A father-of-three has bravely shared a heartwarming post about becoming friends with his ex-wife’s new husband after five years of ‘contention and resentment’ towards him.
Divorcee Sean Whalen, 40, from Salt Lake City, Utah, claimed he and his former spouse Summer Williams’ new husband Justin Williams spent years fighting each other because he ‘hated the guy’.
However Sean says it was the ‘highlight of his day’ when Justin walked in, gave him a big hug and said ‘Happy thanksgiving, man’ as they celebrated as a whole family.
In a bid to prove their newfound friendship, Sean posted a heartwarming photo of him and Justin preparing dinner together and urged fellow divorcees to love and forgive their exes for the ‘peace and freedom you will find’.
Divorcee Sean Whalen (left), 40, from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., shared a picture of himself and his ex-wife’s new husband (right) preparing dinner together
The father-of-three (pictured with his three children and Justin’s two children) said he was close to an altercation with his ex wife Summer’s (second from left) partner following their divorce in 2012
Summer, 40, met Justin soon after divorcing tech entrepreneur Sean in 2012 – and Sean admitted that he came ‘really close’ to a physical altercation with her new partner on more than one occasion.
However he now claims that the two men are in a ‘good place’ and said he regularly goes over to their house, where they chat about their shared interest in business.
Sean said their relationship used to be ‘really negative’, adding: ‘We never got into a physical altercation but there were a couple of times it came really close.
‘I hated this guy. I hated that he was around my kids. I hated that he hugged them and tucked them in at night.
However Sean (with Justin, left, and ex-wife Summer, center) is now urging fellow divorcees to love and forgive their exes for the ‘peace and freedom you will find’
‘It wasn’t too long ago he and I stood in the front yard of my ex wife’s house damn near throwing down, with cops en route.
‘There was just a lot of petty stuff – a lot of jawing and text messages back and forth and just really petty things that were really insignificant.
‘There was a lot of contention and resentment between he and I, so it didn’t start off well. It’s taken a number of years to get to where we are now.
‘He caught the brunt of my anger and frustration and [Summer’s] hurt and so naturally he wanted to be the hero to her and make sure she was okay and so naturally the enemy, if you will, was me.
Sean (pictured with his 16-year-old daughter)] said he initially ‘hated’ his partner’s new husband and did not like him being around his children
The father-of-three went on to say that he hated that Justin was around his children, hugged them them and tucked them in at night
‘I’m now friends with Justin. It’s really good, we’re in a really good spot. That hug was the highlight of my day.
‘I go over to their house all the time. We talk and he’s an entrepreneur and owns a business and I’m an entrepreneur and own businesses.
‘We don’t hang out, we don’t really go out. We have different likes and interests. I’m big into off-road racing and race cars and he’s more of a video game guy.
‘The commonality is family and being together. We definitely chat about business and things like that but I’d definitely say he’s a friend.
‘It’s constantly growing and evolving but it was really negative for the first year and a half or so. It’s been two or three years that we’ve all been in a really good space.’
Sean (pictured with 13-year-old son left and ten-year-old son right) said he knew he had to find a way out of his anger
Sean and Summer decided to part ways in 2012 after his business fell on hard times when the real estate market crashed in 2008, putting a strain on their relationship.
Sean, who owns a coaching and consulting company, said at a low point he even contemplated taking his own life but woke up the next day knowing he had to find a way out of his anger and resentment.
Sean said: ‘It got so bad that we spent six months picking up and dropping off our kids [without really speaking].
‘It led me to a point where I became suicidal and didn’t really see value in life any more.
Sean (with his 16-year-old daughter) said he was now in a ‘good place’ with his former partner’s new husband
Sean said he began to question what kind of man his was if he hated the mother to his children
‘One night I contemplated taking my life and woke up the next day and said ‘I can’t do this, I have to figure something out.
‘I feel like a lot of people focus on the other person and I did that. I focused on what she did and said.
‘Probably one of the biggest things [I changed] was I stopped saying the word “but”. That was really empowering.
‘It’s like “I said this but it was because she said that”. We live in a victim culture – everybody’s a victim.
‘[Back in the hard times] Justin was holding space for his wife and for the family and the whole thing, and his interest wasn’t really in investing in that relationship with me.
Sean said one of the most empowering things he began to do was to stop using the word ‘but’ and to move on with his life
‘When he walked in [at Thanksgiving] he gave me a big hug and said “hey man, come here” and grabbed me, I was really excited about that.
‘It just felt really good to know that someone else was taking that initiative and moving down that path and doing that work with me.
‘Where he and I had been over the last eight, nine years, it was really meaningful – it was very special to me. It was really cool.
‘It’s difficult for him too. I know how difficult it was for me to say positive words when I didn’t want to say positive words. It was a big thing for him to do and it just meant a lot that he did that.’
After taking to Facebook to share his emotional post, more than 13,000 people have viewed Sean’s message
After embarking on a relationship with his ex-wife’s husband, Sean (with his daughter, 16) has written the Amazon bestseller ‘How to Make Sh*t Happen’
Social media users shared their praise for the father-of-three following his honest post on social media
Sean’s journey to a good relationship with his ex-wife even led him to writing what he said has been an Amazon bestseller for the last two years called ‘How to Make Sh*t Happen’.
Since sharing his emotional post Facebook on Friday it has racked up more than 1,200 comments and 5,800 shares with many people remarking on the power of Sean’s message.
Sarah Vincent wrote: Beautiful. When I truly forgave my x (sic), a huge weight lifted and I gained a peace I had never known. Thank you for sharing.’
While Glenn Landry commented: ‘Amen to this post!!! This is how me and my ex do sh*t. We just spent an amazing thanksgiving all together as we always do.’
Sean Whalen’s full Facebook post
‘This is Justin, my ex wife’s husband.
‘It wasn’t too long ago he and I stood in the front yard of my ex wife’s house damn near throwing down with police en route.
‘Today he and my ex and kids all had Thanksgiving at my house and when he walked in he gave me a big hug and said ‘happy thanksgiving man’.
‘That hug was [the] highlight of my day.
‘I know a lot of you reading this are divorced. A lot of you reading this had kids split between two homes. A lot of you reading this are dealing with anger and bitterness and pain and fear and loss.
‘I FEEL YOU. I hated this guy. I hated that he was around my kids. I hated that he hugged them and tucked them in at night.
‘One of the single greatest struggles of my life was my anger. My bitterness and resentment towards my ex and our divorce. Justin naturally wanted to protect his new love and I wanted them both to hurt. BECAUSE I HURT.
‘The most difficult thing I’ve ever done has been to build a relationship with BOTH of them. Not just my ex, but with Justin as well.
‘I could tell so many stories. I have so many reasons to be ‘mad’ and to hate them both. But I learned that building a relationship with them wasn’t for my kids or for us, going into the deepest parts of my pride and ego and soul to learn to love them, to truly love them, was for me.
‘What kind of man was I if I hated my children’s mom?
‘What kind of man was I and would I ever be if I carried anger and bitterness towards him or her regardless of all the BS and pain?
‘I know a lot of y’all reading this right now are angry. You carry weight and say ‘well he or she did […]’. Trust me, friend, I GET IT. When God made me he gave me an extra portion of pride and ego so I know full well how deep this shit runs.
‘And I want you to know one thing. You MUST love your ex for one reason. You must forgive and truly love for one reason.
‘It’s the most difficult work you will ever do. THE MOST DIFFICULT. But I can promise you friend, the peace and freedom you will find is priceless. Absolutely priceless. The man or woman you will become through this process is priceless.
‘Keep going, friend.
‘LOVE THEM and don’t stop or give up until you do.’