After 10 years together, Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen are now navigating the new domain of co-parenting while separated—but they continue to have the big picture in mind.
"We say Mommy has a house and Daddy has a house, but she's pretty young to have an in-depth conversation," Bilson tells People of the former couple's 3-year-old daughter, Briar. "Most important for me is that Briar is okay and secure and stable. No matter what I'm dealing with or how much it hurts or how much anger there is, it's just about her."
Although Bilson says she and Christensen are "still kind of trying to figure" out their new dynamic, she credits the example set by her own mother following her parents' divorce when she was 9 years old. "My mom was a great mom," says Bilson. "My parents went through a divorce and she showed me nothing but love so I was totally secure and okay when she did."
That's why, despite whatever differences she and Christensen may have, Bilson says they are still united in prioritizing Briar's sense of security. "It's a tricky one. And I don't know that there is any right way, necessarily," she says. "She has that love that is unconditional so I think we're doing okay."
Divorce or separation isn't usually what a parent hopes for as they begin a family, but it is the reality of millions of people and their children. As divorced mom Suzanne Hayes previously wrote in her story on six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, despite the challenges of the new dynamic, it is also an occasion to build character, strength and resilience.
There is no miracle solution to co-parenting after a divorce, but a good place to start is consistently treating your ex with respect and love. Not romantic love, of course, but human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love. How do we accomplish this post-divorce, even in the most contentious relationships? We keep it simple, start small, and remember it is all for the children.
Bilson and Christensen are just beginning to figure that out for themselves—but it sounds like they are off to a good start.