Could you stay friends with your ex for the sake of your kids?

Oct 16 • Featured, Uncategorized • 630 Views • 8 Comments on Could you stay friends with your ex for the sake of your kids?

EastEnders has been a bit dullsville lately, but one of the funniest storylines has to be Rickaay sharing a house with both his ex-wives – Bianca and Sam.

For most of us, that's probably several Jeremy Kyle steps too far. (I know two children who grew up in the same house as their mother, their former stepfather and his new partner. The adults were all 'free spirits' so it was considered acceptable, but I don't think the kids felt the same way and there was definitely some emotional damage there.)

Anyway, it got me thinking. How friendly are you with your ex? I know one mum whose ex refuses to speak to her when he comes to pick up the kids – just stands on the doorstep waiting, as though he's there to pick up a delivery (even though he left her. Guilt, and not good for the children to see.) I know another who regularly invites her ex over for dinner so they can interact as a family unit. I know one dad who was devastated when his ex became pregnant by her new partner. And another mum who hopes she and her ex will get back together, some day.

The most important thing, I guess, is whether they're good fathers, and if they are then you'll want them to stay involved in your children's lives and that means being civil to them at all times, however much you may curse them behind their back. But I think that if the lines start to become too blurred it can be confusing for everyone, particularly the kids, who will secretly hope that Mummy or Daddy may move back for good. And obviously if they're in any way abusive to you (or the children), then it's a very different issue.

I'd love to know what you think.

written by Liz Jarvis

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8 Responses to Could you stay friends with your ex for the sake of your kids?

  1. A Modern Mother says:

    Having zero experience with this, I hate to make a judgement as there is always two sides to every story. It seems like the best thing to do, but what if he is an axe murderer?

  2. Laura says:

    I suppose I come from the other side of the fence … I am a stepmother who came along well after my husband had split from his wife (his daughter was 18 months). Their split was quite messy (aren’t they all) and although they had some disagreements early on between themselves my stepdaughter was always the priority. I am and have always been friendly with his ex … we all get on and communicate, not to the point that we socialise or anything but there is no animosity … in fact I am first port of call for picking up/dropping off arrangements. I know that I am lucky and that it doesn’t always work out this way, but looking at my stepdaughter and the relationship she has with us all it has definitely been for the best.

  3. Caroline says:

    At the risk of being shot down in flames, here’s my take on the whole thing: People don’t try hard enough to stay together any more. It horrifies me how acceptable it is for people with children to separate and/or divorce these days. Marriage/partnership is NOT easy, and needs to be worked at. It strikes me that the majority of people don’t bother. I do know that there are exceptions to this, but I am talking from my own personal experience of friends/relations who have split up. Without exception, the children of people I know who have separated, have been emotionally traumatised by their parents splitting up – some more than others, but all to a greater or lesser extent. I really, strongly believe that people do not take seriously enough the responsibility of bringing a child into the world. THE most important part of a child’s upbringing is having a happy, stable family life, in my opinion. And if parents aren’t prepared to work together to be faithful and loyal to each other and their children, and work through any problems they encounter along the way, then I question whether they should have had children to start with. In answer to your original question (sorry, I’ve gone a bit off topic, haven’t I?!), I haven’t seen any ongoing evidence of anybody who has managed to keep a successful friendship going with their ex after separating (although I am sure there are people out there who do – It’s just that I don’t have personal experience of anybody who has been able to do so).

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Caroline, It’s an interesting point but I think you have to acknowledge that, like anyone, parents split up for all sorts of reasons. They may have gone into the relationship with the best of intentions but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Surely it’s better for a child to be with one parent who is happy than two who are miserable, isn’t it?

  5. Jane says:

    Sorry – but its really is not that easy to divorce – 6 years and still waiting – this is not that rare either and as for working at marriage – many people do. however should people stay in marriages where a partner is repeatedly unfaithful or abusive? The absence of a crystal ball does not enable most of us to see that far ahead – had I known how my husband would behave after we had children I would have run a million miles in the other direction As regards when a marrige ends – as much as possible parents should remain at least civil to each other in order to do what is best for the children- I know of many couples who have separated/divorce who are able to do that – however there are also people out there who see child contact as a way to futher abuse their ex in which case having any contact with the ex (not the children) is damaging for the children to see and the other parent to take. A degree of reasonableness on both sides is called for but when one party refuses to be reasonable the sensible thing for all involved is to limit that contact..

  6. Rosie Scribble says:

    A Modern Mother makes a good point. Sometimes ex’s are best not being on the scene. Not ideal of course, and not easy for the child(ren) involved. It is best if ex’s get on, but it’s not always possible for a variety of different reasons, sadly.

  7. frenchie says:

    yes +definitely, i have been on both sides here – I have a good relationship ( well we talk !) with my sons dad, and with his dad’s partner who i like because she likes my son ! On the other hand my current partners ex has absolutely nothing to do with us or our daughter ( her sons sister) and I have never even met her in the flesh as it were in 5 years. I can say from expereince of both extremees it is utterly in the better interest of your childs emotional development no matter how much you dislike your ex or are irritated by them, you need to be civil!

  8. Deborah Dooley says:

    This is sooo interesting. Whenever I see my ex of 25 years ago, with whom I had a relationship of less than a year, he studiously ignores me in a very obvious and embarrassed fasion. But he greets my huisband, whom he barely knows, like a long lost and much loved relative. Masses of handshaking and back clapping and ‘how are you mate?’ Husband says this is code for ‘I’m sorry I shagged the woman who is now your wife and look, you can tell by the way I’m ignoring her that I’m not remotely interested in her now, honest.’

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