Monday, March 10, 2014

I Had Lunch with My Ex-Husband. It Made Me Happy.

A few days after the first anniversary of my divorce, I had lunch with my ex-husband. It was exactly what I needed.

We briefly saw each other in December when he returned my Christmas DVDs to me, but we otherwise hadn’t spent time together since November.

I had plans to be in New York City, so I’d asked him if he wanted to get together. He responded that he would clear the calendar for the weekend so he could see me anytime.

I arrived at the Meatball Shop (my pick – they have veggie balls) a little early, so I texted him to let him know I had a table for us. He responded that he was on his way.

Our lunch wasn't this romantic.
As he approached the restaurant, his head was turned, peering into the restaurant. He was looking for me, his ex-wife. His eyes caught mine and he beamed.

Oh, his smile.

Max has one of those smiles that truly lights up his face. I know that sounds corny, but there really are people with those kinds of smiles. (I’m not one of them. I just have a regular smile.) His smile has always warmed me. Seeing that smile for me made me feel about 93% joyful and 7% terribly, terribly sad and wistful.

His big brown eyes shone as he walked towards me. Stone Temple Pilots was playing. We automatically opened our arms and embraced in the middle of the Meatball Shop. It was a rich hug, the kind of hug that only happens between two people who really, truly care for each other.

We finally sat down and chatted away for the next 90 minutes. We talked about everything and nothing. He asked if I’d run out of my stash of Mary Lou’s coffee, and if so he’d buy me more the next time he goes to Massachusetts. I told him about my half marathon training. He told me his best friend, who was devastated by his divorce five years ago, is engaged. I told him that my brother and sister-in-law are expecting another baby. He shared the latest on a huge project at work, for which I’ve always been his biggest supporter.

After our meat and veggie balls, three cookies, and a scoop of ice cream, we surrendered. The bill came and Max grabbed it.

“Max, come on,” I said. “You don’t have to pay. Let’s split it." Afterall, this was the polar opposite of a date!

“No, I insist,” he said, slapping down some cash.

I know him better than anyone, so I knew I would lose this debate.

“Fine. Then can lunch be on me next time?” I asked carefully.

He looked up from the bill and flashed that smile. (Oh, his smile.)


He walked me back to the subway. I had the fleeting urge to grab his hand – I guess old habits die hard. At the entrance to the 4/5/6 train, we embraced. Twice. We promised to do this again soon. I believe we both actually meant it.

I looked back as I walked down the steps into the subway. He was watching me go, making sure I got down the steps safely. We both smiled and waved goodbye again, and then I disappeared into the crowded subway. 

When was the last time you saw your former spouse? What was it like?

Epic Mommy Adventures


  1. It will be a year ago at the end of April, sadly it is not a good memory. I was still desperately (pathetically honestly) trying to save the marriage and he was acting cold and mean, he stood up and left mid conversation. Sadly I finally snapped and called him every name in the book, because he wouldn't just be honest and admit he had a girlfriend. The last image I have of my ex husband of six years was him jumping into his mommy's car and speeding away.

  2. Oh Emily, what a sad memory. I'm sorry you had to go through that. Maybe in the long run he did you a favor by driving off so the pain of the split didn't get dragged out any longer. Thinking of you.

  3. Michelle DeLorge@ Scattered WrMarch 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    The last time I saw my spouse (soon to be ex) was at a Starbucks and it was half bittersweet and half miserable. I guess more time has to go by before I can get to this point, if ever.

  4. ah this is a lovely if poignant post. I could relate to exactly how that must have felt even though I've not yet been married or divorced!! You're a great writer. Hope that you get to see each other again. I think. !

  5. Thanks so much, Sandy!

  6. Oh yes, it takes time, if ever. And in our case, our breakup was never particularly nasty -- just really sad for both of us. Also, we had to live together for a year after our relationship was over, so we had time to transition into a friendship.

  7. How lovely! You set a powerful example. Right on Kat!!


  8. Thank you, Sue :)

  9. Wow!! That's so nice to hear compared to the many ugly stories that people usually recount!

  10. Yeah, i think we're pretty unusual. I'm so grateful to have him in my life, even in just a small way.

  11. I last saw the ex in person probably sometime in July of 2012. I remember the entire month of July being weird because we were both at the house getting it ready for sale (he was staying at his parents' house while I stayed at the house until I moved). Our interactions were strained; civilized but also cold and unfeeling. I only said as much as had to be said; I couldn't look at him or make eye contact because of what he had done.

  12. Wow, I'm surprised you have gone that long without seeing him, seeing as since then you sold a house and had your divorce final. Just as well though... you don't need him around you!

  13. Don @ HowYouCanFindLoveMarch 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I don't have a former spouse but I have plenty of ex-girlfriends. I can't remember the last time I saw one of them. I am the type that says "an ex is an ex for a reason" and I have no interest in seeing them. We never left of bad terms (well most of the time), but I just have no interest in seeing them or hanging out with them. Maybe it is different when it comes to a spouse?

  14. That was my mentality about dating too. For me, Max and I were family, you know? I would like to keep him in my life, even if it's just lunch a few times a year.

  15. My husband and I have been together for 24 years and are celebrating our 11th Wedding Anniversary next week. I must say that it is so refreshing to read how well you and your ex got along. Though I have no experience with divorce, it is nice to know that people who were once in love can still be friends. That two people can part ways and still have an amicable meal together is rare. Thanks for linking up to Turn It Up Tuesday!

  16. April @ 100lbcountdownMarch 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    At this point in time, I don't have a former spouse and I pray that I never do. However, I think meeting yours for a friendly dinner sounds nice and cathartic. I wish you the best in your quest after him. Thank you for linking up to Turn it Up Tuesdays!

  17. Unfortunately, I don't have a relationship with my ex-husband at all. It wasn't necessarily a difficult divorce, but we just never kept in touch. On the other hand, I have a great relationship with two of my exes and I am blessed to have them both in my life. They are definitely a ray of sunshine for me. It's so great that you have a great relationship with your ex, and I'm glad to hear that the lunch went so well!

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)

  18. Not all exes are meant to be friends. No need to force a relationship that isn't meant to be!

  19. Thank you for your good wishes!

  20. Certainly some splits make it impossible to be friendly post-split. I know I'm truly fortunate in this sense.