When you decide to have a baby with someone, you create an unconscious lifetime bond with that person that ties you together forever. So when that relationship loses its shimmer how do we go about breaking that bond?
Well, perhaps we don’t anymore. I have started noticing a new kind of relationship that seems to be more common, perhaps even than the traditional marriage. A relationship that is first and foremost about co-parenting.
I have a number of friends who have such arrangements with their ‘baby daddy’ for want of a better term. They got together, they had a child (or children) but then the relationship reached its finale. But there was no nastiness, no hideous affair, no abuse. Just a mutual acceptance that they were no longer in love. Or for some reason or another could no longer live together. But when children are involved, it’s much harder to go your separate ways. And so I’m noticing that they don’t.
There’s the lesbian couple that knowingly entered into a co-parenting relationship with their known-donor; spending time together as a three parent family, having Sunday roasts and days out. It’s such a lovely set-up that it feels perfectly natural.
Or the free-spirited mum for whom traditional relationships were never going to work but who spends weekends and holidays abroad with the father of her children. Not quite living together but making a family together nonetheless.
Then there’s a friend who underwent a very personal tragedy that saw her relationship tested to its limits and decided to let it go. While remaining incredibly close and spending happy times with the father of her children, despite forging ahead to find the strength she needed as a single mother without him and the memories he jogged that hurt too much.
And finally the couple that got together while young, found themselves to be parents but weren’t quite ready to commit to each other forever. Yet finances have forced their hand and their amicable relationship has enabled them to find a way to continue to live together while not quite being together. They share the parenting and give each other the support that even traditional relationships don’t necessarily.
Happy families all round, just not the traditional model we’re led to believe is our only option.
When I started looking into having a baby, co-parenting relationships with a known-donor were frequently alluded to but it wasn’t a model I could imagine. Yet, here I am, surrounded by perfect and wonderful examples of exactly that. Straight or gay, seemingly family life can go on even after a relationship fails(or begins!).
Of course, there are also the relationships that reached a bitter end that could not ever reach this compromise, but the vitriol cited as the norm for a break up may not actually be the norm anymore. I have always embraced diversity and can’t help but be heartened by this emerging family model. An end doesn’t have to be the end anymore and with maturity and care, it seems it really is possible to parent together forever.