As you can imagine telling our respective exes about our choice to live together without a ring met with some interesting responses. When I told my ex-hub, Dick, his first reaction was to tell me that it was inappropriate to live together with children and no ring. When I pointed out that he had lived with his wife two full years before walking down the aisle he said it was different because our daughter didn't understand they weren't married. Oooook? Then he moved on to the "You and Raylen will never last and the breakup is going to hurt our daughter, so don't do it". I didn't take the bait and get into a debate with him about why we wouldn't last, not something I have always been able to do, but I did it that day. Instead, I pointed out to him that we have as much chance of breaking up as you and your wife. There are no guarantee's in this lifetime and his relationship was no exception. His response was how dare I question his relationship with his wife. My thoughts exactly! So although ex-hub wasn't accepting, my daughter was young and loved her new family and basically ignored his negativity surrounding us.
Hubby's exes were more passive aggressive in their reactions. Ex 1, Bitty, told Raylan directly that she thought us moving in together was a great idea, but as the reality set in she started sending shots through the kids, mainly the youngest, Chris. The main shot Chris would repeat often, was that their mom said we couldn't be a real family unless Raylan and I were married. So stop pretending, as he put it! This one comment while it at the time seemed par for the course and our instincts told us to let it slide, actually set in motion a divide in our family that still sadly exists today. You see they spent an entire year thinking this was not a "real" family and as such avoided being an active participant in our family. So when our family did become legit according to Bitty and Chris, the five of us had an entire year full of memories as a family that they had chosen to not be a part of. That's twelve months that we chose one path and they another.
Ex 2, Greta, didn't respond with overwhelming joy, but she was initially accepting of our new family and for the kids new chapter in their lives and Raylans'. However, as the days drew closer to us starting our new life you could sense that it was eating at Greta that life was moving on without her. She quickly announced that she was getting married to someone she had dated a short period of time and it would happen within days of us moving in together. Ultimately, they married in July of that year. The down side was that a 2 and 6 year old had a hell of a lot of changes in their lives in a short amount of time. And the upside was the kids got two new families that year and continue to have them both today.