When I broke with my ex, I was going to be Gwyneth Paltrow, and by that I mean have fab hair, and consciously uncouple with the kind of cool and calm glamour that Gwyn and Chris Martin did. We have two kids just like Gywn and Chris and if they could do it so could we.
That lasted about two weeks until we hit the anger phase and wanted to stab each other’s eyeballs out. I hated him so bad and he felt the same way about me. ‘No longer feeling very Gywnnie?‘ my friends joked. I was so freaking mad at the state of my life and I blamed him. I didn’t want to be friends, I wanted to walk away and never see him again, and that might have been the healthiest option if we didn’t have two beautiful kids who needed a mum and dad who at the very least needed to communicate in a civil manner.
The night before my daughter’s birthday just two months after separating we had a raging argument that was so bad I nearly called the whole birthday off. However, we pulled it together, put our daughters first, and got our families together for probably the most awkward event of my life. It wasn’t fun for either us but we did it and it was the first step we made to moving on and committing to trying to work out a new life together.
Two years down the track I can honestly say we are friends and by friends I mean friendly. We have family dinners and celebrate our birthdays and our kid’s birthdays as a family together. Over dinner with our two girls, I must admit I still enjoy his company. We have a shared history, we still know each other’s family and friends and conversation always flows freely. Do we have dinner just the two of us? No. The basis of our relationship is the shared welfare of our children and if that means sharing each other’s lives to create a happy warm environment for our children then that’s what we will do. Our children still make us a team.
According to a recent study by Oakland University, you might be a psychopath if you stay friends with your ex. The study said people who stayed friends were generally dark personalities and the reason for staying friends with their ex was for sexual and practical reasons. I don’t agree. People stay friends with their exs for lots of reasons, including kids, shared workplaces or to keep harmony within their friendship group.
It’s not always easy to stay friends with your ex. Sometimes it’s damn hard work – trust me! But if you can move past the hurt and keep them in your life then that takes maturity and letting go of a lot of stuff that caused you to break up. You need to be moving on though, if you’re still having sex or using them for functions or movie dates then you probably still have one foot in the relationship.
My ex and I don’t sit around talking about crushes and dates like I do with my best girlfriends, we have set clear boundaries, if you’re introducing a new partner to the kids then you have to let the other person know first. Maybe, we are Gwyn and Chris after all! It took time but allowing the space for a friendship with my ex created the best possible scenario for my children and the irony is we finally made our relationship work. As friends.