Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 10:48 AM IST

The ‘friendly exes’ trend

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHWETA WATSON
Published : Feb 15, 2018, 12:29 am IST
Updated : Feb 15, 2018, 12:30 am IST

Couples who have parted, understand each other better now and remain good friends.

Vanaja Banagiri
 Vanaja Banagiri

All of us have heard the term ‘happily married’. But have you heard of ‘happily divorced’? While we have always thought that exes cannot even look at each other after parting ways, there are many couples these days who are surprising everyone by even staying good friends. Some have said that they are closer to their exes after the divorce than when they were married.

However, one wonders how it’s possible. Giving us some insight, artist Vijit Pillai says, “I have known my ex-wife Jasmine for 31 years and we were married for 26 years. She is the mother of my children and she was my best friend even before we got married. We have shared difficult times together and have deep respect for each other after everything that we went through. Her family has been very supportive of us too. We have a healthy respect for our boundaries and that’s how we stay friends. We are there to help each other at all times. We work as a team, fulfilling our roles as father and mother.”

Dr Kalpana AlexanderDr Kalpana Alexander

People do not part ways only when things have turned out ugly between them. They also break-up when they realise they want different things from life. Hence the bitter feelings reduce as both come to terms with the reality that they both want to move on. “Both the parents want the best things for their children and want to be an active part of their growing up. Hence it is difficult to co-parent with bitter feelings. After separation the goal of co-parenting brings down the hard feelings that couples might have developed due to their differences. They realise that while the husband and wife have separated and gone their own ways, the mother and father need to be together in order to bring out the best in their children,” says relationship expert Richa Khetawat.

Vanaja Banagiri, the author of bestsellers like Butterflies and Barbed Wires and Hyderabad Hazir Hai, says, “A relationship might end but the affection stays. Marriage, as an institution, is flawed fundamentally. There’s a saying in Hindu mythology that God sends arch enemies back into the world to be reborn as spouses! Jokes apart, couples are no longer willing to fulfil all those expectations of conventional role playing. They are fine to move on and restart when they realise they goofed up in their choice. Modern couples are comfortable enough to redefine their relationship and arrive at a mutually comfortable equation. And if there are children involved, you cease to be just a couple, you’re parents first and foremost and they realise that it’s not fair to make them bear the brunt of your decisions.”

The author, who is also friends with her ex-spouse, adds, “Personally, I feel expectations are the root cause of most break-ups. Sometimes, when the other person doesn’t live up to your idea of a partner, yorealise you’re better off as friends. The best option in such a situation would be take the complication out of the relationship and go back to how you started off. It needs a lot of maturity.”

Vijit PillaiVijit Pillai

Dr Kalpana Alexander says that life is happier when you can be friends with your ex. According to her, though things end on a bitter note, they can settle beautifully. “A lot of this positivism comes with age and maturity. It’s different when you are in your 20s and 30s. While a separation can be traumatic initially, once you understand each other things can get better. It’s easier to forgive and forget. Also, if you are independent and are busy, there’s hardly any time to have bitter feelings and dwell on the past.”

Tags: relationship, richa khetawat, vijit pillai