Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Hung Out With My Ex-husband... Voluntarily.

Before we moved, Max and I had talked about going to visit his friends Evan and Kate. Evan is Max’s friend from college, but the four of us became very close. We used to hang out with them all the time and even went on vacations with them and their children. I hadn’t seen them in over a year, and I missed them.

“We should go visit them after we move,” Max said.

I raised an eyebrow. “Umm, will that be weird? And are you sure they don’t hate me?” I asked.

He assured me that it would not be weird, and they missed me too.

Maybe we'll be like Demi and Bruce.
So, two and a half months after Max and I finally got our separate addresses, we did it. We not only got together socially, but we went to visit a couple that we used to hang out with. Instead of two couples, we were now one couple and two single people.

I picked up Max from the train station in what used to be his car and we drove an hour to our friends’ house. We chatted easily, asking each other about work, road races, his niece and my nephews and niece, and whatever else had occurred since we stopped living together. We did not speak about dating.

(Halfway there, I blurted out, “Oh shit! I forgot to put on deodorant!”

Max responded, “Don’t worry, there’s a CVS on the way. We’ll stop there.”

I mention this because Max, as my former husband, knows that I’m totally neurotic about deodorant. Telling me not to worry about it would be unheard of. It's nice being with someone who knows your quirks.)

After I bought an emergency stick of deodorant, we arrived at Evan and Kate’s house. It felt like no time had passed. We laughed about the same type of jokes. We ate Doritos. Max and Evan tossed around a football while Evan’s children tried to interrupt the game. Because things felt so familiar and comfortable, I had fleeting moments of wanting to grab Max’s hand or wrap my arms around his waist like I used to.

Burning Our Important Documents

Evan has a fire pit in his backyard, so we mentioned that Max and I happened to have a big box of important documents in the trunk of the Honda that needed to be disposed of. So, we had a little Burn Your Important Documents party. We tossed in bank statements from 2005, my offer letter for my first job from 2002, condo board contracts (was Max supposed to give those to someone?!), and mortgage application materials. The kids took turns rotating in to toast marshmallows on our burning documents.

In the pile, I also found a copy of our marriage certificate, the paperwork from our mediators, the court summons for February 19, 2013, and the How To Get Divorced handbook from our state government. Kate and I exchanged looks across the fire as we continued to burn the documentation of the demise of my marriage. Oh the irony of watching all of this go up in flames. (I didn’t point these things out to Max. We still don’t use the D word.)

After pizza and s’mores, we drove another hour back to the train station. We hugged goodbye and wished each other a happy Thanksgiving.

Hanging Out With My Ex -- Was It Worth It?

I spent the next day reflecting on my time with Max. We were now “friends,” though that word isn’t complex enough for what we are now to each other. How did I feel about it?

Here is what I noticed after hanging out with my ex-husband for the first time:

  1. I still find him attractive. He is a good looking man, from his perfect nose to his height (almost six feet) to his long black eyelashes. *sigh*
  2. …but I feel no attraction to him. I find him attractive now the way I’d recognize that my cousin is attractive. 
  3. I still have shivers of sadness and frustration that he couldn’t fix his problems. If Max could've conquered his demons, I believe we could have fixed our marriage. 
  4. …but I have no doubts whatsoever that getting divorced was the right thing to do.
  5. I still am not totally used to living without him. Yes, I was ready to pull out my hair with frustration during the months we lived together after our relationship was over. But the day after I saw him, I had an extra sad case of the Sunday blues.
  6. …but I’m adjusting and coping everyday. Yes, I miss him, but I feel myself healing and making progress as I get to used to him never walking through my door.

We emailed that Monday and agreed that it was a little hard for both of us, but at the same time it was really good to see each other. We intend to hang out again – no rush to do so though.

Have you ever hung out with your ex? Was it nice or sad? Did it help you or set you back in your moving on process?
Two Chics and a Blog


  1. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Yes I have, we remain friends to this day, though distance and no children between us make that easier. I am happy that he lives the life he wanted (flying all over) and I am living happily with my 2 sweet children and new husband. It all works out ;)
    Stopped in from The I Don't Like Mondays Blog hop.

  3. I don't know if I should say "dude, congrats, this is so grown up" or, "ewww, freaks, how dare you, no way!".
    My divorce went final in the fall of 2006. I had a trial, not a hearing, not a mediation, not a signing of the papers, but a trial. It was a horrible experience. I tried to be civil because of our then 3 tear old daughter. 7 plus years later, i'm remariied, I now have 17, 10, and 9 year old daughters, and my new wife and I can't get my old wife to return an email or act like a human being about anything.
    I think it is very grown up and admirable you hang with your ex and the way you write about it is fascinating. But my experience has shown me this is impossible and only stuff I read about on the innerwebz.
    Lance aka @lanceburson

  4. Not having kids means we get to choose the relationship we do or don't have with the ex, as opposed to being forced to have one. That is so great to hear that you've stayed friends, especially since you're remarried and a mom now!

  5. Haha, I know my relationship with my ex is not typical. I don't think we'll be best friends, but I like that we can still be in each other's lives in some small way. I'm sorry that after so much time that your ex can't be civil at least. Just seems like such a shame when at one point you were probably very much in love.

  6. I think it's nice that you are so mature about the whole thing. We don't have to stop caring about someone when things don't work out like we intended or hoped, and you and Max are the perfect example of it. Thank you for linking to Super Sunday Sync, I always enjoy coming over to visit. :)

  7. I think that it's great that you take the time to blog your takes a lot of the stress off, and also allows you to see things with a clear perspective. You're handling things wonderfully.

  8. That is really good that you can be so cival with your ex.. i know many people who are not cival at all..

  9. Thanks Rosey! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

  10. Thank you. The blogging really does help me sort through my emotions and reactions.

  11. I think it greatly depends on the circumstances surrounding the divorce. Since there was no lying or cheating, it makes it easier to attempt a friendship.

  12. Impressive! My ex-husband and I are civil and carry on pleasant conversation, but spending the day hanging out together (even with mutual friends) would probably be a strain. It sounds like it really help clear some things up for you though so that is very good.

  13. You are brave I could not do that my ex is a jerk the relationship did not end well. He was abusive a cheater. The kids get along with him I do not. Visiting from the collective hop have a great day

  14. It was a nice day for us. I think next time will be shorter -- more like "let's grab a sandwich and catch up" versus "let's spend a whole day together."

  15. Yikes! Certainly not all former spouses are worthy of our time and friendship. Thanks for popping in.

  16. My ex-husband and I spend some time together. We talk every day. I divorced him mainly due to his drinking problem, which, dispite many warnings, he did not correct until I moved out and said "divorce". I still went through with the divorce because I knew it was the right thing to do, but he's trying to change his ways so I'm giving him the opportunity to show me that he can learn from his mistakes. We're kind of in the "past friends but no sex kind of bf/gf range". It's a bit awkward at times. I don't know how long I can keep it up.

  17. Nope and never will. I'm grateful we have no children and that we live 300+ miles apart.

  18. Sometimes that is the healthiest thing for both parties.

  19. What a wonderful, reflective post! I'm glad that you both were able to do that and that all four of you were able to spend time together. "Dividing up the friends" is always a touchy and sometimes maddening thing to do in this cases. I'm glad that you are showing people another side.

  20. Thanks Bonnie. I'm sure plenty of people think we're a little crazy though. :)

  21. Thanks for sharing with us on our Wonderful Wednesday Link Party. Great post! I tried being friends with my ex but it was just to awkward. I'm glad that you are able to keep a good relationship with your ex!

  22. Thanks for sharing that. I found your blog from a blog hop.

    I have been divorced for 12 1/2 years and I have been forced to hang out with my ex a bunch over those years. We had two kids together and because she refuses to get a driver's license, she bums rides from me to the kids events all the time.

    At first, it was hard because I would go and watch the kids events and she would sit with me or at the kids team parties she would be around me. Our divorce was pretty bitter and there are still a lot of hard feelings on the way her family acted and still acts to this day by me. I do for the kids and try to ignore the racial taunts and other negative comments by her family and her friends.

    Sorry, getting back to the point: At first it set me back, but over time I have kind of accepted that I have moved on in my life and she hasn't.

    I have tried to be civil over the years but it is hard, when her life is a mess and she blames me for everything wrong in her world. I realized that not talking to her and dealing with the things I needed to about the kids with the actual people was the best way. Now, that kids are almost done with high school, I deal with them directly which makes her redder than a red hen.

    Sorry for being so long and kudos for you for being civil to your ex.

  23. Whew, Amy, that is a lot to cope with. I hope you do what is best for YOU and take care of yourself.

  24. I think a lot of people try to be friends with the ex and find it's just too forced and weird. We'll see how Max and I do...

  25. Thank you for sharing your story. Yours is so different from mine, but having/not having kids adds a whole other dimension to relationship. Sounds like keeping her presence in your life at a minimum is best for you. Both parties have to really want a friendship for it to work.

  26. Kat -- Did you see you were highlighted on this week's Friday Flash Blog on The Jenny Evolution? People are absolutely loving your post :-)