My husband and I are friends with my ex

Guest post by Dawn
Photo by Garden State Hiker, used by Creative Commons license.
Photo illustration by Garden State Hiker, used by Creative Commons license.

I am never quite sure how to introduce Steve to others. So to make everyone else more comfortable I usually say “This is my friend, Steve.” It’s just easier that way. As the relationship moves forward — be it a coworker, new friend, neighbor, etc. — eventually they learn who Steve really is.

Steve is my ex-husband.

And Steve is still one of my best friends and still a very active member of my life. Because Brian is my current husband, and Steve is also one of his best friends.

And after five years of this we STILL hear how “weird” it all is.

The general public seems to really struggle with exes remaining friends. Society is NOT pro-exes being friends. Society wants a “bad guy” when there is a divorce. They can’t conceive of a marriage simply just not working. “SOMETHING must have happened! He must have been a jerk! She must have been a bitch!” You know… that sorta thing.

I spent 13 years of my life with Steve, and we had a pretty lovely marriage that I do not regret one day of. But life changes and so do people. Somewhere around year 12 it just stopped working for us.

Our separation was actually very in line with how we ran our marriage. Our marriage was always based on friendship and respect and we carried that into our divorce. He is a good man. I am a good woman. Neither of us was the bad guy. We simply stopped loving each other as a husband and wife should.

Remaining respectful worked for us. We shared debt. We still shared a home. We shared two much-loved dogs. We shared a friendship that eclipsed our marriage. We had a lot of logistics to handle and finalize. So we HAD to communicate and work together.

So this was our decision. To remain a part of each other’s lives.

And no one understood it but us. No matter how relentlessly, calmly and rationally we would explain it.

Then along came Brian. On the very first night we met I told him straight up that I still lived with my ex-husband, that we were very good friends, and we would remain good friends. I left it up to him whether he wanted to deal with that baggage or not, but Steve being in my life was a non-negotiable.

Brian chose to come along for the ride that is life with me. We have been together five years.

Brian likes Steve. And Steve likes Brian. I love them both. But differently. And that’s also REALLY hard for people to grasp.

My marriage to Steve ended, my love and respect for him as a person did not.

People assume there must STILL be feelings there between Steve and I. They assume that Brian must be extra super understanding to “allow” this. People assume there is jealousy. And most recently it was brought to my attention that there is an assumption that we all three are sleeping together. Or have at one point.

I think this all comes from other people trying to make things fit. Perhaps they can’t see themselves in this kind of situation, so they have to make the pieces fit into their worlds. And I get that. But I hate when they project their beliefs onto us. This works for us. It truly does.

These are TWO good men. They both have brought so much to my life. Why does society say I have to leave one behind in order to move on to the next one? Why do I have to hate one to love the other?

I say bah to you society!

Was it easy? No. Were there tears and frustrations? Absolutely. Changing your relationship is never easy. Doing it while living together is even tougher. Adding in another member, excruciating. But lots of tears. Lots of talks. Lots of honesty got us here.

Sometimes I truly get baffled as to why this relationship is so foreign. I mean, wouldn’t the world be a much better place if all exes could still be respectful and kind to each other? I’d like to think so.

I mean, you chose this person to be your partner. The father (or mother) of your children in some cases. I assume at one point you loved them unconditionally. So do people believe that divorce always have to end in hate? Why does the concept of ending a marriage but not ending the relationship freak so many out?

Not in our house! That’s just not our style.

So on any given weekend if you ask me what I did you will most likely hear that I hung out with my husband and my ex-husband. Or if it makes them feel better, “my friend Steve.” And I feel truly and honestly blessed to have both these men still be an active part of my life.

I think this relationship has made all three of us better people.

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