“July 21, 1973”

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I have been married to my husband for thirty years, but forty five years ago I married the father of my daughter. Although that marriage lasted only four years, our lives have been linked because of our child.

People with children who divorce have real choices about how they will conduct their post divorce relationship. Some spend it attacking the other parent at every chance they get, both in front of the children and among friends. They may refuse to even talk to the other parent and insist on all communications going through lawyers. We consciously chose a different route. At first it was just to be civil to one another and to never demean the other in front of our daughter.

As time went on, we found we were able to be cordial to one another, not just civil. We began to attend school events together. While my daughter primarily lived with me, her father saw her frequently, taking her on camping trips, to family reunions and just over to his house.

Thirty years ago we each remarried and remain in those marriages. Somewhere along the line we went from cordial to friendly. All four adults have gone to graduations, weddings, concerts and other events together. Our grandchildren benefit from four grandparents on their mother’s side.

It required a great deal of maturity to live this way, and it was a stretch for sure. But all these years later, it is my first husband who knew my sisters as children, knew my parents, knew me as a young adult. In fact, he has known me longer than any other person in my life. He lives far away and we see each other rarely. But we were faithful to our commitment to our daughter and we have been richly rewarded.

22 thoughts on ““July 21, 1973”

  1. I think it’s wonderful when people can be mature and humane about this sort of thing. It’s much the best for everyone involved. I also remember the era of the pants suit!

      1. You certainly were then. I recall my father drove trucks for a company that made that sort of outfit, and they gave my father a chance to buy the worst of them which they seemed unable to sell themselves for cheap, so my mother sold them out of our basement. I recall them being something like seven dollars for the pants, or maybe for a top and pants, and that in the clothing business, one charged twice the wholesale price plus one dollar. I have some unattractive-print skirts from that era which I have never worn but which people thse days would find attractive, for unknown reasons.

        1. I didn’t watch a lot of politics closely during that whole situation, so I haven’t seen tons of them on her. They seem practical in many ways, although we have all seen where they can be less than flattering.

  2. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I am a stepmother, my husband was married once before. It does take maturity to co-parent with the ex spouse. It has taken us some time to get there, but time does help.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Elizabeth. It makes me think there must be hope for my daughter and her soon-to-be-ex. It’s really commendable that you two were able to look beyond your differences.

    1. Encourage your daughter to avoid snarky comments around her kid. After all, the child is half the other parent’s. Being mature is so worth it in the long run, no matter how difficult.

  4. You are very fortunate to have been able to do this. This sounds a much happier and healthier arrangement than the usual. I am quite envious as, after a similar time, there is still awkwardness between my first wife and myself. You and he are to be congratulated

    1. Thank you. My husband and his first wife have never made peace and it has had a poisonous effect on his two girls. We are grateful that there is peace on my end allowing us to be together for my daughter and her children’s events.

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