Inside Al and Tipper Gore's New (Separate) Love Lives
07/03/2012 AT 06:50 PM EDT
"They're each dating," a friend of the former couple tells PEOPLE.
Al, 64, has paired up with Democratic and environmental activist Elizabeth Keadle, 53. Tipper, 63, has recently stepped out with former National Geographic editor Bill Allen, 71, who shares the former Second Lady's passion for photography.
A friend of Tipper's says the new couple, who have known each other for years through mutual friends in photography circles, have been out together to D.C. dinner parties.
"Life feels very simple and solid and happy for Tipper," the pal says. "She and Bill have a really nice rapport."
The Gores were married for 40 years when they announced that they were going their separate ways.
On friendly terms, the exes, "Still spend a fair amount of time together, as a family, with their children and grandchildren," says the friend, adding that Al and Tipper were together just last week for the clan's weeklong summer vacation.
Adds the friend, "That togetherness as a family is going to be a lifelong thing for them."