Going on Holiday with your Ex

divorceThe Duke and Duchess of York have sparked comment by going on holiday together thirteen years after they divorced.

Their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have described them as “the world’s happiest unmarried couple,”  and they’ve enjoyed a famously close friendship ever since they split, sharing the same home for periods while leading separate lives.

Now, despite the fact that Sarah Ferguson is said to be in a two-year relationship with the Findus frozen-food tycoon Geir Frantzen, she and Prince Andrew have gone on holiday together, without the children.

Without anyone, in fact. Just the two of them spending a relaxing fortnight in a secluded six-bedroomed villa, tucked away in 350 acres of Spanish woodland, according to the Guardian newspaper.

No So Unusual

Getting on that well with the ex actually isn’t that unusual, although it leaves friends and family guessing.

Arianna Huffington, editor of the Huffington Post, one of America’s most influential political blogs, recently wrote that “Just like marriage, divorce isn’t easy either.”

In a July blog from Crete where Arianna was on her first family holiday with her former husband, 12 years after their separation and genuinely enjoying it, she described how on what would have been their 20th wedding anniversary, she received a bouquet of flowers from her ex with a card that read: “Happy 20th Anniversary. We’ll always be the parents of two remarkable young women. Love Michael.”

Other Famous Ex’s

UK media tycoon Chris Evans and pop Star Billie Piper are similarly compatible divorcees. Evans was on the scene just 15 hours after Piper gave birth to a new baby with her new husband – actor Laurence Fox (DS James Hathaway in the TV show Lewis).  Evans is now said to have set up a trust fund for the child.

Meanwhile Hugh Grant remains a permanent fixture in Liz Hurley’s marriage. “If I’m alone with Hugh, [husband] Arun and [son]Damian, I can turn off my cell phone . . . no one else really matters,” she told Harper’s Bazaar last year. (Admittedly, Grant and Hurley weren’t technically hitched, but I think we can grant them common-law status).

One Third ‘Regret Divorcing’

Marital counsellor Andrew Marshall (author of I Love You, But I’m Not In Love With You, Bloomsbury) says it’s not surprising so many divorced couples choose to go on holiday together.

This is “partly because about one third of people who divorce regret the decision five years later, but mainly because we fall in love for a reason and that reason is probably still valid – even if events showed that we couldn’t actually live together.”

There is something very comforting about relationships that go back a long way, suggests Andrew Marshall.  You don’t need to explain your complicated family – because your ex has experienced them first hand.

“When there are children, it is particularly appealing and it’s cheaper than taking them on two separate holidays.

“On the one hand, it shows your children that you can still co-operate, keep your differences in check and resolve any issues that crop up – a good lesson for their future.

Set Ground Rules

“On the other hand, a joint holiday can raise expectations of a reunion (and most children secretly hope for a reconciliation, even if one parent has subsequently remarried). I

“If you are holidaying because you are still emotionally tied to your ex, this can mean that there is not enough room in your life for someone new.”

This is especially ­ problematic if one partner is hoping for another chance but the other feels the time for reconciliation has passed, says Andrew Marshall.

For that reason it’s good to establish a few ground rules before going on holiday together – like having separate rooms – and a straight discussion about expectations.

If you have a clear understanding, there’s no reason to holiday alone.