Post-Divorce Relationship: Perfect Pals
Maybe you’re still best friends with your ex. There’s nothing wrong with that! After all, you had a serious, committed relationship that ended up producing children. The kids are still the light of your life—and half of their heritage comes from your ex—and you two get along. It just isn’t a romantic connection any longer.
Perfect Pals are classified as high communication, high interaction parents. Maybe you even act like you’re still married, despite living in separate homes. As the name suggests, you’re still friends and keep in touch.
Sometimes this means that the kids actually end up confused: why aren’t Mommy and Daddy (or Mommy and Mommy, or Daddy and Daddy) still together? Can we Parent Trap them into getting back together? It’s a dynamic worth dissecting.
Benefits of the Perfect Pals Relationship
Obviously, the biggest benefit to the Perfect Pals relationship is that you two don’t hate each other. Having two parents who get along is a benefit that can’t be overstated for most children, although it’s occasionally confusing.
Some hallmarks of the Perfect Pals relationship include genuinely enjoying each other’s company—some Perfect Pals continue to own businesses together—as well as staying in frequent contact, seeing each other’s extended family and having a remarkably friendly relationship. Maybe you even spend holidays together, despite the divorce. If you’ve ever asked your ex for advice about parenting or any other issue, you two might be Perfect Pals.
Most of the time, Perfect Pals have joint custody, and they’ve got the united front of parenting down to a science. As time goes on, you two might remain just as convivial, but there will be distance afterwards. This is normal, and often will not affect your co-parenting unless one parent feels somehow hurt or slighted.
Perfect Pals usually have no trouble putting the best interests of the children first, and probably have a mutually-agreed-upon visitation and custody schedule. Your kids aren’t worried about you being in the same room for graduation, their own marriages or any other major life events—which is a great relief for everyone involved.
Downsides to the Perfect Pals Relationship
Of course, getting along so well with your ex after your divorce means that the kids can suffer in some unexpected ways, especially if they’re still very young. Your children might think this is just a phase, or that your end goal is to get back together. That can be painful when they realize that your romantic relationship really is over—or if you decide to get back together and give it another try, and it doesn’t work out.
When Perfect Pals find other partners, the relationship can sour or otherwise change—and the kids often don’t like it, either. After all, in a perfect world, their parents would be together and the arguments (or whatever caused your separation) would be over.
If you’re in a Perfect Pals co-parenting relationship, congratulate yourself on getting along well, but be sure to evaluate whether your kids can healthily handle the continued closeness.