Navigating a relationship with your ex and their new significant other isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. That’s why it’s so surprising to find people who aren’t just on decent terms with their exes and their current partners, but are friends with them.
So is the case with Miranda Kerr and Katy Perry, who share children with Perry’s current fiance and Kerr’s ex-husband Orlando Bloom. Perry, who welcomed her first child with Bloom last year, was spotted earlier this month attending Kerr’s event for her company Kora Organics, and posing with the former Victoria’s Secret model on Instagram.
Bloom applauded the hang out, writing in the comments section of Perry’s post, “You two are the cutest.”
Related video: Katy Perry and Miranda Kerr have a yoga date
Last November, Kerr — who shares 10-year-old son Flynn with the Pirates of the Caribbean star and two children with her current husband, Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel — gushed over Perry and Bloom, telling The Drew Barrymore Show, “I adore Katy and I just feel so happy that Orlando has found someone that makes his heart so happy. Because at the end of the day, for Flynn to have a happy father and a happy mother is just the most important thing, so I’m just so grateful that Orlando and Katy found each other.”
So just how common is Perry and Kerr’s relationship? According to Lesli Doares, a licensed marriage and family therapist and marriage coach, it’s “rare” for blended families to get along so well.
“Frequently, [these relationships are not friendly] because one partner has not come to terms with the breakup,” Doares tells Yahoo Life. “They are held hostage by unaddressed feelings around it — blame, sadness, anger, hurt, etc. It can be really tough to watch your partner move on to someone else when you’re still grieving, financially struggling, didn’t want the breakup, etc. Instead of finding a way to move forward in the face of the new reality, the old battles continue to be fought.”
Berman Psychotherapy Clinician Tom Jones (APC, MAMFT) adds, "We’ve probably all been guilty of the post breakup competition of 'I’m dating again so I win' mentality. Or some other arbitrary attempt to reestablish power where you feel pain. If that’s still the case, you are going to constantly be assessing the other person’s level of functioning and comparing it to yours. There’s no win in comparison and you are going to come out feeling either worse about yourself or celebrating the pain of your ex; and in either case, that is not a good basis of friendship."
One other obstacle, Doares points out, is if the new partner is not "secure enough in their relationship" and feels “threatened” by their significant other’s ex, which can sometimes create issues around things like “alimony, child support custody, and parenting decisions.”
As Jones points out, "A lot of it comes down to not having done the personal work to process the situation or having the emotional regulation skills to hold these very big feelings. It will create tension and resentment which will absolutely bleed into the new dynamic."
Still, it is possible for friendships to form within these blended families — provided that every party is emotionally mature and willing to make them work.
“One of the biggest is that each person has dealt with their emotions around both the split and new relationships,” she explains. “The exes have genuine desire for the other to be happy. They wish each other well. They also want to put the comfort of their children ahead of their own stuff.”
Children involved in blended families can reap the benefits of parents who get along with one another and each other’s new partners.
“It is a positive thing for the children,” Doares explains. “The more people who love and support them, the better. When the adults get along, the children are free to focus on themselves, not on keeping their parents safe and happy.”
She adds that there is “no sense of loyalty or betrayal” when every adult in the family gets along.
“It teaches the children that life can go on in a healthy and loving way and that you don’t have to lose connection to family just because of a divorce,” she explains. “It also can make custody and parenting easier when all the adults are on the same page.”
Jones explains, "The positives are that the children grow up in a cohesive unit, are able to see a healthy resolution after a tense time which they can learn from, and model how to care for someone even after such a painful situation."
It sounds like Kerr and Perry are on the right track — and likely plan on continuing to be “the cutest” co-parents in their blended family.