I suppose it’s no surprise that we get a lot of questions about what it’s like to live next door to your ex after divorce—at least when people first learn about our situation (our friends are big supporters and they’re used to it). While to us this is now an entirely normal way of life governed by our desire to do what’s right for the kids, there are moments when I make note of some of the quirky little things that might strike outsiders as a little unusual, amusing or at least notable. Here are a few examples of the weird little aspects of life next door to your ex and his newish wife:
1. You find the flatware they likely got as a wedding gift in your cutlery drawer from those times you co-host birthday parties in the backyard or just gather for the occasional shared dinner.
2. The laundry basket from the kids’ room—a navy cylindrical number—is missing and has been since the day your kid wanted to see if he could make it over to his dad’s without tripping while wearing it over his head and upper body. (Imagine his little brother next to him giggling through instructions like, “Now another step.”)
3. Pitchers of milk appear on your front step when you’ve run out. (Ditto eggs, school-lunch snacks, and critical ingredients missing from recipes partially complete.)
4. You can share a car after yours breaks down in a provincial park on a camping trip. Because that’s a thing that can happen.
5. You buy the same blender so that if dad is helping get kids out the door, he can come over with some—but likely not all—of the smoothie ingredients ready to go.
Of course there are much more important things about our unusual proximity to each other. Like being able to hear your child crying over jamming his finger playing catch with his dad, coming out to offer an extra kiss (even though he’s in good hands) and then winding up sitting on the lawn chatting altogether. Like quickly popping over to look at and discuss report cards, or spending Halloweens together (that’s my son and his dad getting ready to go trick-or-treating as a baseball batter and catcher last year). And like being able to get some backup if you need it when things are heading south.
Our situation may not be for everyone, but it’s family life to us.
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