Most will agree that being friends after a relationship is difficult as the question of ulterior motive and resentment can hover in the clouds. If friendship is in the cards it requires clear boundaries, a very understanding new partner and an ability of both parties to take responsibility and be accountable to the outcome of their relationship. The truth is that if two people who once were lovers can be friends there can be a comfortable and enduring trust that can serve to help lay the foundation for new relationships and the future. There is really not that much difference if the relationship was one of cohabitation, marriage or simply a long term partnership when it comes to the matters of the heart.
The additional pain of divorce however, is associated with the loss of family, assets and the children, which often results in conflict therefore making friendship very difficult. Children want first and foremost for their parents to remain married and if they can not have that then friendship is a second best. Unfortunately remaining friends is easier said then done in that there is usually a lot of baggage with regards to the divorce process itself. In addition, establishing clear boundaries when there is so much history is challenging. Friendship is a relationship built on trust, like-ability, integrity and kindness and for many divorced couples there is little left in these departments. So perhaps the better way to frame an optimum outcome post divorce relationship that is in the best interest of the children and the parents is one based on mutual respect. Respect does not mean, like, nor agree with, nor want to spend time with, but rather it is based on a mutual understanding of ones differences in actions, choices, value systems etc. A post divorce co-parenting relationship based on respect is in everyones best interest and serves to help empower both the parents and the children by demonstrating that while differences may not be able to live together, they can still hold each other in high regard and esteem - perhaps providing the children with a lesson that will serve them well their entire life.