Call me weird, but I think Gwyneth Paltrow is nothing short of brilliant for the way she's spoken about her relationship with Chris Martin, the father of her children and (presumably?) soon-to-be ex-husband.
In a magazine interview she said:
"Last night he got in at midnight and slept here so he could surprise the kids in the morning, we could all have breakfast, and he could take them to school. So … we're not living together, but he's more than welcome to be with us whenever he wants. And vice versa: I sleep in his house in Malibu a lot with the kids. We're still very much a family, even though we don't have a romantic relationship. He's like my brother."
Now don't get me wrong; I get that there'll be those who roll their eyes at this and think describing the father of your children as 'like a brother' is a little odd.
But surely what she's really saying is that the ex-couple have worked it out amicably for the sake of the kids, and I think that's pretty amazing.
I know - from speaking to friends who have separated from their child's other parent - that staying friends with your ex for the sake of the kids is far from easy.
And of course what Gwyneth doesn't say is how that amicable relationship plays out when either partner meets someone new, and wants to introduce him or her to the kids. That's got to add another dynamic to the relationship that has the potential to get pretty difficult to deal with.
Few of us go into parenthood anticipating that our relationship might not stay the course, which means those of us who end up in that situation are rarely prepared for how to deal with it. And when a relationship breaks down because of a betrayal or other painful turn of events, it's of course completely natural that staying friends just might not be an option.
So while I don't believe there's any 'one size fits all' approach to dealing with relationship breakdown when kids are involved, I still think the couples who manage to keep things civil - to the kids' benefit, ultimately - deserve some serious props.
But what do you think? Is it possible to make like Gwyneth and Chris and enjoy an amicable, dare I say brotherly/sisterly relationship for the sake of the kids after a break-up? Or do you think that's an unrealistic expectation? If you've cracked it, we'd love to hear your tips for keeping things friendly with your ex for the sake of the children.
TOPICS: Parenting Tips