I live with my husband and my ex...
Lindsay Taylor has a very modern blended family
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