The Ex Factor

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January 31, 2017
The Ex Factor

BLEND: Modern families getting along with mekaar

Amicable splits are rare but I'm starting to see more of it

This piece of writing was inspired by a six-year-old girl, who said something so simple, yet profound beyond her understanding.

I interview kids on my radio show every day.

The other day I asked them why their families are special.

And that’s when the little girl said something like this: “I’ve got two mommies and two daddies and every Friday night we play games together.”

To her it was the most normal thing in the world. For me it was a giant leap in human relations and something that I have been trying to preach for years.

Why is it so difficult for exes to get along?

Now I’m not entirely sure of that girl’s exact circumstances, but I can imagine that her mom and dad are no longer in a relationship and that each of them has moved on to new partners.

And together they are adulting in such a mature way that it’s giving this little girl THE sweetest and most valuable childhood memories.

And she has the additional security of having two of each, an extra set of loving adults to guide and help her negotiate life’s hurdles.

Plus she is growing up observing how healthy, well-balanced adults can set aside petty, emotional squabbles and genuinely get along.

I can just imagine what a pleasant and loving household this must be.

I’m stretching my own imagination a bit, but I can’t help romanticising the entire thing.

I imagine the two women being best friends, going shopping together, skinnering together and enjoying life together.

And the guys standing around a braai, each one with a cold one in hand, arguing about last night’s football game.

Maybe the two couples even take holidays together and help each other out of the occasional bind.

I first saw this sort of maturity with a business partner of mine, whose wife had been married before.

Over time, my buddy befriended her ex-husband and welcomed him into their home whenever he wanted to see his children.

They became so close that the two of them would play golf together, the ex would house sit for them whenever they went on holiday and generally hang around – with his new girlfriend!

It was strange, but also beautiful.

Then one day I witnessed one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen.

My buddy’s 10-year-old daughter with his wife was lying with her head in the ex’s lap and the two of them were having a thick old conversation.

You could see that he adored her as the sister to his own children, and that she treated him as the next best thing to a dad.

The fact is, happily divorced or amicable splits are rare, but I am starting to see more and more of it. Because in the end, there’s really nothing to be mad about.

Especially when it comes to someone you shared intimate moments with, laughed with and share a child with.

And the only reason you don’t like her or his new partner is because well, you don’t really have a valid reason do you.

And if you took the effort to get to know the new partners, you may actually end up liking them. Especially if you always used to like your ex’s taste in things.

And it just makes for a better you, and makes the world a slightly better, less bitter, place.

Give it a try. There could be loads more little girls out there like the one I heard.

Respect to her two mommies and two daddies!

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