‘My sister says I’m not allowed to be friends with her ex.’

My sister and her husband have been divorced for a number of years. We’re all used to it by now. One day they were together, the next they weren’t. Their kids are in their new routine and my sister and her ex co-parent almost seamlessly.

They both seem to have moved on with their lives.

At the time of the breakup all I cared about was that my sister was okay with it. I didn’t think much about my feelings or my family’s feelings. We just wanted to help her transition into her new life.

Recently my sister was given an amazing work opportunity and had to go away for work for a few weeks. Her ex picked up the kids and took them to his place for the duration. During that time our dad ended up in hospital for a knee replacement. My sister called him from work to wish him well and explain that she couldn’t be there. Next thing we knew, her ex was walking into my dad’s hospital room with their children for a visit.

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At first we didn’t know what to say. We all sort of fell silent as he smiled at us. My nephews ran up to their dad for a hug.

I hesitated for a few more seconds and then I decided, stuff it. I walked up to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek and a big hug, like he was a long-lost loved one, which he really was. The truth is that I’d missed him, we’d all missed him.

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Following my lead, my dad, mum and brother all greeted him warmly too. He’s always been such a great guy and we’ve always considered it such a shame that he and my sister broke up. There was no major bust up, bad behaviour, they just couldn’t make it work.

Still, after the split, my sister started getting bitter and feeling really sorry for herself. She had a right to. As the primary carer of her two boys she was definitely in a worse situation than her ex. They eventually figured out how to be friends and co-parent however we got the message that we shouldn’t be friends with him. There were sides and we were to be on my sister’s side.

Following her advice I unfriended him on Facebook and lost his number. It was sad, but that’s the way it had to be.

I walked up to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek and a big hug, like he was a long-lost loved one, which he really was.

It was just so good to see him after so long. He ended up staying with us for a couple of hours. We had so much to catch up on. It had been two years since we had seen him and it took us a long time to update each other on our lives. We talked and talked, just like the good old days.

Why can't we be friends with him? Is it really that big a deal? It's been years, things are sorted, everything is fine and she did, after all send him to our house. She can't send him to us and not expect us to resume our friendship.

The thing is, he's more than just a friend. He's family. He is the father of my nephews. He's not a bad bloke. I really want to see him again.

I know, I know, naive much? Neither of them have been in a serious relationship since their divorce, although they've both dated. If we all act like a big, happy family what will it be like when they bring their new partners to family functions?

I try and put myself in her position. It would be weird and awkward, right? It's not natural for us all to hang out like one big happy family. Why do we have to follow these rules though?

Ultimately it's up to my sister if we get to have a relationship with her ex and she says no way. Then why send him to our home with the kids?

If she doesn't want us to have a relationship with him then she should keep him away from us. It just doesn't seem fair.

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