So, people who break up must indefinitely hate each other, right?
Increasingly common in media are situations where a divorced couple still get along for the most part, and in many cases still care about each other even though they're no longer together. In many cases the divorce happened because of distance, circumstance or the simple fact that people change rather than infidelity, betrayal or other serious problems, and the fact that they got divorced is treated as a fact of life rather than due to a flaw in the people. Both parties also generally agree that it was for the best for both of them. It may also be caused by one or both parentsrealizing that they are gay, and one or both of them realizing that "I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy."
If there are children from the marriage they are shared without much complaint, and the amicability of the parents can often be interpreted as being partly for their sake. As such, this tends to show up in children's cartoons, perhaps as an attempt to counter the stereotype of the children of divorced parents being largely unhappy. May involve a Visit by Divorced Dad that will usually go well, and for the most part any Divorce Assets Conflicts are avoided or settled reasonably.
The increase in this trope can be attributed in the dramatic shift in divorce rates and public perception of those who have gone through with divorces in the last 50 years. While divorce used to be scandalous, it's now a fairly common occurrence, and this trope reflects the view that it's just a fact of life that doesn't have to permanently poison a relationship. Sometimes it even results in Divorce Is Temporary, though this is less common in more realistic works.
Note that this trope requires more intimate knowledge of the people involved than we are generally afforded of Real Life couples, so No Real Life Examples, Please!. Despite that the trope isTruth in Television.
Can apply to non divorced former couples as well, thus the name.
Compare Working with the Ex and Sex With The Ex. No, this is not aboutfriendly .exe files.
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Marmalade Boy starts when Miki's parents Rumi and Jin tell her all smiling "we're having a divorce ♥!" They get divorced and stay friends, then they swap spouses with Yuu's parents Chiyako and Youji, and both families move into a Big Fancy House so the two teens won't lose their parental figures and things will be easier in the financial and emotional senses.
Ami's mother in Sailor Moon seems to bear no ill feelings toward her ex-husband, but this has never stopped Ami herself from angsting about it.
Haruka's parents in Noein have come to terms with their divorce and are able to get along when together. This is something that took time, as their initial feelings were far more bitter, but they eventually realized that despite their attraction to one another they were simply too different to function as a stable couple, and rather than raise a child in that environment they decided to split up to give her a life where her parents weren't constantly fighting. This makes it a case where the split was mainly for the child's benefit.
Cher Degre and Hubb Lebowski of Wolf's Rain get along professionally, though there is definite tension in their relationship, and they split mainly because Cher was so caught up in her work that their relationship suffered. By the end of the series, they have mostly reconciled, but Cher dies suddenly, causing Hubb to cross the Despair Event Horizon, and he spends his last moments cradling her scarf and inhaling her scent.
Brick and Cathy are this in Bondage Queen Kate, mainly by the misfortune of both of them being strong dominants.
Ureshiko and Tamotsu in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo aren't officially divorced, but they don't live together anymore. Ureshiko comes over to help him clean once in a while. In the end, they presumably do get divorced amicably, since Tamotsu told Kagura to treat her well.
Hank Pym and his wife Janet of The Avengers after their rough divorce got along very well and even had romantic relations before Janet's death.
Longshot and Dazzler of the X-Men divorced off-panel, but seem to still get along well enough and still enjoy the occasional roll in the sack for old time's sake.
Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning and his wife Lynn Stewart split up because of the stress Jeff's superhero life put on their family, but the two remain in friendly contact and Lynn makes sure that their daughters, Anissa and Jennifer remain in contact with their dad, and both even become superheroes later (though Jefferson was very adamant that Anissa finish college first).
Omaha the Cat Dancer had the title character being forced to confess that she was married to a long separated man, but never formally divorced. As it turns out, the man found out about her new notoriety and got in contact with her not to cause trouble, but to arrange a proper divorce which is done on good terms with everyone involved.
Clark Kent and Lana Lang have been great friends after their time as high school sweethearts.
LA Story. Sara and her ex-husband Roland get along well together. Roland thinks it's because of their nationality:
Roland: England and America are different. The English keep civil relations with their exes. The Americans sue them.
In Night at the Museum, Ben Stiller's character and his ex-wife are quite friendly with each other (almost with a sibling-like relationship) and have no trouble with both of them taking care of their son.
The conclusion of Mrs. Doubtfire shows Miranda and Daniel coming to terms with their divorce and ending their custody dispute. This trope is discussed in the closing monologue.
In one of the short stories in Paris, je t'aime, a separated couple have one final date before the divorce papers are settled.
Similarly with Mrs. Doubtfire, in The Santa Clause, Scott Calvin and his ex-wife came to terms with their divorce, custody with their son Charlie, as well as Scott being the new Santa Claus.
At the beginning of Taken, Liam Neeson's character and his ex-wife are definitely not this trope, having divorced mainly because of his career with the CIA convincing her that he didn't care about them, but by the end of the film after he single-handedly rescues their daughter he most certainly earns back a measure of her love, as well the friendship and respect of her new husband.
Taken even further in the sequel. The events in the film rekindle old feelings they had for each other and it implies that they'll end up back together.
In Bon Cop, Bad Cop, David Bouchard still lives in the same house as his ex-wife (in a basement apartment) and both seem committed to raising their daughter together, sharing meals and attending school recitals together. Somewhat subverted in that David still has regrets.
In Definitely, Maybe, Ryan Reynolds' character and his ex-wife were amicably friendly when together at a trip with their daughter Maya at the end of the movie. Maya realizes from her father's stories and through this trip that her parents aren't meant to be together.
Celeste and Jesse began their separation a couple months before the movie began, and get officially divorced partway through. Despite that, they remain friends throughout the movie. They never get back together, although they both consider it at various times. Apparently they were longtime friends, got married relatively young, and realized they were better as friends.
Jurassic Park III: Paul and Amanda Kirby are very caring and friendly with each other. Granted, they initially pose as a couple and they do have an important common purpose, but given the stressful circumstances one would expect them to get on each other's nerves at some point and show some signs of resentment. Instead, there are strong hints that they will get back together.
Hester and William in The Deep Blue Sea. They're not yet divorced but live separately since William found out Hester had been cheating on him with Freddie. While initially very mad at her and refusing to give her a divorce, the film shows he's mellowed out completely in a few months and visits Hester to make sure she's happy. On her part Hester never blames him for their unhappy marriage, though she refuses to continue it, and is grateful for his concern.
Variations in Animorphs: Rachel's parents, Dan and Naomi, are uncomfortable spending time together, but they'll do it. On the other hand, she's friendly enough with Jake's parents (her ex-husband's brother and his wife) that she'll dog-sit for them when Jake's mom's grandfather passes away, while she and Jake still refer to each other as "aunt" and "nephew." And on the other hand, she and Saddler's parents don't really get along, but her family still "helps out" once he's in the local hospital.
Watson Brewer (Kristy's step-father) and his first wife in The Baby-Sitters Club. Less so in the Little Sister spin-off, where there are at least two instances where they refused to cooperate for the sake of their daughter: the first being in Karen's Birthday, when they guilt-tripped her into agreeing to have separate parties so they wouldn't have to see each other (they didn't even explain why, leaving that part to Nannie), and in Karen's Stepmother, in which Watson refused to allow Karen and Andrew to spend Mother's Day with their own mother because it was 'his month.'
By the same author, Jesse Stone has an interesting relationship with his ex-wife Jenn that varies between this and less amicable, since while she did cheat on him to further her career they are on relatively good terms, and cooperate on a few cases (the TV movies based on the books play their relationships as much more antagonistic). Parker himself was Happily Married for over 50 years to his wife Joan.
It's no surprise, then, when Sunny and Jesse end up hooking up in a Cross Over between their series.
In The Pale King, Chris Fogle's parents try to give this impression, but both of them are deeply affected by it.
One Day has Dex and Sylvie amicably sharing custody of their daughter and still caring about each other.
An Ed McBain novel began with the protagonist in bed with his ex-wife.
In the Song of the Lioness series Alanna ends up breaking up with Prince Jonathan after the third book, and after spending some time apart they evolve into this, with Alanna even being chosen as King's Championnote essentially the highest ranking Knight in the kingdom, meaning that he trusts her to dispense justice on his behalf once Jonathan is crowned.
In a subversion Ivan and Tej in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance have an amicable attempted divorce. The get married to avoid immigration on the promise to divorce as soon as possible, only to find out that this is only allowed with cause(which means in Barryaran law, roughly the same as would be fammiliar on Earth plus "concealed mutation"). And "unfortunately" they had both got along too well together for that to be plausible.
Live Action TV
While they still trade plenty of barbs, Frasier Crane and Lilith Sternin of Cheers and Frasier were on amicable enough terms to have Thanksgiving together without killing each other or anyone else, and when Lilith wanted another baby and needed a sperm donor, she came to Frasier first.
In one episode of Frasier both Frasier and Lilith are unknowingly set up on a blind date together. They both end up telling each other that they both have a date. They both end up canceling them to spend the evening with each other watching a movie both unaware that they were set up together. Their friends who set them up were unaware of their past relationship.
This relationship was also subjected to a bit of Early-Installment Weirdness when Martin comments that Lilith was worse than Niles' then-wife Maris. It would later become evident that Maris was two inches away from a Domestic Abuser, who didn't deserve, much less attain, this trope when she and Niles split up. Lilith was an angel, and her relationship with Frasier positively heavenly, by comparison.
Alex and his ex-wife Phyllis Bornstein-Consuelos from Taxi had a pretty good relationship as shown whenever the latter appeared. It helped that they both hadn't seen each other for eighteen years. They even kissed when Phyllis came over to visit Alex for Christmas.
Lampshaded by Louie's ex-girlfriend Zena, who wanted to invite Lou to her wedding. Though Louie was too depressed to go, he decided to set things right by crashing into Zena's honeymoon cruise.
Jules and Bobby on Cougar Town get on extremely well, hang out together all the time. It seems that they both think they work better divorced.
Once on Seinfeld George dated a woman who still lived with her ex.
Jerry and Elaine were, at one time, in a long-term relationship.
Interesting, given that Julia Louis-Dreyfus who played Elaine, would go on to play Old Christine in The New Adventures of Old Christine. There, Old Christine and her ex-husband, Richard, are the epitome of the Amicably Divorced, tossing deprecatory puns back and forth between them while helping each other sort through their problems. In fact, they both count as being among each other's best friends. This caused New Christine to call off her and Richard's wedding, as she was upset that the two were spending so much time together, even at the wedding.
Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother broke up very amicably with no heartbreak or fighting whatsoever (after realizing that they wanted completely different lives and didn't want to force each other to compromise), and not only remained very close friends throughout the series, but it is revealed that they will always remain close friends, as Robin is known as "Aunt Robin" to Ted's future children and apparently interacts with them a great deal. They were even platonic roommates in seasons 4-7, and Ted has promised to be Robin's best man should she ever get married.
This is eventually subverted when they realize that they are too amicable with each other and thus cannot maintain new romantic relationships. In the back of their minds they have the faint (false) hope that they will get back together and thus they cannot fully commit to new relationships.
Ted's parents are this. At one point, Ted's father introduced a suitor to Ted's mother nine months after their divorce.
The main character on the TV series Dream On got along very well with his ex-wife.
Desperate Housewives: After their divorce at the beginning of seventh season, Bree and Orson Hodge are in better terms with each other.
Lynette's mother and her favorite stepfather are this trope. They only divorced when the husband came out as gay and he even agrees to be her caretaker when they're both elderly.
Dr Cox and Jordan in Scrubs coped far better divorced than they ever did together. They still constantly snipe at each other, but it's just the way they are. In fact, when they find out that their divorce was never made official due to a clerical error, they actually get divorced again to save their relationship. The divorce is even performed in front of their friends and family as a big romantic ceremony. Of course, this is a slightly different example than normal because despite being divorced they have returned to a romantic relationship. They live together, have sex with each other, fight and interact as a normal married couple would.
JD and Elliot try to be this, since their attempts at a relationship always failed horribly. Season 4 establishes that they no longer have romantic or sexual feelings for one another. In season 5's "My Day at the Races", they realized that their friendship was superficial and they weren't as close as they had been before their last breakup, but this is fixed by the end of the season and they stay that way until season 8, when they start having romantic feelings again.
Elena and Matt on The Vampire Diaries. They are still friends who look out for each other after they broke up.
Toby Ziegler and Andrea Wyatt on The West Wing, who were so, uh, "amicable" he wound up impregnating her while they were divorced, of course, this may have been a left over of part of the couple's previous fertility treatments while they were married. It's possible that Andy was impregnated by previously fertilized and stored ova, the actual means of how Andy got pregnant are not discussed or revealed, so it's unknown exactly what happened, but either way they'd have to be pretty amicable to even agree to it in the first place.
Earl and Joy from My Name Is Earl. Their relationship was a complicated one from the beginning, where Joy got him drunk enough to get a Vegas marriage when she was 6 months pregnant. Then she cheated on him with Darnell and Earl ended up raising two kids that weren't his. She divorced him when he was laid up in traction from getting hit by a car and eventually married Darnell. Despite all of this, and a very rocky start of their post-marriage life due to Earl's lotto money, they became pretty close friends and have a small celebration on their anniversary. Earl often spends time with the family and Joy's kids even refer to him as "Old Daddy." This became even more complicated in the last episode when they discover that Earl actually was the father of Joy's first son (due to mistaken identity and Earl being drunk), and Darnell wasn't the father of the second.
On Babylon 5 John Sheridan and ex-wife Elizabeth Lochley not only get along but have an implicit trust in each other than makes them an ideal command team. According to Elizabeth they both realize that the marriage was a horrible mistake due to their aggressive command personalities. The divorce saved their friendship.
Cal Lightman from Lie to Me gets along very (very very) well with his ex-wife.
On Happy Endings Dave and Alex try to play out this trope even though they were never actually married (Alex left Dave at the altar). They have many friends in common and value those friendships too much to make those friends choose sides. They do fight sometimes, especially at first, but eventually play this straight, even after they get back together and break up again.
George and Anne from The Secret Life of the American Teenager. They broke up when George cheated on her, got back together, then broke up again. Yet they're still friends, frequently chat, and have no issue with the shared custody of their three children.
George and his first wife Kathleen are also on good terms, both agreeing that they were simply too young and immature when they got married.
Eureka has two cases: Carter's Ex actually shows up and establishes that the breakup was because Carter would always rush off to work, and when she realizes how much a part of the town both he and daughter Zoey are, she's even willing to step aside and let Zoey remain, even though the agreement was for her to return with Abby at the end of the school year.
Allison and Nathan Stark divorce over the course of the initial season, but still work together and eventually commit to remarry , until Nathan 'dies' while ending a time loop.
In Men Of A Certain Age, Joe and his ex-wife divorced before the events of the first season. As of the second season, they appear to be getting romantically involved with each other again, or at least exploring the possibility. At the very least, they are friendly and have shown up to their kids' school events together.
Ross and Carol in Friends still get on very well; if Carol wasn't a lesbian, they'd probably still be together. This may explain why Carol's partner Susan doesn't seem to like Ross much (though her opinion of him jumps up considerably after he shows just how amicable he is by convincing Carol to go ahead with the marriage despite family issues)..
And of course, Ross and Rachel. They were hostile towards each other for a few episodes after their breakup, but then went back to being friends.
Criminal Minds: David Rossi gets along with at least one of his ex-wives, and it's implied their relationship fell apart over the trauma of losing a baby. They still trust each other enough so that when she's diagnosed with ALS, she asks him to assist in her suicide.
From the same series: Hayley and Hotch go through a painful period after their divorce, but after some time has passed, it becomes clear that they still care very much for one another. Unfortunately, before things can get as far as "amicable," Hayley is murdered.
Stargate Atlantis: Colonel Sheppard and his ex-wife Nancy seem to get along well enough to understand how much strain their respective jobs had put on their relationship and she's able to use her position at Homeland Security to pass along some information to him when he's back on Earth to track down a Replicator.
In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the Pink Ranger Kimberly's parents are divorced but start off kneedeep in this trope - their one appearance involved the mother showing up with her new flame in a meet-the-parents affair at Angel Grove High. The real Aesop though is that the divorce hasn't affected their relationship with their child rather than each other.
This is the entire basis for the show Happily Divorced on TV Land. Fran and Peter still live together, share advice, and are involved in one another's lives. If not for his coming out, they would most likely still be married. This is based on star/creator Fran Drescher's relationship with her ex-husband, whom she still works with.
Fringe: Broyles' obsession with a certain case ended his marriage with his wife Diane. That said, the two are still on very good terms, and he appears to be on friendly terms with her new husband as well. After he finally closed and solved the case, Diane was genuinely proud of him for it.
Common Law features this between Wes and Elizabeth. The two are still clearly close and it's implied quite often that Wes would like nothing better than to go back to the way things were.
In season 7 of House, House and Cuddy get along nearly as well after they break up as they did before they got together in the first place (i.e. not all that well, but about as well as House gets along with anyone). Until House drives his car into her living room at the end of the season.
Leonard and Penny from The Big Bang Theory are like this during their "off again" stages. They occasionally bicker, but it's clear to anyone that they're close friends. This trope is Lampshaded after there first "real" break up when they treat Sheldon as if he were a child they had shared custody over, watching him sleep peacefully after a trip to Disneyland together.
Jo and Russ on CSI NY. The main problem was that Russ wanted a stay at home wife, while Jo is a dedicated career woman. However, the one episode he showed up in depicted them as fairly friendly and even still having some UST.
Downplayed overall in Blue Bloods between Erin Reagan and her ex-husband Jack Boyle. They're reasonable but rather curt with each other, and the first time we meet him, Jack wonders why Erin still has her married name "Reagan-Boyle" on her door. She says it's the same reason people who have lost weight keep a "before" picture. Ouch. However, they still trust each other enough that Erin calls Jack to represent her brother Danny after he gets framed.
John & Laurie Cooper of Southland. His coming out as gay was a major factor in their divorce, but they clearly still love/care for each other. Laurie risked her job and career as a nurse for a long time to provide John under the table pain killers for his bad back.
In Jim Henson's unsold pilot Puppetman, Gary gets along well with his unseen ex-wife.
Robert: You mean you two are not married now? Susan: Well, not since the divorce. Robert: Then where are you living now, Peter? Peter: Why, here at home. I mean, I've got responsibilities. I've got Susan and the kids to take care of. I certainly would never leave them. Robert: So, are you two considering getting married again? Susan: Married? Oh, no, we tried that, thank you very much.
Between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, Roland and Lilith were in a relationship but the former broke it off so that they could focus on their war against Handsome Jack. Despite this, they get along pretty well (though Roland is still somewhat awkward with her) and Lilith does try to rekindle things with him. When Roland was killed by Handsome Jack, Lilith's response was to scream his name in horror.
In Questionable Content, Marten Reed's mother is a famous fetish model, and his father is the owner of a very successful gay nightclub who realizes as an adult that he is himself gay. Their marriage falls apart, but they remain in friendly contact. Despite being an unsuccessful couple, they are excellent parents to Marten; Veronica's approval for Henry's remarriage is contingent with Marten's. She says that they just make better friends and parents than they do husband and wife. She rehearses a speech at Henry's remarriage about how he ruined her life, but it's revealed to be just a joke — Henry's right there and playing along, while Marten is busy choreographing a Wedding Smashers brawl with the groom. The speech she does give (in 2402) revolves around loving your ex.
Additionally, Marten and Dora eventually fall into this after some initial awkwardness after their breakup, and both are supportive of the other's new relationships.
In Niels, Agent 250 and his ex, Irene, are practically best friends, and Irene gives pointers to his current paramour, Agent 300.
In Homestuck, Meulin and Kurloz were originally in a long term romantic relationship until Kurloz had a nightmare, after which he screamed enough to deafen Meulin. This incident prompted him to chew off his own tongue and sew his mouth shut, and even though the two of them are no longer together they're still very close. Slightly complicated by the fact that Kurloz is seen to use at least some level of Mind Manipulation on her to make her loyal to his religion, which in fact worships the comic's Big Bad, so it's uncertain how much of this is genuine.
Ally and Alan in Sunstone had a really volatile break up back in college, you wouldn't guess as much considering how indestructible their friendship is now.
Buster's parents from Arthur seem to get along when they interact, and Bitzi certainly doesn't seem to mind it when Bo takes Buster traveling for a long period of time (this is the focus of the Spin-OffPostcards From Buster).
Pepper Ann's mother and father, who split up because he was away as a blimp pilot so often.
Tino's mother and father in The Weekenders. The main factor of their divorce seems to be that Tino's dad needed to stay on the East Coast for his job.
Mary and Warren McGinnis from Batman Beyond seemed reasonably amicable until Warren's death. Terry however had some issues with the divorce and living with Warren, and joined a street gang before the start of the series and was caught shoplifting, prompting Warren to spend more time with both of his sons.
Rodolfo and Maria on El Tigre, even though Rodolfo still pines to reconcile with her.
Lois and Jonas Foutley on As Told by Ginger were divorced, though it was never made clear why, but implied due to changes in their lifestyles. Lois and Ginger still can accept Jonas despite him not always being there, but the divorce has made Carl distant with his father, and this conflict appeared in a few episodes, since wasn't even around for the first season or two of the show and completely failed to keep up on events with his kids. When he suddenly came into the picture it was as a hesitant, awkward but trying man, and fits with the theory of someone who ran away from a problem but now trying to fix it, but is aware they don't really deserve a second chance.
In her first appearance in "Ice Cream, You Scream" Charlene tells Vanessa that "no one's evil" and that their marriage didn't work because they both wanted "different things" ("was one of those things, being evil? 'Cause he's evil").
In the episode "Run Candace, Run", Doof's building is being foreclosed on since he spent his mortgage money on some gargoyles. Despite Charlene being able to lend him the money to cover the cost, he refuses to call and ask her, since she told him gargoyles were a stupid idea. In the end, he does ask her, and she does lend him the money after the obligatory "I told you so."
In The Legend of Korra, Tenzin and Lin Beifong had a failed Childhood Friend Romance before the start of the series. They appear to get along well enough, and Tenzin claims that while Lin was angry about the breakup at first and attempted to have her love rival arrested, she's moved past it. It's pretty obvious that she hasn't, particularly in how she treats Korra. Realizing this helps Tenzin extend the hand of friendship, after which the two manage to get along better. She also seems to get along pretty well with Tenzin's children with said former love rival, especially after they help her fight off the Equalists.
Mako and Asami eventually gain this type of relationship as well, which is interesting considering that their relationship falls apart over Mako kissing Korra while still being in a relationship with Asami. Asami's main issue with it seems to be that he lied and tried to hide it rather than the fact that it happened, and she notably refuses to blame Korra for what happened, knowing that she has not been very well socialized. The last time they see each other in season one (and Word of God says this was intended to be their breakup scene), their parting is solemn but friendly and she kisses him on the cheek.
Mako: I'm sorry things got so messed up between us. But whatever happens today, I want you to know how much I care about you.
Asami: I care about you too.
Similarly, the end of season 2 sees both Bolin and Eska and Mako and Korra turn into this. In both cases the two characters still have feelings for each other, but given the events of the season realize that they simply don't work as a couple.
Likewise, Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy. The actual break-up isn't amiable (which it wouldn't be if you broke your leg trying to rescue your girlfriend, and when you finally see her again she breaks up with you), but she does her best to let him down gently and they're still friends at the end of the series.