When exes and spouses get along

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When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I was was 24 years old and unmarried.  Don’t hate.  It is what it is and I decided to make the best of it. I would provide my son with everything he needed, including lots and lots of love.  His father wanted nothing to do with me during my pregnancy.  Nothing at all.  I was hurt, but again I dealt with it. I had the support of my family and friends and I would be just fine.

The new dad feeding his baby

When my son was born, his father showed up at the hospital and fell in love with him.  He saw my son frequently, and was a very  loving dad.  His parents were very accepting of my son and I (even though they didn’t know about him until the day he was born – not my choice), and they were/are always an integral part of my son’s life.

I was unsure if anyone would ever want to date me, since I had a child. Wandering into unchartered territory was scary to say the least.   My friend who worked at the local police department wanted to set me up with one of the officers.  She said he would be perfect for me.  My son was 14 months old at the time and I was excited but petrified.  Would he accept us? Would he run the other way?

The time came for our first date.  We had a wonderful dinner and were enjoying an after dinner drink, when I decided to tell him I had a child. I figured it better that he know now, instead of after I was falling for him.  He didn’t bat an eyelash when I told him.  He simply said, “I don’t know a whole lot about toddlers, but you can teach me.” Seriously?    Our second date happened to be on Mother’s Day. We were going to take a motorcycle ride.  When I opened the front door, there he stood, pulling a bouquet of red roses out from under his jacket.  I might have cried. I pretty much fell in love that day.

The next year or so was a little rocky with my “boyfriend” and my “ex”.  The ex wasn’t crazy that I was dating someone, who had now been introduced to our son.  We ended up going to court to arrange visitation and child support.  We were a little cold to each other for another year or so.  About three years after we started dating, my significant other and I bought a house together, and my son started calling him “Dad”.  My ex didn’t like that either.

The child support wasn’t happening, so we all came to another agreement.  We needed some work done around the house, and my ex was willing to do it in lieu of child support, and he could also spend time with his son. Amazingly enough this worked out perfectly for all of us.  He does beautiful work and is a perfectionist, which we love.  The best part?  He and my husband not only are civil to each other, but they will sit and have a beer, laughing and joking.


It has been 20 years now and the relationship is still pretty good. Sure we all got annoyed at each other from time to time, but what good would it do for my son to see and feel the animosity?  I was reminded of just how unique the relationship between the three of us is, today when I saw some bashing on Twitter. I honestly don’t understand why it is so hard for people to get along.  Whatever beef you have with someone, get past it and move on.  Life really is too short to harbor such ill-will against others.  Besides, it takes too much energy {in my opinion}.

When my son decided to go to state college {Cal Poly} a couple of years ago, his father’s mother and sister offered to pay for everything. They have been so kind to all of us, showing us nothing but love for all these years. We get together for holidays, birthdays, etc. We have them all over here for my son’s birthdays. I go to lunch with my ex’s mother. We are one huge extended family, and my son got the love of three sets of grandparents!  My son recently took a 3-week road trip with his Oma {his dad’s mother}:

The neatest part?  My son and his father (my ex) are currently working on our deck.  No more child support is needed, as my son is 20, but we would prefer to hire his father to do the work for us, and he is happy to have the work.  He is teaching my son some of his amazing techniques.  Sometimes when they take a break, the hubs and I will go outside and bring him a beer and we laugh and chat.  For the better part of 20 years, we have all been friends, and have been respectful on one another.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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About Author

Jennifer Regan is the owner/editor-in-chief of Eighty MPH Mom, a family-friendly blog. She is active in Brand Ambassadorships and campaigns, and is active in social media, helping brands promote!

45 Comments

  1. that is a beautiful thing!! My Mom and Dad became friends after the divorce and I loved it….but I see so many people at war with exes and custody…… 🙁 Breaks my heart because it is the kids they are hurting….not each other!

  2. That is a great story, Jennifer; thank you for sharing. My cousin is going through something very similar right now, and I’m very sad that it doesn’t seem like her situation will be as amicable as yours turned out to be. Mega kudos to you and your family for doing what was best for your son.

  3. What a fantastic view into a situation that could have been bad – but you made it into something so good! If others tried to do this, my job would be SO much better (I work in a court house)! Good for you guys! I can only imagine how much better this is for your son… so often people don’t think about their children in these situations. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

    • Jennifer-admin on

      I think we all were thinking of our son and that helped put things in perspective! I, too, wish more people could just get along… Thanks for stopping by!

  4. That IS a beautiful thing! Congrats on taking the high road and figuring things out–not everyone can do that 😉 Well, they could, but don’t….

  5. That is very cool that you all get along so well. While I get along with my ex, we are civil and he and my husband are civil…we’d never go so far as to have him over to our house. But he’s got issues (my ex) far deeper than I will delve in to. But I do wish for the sake of my kids things could be better.

  6. Lauralee Hensley on

    Well it reads like all the adult parties involved were trying to be mature in their dealings with each other,
    however some adults have never gotten past the childhood phase of me, me, me, and make such
    situations very bitter. That’s why as parents/adults it is our duty to our children to teach them maturity
    by our actions to other adults, even those we truly don’t care for, but have to be in our lives in some form
    for whatever period of time it should be, even if that ends up longer than we’d desire.

    • Jennifer-admin on

      This is very true…it does take all parties to be willing for it to work (just like a marriage, really).

  7. That really is a beautiful thing! Kudos to you, your hubby and even your ex. It’s so easy to bash and get pissed and say really crappy things.

    But it’s much more mature (and difficult) to be peaceful. As your son was growing up, you were teaching him how to treat people…the right way.

    Love and miss ya friend!

  8. Beautiful story. I know a few people whose current spouses and exes get along. It’s so much better that way. Like you said, who needs the stress and what good does it do for the child? Not only that, what an awesome example it sets for how to handle differences. Good job, Jen.

  9. That is amazing and totally awesome that you all can get along. It’s really important to have a civil relationship for the child’s sake. Too many times, people are blinded by hurt and guilt and don’t think of the best interest of the child. I’m sure you’re son respects you all just a little bit more because of that too. Thanks for sharing this story 🙂

  10. Why am I not surprised that you would a.) pick a husband that would be so understanding and b.) that you could find a way to get all of you to get along so well. I mean, who could ever not love you?

  11. I agree with you. I am a single mom and have been one most of my children’s lives. I don’t cause problems with the ex and I don’t get involved in any drama or confrontations. I see the things on Twitter and don’t get involved in that either. Drama = poison.

    • Jennifer-admin on

      I agree! I don’t like drama at all. Heck, my husband and I don’t even fight. It just makes me really uncomfortable (for one thing).

  12. That is one incredible story! I’m sure it had the most profound affect on your son to have so many people love and support him through his life. Though I am sure it was a rocky start, I love it when great things happen to great people!

  13. Debbie Stanton on

    that is a beautiful thing… You have set the bar for the rest of us and we would all do well to move on. I don’t have an ex, but have an adopted son and I figure that one day his biological family will be like an ex and will remember your words to figure out how to make the relationship work so my son will have the love and benefit of a huge extended family.

  14. What a wonderful story! I think that a family is the only ones that can decide what works best for them, sounds like you all worked it out beautifully.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. there are so many blending of families today that almost every family has gone through this. I myself was married for 10 years and divorced with 3 kids. I SO remember that strain of wondering if anyone would be OK with a woman with 3 kids….that’s one thing my ex would do…say no one WOULD want me. There was intense strain for years and it was Not good for the kids. My husband hated my ex…but he always said, if there was not abuse involved and he was truly a GOOD trusting person, he would have gotten along with my Ex. We had strain due to non payment of child support and hidden money (from my Ex’s family business). the truth is, I am SO relieved to have the 3 kids grown so we dont have to have the legal stuff between us anymore. Money CAN become an issue because it IS hard to raise kids alone.
    I have to commend you ALL for being adult and putting your son first…and STOPPING that madness that so many people get sucked into.(often attorneys are the ones instigating it!)

    I have a friend who is the same. He was invited to my friends wedding, he continued to come to the house to help with a pool since he was the one who cared for it when they were together. There was NEVER any question as to having seperate Graduation parties or WHO to invite for the grandkids baptism…and making the kids WORRY about having drama at their events. I am a product of a divorced home and also as an adult. You learn to LEARN! Even if you cant be friends, you have to be indifferent and let it go and let life HAPPEN for your families!

    • Jennifer-admin on

      Your comment almost had ME in tears. It can be so difficult, and yes, money is a big part of it. I loved hearing about your friend, and how they do family events together. I think that is truly amazing!

  16. Shawna OBrien on

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve seen so many parents so focused on getting back at each other, hating each other, finding fault at each other that they don’t seem to understand that they are hurting their children. No matter what the personal situation between the parents (except issues of abuse) is, the children’s well being should be put first. It’s so nice that you and your family have been able to have a good relationship and it just goes to show that it is possible.

  17. Jen, that is so wonderful. I so wish my situation could have been the same. I wish I could say that it was all my exes fault {although most of it was}, but I will admit some of it was mine because he was an abuser and I needed t get completely away from him. I tried so hard never to belittle him in front of our children and say bad things about his religion (I also left a religion at the same time I left my ex) but there were LOTS of people saying terrible things about me to my children at the time. My children eventually made up their own minds regarding their father and have just recently begun having a relationship with him again (they are 19 & 22 yrs. old).
    You and your husband are wonderful people and with your ex and his family have raised a wonderful son. You have every reason to be proud of him.

    • Oh boy – well your situation was entirely different, and it doesn’t sound like there was much of a way for everyone to get along. But to say bad things about you is not acceptable. I am so sorry you had such a rough time. Luckily you have a wonderful man now, and he has you…

  18. Did you call and get this story from me? Are you serious lol. Chile call me! lol Wonderful story and glad its working out its happiness over here too and full of love!

  19. Thank you for sharing your story with us. My brother, his ex-wife, her new husband and my brother’s daughter all live in the same duplex. My brother actually bought it so they could all live in the same house, but have different households. It is amazing the love that my brother has for his ex-wife’s new husband. They hang out all the time. It is such a wonderful situation for my niece!

    You are right, it is far easier to get over things than to let it bother you, but it takes two people to get along.

  20. I know I’m commenting a little off the gist of your story but what stood out to me were things you said in the first two paragraphs.

    My late daughter’s father wanted nothing to do with us during pregnancy and his mother (who was 80 at the time!) did not find out about Olivia’s presence in the world until after she was born.

    I was 27.

    Striking similarities.

  21. That is so awesome that you all get get along. I think that a lot of people that are in the same situation need to remember that it is all about the child. Be adults get over what ever it is and grow up! This is a great post , I’m sure this will give hope to mom’s out there that it doesn’t have to be war. Your son is very lucky to have been able to have such a big family !

  22. It is so refreshing to read this. Sometime the pettiness between adults amazes me! Stalking, talking crap, lying, sabotaging…it’s all so stupid,. I am glad you guys have been adults and seen that this was the way to do it!

    • I agree – it’s really upsetting when the parents talk bad about each other in front of the kids…that makes no sense to me!

  23. Its great that you all were thinking of your son and what worked for him. Thankfully I don’t have children from previous marriages but I do have exes. My husband and my first love are the best of friends and they call each other more than either calls me.

  24. Wow Jennifer, that is amazing… I just read it, and I gotta say, your hubby must really be an understanding person. I dont know if I could deal with the whole ex workin on my house thing. I admire him, he has more patience and understanding than I do. I wont go into how “I” would be in that situation, (dont want to offend anyone) but Im really glad it worked out for all involved.
    Robyns Hubby
    (My first visit to your blog, btw lol)

    • Jennifer-admin on

      This is your first visit here? ROFL… Yeah, my hubs is really good about it. I know many people wouldn’t be able to deal with it the same way – I don’t know if I could have!

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