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Do you think ex-spouses can really be friends?

Posted by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:19 AM
  • 19 Replies

Why Being Friends With Your Ex-Husband Isn't Always a Good Idea

by Jenny Erikson

When I hear stories of other divorced couples being friends with each other, I turn a little green with envy. A lot of times it’s for the kids, of course, but there seems to be a lot of “we just didn’t function well as a couple” going around. I guess it’s easier to be friendly with someone you don’t have to live with every day.

That’s not my story. I can wish it was all I want, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. It’s been almost a year since we ended things, and I can count on one hand the number of conversations we’ve had that didn’t involve the logistics of the divorce or the children.

And you know what? I’ve accepted that. Maybe things will change someday, and I’m certainly open to and hopeful for the possibility, but for now I’m OK with not having my ex in my life.

I don’t know why or how some couples are able to settle into friendship after a divorce. I’ve certainly tried, but the results have not been good. I invited him for ice cream with the kids at the mall once, and I thought we might be crossing over into the land of friendship, but I made the fatal mistake of mentioning it.

More from The Stir: Men Who Are Friends With Their Ex-Wives Make Me Nervous

“This is nice,” I mentioned, as our daughters were playing together in their own world. It was a little awkward, but the conversation was flowing and much to my surprise, I realized I was actually enjoying myself a little bit. “It is,” he agreed.

“Just because we’re not married doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends,” I said. You think I’d know by now not to say such nonsense, but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted a friendship not just for the kids but also because there are parts of him that I genuinely enjoy -- I did marry him for a reason. No such luck.

He just stared at me and said, “I can’t be friends.”

“What do you mean?” I cautiously asked.

“It’s all or nothing. I can’t be just friends if I can’t have you for my wife.”

And that’s basically it right there. The fundamental personality differences that made it impossible for us to have a mutually satisfying long-term marriage are now making it incredibly difficult for us to have any semblance of friendship, no matter how superficial.

So we make the best of it. We both love our daughters and make sure they know they are loved and that this has nothing to do with them. We communicate when we need to, but we do our own things the rest of the time.

Just like every marriage is different, every divorce is too, and sometimes the best option isn’t to remain friends. Trying to force a relationship of any kind when it’s not mutual is just a recipe for disaster.

Do you think ex-spouses can really be friends?

by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:19 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Yes, they really can sometimes be.

by Anonymous 1 on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:28 AM
Socially, civil, yes. Have seen it.
by Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:30 AM
Yes, I'm very good friends with my ex and his new wife.
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by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:43 AM
Yes. He still annoys me but my boyfriend and myself both respect and appreciate my friat husband and are "friends" with him. Its not like I call him to chat but if he comes to see the kids he doesn't have to wait outside and he will help me move or go to the same school events. Ita not a big deal.
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Ex husbands yes when kids are in the mix other than that no !

by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:05 AM

My ex-husband and I are friends. We even stay living in the same house (the economy sucks). I guess why this works so well for us is that we were more roommates than husband and wife during the marriage. (And no there is no sexual favors between us.) We do this not only for our dd but for ourselves as well. In our case really neither one of us was at fault. We just aren't compatible to be in a marital relationship. And we plan on staying living together to raise dd till she is 18 (she's 12 now). This way there is no need for her to go from one house to another to see each of us.  I know there are a lot who are "friendly" towards each other for the sake of the kids, but we in fact are being friends not only for our dd but for ourselves.

by Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 11:05 AM
I think it possible. Personally I wouldn't give a damn if my ex fell off a cliff.
by BL on Feb. 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM

I didn't read the story but I believe it is possible. I've known a few that were able to break apart and stay friends and I am so proud of them for doing that. It means alot to the children.

by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 2:13 PM

 We are


by Michelle on Feb. 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM

 I think they can be if they can remain civil especially if there are any children involved.

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