When the end came it was only remarkable in how unremarkable it was.

“Is that it then?”

“I think so.”

“It’s over?”

“It’s over. I’ll look for a house.”

That was it. A calm conversation between two people who had spent just about the last 20 years together, 15 of them married.

Of course, things hadn’t always progressed in such an amicable way – we had our fair share of disagreements – but just the very act of admitting to each other, and ourselves, that our relationship was over had lifted a huge weight of both of our shoulders.
Stuart

We gathered the children together to tell them the news. “Me and your mum have decided to split up. Your mum is moving out and you’ll all stay here with me. Are you surprised?”

We were met with a wall of grunts particular to teens. “Nah”.

“Do you have any questions?”

“Where are you both going to sleep until Mum finds a house?”

“We’ll still share the bedroom. We don’t hate each other. We just think that we’ll get on better – be better friends – if we don’t have to live together.”

That last statement proved to be pretty prescient and set the tone for our relationship that continues today, almost 11 months after that conversation.  Or course there have been the odd tricky moments but Ex and I get on OK.  We’re not exactly best friends but we are civil when we see each other and occasionally catch up over a cuppa.  One of the unintended consequences of having a calm ‘conscious uncoupling’ is that it’s easy to remind yourself that splitting up was the right decision for all of us; the whole family is happier now.  A convivial chat over a cuppa is a brilliant way to remind yourself that your lives had spun off in two different directions and it was time for a new chapter to begin.

I use the term ‘conscious uncoupling’ as a knowing nod to celebrities who separate but remain on good terms, whether they be Gwyneth and Chris or Brad and Jen. It used to bemuse me how people could split up and still remain friendly but now I completely understand. 
Stuart

I can look back with fondness at the good times whilst never losing sight of the trickier times. It is what is and we are where we are.

My mum and dad separated when I was 18. My sister, two years my junior and still living at home was devastated. I was philosophical; if you’re happier not being together then that’s OK.  I took this same stance when my mum and dad found new partners; if they make you happy then that’s fine.  And finally this approach has continued now it transpires that Ex has a boyfriend; it’s of no concern of mine and I hope that she’s happy.

So, me and the kids are a tight little unit. They delight and infuriate me in equal measure. They can be the kindest, most thoughtful teens on the planet and yet seem incapable of picking wet towels off the bathroom floor. But that’s ok, they’ll learn. In my late 40s I find myself a single dad to 4 teens – single for the first time in decades – and I’m loving it.

This is time for me, to discover who I am and to live my own life. And as for Ex's role in my life? Well, I do think that there was an element of her trying to achieve the world's most amicable divorce, but I think we've done a pretty good job of achieving that. We get on just fine and will contie to catch up over a cuppa every now and then - and I'll be reminded of why we are no longer together.

 

This is a featured guest blog, written by Stuart Dexter, a charity CEO. Check Stuart out on Twitter and Linked In.

If you are affected by any issues in this article and you like to talk to someone, you can book in here. Mediation information can be found here. 

 

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