Colton and Jesse Forever: Why I am choosing to stay friends with my ex

October 17, 2018

First of all, I hate being called Jesse, even though it is the name of the person I was named after. My father-in-law is the only person I have ever been ok with calling me that. So why would I purposefully call myself Jesse on my own blog? And what do I mean by ex?

Have you seen the movie Celeste and Jesse Forever? If not, it’s an excellent movie starring Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones as a divorced couple who try to stay friends while they navigate their life apart. More of a serious-ish type role for Andy, but he does a great job.

Well, for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, or who I haven’t told, Colton and I finalized our divorce today. Yes, divorce. Even I have to let that sink in. This may come as a surprise to some of you, or you may have had a suspicion. Honestly, I haven’t tried to be secretive about it, but I also didn’t know how to write a “Hey. I am getting divorced!” post either.

So what is this then?

This is an ode to 16 years with another human who I will always love, but also the start to our new lives apart. Colton and I dated for 5 years, were engaged for 1, and married for 10. All we really know is how to be in a relationship with each other.

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We had a conversation in Portland the last time that we were there that if we ever got divorced, it would be really hard to stop being friends. In our minds, we would be the real life Celeste and Jesse. For 16 years, Colton was my best friend and always by my side. Even when times were rough, we would always make up and support one another. We helped each other through college, hospital visits (too many to count) and cheered each other on to make our dreams come true. There is something about investing 16 years of my life with someone else that just doesn’t go away the moment we sign a paper.

We taught each other about real love. And real heartbreak.

What happened?

Short answer. Both of us changed so much from the person we were when we were 14 and, unfortunately, started our paths in separate directions. We grew apart. He did a lot of things that I didn’t like, and I resented him. I did a lot of things that he didn’t like, and he resented me. We started to fight a lot more. He and I spent more time apart doing separate things than together. No matter how hard we tried to make it work (and believe me, we fought hard at various times), it never really worked. We just couldn’t get on the same path.

We both wanted more from one another than we were each able to give. After we separated, we realized one of the reasons we stayed together for so long was because we were both comfortable. Not only did we grow up together, but neither of us have had to navigate singleness in this digital world, so it was better to just stick to one another. Plus, we liked each other many of the days.

We gave up fighting and trying because we were exhausted. To be honest, we are better off as friends than husband and wife. Today our relationship is better than it has been in over a year.

What’s next?

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Next, we are both moving on with our lives apart and together as friends. We still text each other memories, or  silly stuff, and will continue to for a while. Both of us are happy and healthy, and moving on from the loss of our marriage.

Just like the movie, I imagine at some point we will grow in completely separate directions, as any friendship would change and evolve. I am just grateful we can be happy for each other while we do it and enjoy being friends.

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  • Charlotte October 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Awww this is beautiful and I’m so happy to hear that you are able to remain friends. It doesn’t work for all (I tried this with an ex but we were just totally different people), but it sounds as though you have weathered so many storms together throughout the years so I’m sure you can get through this, too. Thank you for sharing and wishing you both all the best ❤️

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Thank you so much Charlotte. That means so much. <3

  • Pam Frantz October 17, 2018 at 11:14 am

    And I still love you both! I’m glad it wasn’t a spiteful nasty divorce!

    • Jessica October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Love you, Mom. 🙂

  • San October 17, 2018 at 12:21 pm


    • Jessica October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Thank you. <3

  • LIndsay October 17, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    It’s SO refreshing to hear about a divorce that isn’t nasty or each person spewing venom at the other. Best wishes on this new journey or adventure. Are you guys sharing the dogs then? That would always be my very worst fear if my husband and I split, what would happen to the dogs. But anyways, it’s really nice to hear that you’re doing well on the other side of this.


    PS you guys were babies, I can’t get over the old pics! They’re awesome 🙂

    • Jessica October 18, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Thank you so much. I actually got the dogs. He didn’t want to be a dog dad anymore, so it worked out great for me. We were babies, and grew up together in so many ways. <3

  • Sara October 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    It’s funny you mentioned the suspicion because I was wondering the same. I’m glad that you’re trying to make it work as friends – but I can also see how you’ve both changed a lot. It’s crazy to think about being married to people who knew me at 14. lol. I’m glad that you are both able to forgive each other to move forward. I think that’s important to a happy existence. <3