Why two parents no longer romantically involved have decided to remain living together

KATE: When I met him, Hichem seemed so exotic, so funny, so different from what I was used to. Our relationship was very sexy; he was very handsome. But I’m not sure that we really ever sat down and talked about values. He was just going to be my flibbertigibbet – and then somehow he became my person.

Getting pregnant came as a total shock to both of us, but Hichem took the whole thing really hard. For the first year after our son was born, he was terrible, wretched, useless. He did nothing. And I was just so disappointed in him; I lost a lot of respect for him. Now he’s a wonderful dad, but looking back, I think that was the beginning of the end.

We really did try to keep the whole romance thing alive. We had adventures and we went on romantic getaways. But it just faded away. I decided that was what happened to everyone, and I was just going to live my best life. But then, when our son was about nine, I met a few people and I thought, “Hmm.” Just, “Hmm.” And then I thought, “This isn’t good.” I think it was me who broached [the subject of separating] with Hichem. It was a very bizarre conversation – sort of brave, awful, sad. I think we both cried. But I think Hichem was relieved because he’d been thinking the same thing. And then we had this weird discussion: “Well, maybe we could try a different way.”

“We have always been a good team. We probably could have stayed together and been mid-level happy. Rather greedily, 1694655404 I get to have all my loves at the same time.”

Kate Toon

There were hard moments. When I first met someone, and was thinking about going to see them, I said to Hichem, “If I do this, this is really real.” And he said, “Yes, I know; do it.” And I can’t say I wasn’t slightly crushed by that. But it was a very gentle final blow. Since then, it’s been surprisingly okay.

We told our son right from the get-go: “Mum and Dad aren’t romantic any more, but we still love each other.” Then, a couple of years later, we said, “Here’s my romantic person.” He was a bit shocked, but he came to terms with it very quickly because he realised his life wasn’t impacted in any way. These days, we both have long-term partners.

Everyone’s met each other, but nobody sleeps over: what kid wouldn’t have the icks about their parents having sex?! There have been challenges – moments where I’ve wanted to jet off to Acapulco with my new person and I’ve got to do the school run. But that seems a small sacrifice to make. As for Hichem, I’m so glad he didn’t meet some booby 21-year old! His partner is a normal, great woman. And he gets on very well with my partner.


Looking back on it, Hichem and I have always been a good team. We probably could have stayed together and been mid-level happy. But now I get to have him and my little family, and my new partner. Rather greedily, I get to have all my loves at the same time.

We’ve decided that when our son finishes his HSC in four years, we’ll separate. But even then, Hichem will stay close by. We’ll have lived together for 20 years by then. I just hope he remains in my life forever. I mean, how many great, great friends do you get in life? He’s one of mine.

Source link