Jennifer Garner has found a new rhythm in her life as a single mom.
The actress, who just left to spend a week in the mountains of Montana with Ben Affleck, their three children and a group of friends, is still putting her children first but she’s now ready to move on from her 10-year marriage to the actor. “She seems much more relaxed and is enjoying life,” a family source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “It’s great to see her happy again.”
Though the actor initially lived in the guesthouse on the family’s L.A. estate for the sake of their kids, Violet, 11, Seraphina, 9, and Samuel, 3, the situation was stressful for both Garner and Affleck. “The kids love when Ben is home and that’s why Jen let him stay at the family house,” says another insider. “She never wanted them to be disappointed that Ben wasn’t there. But it was emotionally draining for her.”
For more about how Garner has coped with the end of her marriage and her complicated life with Affleck, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday
As for Affleck, “he’s putting on a united front of respect for the children and for her and for each other,” says a source close to both. “On that, Ben has never wavered.”
The two have spent as much time together with their kids as their schedules allowed – with Affleck finishing his next film, Live By Night and Garner starting promotion for her upcoming faith-based film, Miracles From Heaven. At Forma Restaurant and Cheese Bar in Santa Monica, where the family often dines, “you can tell that they are not together,” says an observer of Garner and Affleck. “The kids usually tell him long stories about what happened in school or upcoming activities.”
Though their time together has prompted reports of a possible reconciliation, the exes are not calling off their divorce, say multiple sources. “They’re not [best] friends, but they share in the joy of their children,” says an industry source.
From school parties to pizza nights, the two have will continue to make an effort to maintain a sense of normalcy for their kids. “They are doing it their own way,” adds the source close to them. “And that way works for them right now.”