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In Search Of...The Slynnlings - Part 1

By Jennifer Livingston, jlivingston@wkbt.com
Published On: May 18 2012 09:11:17 AM CDT
Updated On: May 18 2012 09:11:10 AM CDT

ONALASKA, Wis.  -- Robert and Becky Glynn's love story starts like so many love stories. "We met in college. We were both on the UW-L track team. Shortly after we graduated, we got married."

They had two children together, Austin and Madison. But unfortunately for the Glynn's their love story ends like so many love stories. "We kind of just grew apart."
"I always tell people he's a great guy, a great dad, we just weren't compatible in the end for each other."

After 9 years of marriage, Becky and Rob made the decision to divorce. But they also made another key decision. "We always said from day one that we'd put the kids first. We would never argue in front of them or bad talk the other parent. Communicate with each other and not, 'go tell your dad this.' We kept them out of the adult stuff." We wanted what was best for the kids so we knew we had to get along."

"When some people get divorced they just want to make the other person's life miserable. If you decide to get divorced you just got to let go."

And let go, they did. As time passed, both Becky and Rob moved on. First, Becky met twin cites native Erick Berling online. "Eventually she decided to meet me for a night. That night turned into a weekend and that weekend into six years."

Meanwhile, Rob was doing some online dating of his own and a California mother of four named Jennifer Sly took a liking. "She stalked me on facebook."  I didn't stalk him.  I sent him a message and he messaged me back and that was that."

In 2008 Rob married Jennifer and Becky married Erick. And for awhile things remained civil but separate among the two couples. Until Becky and Erick welcomed twin boys to the world - changing the entire family dynamic forever. "Because it just kind of melded our families closer together. Because everyone wanted to be around the twins so we were just around each other a lot more."

Robert and Jennifer even offered to help out with Erick and Becky's twins. "People always ask, 'why do you babysit your ex-wife's kids?' And he says, 'they're my kids brothers.'

The more time they all spent together, the more they wanted to spend together. In fact the Sly's, Glynn's and Berlings even came up with one universal last name.

'The Slynnlings.' 'The Slynnlings.' 'The Slynnlings.'

The Slynnlings. 4 parents, 8 kids. One uniquely happy family. "There's biological and there's step and there's half and we treat them all the same. They're all brothers and sisters."

And perhaps most interesting of all the bonds formed is the amazing, unlikely friendship between Becky and Jen. "I've just started referring to Jen as my sister. Because I don't have one and were as close as that. Rather than referring to her as my ex-husbands wife."

"People are always telling us how, 'I don't know how you do it.' and I think, 'I don't know how you don't. It's hard enough even in the best of circumstances. Because it's not hard. It's made our lives easier."

But their lives are about to become anything but easy. And this unconventional family will have to lean on each other more than they ever expected.

What happens next is a true test of friendship and family. Tune in next week for part two of the 'Slynnling' family's story.

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