My Ex-Husband Still Helps Me Out With Things Around My House — And It’s Not Weird

Originally Published: 

My hot water keeps running out in the shower. I can literally only shave one leg, then it turns freezing cold. This isn’t working out for me. I googled it and did all the things, including heading downstairs to the water heater and playing with the mixing valve.

After living with it for a few months, I called my ex-husband and asked if he knew what the problem could be. He’s a skilled plumber (who is also very busy), so I waited to ask him as a last resort.

However, he knew what it was right away, ordered the part, and came over to fix it on Friday afternoon when he had time.

Then there was the time I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the pilot light on the fireplace, and he came in to show me how to do it.

There have been other things too: I was struggling once to hook up a ceiling fan in the bathroom and he finished it for me. He came over once to get the kids and I couldn’t get the screw in the wall. I’d started to hang a picture. Apparently I’d hit a stud, and he helped me with that.

He’s very handy, and I’ve always admired that about him. If he doesn’t know how to do something, he will figure it out.

He is more than willing to lend a hand when I ask him, because his kids live in this house and he wants them to be comfortable and make sure everything is going smoothly (and part of that means having a mother who gets to take a decent shower). We’ve both also come to realize it’s just easier to be kind and to move forward instead of holding grudges.

Some might think this is strange, or that I am taking advantage and should figure things out for myself.

However, for us, this situation works. I also have to mention his live-in girlfriend is amazing and this kind of thing doesn’t bother her at all, and for that, I am very thankful.

I certainly don’t take advantage of him and his talents. I do try and figure things out for myself before calling him. There are times I get mad because I don’t want to ask for help — I want to figure it out for myself.

But this was his house for almost two decades. He helped build it and he knows how things work. He in no way feels like he should just ignore my questions, or not offer to come out to check things out when the furnace runs all night because he doesn’t live here anymore.

He could, though.

He could tell me he’s busy enough with his job, his home, the kids, and his relationship (which he is), but he’s gracious enough to talk me through something or come over and give me a hand.

My ex-husband and I are still partners in a lot of ways. We are raising three teenagers together and it makes it a lot easier for everyone if we stay on the same page and remain friends.

I feel incredibly lucky that I have him as a father to my children, but I also know he won’t laugh and tell me to “deal with it” if I have a question about the motion sensor toilet he put in. He’s never once told me to hire someone else to do something (although I have a great handyman), or told me not to ask for his help.

I know this arrangement might not work for everyone; every situation is unique, and you have to look out for yourself and know what works for the two of you. For some co-parenting couples, that means never having any communication unless it’s simple questions about the kids, and that’s okay.

I know ours is a special situation, and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about that — and feel grateful for it.

Our teenagers might not realize it now, but I also feel good about what we are modeling for them. We might not be in love, we might not be married, but we will always be a team … and they are the reasons why.

This article was originally published on