'I'm best friends with my ex and set him up with his new girlfriend'

When 27-year-old Mary McDaniel first split up with her ex partner Nathan Drumm in 2019, they initially struggled to get on.

But after some time apart, an unlikely friendship developed – which helped them to better co-parent their four-year-old son Silas.

This friendship was important to the mum-of-three – as she’d been brought up by divorced parents who didn’t get along – and she didn’t want the same for her son.

She started slowly inviting 29-year-old Nathan, a painter and decorator, to play dates and gradually rebuilt their friendship.

So much so, the pair are now best friends.

The mum, from Indiana, US, said: ‘Now our son still gets to do things with the both of us.’

Mary even set Nathan up with her old school friend, 26-year-old hair stylist Shayla Farmer, and the pair have been dating for three months. Nathan even takes relationship advice from Mary from time-to-time. 

Nathan, who is also from Indiana, said: ‘Mary hooked Shayla and I up. They went to school together and I saw that she was cute, and she helped get us together.

‘Mary and I talk about pretty much everything, there is nothing off-limits.

‘We grew up together and got together young, so we’ve known each other practically our whole lives.’

Mary said: ‘Now, he’s over most days. I’m best friends with his new girlfriend and we meet up all the time – even when Nathan’s not around.’

Nathan will even go over to Mary’s house and stay the night on Christmas Eve, so Silas has both of them when he wakes up on Christmas Day.

‘We’re not sure what we will do this year, we might go over to Shayla’s but we haven’t decided,’ Mary said.

Speaking about their unlikely friendship, Shayla – Nathan’s girlfriend – explained: ‘At first it was kind of weird. In past relationships with guys the ex would always treat me like garbage so it took a while to adjust.

‘It was hard for me to give them all my trust. Whenever I had an insecurity I voiced it and now it feels like a family. We hang out, the three of us.’ 

Mary’s much happier with their reignited friendship, and has become closer with Shayla, too.

She adds: ‘The other day Shayla showed me this lingerie outfit she was thinking of wearing for Nathan and I was like “yes wear that” – I don’t think a lot of people think that is normal.’

But, clearly, this set-up works well for them.

All the more wholesome, Nathan is also now best friends with Mary’s husband 27-year-old Josh Sulzen, and the pair hang out with their kids. 

Mary and Josh, a sprinkler fitter, now have two children together: two-year-old Jovie and one-year-old Story. 

Josh said: ‘At first Nathan and I didn’t really get on. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but now we hang out with the kids together.’ 

But Mary’s ability to maintain a friendship with Nathan and successfully co-parent has given him a lot of faith.

‘Mary and I have just separated so we’re adjusting but hope to co-parent like her and Nathan do. We’ve discussed me coming round for the kids to wake up on Christmas morning,’ he said. 

‘They’ll all come round for Christmas and Easter and things like that. It’s great that we can all get along and be friends. We talk about everything.’ 

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