Would you take a family vacation with your ex?

We’ve heard of famous people like Bruce Willis vacationing with his ex and kids (and Ashton) but apparently non-famous divorced couples do it too.

A new story from The Associated Press says family vacations with ex-spouses and kids is a great way to save money and foster good memories for the kids and sometimes even the parents.

From The AP:

” ‘If you get along with your ex it can be very easy to do,’ said Mike Geoffrion, 39, who has vacationed with his ex-wife, Janna, and kids, including a trip to Disneyland.”

“Geoffrion, who manages a bike store in Fort Collins, Colo., divorced in 2006 after six years of marriage but thinks the joint vacations have been nice for the kids as well as the adults. Supervising and entertaining children is less stressful with two parents, he said, and he enjoyed the adult interaction. ‘You get tired of talking to an 8-year-old over nice, expensive dinners,’ he said.”

“Vacationing together has also worked well for Meredith Morton, 39, an actress in Los Angeles, and her ex-husband, Shane Edelman. When they first divorced in 2004, they took vacations with their infant son, Ace, because they both wanted to enjoy his “firsts.” Since then they have each remarried, yet continue to vacation en masse with their new spouses, Ace, and his three half-siblings.”

“Most recently, they rented a large house in Palm Springs, Calif., and spent three days relaxing by the pool, playing with the children and making fun of golfers.”

” ‘It wasn’t just like we were just sharing rent. We went to be with them,’ Morton explained.”

“It helps that her husband, Scott Cutler, a music producer, gets along with Edelman. For one thing, Cutler likes to eat, and Edelman likes to cook.”

” ‘Die Hard’ actor Willis has vacationed with his former wife, Demi Moore, their three daughters, and her current husband, Ashton Kutcher. “It’s hard to understand, but we go on holidays together,” he told Vanity Fair in a 2007 interview. “We still raise our kids together — we still have that bond.”

“Fran Walfish, a psychologist in Beverly Hills, Calif., and author of ‘The Self-Aware Parent,’ said divorced couples vacationing amicably with their kids “gets my complete endorsement.”

“But she cautioned, children of divorce often fantasize that their parents will reunite, and vacationing together might feed that. Parents need to be clear that the trip is a special event, like a Disney visit or a birthday trip, ‘and say, ‘We really just wanted to both be with you.’ “

So if you wanted to give it a whirl, how would it work?

“Geoffrion said it has only worked for him when neither he nor his ex-wife were in a serious relationship. And, he said, although he paid for the previous trips, he’s at a point where he’d expect to split the expenses.”

“Karen Stewart, founder and chief executive of Fairway Divorce Solutions, a Calgary-based divorce mediation company with franchises throughout North America, recommends exes vacationing together negotiate the ground rules before the trip.”

“Differences in parenting style become even more apparent when couples live apart, says Stewart, author of the book, “How to Divorce with Dignity and Move on with Your Life.” Pre-trip agreement needs to be reached about finances, chores and sleeping arrangements.”

“She recommends parents consider planning some separate time during the trip, though Geoffrion said he and his ex-wife tried to behave like a family and did activities only as a group. They even stayed in the same hotel room, though different beds.”

I actually think vacationing with your ex-spouse would be less weird then it would be for mom or dad to bring along their new boyfriend or girlfriend on family vacations.  I think that would have to be a very long-term relationship before they get to come along.

Have you ever vacationed with your ex? How did it go? Did you agree to ground rules before-hand? Did you split the cost on everything? Did you stay in the same hotel room? Could you work together OK? (Disney can be stressful for couples in love much less ones that are divorced.)

Would you ever consider this type of vacation with your ex?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, AJC Momania

40 comments Add your comment

deidre_NC

March 21st, 2011
6:49 am

i read this article and laughed because the relationship i have with my ex is fantastic-we have never vacationed together-i dont vacation and i dont think he does either. when i go to atlanta i stay at his house with him and his long time girlfriend…we call ourselves wives-in-law. my younger kids-who arent his-are always welcome there and my youngest daughter goes there to visit for the weekend often. when we ddivorced (YEARS ago) we had about a year of ‘hatred’ between us, then for the sake of our 2 young children we started having more family time. i got remarried-had to kids- and we really all (our 2kids and my other 2 kids and his gf) are just a family. a different kind of family yes. i have people constantly amazed at the relationship we have. it started out to keep the kids happy and ended up years later as a deep friendship between us all. all the kids are grown now and none if it has changed. they are always welcome at my house and in my life and i am welcome there always. it has definately worked for us. id say if we were the vacationing kind we would probably have done that too. as it is we are just another type of extended family.

deidre_NC

March 21st, 2011
6:50 am

sorry for the typos and mispellings…its early and i didnt sleep well.

Carla

March 21st, 2011
7:44 am

@deidre…that’s funny…my husband’s ex wife and I call each other wife-in-law too! They were married really young and there was drama for a while after the divorce. But you know they grew up..my husband and I met and I really hit it off with his ex. Now we are best friends…we try to do all the holidays together as an extended family. We are having an easter party and everyone including extended family will be there. Her kids, our kids, her boyfriend’s kids….all go back and forth between all our houses on the weekends. In fact I had my step-daughter and her brother all weekend this weekend. We all get together often on weekends just to hang out, watch movies…let the kids play. It is such a pleasure to hear the screams and giggles and look out to see a yard full of happy, running kids. Having our family work out this way has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

justmy2cents

March 21st, 2011
7:45 am

I’d have to go with hell no!!! My ex has not seen my daughter since she was 3 months old, and she is 12 now. Mind you this is his own choice. Add in that he is over 30k behind in child support and has no desire to pay….so no way ever will we vacation together!

the easter bunny

March 21st, 2011
7:47 am

That is a fabulous question. I really like it. I am in favor of happily married couples taking separate vacations. What could be more dismal than a rainy day, than having the wife along? Afterall, you get to see her/him every day, why go on vacation with them? That is where the exwife and family comes in. Go on vacation with them, then you say how lucky you are to go home to sweetie-pie.
Case in point, Tiger has a new girl friend. She goes on vacation with him, he is not taking his ex wife, She has been in his new 60 million dollar home and out on his yacht.
well, enough of that, it will be another day for me in this run-down shack i live in, and my boat[kayak] cost me $300.00 at Gander Mountain. Which reminds me, my personal trainer comes today. She keeps the muscles limber. Oh, Easter is coming, that is my day.

Steve

March 21st, 2011
8:15 am

Four words: NO WAY IN HELL.

A reader

March 21st, 2011
8:22 am

He is my X for a reason. I can barely tolerate to talk to him. A “vacation” with him would be beyond stressful — one of us would have to die!

deidre_NC

March 21st, 2011
8:38 am

carla that is awesome and hilarious…ill have to tell my wife-in-law…we thought we made that up!! lol

motherjanegoose

March 21st, 2011
8:40 am

No experience in this topic and so I will lurk to see what everyone has to say.

mom of 3

March 21st, 2011
8:51 am

With you on this one MJG

Techmom

March 21st, 2011
9:20 am

I don’t have an ex but I CANNOT imagine my bio father ever doing anything with my family after my mom remarried. My bio & step did not get along (hell, I don’t get along with bio either). I think it’s interesting and COULD benefit the kids but also could hurt them. It seems that most divorced kids always have a glimmer of hope that their parents could get back together and a vacation together could really make them get their hopes up.

Kudos to the divorced parents who are friendly and can get along for the children’s sake. Too many parents use their children as pawns in a game of control and jealousy.

CDD

March 21st, 2011
9:24 am

Never, never, never, never, never…. It’s all I can to to be polite over the phone or the two times during the month I see him (once when dropping the kids off & once picking them up for a 2 day stay.) If I never had to see him again or talk to him again, that would be a blessing. Honestly, he makes my skin crawl.

Cammi317

March 21st, 2011
9:31 am

This is hilarious! Last summer my brother’s 8 y/o son asked his Mom if next time they went to Gatlinburg could my brother come along with him, his mom and his step-dad! She tried desperately to explain why it would be inappropriate, but he did not get it. All he knew is he had a great time in Gatlinburg and wanted my brother to come back with them. Of course, he probably feels the same way when he goes on vacation with my brother…

On the other hand, I would have no issue traveling with my ex. We have been apart for years and I still do things with his other children, because they are my daughter’s half-siblings. Of course, if I were married, it would probably be a different scenario.

Becky

March 21st, 2011
9:51 am

Don’t know about going on a vacation with the ex as we don’t have children together..I did go to his ex wife’s wedding when we were married..

So like MJG, have nothing else to say about this, so will just readwhat others post and enjoy..

Lady Strange

March 21st, 2011
9:54 am

I might consider it, but that would depend on the situation at the time. At this point, probably not because I don’t see expenses being split evenly and it’s only been a year since the divorce. We still don’t get along well enough to be stuck somewhere together. Not something I see happening anytime in the near future.

ZachsMom

March 21st, 2011
10:17 am

I am part of the “HELLL NO” crowd. If he had the money to go on vacation, he could be paying some child support.

jarvis

March 21st, 2011
10:25 am

I have known two couples that rekindeled an “intimate relationship” between ex’s several years downt the line.

One of the couples eventually remarried. The other just treated it like a “friends with benefits” type of situation and they eventually moved on from it.

The couple that remarried had children together. The “friends with benefits” did not.

Photius

March 21st, 2011
10:43 am

Can’t relate…. I have only married once and have been able to make it work for decades.

jmb

March 21st, 2011
10:56 am

He never took me on a vacation in the 20 years we were married so why would I want to go with him now? NO

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 21st, 2011
11:33 am

I would never vacation with the person my ex has become…and my son would likely refuse to go on any vacation that included his father. I used to wonder how the wife of a serial killer could go on the news and say “I never knew”…but here I am years later still trying to figure out who is the man I divorced because he sure ain’t the one I married and had a child with.

JJ

March 21st, 2011
11:38 am

I’m with the HELL NO crowd, and I ditto Angry’s post (11:3)…..I hardly doubt my daughter would want her dead beat dad on vacation with us. He can’t even give her $50 for a spring break trip.

I’d rather watch paint dry than vacation with him.

JATL

March 21st, 2011
11:41 am

Ah NO! I don’t have an “ex” but I cannot imagine a situation in which, if my husband and I divorced (however amicable it may be) that I would want to vacation with him afterward. Kid’s performances and activities, graduations, basically anything important to our children or showcasing our children -sure -absolutely and no matter what I would be cordial, but no vacations.

RJ

March 21st, 2011
11:42 am

I have a family member that’s done it. They actually get along, they just can’t be married. I think it’s great if you can make it work.

LM

March 21st, 2011
11:55 am

I would.. There was a reason I married him and though our marriage did not work out. I still consider him a friend. I like his new wife who suits him better than I ever could. When we first divorced, I would never have thought we would have gotten to the place we are at now. There are still times I am suprised at his actions toward our child, and wish he felt the need to be a more involved parent. Maybe had we tried to vacation together, he would have memories of our daughter growing up. It is my daughter who can’t understand that myself, my new husband, her father and his new wife can get along, talk as friends, post to each other’s facebook and be friends not just in words but in actions. I hope I have been a good inspiration for how to behave as an adult.

motherjanegoose

March 21st, 2011
12:01 pm

Once someone told me:

there are people you can work with
there are people you can socialize with
there are very FEW people who fall into both categories

I find this to be true.

Some of you obviously can still have fun with someone you cannot be married to. I do not have experience in that arena.

Me

March 21st, 2011
12:03 pm

Ahem, absolutely not. No, not ever, under any circumstance.

Kate

March 21st, 2011
12:19 pm

If you and your ex are able to get along well enough to take vacations together, then why did you split up in the first place?! Seriously, my husband and I are happily married, but even we find traveling with our kids very challenging at times, which can lead to friction between the two of us. I’m all for ex’s being civil for the sake of their children, but this goes beyond the call of duty. I suppose former couples who manage to make this work should be commended, but I don’t think this is a realistic goal for most divorced parents and they shouldn’t feel they are doing their kids a disservice just because they cannot stomach the idea of going on a family vacation with their former spouse. If taking a vacation together “feels right”, than go for it, but otherwise traveling together may actually make things more difficult for the kids. Most children like things to be very black and white; either you are together or you’re not. Aside from the potential confusion, it might also re-open a lot of wounds for kids who are still adjusting to their parents no longer being together.

DB

March 21st, 2011
1:04 pm

I think it really depends on the divorce. There are some divorces that are completely amicable — I know of one that we kiddingly told the wife that getting divorced was the best thing they ever did for their marriage, because they do the vacation bit, and even manage splitting parenting responsibilities much more cordially than they ever did when they were married. Obviously, a split that is full of anger and venom isn’t going to suddenly turn into Pollyanna’s Picnic.

Fremont's 47 year old midget

March 21st, 2011
1:20 pm

You don’t need to be divorced to bring the ex along. heck, my wife is bisexual, so she brings a friend on vacation. sometimes it’s an ex, sometimes its not.
I am one happy midget.

deidre_NC

March 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

“If you and your ex are able to get along well enough to take vacations together, then why did you split up in the first place?!”
there are a lot of people i love and really enjoy being around…but i wouldnt want to be married to them. my ex is one of those. we married young. for all the wrong reasons. now we are great friends. his long time partner suits him much more than i ever did in the relationship department. and we did start out doing things together for the kids-then we became great friends and really enjoy each others company. just like other friends i have.

mom2alex&max

March 21st, 2011
1:25 pm

Kate: I can’t comment on that based on experience, but I have a theory. Some marriages peter out because of lack of passion/interest/sparks, whatever you want to call it. So maybe when we see those so called “amicable” divorces it is because they are not angry with each other, but just feel…..nothing. So maybe that’s why the can stand spending time together as co-parents and be civil to each other when life throws them together due to the children. Just a theory, I have nothing to back it up with.

Or, as Whitney Houston so elequently put it...

March 21st, 2011
3:45 pm

…OH, Hell NO…

momtox&J

March 21st, 2011
4:23 pm

While the wife-n-law and I get along great, I just can’t see us going on vacation as a family, she has a tendency to forget she’s the EX-WIFE, and we would spend more time defining the situation, than actually enjoying the vacation, so I’m with the OH HELL NO crowd as well.

HB

March 21st, 2011
4:50 pm

It won’t work for everyone, but if parents can do it, I think it means a lot to the kids. My mom and dad weren’t good friends after divorcing, but got along reasonably well (didn’t hate each other). I’ll always be grateful that they put aside their differences to take me to Disney World together one year. We had a great time, and the trip’s among my favorite memories.

Carla

March 21st, 2011
5:33 pm

@deidre…Right! The hubs and ex say all the time they should have always just been friends. We are all planning a family vacation this summer. There will be other couples and families involved cause we have a large group of friends with the same age children. But, it’s fun, me and my wife in law love to get on to hubs and he just laughs. Maybe we are more open minded than some? Maybe they were able to see past the bull and concentrate on what was best for all of us as a family. We all hated each other at first…it was AWFUL! Then we had a problem with our daughter..and we all four sat down to figure it out…and realized how much alike we all were…and how important is was for us to be united for her sake…and the friendship naturally grew from there. I am lucky.

newblogger

March 21st, 2011
6:58 pm

Too funny! I have a wife-in-law too and we call each other that. I am his ex, she his new wife. (not really new-about 10 years) My ex and I get along fine-now-but the closest we have come to vacationing together is when we were all at Parris Island for our son’s Marine Corps graduation. We did end up all eating together: our son, the ex, his wife and daughter, me, my husband and our son, my parents, his parents…one big happy family for one night. Don’t think we’d make it a whole vacation though. I don’t think our son would like that either. I think it would make him uncomfortable as well. But to each his own!

BlondeHoney

March 21st, 2011
10:41 pm

Ummmm…NO :) My boys are all grown but even if they weren’t, my ex cheated on me with his current spouse so how awkward is THAT? My youngest is getting married in May and his fiancee planned 2 days of activities with her family and mine, meaning my ex his wife & me. I told her I understand what she was trying to do but I would have to bow out quietly from the festivities if I had to smilingly socialize with her & him for two full days before the wedding. Luckily my ex (with some prodding from my son AND his father) declared that his wife would be “unavailable to attend”.

Photo Mom of 4

March 22nd, 2011
10:24 am

No way in the world would that happen. They are exes for a reason. Oh, we’d have to pay for everyone since they are always whining they don’t have any money. No thanks. We divorced them for a reason.

campbell's mom

March 22nd, 2011
2:15 pm

I have vacationed with the ex several times. My daughter’s father and I divorced when she was 2. There is never any hankypanky between us, yuchh and double yucch the thought. However, although we’re cool, his girlfriends have never been able to deal with it. So whenever we’ve vacationed and he had a current girlfriend, those vacations were always not so good. He is stressed out and short with me causing me to shut down or go into bitch mode.

However, when no girlfriend is in the picture, he and i can be great friends and laugh and enjoy our daughter and our friendship. I think our relationship and how I am with him goes against what he thought I would or should be so he is sometimes confused about how he should react. And you know men, they’re usually not so good with dealing with emotional issues, so in his confusion, he will become irritable and short tempered.

Although he is many things negative, (including at the moment unemployed) he is my daughter’s father and she is a gift to us both. I have always felt I could never be selfish and keep him from her or her from him, unless of course a matter of safety. So i have done my best to help them both create a healthy relationship, knowing that if in the end, they are not close or the relationship becomes damaged, it will never be because of my anger or frustration at the way our relationship turned out, or in the way i think he should parent.

ramona0101

March 27th, 2011
1:32 pm

My soon-to-be ex-husband and I vacation together with the three children all the time. It gives the children special memories with both of their parents. Sometimes we are all in the same room (like in Cancun because our suite was so large we had plenty of room to be together) and sometimes we do adjoining rooms to give us more space to spread out. If you’re in the same room you have to be respectful of each other’s privacy when getting dressed, etc. But, neither one of us is dating yet, so that may change the opinions on traveling together in the future. Who knows? Right now we are more focused on our children than on ourselves.
He pays for everything because he works full-time, and I’ve always stayed at home and taken care of the house and the children. (I still keep up with our taxes, business expenses, etc.) That was a joint decision that we made as I have two college degrees, but our children are young and need the presence of a parent for after-school activities and classroom volunteering, etc…
I pray that we can always get along as well as we do now – for everyone’s sake.