Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet ‘still family': How to transition from lovers to friends

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·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·8-min read
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Watch: Jason Momoa says he and ex Lisa Bonet are 'still family'

Jason Momoa has discussed his relationship with estranged wife Lisa Bonet following their separation announcement.

The Aquaman star revealed his marriage to the former Cosby Show actor had come to an end in January after five years. The couple were together for a total of 16 years.

But it appears the split is pretty amicable.

This week, Momoa, 42, flew to New York City to support Bonet’s daughter, Zoe Kravitz, at the premiere of her new movie The Batman, proving he remains on great terms with his stepdaughter.

At the event, he spoke about his relationship with his former partner, Bonet, 54.

"We’re just so proud. Lisa couldn’t be here so we’re representing, me and the babies," he told Entertainment Tonight. "We’re very excited to just be here. It’s still family, you know?"

It’s the first time the Game of Thrones actor has mentioned his former wife since posting the couple's split announcement on social media.

Read more: Should you stay friends with your ex? Here's what the British public think

Jason Momoa has said estranged wife Lisa Bonet is 'still family', pictured with Lisa Bonet in February 2020. (Getty Images)
Jason Momoa has said estranged wife Lisa Bonet is 'still family'. (Getty Images)

In the joint statement, shared on 12 January 12, the pair explained: "We have all felt the squeeze and changes of these transformational times… A revolution is unfolding and our family is of no exception… feeling and growing from the seismic shifts occurring.

"And so we share our Family news that we are parting ways in marriage. We share this not because we think it’s newsworthy, but so that as we go about our lives we may do so with dignity and honesty."

The statement continued: "The love between us carries on, evolving in ways it wishes to be known and lived. We free each other to be who we are learning to become."

Momoa's suggestion that he still considers his estranged wife "family", offers a hint that relations between the long-term former couple are amicable.

Indeed, there can be many benefits to maintaining a positive relationship between former partners and moving from lovers to friends.

"Just because your marriage has ended, doesn’t necessarily need to mean the end of your friendship, especially if the breakup is a mutual decision," explains break-up coach Sarah Woodward.

"This can be more difficult if one partner is heartbroken, but there’s nothing to say you can’t be friends in future once you’ve healed.

"Often in a marriage our partner ends up being our best friend and soulmate and it can be devastating to lose this. Working together to find a way to move forward and maintain that friendship can be beneficial to both parties and reduce the loss involved."

Jason Momoa was supporting Bonet's daughter Zoe Kravitz at The Batman premiere, pictured with children, Lola Momoa (left), and Nakoa-Wolf Momoa (right). (Getty Images)
Jason Momoa was supporting Bonet's daughter Zoe Kravitz at The Batman premiere, pictured with children, Lola Momoa and Nakoa-Wolf Momoa. (Getty Images)

Jude Clay, 39 from Hampshire, who runs parenting and relationships blog Gluing Cheese, knows only too well how beneficial being on friendly terms with your ex can be.

Clay separated from her son’s dad in 2017 when he was two-years-old and has been co-parenting ever since.

"We split amicably with great intentions to remain friends and provide the loving family network which our son, TJ, needs," she tells Yahoo Life UK.

"We have both since moved on and found new partners – he has remarried and had another child and I am about to move in with my partner next week."

Though she says it wasn't easy to make the transition from lovers to family, having been together since 2007, she believes it has been worth it.

"My advice would be to manage expectations. It’s very easy to think that some things will remain constant, such as messaging each day or even spending regular time together as a family, but life will find a new balance and those things may just gradually stop happening and that’s OK.

"We don’t need to cling to something from the past to move forward," she adds. "Relationships don’t always end nastily and some elements, such as a friendship, can survive. But others won’t. Acknowledging that really helped me."

Clay says her and her ex husband keep a united front as much as possible for their son, who is now six-years-old.

"We even had a huge Mario themed birthday party for him where all four parental roles wore fancy dress costumes," she adds.

"But it’s very different to the friendship we expected to hold onto when we first split in 2017. It’s not been easy over the years but the foundations of respect, trust and faith in each other’s ability to parent have kept us going and I hope they will continue to do so as well."

Read more: The recipe for a perfect marriage, according to happily wedded couples

It can be difficult transitioning from lovers to friends post break-up. (Getty Images)
It can be difficult transitioning from lovers to friends post break-up. (Getty Images)

How to transition from lovers to 'family'

While Clay was able to successfully switch her relationship from lovers to friends, it isn't always an easy transition to make.

We asked the experts for some tips to navigating the relationship shift.

Be patient

Re-jigging or evolving your relationship from that of partner and lovers to friends or platonic family is a process that can take time. "Being aware of this is helpful," explains family mediator, Louisa Whitney from www.lkwfamilymediation.co.uk.

"It might take time for this to feel normal or natural and that’s OK, she continues. "If you both have a shared objective about keeping things amicable or supporting your children then it helps to re-focus on that during the more challenging moments."

If you’re finding things difficult Whitney suggests focussing on what needs to be resolved now and looking at longer term issues later. It’s OK to make temporary plans pending more permanent ones later.

"Hold on to where you want to be even if you’re not there right now," she adds.

Watch: Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet 'want to explore other things' following their split

Set boundaries

Boundaries are really important and it can take time to learn where you both feel comfortable.

Caron and Glenn Barruw, psychotherapists, relationship experts and founders of The Niche Group have put together a list of areas you should set boundaries about from the beginning.

  • Managing common friends

  • Seeing the children (if children are involved)

  • How much time you spend together

  • What you spend your time together doing: Is it short meetups, walks in the park or the cinema, day trips or longer family vacations?

  • How much of one another's family do you see

  • Contact level: "Some of our ex-couple patients now prefer to Whatsapp and message each other rather than talking on the phone so they do not get into emotional fights," they explain.

  • Dating someone new: "It is common for the initial boundaries to get confused when one person begins dating someone new, especially if one person did not want to transition. So it's important to revisit them at this point and if necessary, set new ones," they say. "At the end of the day, the couple should ask themselves 'did we have a strong foundation as friends before we became lovers' - if so, it helps to focus on that as a strong bond moving forward," they add.

Read more: The simple sign revealing you’ve ‘clicked’ with someone

Be open and honest

Talking about things is really crucial. "Don’t struggle with something you feel uncomfortable with," suggests Whitney.

"Explain how you feel and try to do this as calmly and constructively as possible. Telling someone how they’ve messed up usually provokes a defensive response.

"Explaining how you might work things in a better way together often provokes a more collaborative response."

Get the support you need

You might need a safe space to offload and you might feel like you need help healing.

"Having a therapist or coach or other professional to offer emotional support and guidance can be invaluable," Whitney adds.

Experts recommend putting on a united front for the children. (Getty Images)
Experts recommend putting on a united front for the children. (Getty Images)

Try to avoid blame

This will be made easier from the April 6 with the introduction of the no fault divorce law in England and Wales.

"Both take responsibility for your part in the breakdown of the marriage," Woodward adds.

Be respectful of each others feelings

Be kind and compassionate to one other.

"You will both be grieving the end of your marriage, but you may well be at different stages in that process," Woodward explains.

"If one of you is further along in the process be kind and compassionate to your ex-partner if they are struggling."

Work on your co-parenting

If there are children involved, Woodward recommends trying to put them first at all times, and keeping things amicable in front of them.

"It is difficult to come to terms with not seeing your children all the time, but make sure you’re excited for them when they’re going to spend time with the other partner and be interested in what they’ve done when they get back, so they don’t feel awkward."

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