“At the beginning of Tony and I’s relationship, his ex-wife Amanda was in no way a fan of mine. I was his first girlfriend after their divorce and I’m sure she felt she needed to protect her children because she had no clue who I was.
Lucas began playing soccer so we all had to be around one another during those times. They were very awkward because there was tension. Tony and my relationship continued growing and getting serious and so I felt that Amanda and I should meet at lunch and try to hash things out so we could all get along for the kids’ sake and move forward with our lives, drama free. So I texted her one day and she surprisingly agreed.
I remember feeling so nervous before walking in because I had no clue what I was going to say to her – all I knew was we were going to be in one another’s lives for forever, and we might as well try to make the best of it. We went to lunch and I told her, ‘I am not trying to take your place. You are the kids’ mother and I in no way want to replace you.’
‘I really needed to hear that,’ she told me.
Truthfully, the rest is history! We did not become ‘friends’ after that, but we were ‘friendly’ with one another, able to say hello at games and such.
Our relationship did not happen overnight after that. There were times I wanted to knock her upside her head and vise versa. We both are very open about this because we know that people look at our lives and our relationship now and think, ‘Why can’t we have what y’all have?’ It’s so important for us to explain to people that it hasn’t always been this way! We are almost SEVEN years in the making. I would say our actual friendship starting developing about 2-3 years ago, even two summers ago we went months without speaking and getting along so that goes to show you it still can be up and down for us as well.
Since we do spend so much time together, we have been able to learn how the other one works and how we’re each wired. It’s been a lot of trial and error. Our communication has been the biggest key because if we can’t talk and discuss huge things going on in our kids’ lives, how will we ever agree on anything? We don’t want to be the family where one parent buys the kid a phone without making sure the other is on board. That’s a huge purchase and every parent should be on board with something like that. For us, we know that each of us want to be involved with big decisions so from the beginning we make it a point to talk about the hard stuff. For example, if the kids are watching something at our house she doesn’t think they should be watching, we want her to feel comfortable enough coming to us and say, ‘Hey, I don’t think they should be watching this, here’s why…’ and vice versa. Communication is key!
I think the hardest hurdle for us was trust. How can we learn to trust this person who my husband went through a nasty divorce with? If you’ve ever been divorced, you know it brings the worst out in people, especially when your babies are involved. And for Amanda too, I know that Tony and I both have said nasty hurtful things and I’m sure she felt zero trust on her end as well. So how do we go from this place of ‘below zero,’ that’s how I felt… we were starting below zero because there was so much messy back history. For some, I know they feel they will never be able to trust again. But for Tony and I, we had to create a new kind of trust. A new type of relationship. Because no matter what, this person is in our lives, whether we want them there or not. We see her multiple times a week for kid stuff. We knew it would be better for the kids and better for us if we could all at least get along and be intentional about our relationship. We weren’t being fake, we were genuinely trying to develop and create a ‘new normal’ essentially, and I don’t think any of us realized what that looked like yet. We just knew it had to be positive for the kids.
The more time you spend with someone you learn more about them, right? We’d be sitting at our son’s practice and would just talk… you know, girl talk… and I began realizing, holy crap, I actually think I like this person. Over the years we just became closer and closer and truthfully, I didn’t think we could become any closer than we were – and then Amanda went through one of the toughest heartbreaks that I had ever seen someone go through. She called Tony and I one day to let us know she broke up with her ex. My immediate response was, ‘Take me to her house.’ I could hear in her voice how badly it had knocked the breath out of her and I needed to lay eyes on her and make sure she was okay. Tony took me there and we sat on her couch and I held her while she bawled her eyes out because the man of her dreams turned out not to be who she thought he was.
That summer was damaging for our family. That summer Tony and I literally helped Amanda – the mother of our children – yes, his ex-wife – pick up the pieces of herself. We walked through all the dark days with her and were there for her in ways I never dreamt I’d be there for my husband’s ex-wife. People look at us and tell us how weird it looks how close we are, but no one knows the trenches we have walked through together as a family. Just like a normal friendship goes through highs and lows, that’s what we do. We go through highs together and we go through lows together.
I have had family members, friends, so many strangers tell me how weird and unheard of our family looks on the outside. But truthfully, I don’t care. All that matters to me is my kids are happy and healthy. And the three of their parents are happy and healthy and are able to parent them in a much healthier way so they can have a positive and better outlook. Their mother is a piece of them which makes her a piece of our family. No, our family is not your average, traditional family but it’s ours, and we are proud of it. We say we have given ‘Sister Wives’ a whole new meaning.
‘My ex-husband married my best friend,’ Amanda tells everyone.
Of course people have millions of questions because it does look like we have always been friends with how close we are now. But God does work in very mysterious ways. You know, 2 years ago I had two very close friendships end and it was heartbreaking to me. I would pray for God to send me a new friend… all I wanted was that sisterhood and close bond you get from a close girlfriend. It wasn’t shortly after that we got even closer. What I needed was right before me the whole time.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Danielle Cardone. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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