As year five of my split from my ex-husband looms, I sometimes ask myself: Why aren’t we back to being friends yet?
Shortly after we split, I confidently told myself, my kids and my mother that our relationship started as a friendship (1985-1989), then became romantic/marital (1989-2008) and was now back to being a friendship (2008-eternity). See? Nothing to it! Toss the wedding bands aside, and—boom—just like that we’re back to being friends again. It seemed like a positive way to spin it and a lovely idea, given that my ex and I never stopped fundamentally liking one another, even if the love part went awry.
But so far, the sweet post-marital friendship I envisioned hasn’t quite panned out; we’re not even Facebook friends. There was an unforeseen circumstance involving another woman, about which I’ll be terribly cryptic, but that notwithstanding, it’s all turned out to be more complicated than I could have imagined.
It’s not that I hate my ex. But what I’ve come to realize is that when you have kids and joint custody, the post-marital relationship is the real til-death-do-us-part one. It’s the arranged marriage after the voluntary one–and for me, it sometimes requires a lot more effort.