I know they must exist. (Like leprechauns and Karmic retribution.)
Nice divorced couples. The ones that can hold a conversation, agree on matters that pertain to their kids, stand in the same room without agita or acting out.
I dated a guy some years ago who spoke glowingly of his first wife. (There were several after that.)
Number One? It was the stereotypical starter marriage. They were friends before they dated, then they married, split a year later, and eased back into becoming friends again. The friendship had continued for decades. Impressive, no?
I think I even knew one of those nice, reasonable, polite couples when I was growing up – a cousin of my mother fell in love with another man. She was a woman in her forties, had three kids, and somehow, there was no muss no fuss (or so it seemed to extended family) – and within two years or so, she and her new hubby along with her ex and the kids all managed to get along.
And holiday dinners with families?
Pleasant before their split; still pleasant after.
“So that’s divorce,” I thought, when I was a kid. No wonder my Seriously Unhappy Mama elicited this remark from me: “If you’re so unhappy, then get a divorce.” Naturally, at age 13, 14, 15… I didn’t yet know how nasty, grueling, and heart wrenching it can be – not to mention wildly destructive to your finances, shattering to who you think you are, and isolating from people you considered long-time confidantes. And I’m certain the cousins I mention went through a trying transition, as would have their children. Certainly, cordial relations all round must have helped.
If I reach back… way back… perhaps I can find other examples of “nice” divorced couples.
I’m reaching… I’m leaning… I’m lunging… I’m turning myself into a pretzel… Nope.
That’s all I can come up with except for a woman I used to read occasionally who talked a good game about her ex – they shared meals with the kids and so on – and for awhile things seemed calm, though I’m guessing the situation took its toll on her. There were glimmers of resentments and tussles as time wore on (and he was involved with someone else). Still, I give her props for her determination in keeping things as amicable as possible.
On television we have examples of everything under the sun – great love, or the small screen portrayal of it any way – and we see exes of all sorts that squabble, and they also hook up… Go figure. And then there are the Jenner-Kardashians. (They were in the news again tonight, with their divorce actually filed.) Theoretically they are and plan to remain close friends.
That would be nice, yes. (And also in their best business interests?)
As for exes as friends, I consider my mother’s situation. 30 years of marriage and 4 years of courtship before that. When it was over (and my dad moved on quickly), she didn’t. She went after him with a vengeance and spoke bitterly of him, especially when he remarried. I understand better now than I did at the time, given that I went through a tough divorce of my own that makes hers look like child’s play.
Yet none of her venom could get me to dislike my dad. He was, for me, about unconditional love. Sadly, I had it for too short a time.
Maybe that’s part of the secret – not only with exes but with everyone. We need to understand that life is precious, feuding is a pointless time suck, and if possible – it’s so much better to be friends than enemies. Not that I would know. But if you’re lucky, you know, and so do your kids.
Because you’re one of the “nice” divorced couples.