Staying friends for the sake of the kids

Marriage isn’t easy; that’s news to no one! But even after the breakdown of a relationship, after months of fighting

Marriage isn’t easy; that’s news to no one!

But even after the breakdown of a relationship, after months of fighting and disagreements and dividing up possessions, moving out of the house, and moving on with your life, is it possible to stay friends with your ex-partner for the sake of your children?

Thousands of former couples struggle with this concept and the battle between maintaining a civil and friendly relationship and trying not to let all the bitterness of the relationship breakdown get to them.

There have been countless books and movies written about the topic, but it’s still a question that manages to stump a lot of people.

Some exes say they find it impossible to be friendly with each other even though they know it upsets their children.

Janet* says the circumstances around her divorce meant she couldn’t stand to even be in the same room as her ex for the first few years after they divorced.

“My ex-husband cheated on me so you can imagine how angry and hurt I was,” she said.

“I knew that my kids were hurting but I could barely even say his name let alone be friends with him.

“It took me nearly 10 years to really get over everything that happened and learn to forgive him for what he did. We’re friendly enough now when we see each other but I know we’ll never really be friends again.”

On the other hand there are those who find it easier to get along and maintain a friendly relationship after they have divorced.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been very vocal about her divorce with Coldplay singer Chris Martin.

She openly talks about how they realised they were better has friends and how the singer is always welcome in her house and her family.

She says their relationship is stronger now and their children are happy to see their parents getting along so well.

Responding to an article about the topic online, commenter Pip says their relationship is much stronger now they’re divorced.

“I always find it odd that the person that was once the only love of your life suddenly becomes the Anti-Christ!

“My ex and i get on fine, we simply changed and recognised we were no longer being the couple we wanted to be.”

Psychologist Juliana Breines says there are plenty of reasons you should stay friends with an ex, but there are also a number of reasons you shouldn’t.

She warns that a friendship between exes often only works if both parties are ‘over it’ and open to moving on separately.

She says many former couples run into trouble thinking they can keep tabs on each other, or simply because they’re lonely and are used to each others company.

Friendships between exes can work, according to Dr Breines, when “your friendship doesn’t interfere with your current relationships … and you are being honest with yourself about what your true intentions are”.

This way, both you and your ex will be able to move on from the relationship in a positive way and your children will be able to function in a positive environment.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Are you friends with any of your ex-partners? Should parents try to be friends for the sake of their children?