Friends with My Ex
Some couples manage to separate and not hate each other. They choose to carry on seeing each other, going on holiday and spending Christmas together. How and why do they do it? What happens when new partners come along? A light-hearted feature about what family means in Britain today - three long-term couples describe their separation and reconciliation as friends.
Nicola and Barry met when Nicola was 16, married when she was 21 and had two boys, but the tension between them grew until they couldn't bear to be in the same room. They separated after 12 years: "There were lots of tears, but from that day everything got better." Now they speak on the phone every day. This month, Nicola is re-marrying; Barry is going to the wedding and staying in the same hotel as the honeymoon couple.
The husband of the second couple is a divorce lawyer. Adam and Brigitte lived together for 35 years until Brigitte fell in love with Gleb - 28 years her junior. Adam decided to let her go without a fight: "I'm a lawyer committed to making divorce less contentious." They now see each other several times a week for chats and evenings out: "I love him like a brother, a best friend, but I never want to sleep with him again, we've changed."
Mark and John built a house, got a dog and celebrated their civil partnership - but then Mark fell in love with another man. But John was quite happy to carry on living together: "I was devastated. But as time goes by you make your peace with the situation. Six months later he moved in and we shared the same house for eighteen months. I enjoyed it actually."
Producers: Kim Normanton and Elizabeth Burke.
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.