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Some divorces don’t mirror ‘War of the Roses’

Updated: November 17, 2012 6:11AM

I’m guessing that when most couples divorce, they hope they can have a relationship with their ex-spouse that doesn’t inspire comparisons to World War II. Especially if there are children involved. But how many can say they’re actually friends with their ex?

Lainie says she and her husband Jerry are both not just friendly, but actual friends with their ex-spouses.

“I talk to my ex, Donnie, at least once a day to discuss our daughters and other matters, and my husband and I invite his ex-wife, Sandy, to our country club and to holiday dinners. I enjoy Sandy because she’s fun to be with and easy to talk to.”

Even after a 24-year marriage, Jerry and Sandy’s divorce was so cordial they used the same lawyer. “It cost them $500.”

Lainie and Donnie were married for 17 years. She’s glad they’re no longer married — “Donnie is rather obsessive and a neatnik. He’s very hard to be with for a long period of time” — but she can still enjoy him and admire his good points.

“He’s smart and rather charismatic and has a unique perspective on things. He’s a lawyer and he used to teach law, so he analyzes everything. It’s too much for me on a day-to-day basis, but he makes us think.”

Not only are Lainie and Jerry friends with their exes, they’re also friends with their exes’ families. “We get together for dinners, lunches, etc. I still consider Donnie’s family to be my family. On the holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas — I try to get all of the cousins together so that my daughters remain close to them.

“All in all, it’s like we didn’t lose any family after our divorces, but rather gained new relationships with our present spouses’ families.”

It can be tricky accepting a stepparent into your life, but Lainie and Jerry’s grown children have good relationships with them.

“Jerry’s children were always polite to me, but to be honest, it took them a while to warm up. My daughters always loved Jerry because he’s low-key, logical, funny and very nice. Donnie was much more volatile, so they enjoy the contrast.”

Lainie says all the togetherness is a win-win. “Getting along with our exes makes life so much easier. The kids and grandkids can all get together for holidays and celebrations, and there is no animosity to bring down the good moods.

“Let go of the past and concentrate on the present. ‘Don’t get mad, get even.’ If you ex leaves or disappoints you, focus on finding someone else rather than hating him or her.

“Our energy is limited, so use it for positive actions. And there’s a bonus. If you’re nice to your ex, he won’t go all over town saying bad things about you. It is also best if you don’t say bad things about him. If you do, people will wonder why you married a jerk. Just say that you weren’t a good fit.”

At present, Lainie and Jerry’s exes are both single. They’ve met “some” of Donnie’s girlfriends and “most” of Sandy’s boyfriends. Lainie says she doesn’t anticipate any problems if either of them marries or has a significant relationship. “It will just add another person to the families.”

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