A few weeks ago, I attended a friend's birthday party. There were about 30 of us. K lives very far away and gets back home rarely and it was a big deal birthday so her mother threw her a very nice bash. I was only able to stay a little while - the babysitter called at 9:30 with a child emergency and I had to leave. But while I was there I was introduced to a lot of people. In attendance at the party (at K's mother's lovely, bourgeois apartment - she plays the harp for heaven's sake) were K's father, accompanied by the woman he left K's mother for and their now grown love-child, and K's ex-stepfather, accompanied by the woman he left K's mother for and their now adolescent love- child. I thought that was quite a bit of leaving and loving in one room.
When I saw K and her mother the following day I asked if X and Y were, in fact, who I thought they were. There were. I said, "Aren't you all civilized?"
K's mother wisely replied, "That's the only way to be."