I live with my hus­band and my ex...

Lindsay Tay­lor has a very mod­ern blended fam­ily

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Tak­ing a gi­ant tray of lasagne out of the oven, I shout for my fam­ily, ‘Din­ner’s ready!’ And then I brace my­self for the thun­der­ous noise of feet rac­ing to­wards our gi­ant kitchen ta­ble…

The hun­gry crowd of our blended fam­ily in­clude the chil­dren: Des­tiny, 20, Danny, 19, Rachel, 17, Lu­cas, five, Joanna, three and Harrison, six months; Mike, my hus­band; and Chris, my ex-hus­band.

Yes, that’s right. I live with my hus­band and my ex.

It’s fair to say it’s a pretty un­usual ar­range­ment, but it works for us. Of course, it wasn’t how I ex­pected things to turn out when I fell in love with Chris in 2010.

I’d ap­plied for a job at my lo­cal cin­ema, he in­ter­viewed me and I didn’t get the job.

A few weeks later, I bumped into him at a party. For some­one who didn’t want to em­ploy me, he seemed pretty pleased to see me. ‘ Why didn’t I get the job?’ I de­manded.

‘I’m not al­lowed to frater­nise with em­ploy­ees,’ he flirted, his blue eyes twin­kling. ‘But I like you…’

We quickly be­came a cou­ple. It was a bit of a whirl­wind. Two months af­ter we met, we got mar­ried in the mid­dle of a snow­storm, with just one friend as a wit­ness.

As we’d both been mar­ried be­fore, we didn’t want a big bash. He al­ready had Des­tiny and Danny, and I had my daugh­ter, Rachel. Soon, I fell preg­nant with Lu­cas, who was born in Au­gust 2012, and then in April 2015 we had Joanna.

It was to­wards the end of my preg­nancy with Joanna that I started notic­ing the cracks in my and Chris’s mar­riage.

I loved him, but I wasn’t ex­cited by him any more. He was more like my best friend than my hus­band.

Joanna was just two months old when Lu­cas be­came sick and was di­ag­nosed with chronic gran­u­lo­ma­tous dis­ease: a rare im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency dis­or­der.

We were ter­ri­fied that Joanna would have it, too, as it’s a hered­i­tary con­di­tion but, thank­fully, tests gave her the all-clear.

De­spite need­ing to pull to­gether to care for our sick son, I knew that our mar­riage was on its last legs.

In Au­gust 2016, I went to see a band with some friends. It was there I first saw Mike. As he walked to­wards me, he was so hand­some. I felt a fizz of at­trac­tion be­tween us.

But I was still mar­ried to Chris, so we left it at ‘ hello’.

Only I couldn’t stop think­ing about him and, if I’m hon­est, that was the push I needed. A month later, I told Chris our mar­riage was over.

He was sad and shocked, but

he un­der­stood I couldn’t live a lie. Our di­vorce was all done within a month.

Thank­fully, we stayed the best of friends. Chris stayed in our five-bed­room fam­ily home in Put­nam, Con­necti­cut, with the kids, and I moved in with my mum, Cathy, 40 min­utes away.

Chris and I even went to­gether to a par­ent­ing class that was rec­om­mended by the courts for di­vorc­ing cou­ples.

Ev­ery­one else was alone, but we laughed our way through the whole thing as best mates.

Af­ter the di­vorce, I be­gan to meet up with Mike. I felt so at peace with him. Soon we were search­ing for a flat to set up home to­gether. We found one, but there was a prob­lem with the lease.

‘ We have to find some­where else,’ I moaned to Chris, one day in 2017. ‘But it’s so ex­pen­sive.’

I was still con­tribut­ing to the bills on our fam­ily home and, by then, I was heav­ily preg­nant with Mike’s baby.

‘ You could all move in with me,’ Chris sug­gested. ‘That way, we can pay one mort­gage and one set of bills, and keep all the kids to­gether…’ It was a bit of a bomb­shell. ‘Se­ri­ously?’ I asked him. It sounded so un­con­ven­tional, crazy even, liv­ing with your for­mer hus­band and your cur­rent boyfriend…

But Chris was right. It would solve a lot of prob­lems.

Fi­nan­cially, it would be cheaper to run just one house­hold. It also meant me and the kids all be­ing to­gether in one fam­ily home.

Chris is very open­minded, it’s one of the things I’d al­ways loved about him. But Mike wasn’t so con­vinced...

It wasn’t that they weren’t friends. Ac­tu­ally, Chris and Mike rather liked each other. But still… it was a bit un­usual.

In the end, af­ter lots of con­ver­sa­tions, Mike agreed it made sense for all of us.

By May 2017, we had moved in. It was a bit odd at first, but we’ve all found our roles.

Mike’s very handy about the house, and he’s made him­self use­ful from the start by paint­ing the kitchen.

‘It’s the least I can do,’ he said to Chris.

Although there’s an age gap be­tween our three older and three younger kids, they all get on as sib­lings. Harrison, five months, ties us all to­gether.

Mike and I have now mar­ried, and we see our­selves as ‘triple co-par­ents’. We share the chores, but I’m mainly nurs­ing Harrison and tak­ing care of Lu­cas, who is still very ill, so it’s hard to find the time for much else.

Chris does the food shop­ping – we can eas­ily spend up to £200 a week on that. Mike and I cook for the whole fam­ily. Meal times can be a bit hec­tic, but dishes that are a hit in­clude lasagne, shep­herd’s pie and tacos.

Des­tiny is fan­tas­tic at babysit­ting, Rachel is Lu­cas’s best friend, and Danny helps with clean­ing around the house. We all play our part!

There are a few things that are a bit dif­fi­cult when you live with your hus­band as well as your ex.

Find­ing the time and pri­vacy to be in­ti­mate isn’t easy, but we man­age. The most un­ex­pected thing is that, some­times, it’s me who feels left out.

I walk into the sit­ting room and dis­cover Chris and Mike en­joy­ing a beer and watch­ing sport to­gether, and it’s me who feels a bit jeal­ous.

I sup­pose in an ideal world Chris would meet some­one new now. He did go on a few dates with women he met on­line, but noth­ing se­ri­ous has come of it.

If there was a new woman in his life, she would have to be ac­cept­ing of our fam­ily!

Although I’ve had a cou­ple of friends who stopped talk­ing to me af­ter we made our de­ci­sion, I wasn’t re­ally up­set.

I just think it’s a shame that peo­ple are so closed-minded.

‘It’s fair to say it’s a pretty un­usual set-up... but it works for us’

Left to right: Hus­band Mike, Lind­say and her ex, Chris

One happy ex­tended fam­ily

Joanna and Lu­cas cher­ish their fa­ther, Chris, be­ing at home

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