How To Co-Parent When You've Left Your Man... For Another Woman

two women with young boy in rowboat

Because co-parenting can be complicated enough.

But as a result, my definition of family has expanded and I'm getting to experience what it means to love and be loved by two amazing children. Many of the essays in this book express a similar salient joy to having it all work out (including new partners who take the kid thing on with a ton of grace and enthusiasm), despite what seem like insurmountable challenges. How I Learned To Discipline My Stepson

It also meant having a third adult figure—the kids' dad—in the "family." I must say, it is sometimes strange to be hanging out with her ex-husband. But then again, that's very lesbian of us, to be friends with our exes. There are quite a few essayists in the book who have managed to preserve good relationships with their ex-husbands or former male partners. After the crisis and fallout, it seems that it's worth it for many women who've left men for women to hang onto the parts of those relationships that they can salvage. In fact, a few of the writers are still married to their husbands, still trying to re-work their concept of marriage to absorb their newfound identities.

Candace: When my ex is not traveling, he and I are active co-parents to our two children. As a result, we probably talk more than we did when we were married—because instead of floating along on autopilot, we're negotiating who's picking up the kids from school Thursday, where the snow pants are and how we're going to swing music lessons. I'm glad that we have an open and honest dialogue. We're so much more honest with each other now that we aren't invested in preserving something that was so fragile. It's meaningful to have continuity with a person I've known for a decade. And our children benefit from sensing warmth between the two adults who brought them into this world.

I don't know how my ex would have reacted if I decided to pursue a relationship with a man after our divorce—but he thinks Laura is the bomb. I appreciate the fact that she runs interference for me when Peter and I are having the inevitable conflicts and thorny moments that come with being ex-spouses who still have to communicate on a regular basis. 3 Tips For Dealing With Your Kids' New Stepmom

It so happened that I decided to make a go of dating women. I had always been attracted to both men and women, but nothing ever really came together for me with women, relationship-wise, when I was in my 20s. Men sought me out, asked me on dates and kissed me spontaneously in bars, not women. And I was too insecure to be more pro-active when it came to pursuing women—back then.

Being in my 30s conferred a bravery in me that sort of settled on me like a superhero cape. Single again after assuming that my dating days were over, I went for it—attended women's events, went on "seeking women"—even though I was nervous, and felt awkward and had a butterfly convention in my stomach. It was quite a wild ride, but it felt right. After dating a few women, I met Laura and fell head over comfortable shoes.

Our third anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. It's been such a pleasure to watch our love grow, and an added pleasure to watch the relationship grow between Laura and my children. My 6-year-old son wakes up and, half asleep, wanders over to her and climbs into her lap. My daughter practices her penmanship by writing her love notes.

"I'm so glad you decided to try dating women," she told me recently, "because I love Laura so much."