Yes you read it right. In a very Jeremy Kyle headline way ‘I went on holiday with my ex’. Not just once, but a couple of times. One time even for a whole month around Europe!
One of the things that has baffled many people; friends, family and colleagues – is my relationship with Evie’s dad. We broke up, we separated our things, we stopped sharing a car, we got new places to live, we even got new partners – and yet we have still kept a strong parental friendship for the sake of our daughter.
Many times we have pushed the boundaries over what is ‘publicly’ acceptable after a break up. We have hung out together, we’ve gone for dinners together, family days out, staycations and even holidays abroad. Why? Because we want our daughter to feel that she is part of a strong family unit and personally, I really don’t think that is such a bad thing.
Family Holiday After Separation
Co-parenting after separation is never an easy thing to do. Just like everyone we have had our ups, downs and disagreements. But, in the last 18 months we have formed a ‘parental’ friendship for Evie and I think that we have finally got it nailed.
You may be thinking that a friendship is great, but why on earth would you go on a family holiday together?
In all honesty, neither of us wanted to miss out on seeing Evie go abroad for the first time and neither of us wanted to go alone.
Just like with any separation, there are things that you have to accept you’ll eventually start to miss out on; such as Christmas, family holidays and special events.
When I decided I wanted to go abroad with Evie, I knew how gutted Jamie would feel. He knew that one of my dreams for a long time was to travel around Europe. I knew that one of his dreams was to take Evie abroad for the first time.
I started to plan my travels regardless and when it came down to me booking my holiday and asking permission to take her, we ended up having a huge discussion on whether or not it would be crazy for us to go together. If we both had the ability to push aside our feelings and differences, maybe, just maybe it could work.
Now I’m not saying that everyone should or could go on holiday with their ex partner, or that it is even necessarily a good idea. But, if it is something that could work out for you then there are actually loads of benefits.
Benefits Of Travelling With Your Ex
For me, some of the benefits of travelling with Evie’s dad have been:
- Shared travel costs
- Shared childcare
- Not having to travel alone with my daughter
- Showing our daughter we can still co-operate
After all, holidays can be so expensive! Splitting the cost of flights and accommodation with someone else was so helpful. Traveling with company was also really welcome. I have to admit that I was a little terrified and overwhelmed at the prospect of travelling alone with Evie, especially for our first time abroad.
The Biggest Benefit?
For me, the biggest benefit of all has been helping our daughter to make family memories and I’m so happy that neither of us had to miss out.
We all got to experience new cultures and we both got to see Evie enjoying her first holiday, trying new foods, flying for the first time, meeting people who spoke different languages and having fun in new environments.
I feel so lucky and I am so grateful that I still get on with Jamie and that we were friendly enough to be able to do something major, like fly in an enclosed space together and navigate a foreign country, despite no longer being together.
I know some couples who are actually still together, who probably wouldn’t even survive a family holiday abroad. To be separated and to manage it is definitely an achievement.
I will admit that holidays abroad with your ex are not always easy. There can be arguments, old niggles can come to the surface and spending in depth time with someone you are no longer with can be tricky. After all…you guys did break up for a reason.
If you are ever in the position where you are going on holiday with your ex partner, then I really advise you set some boundaries before your butt sits on that plane. Here are some things you should probably think about:
- Booking separate bedrooms
- Trying not to argue (sometimes easier said then done)
- Remembering why you are there
- Making the most of it
- Being upfront about what you want to do on the holiday – clashing itineraries isn’t fun!
Even though we had the occasional disagreement, the most amazing thing for both of us was that we got to take our daughter on holiday. We both shared her first plane ride, her first moment in a foreign city and her first stay abroad.
Both of us watched her eat vongole in Venice and heard her say bonjour everywhere we went in France. We got to take her on a bike ride around Barcelona and saw her throw coins in the iconic Trevi fountain in Rome. Just that in itself was worth it.
It was also really nice to just have another person around. We didn’t need to take the dreaded selfie stick as each of us was happy to snap pictures of the other standing beside famous landmarks with our daughter.
It was great to have help from each other, to lug around the suitcases and to entertain Evie when she was fed up. We also had someone else to rely on if we needed to make a shop run or if we wanted a couple of hours child free. The list of positives could go on.
One thing we tried so hard not to do on holiday, was argue. Although we did have our down days and a couple of moments of regret about taking the holiday (did I mention that we went for a month?), I can name many families who are still together who would probably experience these moments too.
In the end, the positives really outweighed the negatives for us. I loved getting to watch my child have fun with her dad on holiday and we both appreciated that each of us had the capacity to spend that time together for her sake.
Will going on holiday with my ex upset my child when we get back and go our separate ways again?
One of my biggest worries was that Evie would suffer when we got back from holiday and we went our separate ways again. We know that Evie has grieved our relationship ending and we know that she sometimes has a tough time going from one parents house to the other every week.
Luckily we have spent a lot of family days together post separation, so Evie was already used to us being around each other out of a relationship.
After we came back from holiday, we slipped straight back into our normal house routines and surprisingly Evie didn’t mind at all. Older children of course might react very differently and it does depend on your situation.
Will I go on holiday with my ex again?
If it is good for Evie and it benefits both of us then I would definitely go on holiday with Jamie again. People do judge and question why you are doing it, but at the end of the day you know what is best for your situation and your child.
I love going on holiday with Evie and I know that both Jamie and I hate missing out on big moments like this in our daughters life. In the future things may be different. We both might expand our families or our partners may protest about our decisions. But in the meantime, doing things as a family is important to us and until the day comes where it might have to stop, we’ll both be making the most. Just remember:
There is nothing wrong with going on holiday with your ex.
Every breakup situation is unique. If you are in the mind space where you can hang out as a family, maybe you could survive a holiday together? It if can benefit both of you and your child/children, then do it!
Just remember to set boundaries, remember why you are doing it and switch off your ears because I can assure you, other people will have an opinion.
Would you ever go on a family holiday with your ex? Or is it something that is completely out of the question? Let me know in the comments below.