Catherine Anaya

Lasting peace

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Last summer I read an article in the local newspaper about how more couples are remaining on friendly terms after divorce.

I thought, “Wow, nice to see people jumping on the bandwagon I’ve been on for years now.”

My ex-husband and I both come from broken homes and nasty divorces, so deciding to end our marriage didn’t come easy. But deciding to remain friends and good co-parents did come easy. We certainly don’t agree on everything, but when it comes to our children, not a decision is made without consulting the other.

We still spend Christmas morning together with the kids. We have keys to each other’s home. If one of us needs a ride to the airport, we’re there for one another. We’ll gladly swap our respective weekends with the kids or pinch-hit for each other during the week, if needed.

We always sit together at school events. In fact, at one of my son’s performances last year, my ex-husband’s girlfriend at the time sat to his left. I sat to his right. We wouldn’t dream of conducting a parent-teacher conference without the other.

If I have something that needs fixing at my house or a pet that needs feeding when I’m out of town, I know I can always call on him, and he’ll happily lend a helping hand.

And when I sign a form asking for an emergency contact, his is the name and number I always put down. I know, without a doubt, he will always have my back and I will always have his.

This past winter, when my son turned 8 and wanted to have birthday pancakes at his favorite breakfast spot, the four of us celebrated together.

When people hear about our post-divorce relationship, they’re often surprised, but the reaction comes more from admiration than skepticism. Most divorced couples I know don’t like each other, let alone maintain some level of mutual cooperation.

Divorce is tough enough on kids. I was dragged through a nasty custody battle at 9 years old that left lasting wounds. I vowed to never put my children through that, and I think my son and daughter are well adjusted as a result.

My 14-year-old daughter still wishes her parents were married, although now she can appreciate our personalities enough to realize why we are not. She recently had to write an essay about a difficult challenge she’s faced. She wrote about her parents’ divorce and how it’s tough living in two separate homes. But she also acknowledged the close relationship she has with each of us, which I believe is because of the positive relationship we have with each other.

People often ask about the formula to our success. Simply put: We spent 18 years together. That’s half our lives! Our 13-year marriage didn’t last, but we have two beautiful children, and that, in and of itself, is worth maintaining a friendship and lasting peace.

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One Response to Lasting peace

  1. lucina1167 April 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Catherine,
    I too have lived my post relationship, co-parenting Utopia much like the one you described above. We even moved out from NYC to AZ together. New marriages, babies and all. I could not have imagined not having his father around, even though step dad is a great pic too. The bond is too sewn and the need is infinite when not met. Thank you for standing up for what many considered an anomaly. Looking back I’ve appreciated the generosity of the new wife/husband for entering into our lives.

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