Even After a Divorce
While some complain that the family institution is collapsing, others say that it is evolving in response to the challenges of our time. The family that we usually consider as traditional is evolving into a new type of family relationship.
Here we could start a historical excursion, but we will not. It is much more interesting to pay attention to a modern, rapidly changing world. When sociologists talk about a new type of family, three examples that come to mind are a single-parent family, an open marriage, and an equal marriage. But there is another unique type that appeared not so long ago – the still close divorced family.
When people decide to divorce, it is often because they are completely exhausted and can no longer stand each other. Nowadays, however, former spouses often maintain good relations with each other. Their kids have two homes, receiving the love of both parents and making friends with step-brothers and step-sisters. Can’t believe it’s possible?
Three divorced women from different parts of the US shared their experiences with their extended families and their children.
Abigail S., NYC, New York
My husband and I divorced six years ago. It was a peaceful uncontested divorce quickly arranged online, with onlinedivorce.com, no conflicts, and hassles. We parted friends. Four years ago, I got married, and then he got married too. We have two daughters (1
All adults have good relationships. We consider ourselves one big family. Even our parents are used to it. This does not mean that we live together. Both apartments and budgets are separate. My daughters spend weekends at their dad’s house where they have a great time with their step-brother (he does not have his “weekend dad”).
We often spend the holidays together at my place or my ex-husband’s place. We all come together to support one of the children at a school performance or in sports. For such cases, my husband came up with the same bandanas for all of us, like we are the personal fan club of the child. Our children go to the same sports and lessons (swimming, aikido, and clay modeling) and are very friendly. This is possible because we live close to each other, in Brooklyn. My family (my parents and my brother) live in Pennsylvania, and I genuinely appreciate the support of my new “family.”
Gabrielle J., Pueblo, Colorado
My husband and I divorced almost ten years ago. We have a 16 years old son together. We both got married again and have children from our new marriages. I have a son (7 years old). My ex-husband has a daughter (5 years old). Since both of our families are open-minded and artistic, it was easy for us to accept that we are relatives to some extent. We quickly found that it was beneficial to maintain family relationships. My ex-husband and I had a small farm in Arizona. We didn’t divide this property in a divorce. Now, we all spend time there together, including my new husband’s son from his previous marriage (11 years).
When you contribute to the maintenance of the household together, it turns out to be much more profitable. The main thing is to distribute responsibility so as not to annoy each other. We, as a team, discuss everything and quickly decide who does what. The result is that everything goes fine. In the summer, we discovered that we spent less money due to joint purchases of food for cooking. After that, we decided to make more purchases together.
Sharing doesn’t end with purchases. Toys, clothing, and other stuff go from child to child, which is also convenient and economical. Our son from marriage often spends the weekend with his grandparents (my parents) rather than his father or me. They love him very much. My husband’s son spends these days with us. The children get along with each other, despite the age gap. They all feel that they have a family and people close to them that will always support them. This is so important!
Olivia M., Maryville, Tennessee
My ex-husband is a very complicated person, but I quickly became friends with his sister and his sister’s family. All of them are open, cheerful, and friendly, including the parents of my ex sister’s husband and my nieces. My husband and I had a really bad break-up. I am still not very drawn to communicate with him, and he is not drawn to communicate with our daughter (6 years). However, after the divorce, my ex-spouse’s sister immediately said that I would remain her friend. She loves being my daughter’s aunt and she wants that I remain an aunt to her children (one daughter is the same age as my kid, and the other is three years older). Both the ex’s sister and her whole family supported me and helped me very much during the tough time after the divorce.
My ex’s sister and I often visit each other since we live on neighboring streets. We almost always have dinner together with our daughters on weekdays. It turns out to be a lot of fun. We chat in the process, discussing the news. About two months ago, I started to date a man, and the family of my ex’s sister made him welcome too. He sometimes comes with me to visit them on the weekend. Being accepted in such a friendly and cheerful family is truly a blessing. Next year, our daughters will go to school together.
Each year, more and more people realize that life is too short to waste it on resentment or aggression, depriving children of communication with the second parent and relatives from that side of the family. Of course, when the cause of the divorce was cruelty or humiliation, the situation is entirely different. But if the breakup was due to incompatibility, why cut the once close person out of your life guided only by the fact that “it is not commonly accepted”?