighttime bath. If they’re with me, he’ll come by in the morning or the evening.
If I’m taking the girls out to dinner, I’ll ask my ex if he wants to join us and if he doesn’t have plans, he’ll meet us at the restaurant. That brings such a smile to the girls’ faces and that makes us happy. It is a very liberal parenting plan.
My ex’s counselor told us how some couples are able to form a relationship where they can still socialize after divorce even when there are new partners. It sounds to me like Kristen and her ex may have just such a relationship and it sounds like that’s working great for the children.
I think that type of relationship is pretty unusual and I can see a new partner finding it a little strange or uncomfortable. I can’t see the relationship I have with me ex evolving into this. I think we have a good relationship and we do collaborate on parenting issues but I wouldn’t describe us as friends. And I wouldn’t want to have dinner with him!
What about you and your ex? Do you ever have dinner at a restaurant with him? What about with the children?