Wednesday May 29, 2024

Divorce Stories - Eric

Another installment of Divorce Stories. This show features friend of the show Eric. We talk about Eric's personal experience with divorce, therapy, fitness, and how he decided it was time to move on.


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This podcast provides information for the general purposes of emotional and relational health, entertainment, and resources for those going through divorce, or any important relationship challenge. It is not intended to be construed as mental health treatment or personal therapy.

Listeners are encouraged to seek professional guidance for their specific situations or needs, and the hosts and producers do not assume responsibility for any actions taken on the content presented. The stories in this podcast are either shared with permission of the individual (s) involved or significantly altered to protect the identity and privacy of any involved parties.




Welcome to the Bad Weather Podcast. I am your host, Jonathan Miller. This is the sound of my voice with me today, special guest, Eric. Hey Eric, what's up?

Sounds good.

Hey, Jonathan, good afternoon. Pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Yeah, thanks for coming on. We've been doing kind of a series of divorce stories and Eric is kind of a friend of the pod listener and a personal friend of one JP Hurley who couldn't be here for scheduling issues today. I'll get up his ass about that later on. But for now we'll leave him to his very important business and Eric and I will just have a little chin wag here. Eric, why don't you tell us a little bit.

Maybe just a backstory of how you came to know us and then we can kind of get into why the hell you started listening to this show and a little bit of what's going on in your life.

Yeah, absolutely. Again, thank you for inviting me on the show here and just appreciate being able to tell this story and to kind of give my insight and my perspective on life events and where I came from and where I am today. So I'm just very grateful to be able to have this as a platform. So.

Yeah, to give you everyone a bit of context here, you know, I grew up in northern Minnesota, very close up to the North Shore in the Duluth, Minnesota area, worked quite a bit of retail jobs right out of high school. And, you know, actually, it's how I ended up down in the Twin Cities, of all things. It was while I was working in retail. Boy, this would have been almost 20 years ago now, thinking back on it, how time flies.

During that time is, you know, when I had the opportunity to meet an individual who kind of shaped and changed my life for, you know, the good and the better. The person who would eventually end up being my fiance, my wife, and now is my ex -wife, as I sit here today. So, you know, working up in that Duluth area, kind of working in that section of Minnesota, you've got some opportunities available to you just in terms of.

career paths, what you can and cannot do and get to. This was before the age of Zoom and Teams calls and hybrid work. This was all either, you know, boots on the ground or in an office. So, you know, we got together and we started dating in the early aughts. Usually, I like to say it's about 2006 is when we started seeing each other and really hit it off. Great compatibility, great chemistry, great, you know,

aligned in the sense of humor. We ended up both working for the same company as it turned out. And it was because of that, you know, fortunate turn of events that we recognize that those opportunities up in the Duluth area were a bit limited. So we thought, you know, why don't we try to get down to the Minneapolis Twin Cities area, give us a little bit more in terms of options and just opportunities.

So, you know, at that point we had been living together for several years at that point, three to four years of actually living together, where we finally picked up, head down to the Twin Cities area where we continued on that retail journey. It was after working in the retail space for a little while where, you know, I had finally kind of saved up enough money, got the engagement ring, you know, proposed in the fall of 2010.

transition from a retail environment to an office environment. And that is to say that in between transitioning from retail to the office environment, you know, with that comes with meeting all sorts of different characters along the way. Fun fact for you and the listeners, one of those such characters is our co -host who unfortunately could not be with us today, which I will also give a little bit of ribbing to Mr. JP Herli.

I had the opportunity to meet him, I would say probably 2009, 2010. And again, you, John, and all the listeners on this podcast know like what a personality he is, easy to talk to, really easy to just confide in and to have that trusting relationship and to build those awesome conversations. So I've had history with Mr. Hurley for some years now and...

Ha ha ha.

We'll put a pin in that because it'll dovetail to my story a little bit later, but.

Let's talk a little bit about the relationship, the move, the, it sounds like career change, all of that. And it sounds to me like you guys, and I know divorce is fairly recent. So you guys were together maybe married 10 years, something, and together maybe 15, something like that.


Yeah, so I think the numbers that I crunched together here, I think in total we had been a couple for 17 years and married just over 10 to 11 years in total, correct? Yep.

Okay. Yup. And then what those 10 years, those 11 years, I'm sure highs and lows like most others, anything you look back on and go like, these are the places I feel like I saw things coming apart or things like that.

Yeah, definitely. And, you know, throughout this entire process that I've been through, I've made it very much a point to recognize that, you know, any type of conflict, any type of issue takes two parties. It takes, you know, minimum two people. So, you know, looking back on, you know, the 10 years of what was our marriage, I look back at some of these things where I knew...

that I had, for lack of better terms, a fair share of shit on my plate that I had to deal with. I was, first and foremost, I was depressed all the time. I had struggles with just self -image and self -worth and had been in and out of therapy a few times and nothing really stuck. I never really found a therapist that I had gelled with. From there...

Whenever you kind of have those those feelings of self -doubt and and whether it's body image or just mental health It's hard to present your best self in any type of partnership or relationship When you feel that way about yourself So because of that all of my all of my relationships suffered first and foremost my marriage, you know No one no one wants to exclude a best friend from a life event or from what you're feeling But I found myself doing that in order to protect


my own self and my own feelings. I hid things. I hid the depression. I hid the frustrations at work. I never talked about it and I never sought help for it. I stereotypically did the male perspective of, you know what I'm gonna do to get through this? I'm just gonna lower my head and I'm gonna run straight into this drywall until I bust through it. And if I don't bust through it, I'm just gonna pick myself back up.


take four more steps further back and run even harder and faster into this wall. So from my personal perspective, there were things that I knew I had to recognize, starting from just those self issues, those internal issues, and then just me broadcasting those out to, again, friends, family, coworkers, and partners, unfortunately.


I think that was probably the biggest thing. And I knew it was the thing that I needed to change immediately when things started breaking down for us. So is it something that I can look back now and check the box and say, I'm done with that? Absolutely not. Definitely not. It's constantly work. It's hard work. It's sobering work. But I know it's something that, you know, as I step into the future, how can I be the best version of myself for me?


but for the person I'm sharing my life with, whether it's in an intimate relationship, marriage, or my good friends, my friends and family who, you know, I seek them for support and they reach out to me in turn, so.

Mm -hmm.

I want to step back. That's super interesting. So I think, I think more people than will admit, deal with issues like that. And, I, it's, it's good to hear that you went to a therapist. I guess I have a question about, or maybe multiple therapists. I follow, you know, being in this space, I follow a lot of the social media chatter and the back and forth and something I have seen recently, and, and I hadn't seen it,

maybe before six, eight months ago or something. But I see people talking about therapists kind of being all in one bucket of kind of empathizing with feelings and trying to help people through their issues just strictly by empathizing. And while that can be effective for women, it's not super effective for guys to just have somebody empathizing with your issues.

something that's more effective for guys from what I've been told and I think this rings true for me at least is to give them something to feel powerful about something they have control over their you know their own their own circumstances in life whatever that is do you think there was that part of the mismatch in the therapists you saw?

I think so. And I think we're probably saying the same thing here, but for me, I was desperately grasping for tools to help me cope, to help me identify, to help me say like, okay, I'm feeling this. And I'm not looking for someone to tell me, well, don't feel that way. Or, you know, you're outside your brain, but to say like, well, when you feel like this, practice this technique or try doing this, whether it's something as simple as going for a walk, exercising.



My current therapist does this great exercise or taught me this exercise about, you know, if you're having those negative thoughts that catastrophizing that I tend to do, he said, you block a meeting on your outlook calendar when you're at work, as silly as it sounds, block 45 minutes to think of every worst case scenario that this situation could bring you. And then at the end of that 45 minutes, move on. Just put it behind you and move on in it.


That takes practice. That's not something that's easy to pick up and do because, you know, like any meeting at work, you can walk away from it going 10 minutes later going, well, I should have said this, right? I should have brought this up, but I'm not gonna worry about this or I'm now gonna catastrophize about, you know, paying this bill on time, but it helps. And again, I'm not checking a box saying, well, I've done this, what's next? It's like, okay, I still catch myself saying, all right, you're spiraling. Take this time.

Yeah, yeah.

think it over and then you can't afford to give it anymore time because now you're eating into that family time, that friend time, that partner time. So yeah, I think it's absolutely true. I think there was a lot of, you know, the empathizing, but I was desperately looking for something to help me in those moments where I needed kind of that to pull that lever to say like, okay, this is how I deal with this.


Yeah, that's great. Do you write these things down when you're doing that?

So part of my journey has been writing. I haven't written down these thought processes when I do find myself kind of spiraling. I will have the phone set the countdown or the timer. But for me, it's a lot because I'm a very animated worrier. I pace the floor. I have a tendency to, I always make the joke of wearing a hole in the carpet when I'm in these moments. So for me, it's more of that animated walkabout.

Mm -hmm.

But it's after things have kind of settled where I got into that rhythm and that routine where for an hour between eight or nine, I would write, I'd pull up OneNote or Microsoft Word and I would type it out on the laptop or even on the phone. You get that Office 365, you get those applications on your phone and I would find myself laying in bed just furiously punching the screen to my phone in the moment. So.

Interesting. Yeah, there's, there's a lot of, there's a lot of value in that. I mean, at a basic level, I guess that's just journaling, but like, the tools, I think, are kind of, they're, they're habits, you know, they're like, recognizing when you're in that state, that you can kind of pull yourself back from it and, and find a way to

separate yourself from that, right? Finding the tool and flexing the muscle of doing that is not something that's intuitive. And, I don't, I don't know that a lot of people get that kind of guidance, from their therapist or a lot of guys don't. so that's great. I'm glad you, found somebody that, helps you recognize that stuff. What, do you know, like the other thing is like identifying the triggers or the things that, that put you in those heads head spaces. I'm sure you've done some work on that.


Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's, you know, it kind of goes back to the larger part of the story. But, you know, just to do this, this first call back here, very early on in season one of this podcast, I think, Jonathan, you had mentioned a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy. It was either like seriously, like episode two or three. And, you know, as I was going through what I was going through, I was furiously scribbling notes on the notepad that is right next to me right here. And I immediately

picked up that book, read it cover to cover, taking notes along the way. And what that actually ended up doing is that actually helped me because the book for context just kind of talks about like, or rather frames the reader to try to identify like what precipitating event has gotten you to this point where you're considered a nice guy. And not that being a nice guy is a bad thing, but you might have the tendency to more so.


not get walked over, but not speak up when a situation is uncomfortable. So that was the one part I bounced off of during this initial process. It was like, what's that precipitating event for me? There was no violence growing up. There was no abuse growing up, be it physical, emotional, or otherwise. So what was that? And it wasn't until I identified at an early age, the feedback I always got as a small child was Eric's perfect.

He never makes a sound. He never makes a peep. His sister, on the other hand, is a handful. We can't keep her in check. She screams at the pin drop of a pin. And I think what had happened was, in growing up, not making noise or not speaking up when I'm uncomfortable was the way I got acceptance from friends, family, and just the general public. It's like, okay, well, if I don't say anything, I'm just going to be the easygoing guy who gets along with everybody and everything.


But in doing so, when I had issues of conflict or when issues started to creep in, or if I didn't agree with the course of action, instead of saying something, I just kind of swallowed that pill and said, well, I don't want to rock the boat. I don't want to be the a -hole here who disrupts everything. I'm just going to sit back and just kind of let this roll over me. And unfortunately, I think that's what helps.


help cause some of the situations that I found myself in.

Yeah, boy, that hits me right between the eyes. I hear that a hundred percent. It's, I look at it as like a, a fear of, the unknown, a fear of, overturning the apple cart or whatever. and I'm glad you brought that book up. I believe the author's name is Robert Glover. it's probably worth going back and reading again, because I think I probably haven't read it since that early, that early episode we did. It's great because I think, you know, when I remember reading it the first time and seeing, you know,



I don't know 50 or 65 % of what that book was talking about I could see reflected in myself to some degree. Not all of it. You know, but but enough of it to go like, you know, there's, there's things that I keep my mouth shut about not, you know, not out of a. Let's see, what's the word I'm trying to you don't want to be like the bombastic asshole guy, right, who has a strong opinion about everything and.



Right. Exactly.

And you know, whether it matters or not, you got a damn strong opinion about it and you're going to voice your opinion. Damn it. it's, there's like a balance of being thoughtful and having a, having a considered opinion and, feeling, you know, not having the fear, hold you back to speaking the opinion and then dealing with the consequences of whatever it is that is. I mean, in my own, like in my own relationship and my own marriage, there were many, many times where I just didn't.


I just, you know, soldiered through things and because the alternative was like, well, if I bring this up, that's going to cause all kinds of issues and I don't want to do that. what, you know, and when you look back at it, like the fear of overturning that thing is it kind of holds you back from probably that, you know, like at some point, if you can't advocate for yourself on a consistent basis, because you're afraid of turning, turning things upside down. And so you just don't.


The flip side of that is if you are advocating for yourself in a thoughtful and mature and stoic way or whatever, and that ends a relationship, that's okay. That's probably the right thing to have happen then, right? So it's hard to do that. Like I feel you a hundred percent. Like you get comfortable in a place and you're like, well, this is the thing and I'm not going to disrupt the thing, but like you really got to do some inner work and go like, I need to speak up for this. And if it ends things, fine.

Right? Yeah.

And there are two pieces, you know, just to kind of close the loop on that book is I jokingly told people that the minute I picked up that book within the first chapter of reading it, I walked away almost feeling offended. Like, this is offensive because it identified me. In the opening couple of chapters, I thought to myself, well, I'm offended because it's like it knows me. And I'm like, wait, hold on. Let's back up and, you know, let's actually take the time here to...

That's fine.


to really take the notes. And like I said, I grabbed a notepad and just went to town. And the second thought is once I identified that, once I identified the like, Eric doesn't like to rock the boat. He does not like to use your phrase, upturn the apple cart. I took that everywhere with me. I took that into, you know, leaving the marriage. I took that into work where I went, hold on a second. I am doing this at work. And, you know, in the...

Interesting. Yeah.

office environment that I was in, it got to the point where I started receiving some feedback from some of the leadership saying like, Eric, you know, you've been through so much. It's great that you're finding your voice, but just remember how you're finding that voice and the volume and language that you're using is extremely important. So yeah, that book was like the sun parting the clouds just in terms of like here.

try this and yeah, I cannot recommend it enough.

That's awesome. Yeah, that can be scary too. Like you start speaking up for yourself and people go like, maybe not so many F bombs in the, in the big board meetings guys, but that's cool. Yeah. Yeah. that's awesome. So you went, you kind of talked about the divorce a little bit. Let's get into that. I guess I, I'll just maybe let you tell wherever you want to start it. tell me about your divorce.

Correct. Right. Exactly. Speak up, but not that loud. Yeah.


For sure.

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, this was kind of a rolling start, you know, just to kind of finish up that preamble from earlier. You know, we had moved down to the cities and we had known almost as long as we had been going out and, you know, dating and engaged and married that, you know, the conversation had kind of come up about children raising a family in the past. And it was, I don't want to say dismissed, but we were both in a position where we thought, well, kids aren't for us.

It so happened that we both had sisters on our sides of the family who gave birth to beautiful daughters and were on the same age. And we were quite content with being the aunt and uncle who spoiled them ridiculously. So it got to the point where we were happy with our double income, no kid kind of lifestyle. We moved during the middle of the pandemic.

in early 2020, mid 2020, which was stressful enough as it is. But looking back on it, there were points during the move, during everything where she was vocal. She would say, I think, I know I'm coming to you with concerns about intimacy or lack thereof. I'm coming to you because I know you're struggling with some things and I really want you to go seek that help. But again, my mindset being, I'm just going to run through this wall.


So this all came to a head in March of last year. So every six months or so she would do the girls night out or the girls weekend out where they would go somewhere usually within the state, but they would go somewhere for a long weekend, wine and bad music and they would come back and sleep it off. But this was no different. They went up the North shore in late March.


And I said, that's great. You go do what you gotta do. Have fun. I'm gonna stay home with the dog. I'm gonna take that Monday off because when you come back, we can catch up. You can tell me about your weekend. I'll tell you what me and the dog got into trouble with here and it'll be great. So she came home in late March, on a Monday, came home, started settling in. I was watching a little bit of television streaming something on Netflix. And I said, here's the deal. I'm gonna go run and grab us some provisions for dinner and we'll make dinner.

I had ran to Cub Foods, the grocery store right behind us, got home, and there was definitely a different feel in the atmosphere when I stepped through the door. She was red in the face. She had, like, there was sweat beating on her forehead, and she goes, we need to sit down and talk. And I thought, okay, this is unusual. And so we sat down, and she said, essentially, that she's unhappy in our relationship, that she's been unhappy for a long time.

And she said, I want to start a family, but I know you don't. That's not what you want. And I thought, okay, well, there's a lot coming at me right here and right now. So, you know, help me get up to speed. Like, where is this coming from? Like, up until this point...


I didn't have an indication. I knew there was stuff I needed to work on. I knew there was stuff that I needed to do in order to make us healthy and or to contribute to us being healthy. But to hear this was, you know, completely stopped me in my tracks. And, you know, we get into a situation of kind of like a perhaps a he said, she said, where she said a few months ago, we were with some family and I had mentioned something about.


starting a family or having kids. And what you told me was, and she quoted me, if we were going to have a conversation about bringing a child into this relationship, then we need to have a larger conversation about our relationship in general, end quote, or something similar to that, which strikes me because I don't remember that comment. I don't remember that conversation. I am not going to come right out and say,

Mm -hmm.

I never said it because the fact that she was able to just give me that quote, it came from somewhere. So, you know, it was, it struck me because again, for me, I'm hearing it for the first time. And I said, okay, well, can we talk about this? What does this mean for us? What, you know, what are the next steps here? And she just, you know, at this point, you know, she's crying and I'm tearing up and she goes, I don't know.

She goes, what I am gonna do is I'm gonna leave to my friend's house, the friends that she had just come back down from up north with, and we're gonna figure it out from there. And she left. And at that moment, I was alone in the house by myself with our dog and never felt so cold and alone as I did in that moment.

Mm -hmm.

So I kind of sat there in the shock of it all and started sending some preliminary text messages to my support group, couple family members, a couple of good friends. And I just said, I don't know what just happened. I feel like I just got leveled by a Mack truck. Well, after about an hour, she texted me and said, I'm not happy here. Can I come home and talk? I said, absolutely. This is your house. I want you to feel like you can come and go as you please. So she came home and.

You know, we took up positions on the couches up in the living room and, you know, we, we talked about things and we ugly cried and we were, you know, sat there for two exhausting hours trying to figure out what our next steps were. We had both agreed at that point, we were each going to call for individual therapy. We were going to get back on the books and find a therapist. We were going to come together as a couple and tackle couples therapy. I was going to the doctor, I was getting, you know,

Mm -hmm.

going to go through the full workout, every workout, everything from annual physical work to blood work to, I even wanted to get tested for low testosterone to see if that was a contributing factor to things. And we, we set out the following days to execute that plan. You know, it was like this uneasy, uncomfortable piece. But we had a plan forward and I thought, okay, like we're, we're proceeding. We're moving forward.

Terrifying in the moment, but we at least now know the next steps You know everything got booked the following day we had something lined up for a remote Couples therapists that we are going to be beginning the next month or exceeding the next week So I had gotten my physical schedule. I had gotten on the books with a therapist here locally and Cautiously optimistically started taking those very small steps into the days and weeks to come the


The day of our first couple's therapies appointment, we both were working from home. She had an upstairs office, I had a downstairs office. I thought, okay, if we're shoulder to shoulder on one laptop trying to talk to a therapist, it might be a little awkward, it could be, there could be some bristling, it just might be uncomfortable. I'm gonna get the link from her so I can log in from my laptop, she can log in from hers, and we're on the same call just in different physical spaces.

and I had walked up to her office and I said, hey, can I get the link to that call so I can join remotely from downstairs? And she said, I'll send you the link, but I don't think it's gonna work. And I said, what do you mean it's not gonna work? And she was facing away from me the way the office was laid out. So she pivoted around in her chair and she's sobbing in the middle of crying again. She goes, this us is just not going to work. And this is now 15 minutes before our session's supposed to start.

So in the moment, didn't know what to say, didn't know what to do. Strangely enough, John, we went through that first session with that couple's counselor. And that poor woman looked like a deer in the headlights just in terms of me saying, well, just within the last 15 minutes, she told me she thinks that we should file for divorce. And the therapist said, well, you know, it's...


do what you feel like you need to do. You have my contact information. If you feel like you want to try to work things out, we can schedule additional sessions or I can get you some material in terms of where you go next in terms of this process. So we broke the call. She again picked up and left the house, leaving me and the dog alone by ourselves. And again, cold, dark, emotionless, but you know,

Holding back that flood that was going to hit just in terms of what the hell just happened You know for the second time in as many weeks I'm sitting here going What what did I miss what email did I not see in my inbox? What phone call did I not get? So You know this time there was no text message an hour later it went the whole sleepless night without hearing from her

Mm -hmm.

Woke up the next morning and logged on to do some remote work from the basement office where she Texted again at about 11 o 'clock and said I'm gonna come home. Can we talk and again? I said sure absolutely come home and talk and So she came home and talk and we had a more You know exhausted session on the couch downstairs where you know, she said I really want to start a family I really want you know

you to be engaged with that and active with that if that's what you want. And, you know, we had questions going back and forth, you know, we're past 40 in terms of age. So what does having a child at that age mean? Is it adoption? Is it, you know, just by natural means? Is it fostering? What does this mean? What does this look like for us? And she said, you know, you're such an important part of my life, like,

Like this is something that we should be able to team together with and to, you know, raise and start a family. It's like, okay, yeah, like, yeah, let's, let's talk about it. But in the same time, I'm understanding that there's a journey that I'm on right now, because now I'm doing my personal therapy sessions to get my head on straight. And I'm always thinking to myself, how many movies, how many sitcoms, how many situations where a couple is struggling is the solution to.


have a baby or let's bring an innocent you know child into the picture and that'll fix everything I mean it never happens so from there you know it was again it was kind of like this cautious one step in front of the other in terms of how do we proceed you know we'll get the couples counselor back on the horn we'll schedule some sessions I'll continue with my therapy you'll continue with your therapy and for a while it worked.


Yeah, right. Nope.

for a while, you know, we had date nights where we went to a movie or we would, you know, go grab dinner somewhere or lunch somewhere. And it kind of felt like, okay, this, yeah, this is familiar. This is what we like and what we're used to. And I would say that, you know, we probably move this way throughout the summer, you know, from mid April through the summertime, we're kind of in hindsight going through the motions, unfortunately.

you know, we had a couple's counseling session where, you know, she admits, she said, well, I'm talking to my counselor about starting a family and having a baby. And she said, Eric, are you discussing that with, with your therapist? And I thought, well, hold on. I am learning these tools about how do I cope with my depression and my anxiety and how do I get to a point where I feel better about who I am so that if I do become a parent.

I can, I'm there, I'm present, I can reflect those values and that, you know, that self -importance onto that, you know, innocent person who's, you know, along for the ride now at this point. And I think that right there was kind of that trigger point when I said no, when I said, well, I'm kind of focusing on my stuff because it's my therapy. I think that was, again, hindsight being what it was, kind of the...


pregnant pause on the end of a very long chapter where I think she kind of took that and ran with that in terms of saying like, okay, like I think, you know, this maybe explains his priorities at the moment. In late June, early July, I received a information or news from my family that my father had been diagnosed with stage one prostate cancer.


And again, this kind of comes back a little bit later, but worth mentioning here, where we started, you know, having those conversations, what does treatment look like? How does he feel about things? And again, for me, it's helping me realize like, yeah, man, you got to take care of yourself. Mental health, physical health, you just got to be a better person for your wife, for a potential child, however that looks, and for your family.


So I'm processing all of this information, trying to work on myself, going through these couples counseling sessions. And then we get to the first week of July. And July 2nd was our anniversary, our dating anniversary. So every July 2nd, we try to do something, you know, whether it's dinner, movie, whatever the case might be. So this July 2nd was a little different. You know, I kept asking and kept...

Okay, yep.

probing in terms of like, hey, let's do something. Let's go out. Let's have dinner. Let's go to a movie. And it was just, it was like pulling an arm, twisting an arm. I could not get any commitment from her to do anything. And finally she just said, well, let's go to a movie. I said, great, let's go to a movie. And we went to a movie and I just, throughout the entire movie, I just kind of had that whisper in the back of the brain, like something's off, something's not quite right.

and movie wrapped up and we were on our way home. And again, I said, I'm going to swing by the grocery store, pick up some supplies for dinner. We'll make dinner, have a nice relaxing evening before we head into the work week. And, you know, got home and she said, well, I'm not really hungry. I'm just going to, you know, lay down for a little bit. I was like, that's great. That's fine. So I made dinner and ate it by myself at the dining room table, cleaned up, did the dishes, went upstairs, sat on the living room love seats.

Across from her and just kind of zoned out just staring off in the middle distance out the back porch And she said hey you look you look tired. Are you okay? And I said You know, I'm not You know, I'm kind of feeling like this was a special day for us, you know, this was this was a big day and you know, I feel like To get you to do anything. I said really took a lot of effort and that that really hurts that really hurt me and she said yeah


And she turned off the television and put the remote down and she said, we need to have a talk. And I said, okay, here we go. And she said, I'm just not happy. And at this point I nodded and realized that.


as much as as much of that proverbial shit I had on my plate to deal with, I then realized this isn't as much as it is about me as it is her and if she's not happy, I can't do a damn thing about that. So I figuratively just kind of had to throw my hands up in the air and had to say, okay, like if if that's your decision, I agree.


And now I think we have to really consider what those next steps are in terms of separation, in terms of selling this house, in terms of what life looks like in the months to come. So, yeah, unfortunately, you know, our marriage kind of continued on a zombified state until midsummer, where I finally had gotten to the point where it's like, hey, you've left the house twice and have come back within hours of leaving. You've told me twice.


I want to work on this. I want to work on us. I now have to kind of go into self -preservation mode because every time you do that, I shut down. Like part of me just stops functioning and now I have to look after myself. So I'm sorry you're not happy, but now I have to look after me and and rightfully so she needs to look after herself. So that was...

that was the decision that was kind of that flashpoint. You know, we continue to have conversations. We're cohabitating the house at this point. You know, part of the conversation is, and this is where things kind of started to turn for me, is she said, you know, we heard about your dad's cancer diagnosis. And she said, I thought that that would give us more time together. And I thought, well, what do you mean more time together for to what end like,

you know, he beats cancer and he's, you know, cancer free and then you decide you're not happy and then you say, you know, then we have this conversation six months a year down the road or does he succumb to cancer and passes away and then you say I'm not happy this isn't working and not only am I dealing with a loss of a family member but now I'm dealing with separation. So this is where I start to get a little bit more


bristling a little bit more prickly just in terms of like this doesn't feel good this this feels terrible

Yeah. Do you think she meant more like emotional intimacy together? Like it would, you know, open you up like the fear of, you know, the mortality kind of staring you in the face would open you guys up or something?

potentially it could.

Potentially, yeah. And that's something that I never, it wasn't until hours, if not days after the fact where I kind of replayed that conversation in my head and went like, well, hold on a second. Like in the emotion of all of this, what did that mean? And I never expanded on that. And I never asked her to expand on that because at this point my mind had been made up and it was quite clear that she was on a trajectory as well in terms of, you know,


us uncoupling, splitting off and doing our own things. So in the grand scheme of things, you know, there was never, there was never yelling, there was never, you know, we're out for blood, we're out for money, we're out for physical things. And for that I am truly thankful for, but there were things that just did not make sense in my brain. There was a lackadaisical sense of this



bombshell had been dropped and then she would come into the basement where I kind of took up residency in those last few months and she would say, well, I'm gonna go hang out with my friends this evening. Okay, go do that. I distinctly remember mowing the lawn the weekend after the 4th of July and she came out in a summer dress and she was like, well, I'm going to my friend's house this weekend. Okay, like why are you telling me? Like I don't need this context.

Jonathan (40:39.928)

Jonathan (40:52.664)
Yeah, the bird nesting is so weird, right? It's like, I don't need to know where you're at. I don't know where you're at emotionally like Eric, but it's so weird to have somebody you're living with that you're no longer really in a relationship with, and then try to figure out like, well, do I?



Do I cook? Do I make enough for two? There's so many weird negotiations that happen in that situation.

What exactly exactly.

And that's exactly what she did that first weekend after this all went down. She came home and she said I made enchiladas. Please have some with me at the dinner table. And I... Your mind is already reeling and exactly to your point John like how do you... what's the right answer? What do you do? How do you... So I sat at the table and we ate dinner and she told me about her weekend with her friend and then she went out to water her flowers and I did the dishes sobbing over the kitchen sink.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's so hard, man. That's really hard. You guys are still cohabitating now? okay.

because I had no idea what this meant and what was happening here. So.


No, no. So, yeah, we, we were able to engage rather quickly. We had a mutual friend that was our realtor who helped us get into the house we were in. And we reached out to within a day of us deciding like, Hey, this is, this has come to an end. We need your help to get this onto the market. So he, and his team thankfully did a lot of the heavy lifting just in terms of basically coming into the house and telling us where to move things so we could get it staged for, for photos, get it on the market.

we knew fairly early on that this was going, we wanted to do a mediation separation. We didn't want to bring attorneys and lawyers into this. We, you know, the only court we wanted to deal with was the judge who signed the paperwork at the end of the process. which was hard for me because again, when you've had someone come home twice and then tell you they're, they're not happy and want to separate and then come back twice and say, I want to work on this. There's.

That trust is gone. That person that you've known for 17 years at that point, you want to trust them. But I wanted to trust them back in March. I wanted to trust them in July. I vividly remember her saying, you would never leave me in a rough spot. You have to trust that I would not leave you in a bad spot. I had to. It was one of those, I kind of had to surrender to the process. And...

Yeah, it strikes me that maybe your, your work on not being a nice guy was kicking in there. I, I, I think you should, to me anyway, it sounds like that's a positive. You can't accept somebody who comes and goes like that and is on one minute and off the next minute and working on it one minute. And then it turns out maybe they weren't the next minute and now you're standing there holding the bag.


Right. Right.

Yeah. Yeah.

You guys went through the process, all of that, you're living on your own now?

Yeah, yep. So right now I do have my own spot. I'm renting a townhouse, still kind of local in the southern Twin City suburb area. And it's great. I had the pleasure of living in this area back when we were engaged and fell in love with it locally. So when I saw this place was available, I jumped at the opportunity and absolutely loved it.

It's, you know, moving in was a process. My support system was out of state the weekend I moved. I had a good friend of mine who got married just this past weekend. Well, his bachelor party was in California the weekend I moved into this place. So I had, it was me and the local, you know, whatever crew the local U -Haul recommended. And one of my friend's wives, the four of us were in here moving stuff. And, and that was rough, you know.

getting away from that environment because for me there was almost like a toxic positivity coming out of that. Like, hey, we're gonna be friends after all of this and we're gonna be in each other's lives. And it's, I've lived enough life at this point to say, you know, anything's possible, but I know I need time to heal and I know I need a lot of distance. And the last thing I want is to talk about being good friends with the person that, you know, I spent the last 17 years with.


Yeah. It's a whole new, that's a whole new relationship that kind of has to, you almost have to kill the old one before you can start the new one. I think, talk to me about being out on your own now and like the healing process of that. I found, I still, still find I've, I'm in, I'm in my own place, over two years now and still finding things.



that I absolutely love about being here on my own. Like with, when the kids aren't here, I know you're not co -parenting or anything like that, but man, there are times where it's just me and my dog and it's pretty damn great. But you tell me your experience.



Yeah, no, I mean, that's just it. I think, you know, that first weekend here, you know, I'm surrounded by boxes and furniture that's not arranged. And again, more ugly crying, right? Because you go from a shared experience in a house that you bought together that you fell in love with, and now you're what feels like a shoe box. And then, you know, being that it was just me, it's more than enough. But, you know, in terms of just in reading,

Mm -hmm.

Yeah, right.

reading that book and finding the bad weather podcast like huge shout out to you guys. I mean, that first weekend that I was alone, I found the podcast by serendipitous twist of fate, just Googling, you know, men divorce or men's divorce help because I'm always listening to a podcast. I always have something in my ear. And when I saw JP Hurley, I thought there's no way.

Wow. Yep.

It's the same JP Hurley I knew all those years ago in the retail stores and he's got that voice, you know those tones. And the minute that podcast started, I almost wept because it was like, this person's talking to me. And then again, listening to what season one episodes were out at that point in time got me through some real rough times. But yeah.

Yep. Yep.

I had the fortune of having family in town the weekend I moved in. So the week or the day after I moved, I had family in here helping me unpack and rearranging things and setting stuff up, which again, that support system was crucial to have them only here for a day, but it was enough just to make it me feel like, okay, we this, I got this, this is going to be good. for me, the biggest part of my journey was exercising. Like I now have all this time on my hands.

on my hands where I can exercise now. I can start eating right because we kind of had to stick to a pretty strict dietary restrictions while I was married because of my partner's medical issues. So I was like, okay, well now I can eat a little bit more what I want to eat and I can work out more. And I tell you what, since May of last year, I've dropped 62 pounds. And yeah, so I feel like I've

wow, awesome.

I'm going through the wardrobe replacing things because I need things two sizes too small, which is great to feel and to see. But it's just, it's taking that time to read those books and to take that time to self reflect on how did I get here? What caused me to get here to continue my therapy? I was going weekly. I'm now down to every other week to when, you know, the therapist is now saying like, Hey, if you just want to check in like every three or four weeks, it was,

Hell yeah you are.

I'm not going to tell you you have to fire me, but like you're in a good spot, Eric. I hope you recognize that. So, I understand that every, every person who's going through this, their journey is going to be different. There's, there's going to be, you know, those, those ebbs and flows and those ups and downs. But when you have that, when you have that realization, because when you're in it, man, you're in it. And the first thing everyone's going to tell you is I just want to be on the other side of this, because that's what I was saying.


Mm -hmm. Yep. Yep.

and Hurley can attest to this as well. I would tell him, man, I just want to be on the other side of this. And then when you break through to the other side of it, man, it's like the pun intended bad weather podcast listeners, the clouds part and the sun comes out. It feels great. And I, you know, it wasn't until I started getting back into the routine of, you know, Thanksgiving, I didn't know what to expect at Thanksgiving, going home to see my family for the first time as a single person.

and realizing that not only do I feel great about those, but I don't miss that other person. I'm not thinking about that other person. I'm having the opportunity to connect with my friends and family who I wouldn't normally connect with when we're doing this as a couple. It just builds that confidence back up and like a breath of fresh air.


That's huge.

That's something I think people don't think about, but it's worth mentioning and me stepping on your story a little bit. When you're in a bad relationship or a contentious relationship, whatever you want to call it, and you are seeing each other, oftentimes you're seeing your family with this other person just consistently. That's the only time you're with your family anymore. And so it -

No, by all means.

changes the way you interact with your family because you're kind of doing this dance with this other person who's there. You're kind of putting on like, hey, I'm with the family and everything's good, but there's like this stuff in the back and this muck. And you're thinking about like, what my mom just said. I wonder how she's reacting to what my mom just said and not just having a conversation with your mom. You know what I mean? There's, there's a lot of that that goes on that I, I, I don't, I don't know that I've heard anybody articulated very well about what that is when it's gone and you can just have your.



Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

direct one on one, you know, relationship with your family, really, my kids, for example, I have a, I have a far more close relationship with my kids, just being me being their dad and not worrying about what their mom is going to say about me being their dad, that kind of thing. And, the, I, it's, it's not even something I, I, I don't know if I can even put my head in a space to feel that feeling anymore.


Do you know what I mean? Like you're in it long enough and you get away from it and you think I'll be sitting around this house or I'll interact with my kids or I'll have my dad over here or something and I'll go like, holy shit, this would have been totally different. Me, I personally would have been a totally different person if that person was here with me. It's so weird. But man, when you get to the other side of that, it's fantastic.

Yeah, absolutely.


Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, it's just, it's sobering. And, you know, how I knew I was in that spot where I was like, hey, like, healing's happening here. I got a phone call from my mom one evening and I have no social media presence. So she'll call and be like, well, I saw your friend on Facebook did this. And did you hear about that? I was like, you know, apparently she had come across my ex -wife's.

Facebook or something was on social media and she said do you know she's doing X Y and Z and there was anger in her voice there was frustration in her voice and I had a moment where I just said mom it doesn't matter like I'm it doesn't that doesn't bother me like let her live her life like let her do her thing I'm doing my thing but like I'm not gonna lose sleep over this I feel nothing about

Mm -hmm. Yeah.

like that life experience will be great for him. And I hope it is. But for me, I'm doing my own thing. And to hear her being such an agitated state, you know, to hear me say like, if you can be okay, if you can be frustrated, you can be frustrated. And that's fine. But for me, I can't worry about that. That's not for me. That's not my life anymore. And to have her deescalate was just like, okay, well,


Yeah, that's huge.

That's great. I'm glad to hear it, Eric. Like, yeah, it is great. It is great. So.

Yeah, it is great. Yeah, there's a lot of work that has to happen before you can put yourself in a place where you're just focusing on this is my business. This is my shit. This is the life I'm building for me. And whatever happens to that other person is the life for their building for them. And it has nothing to do with me. And that's perfect. That's great. Like that. It's a it's a great feeling to be on that side. And it's really hard getting there.



Exactly. Exactly. Yep.


In the last maybe five minutes here, so we can start kind of wrapping this up. I wonder what you would say to yourself a year ago, eight months ago, whatever, when you were in the thick of it, as far as like some words of motivation, some, some tools, right? Some like action steps, you can take some consistency stuff that you, that you might advocate for. What would you say to that guy?


Yeah, it's hard, right? Because hindsight being 20 -20, what would I do? Would I go back and say, no, no, no, no, no, no, approach it like this? No. I would say that within the last year, there has been so much growth and so much self -discovery just in terms of...

going through therapy, getting right, eating right, exercising, dropping the weight. Like if anything, I would say start that journey sooner. Don't wait for the flash point because by the time you see the flash point, the shockwave is about to hit you and you're sunk at that point. So it'd be, focus on yourself. Don't be afraid to rock the boat, dump the cart, raise your hand and say you're uncomfortable.

Mm -hmm.

Because in the end, you're just gonna make yourself a better person. You're gonna become your own advocate. And I know JP has recently talked about being your own advocate in physical health. I mean, that's just as important on the mental side of things as well. So do those things for you. Don't run through the drywall at full speed to try to break through it. Like mental health is really, you know, it's...

Ha ha ha ha.

physical health is real, your mental health is real. If you break your arm, you go to the doctor. If you feel like your brain is broken, you go seek that therapy. You find that help. And know that you are going to come out of this stronger. You're going to know what you need to work on. I always like to say it's about progress, not perfection. But man, man, if you lay that groundwork, focusing on the mental health and the physical health and just

being your own advocate and standing yourself up. Like it will help yourself personally, but it's going to help any relationship you're in moving forward. Again, work for me has gotten to a point where it's like, I can find that voice and I can, I can rock the boat when I don't agree with something or I'm confused why we're approaching something another way. selfishly, I'm in a fairly new relationship and you know, while it's wonderful and it's great, like I know the work that I've done is only going to benefit this relationship.

And I know that there's always gonna be that little twinge of anxiety. Like, well, I've got maybe 17 years with this person before things start going south. Well, no, Eric, you're projecting. So that's how I know I still have work to do, right? It's, yeah, so just stand up for yourself. A year ago, stand up.


You sure? Always.

be louder, say things, speak your mind and don't wait for that flash because again, by the time you see the flash, the shock waves on top of you.

Yeah, I think overturning the apple cart is sometimes an incredibly freeing thing. You don't even realize it until it's you've done it. And then you go, holy shit, look at all this around me. I don't know why I keep going back to the apple cart, but that's not, I keep saying, but like to continue the metaphor and punish it more. Like once that fuckers out of your way, man, just like a clear path going forward.

Yeah, absolutely.



If it makes you feel any better, John, I always told JP about the gremlin. You think of the movie Gremlins, you know, it's like there, I had a gremlin inside of a cage and he just started bending those bars, man. And then when that gremlin bent those bars and got out of that cage, it was, it could have been a little dangerous in terms of how I phrase things, but yeah, once he's out and once you kind of know the leash there, it's really refreshing to be like, I have a voice and it's important what it carries. So.

Awesome. Awesome. Well, Eric, thanks for joining us. Thanks for telling us your story. This has been enlightening and helpful for me as well. And thanks for listening to the show, man. Really appreciate it.


Yeah, no, thanks. And again, like, I can't say it enough. Like I found this podcast when I was at my lowest. And, you know, if I could say this to anyone out there, the Kims or the gyms or everyone in between, you know, hearing you guys is like hearing friends talk back and forth. And again, I do have that added benefit of knowing JP. I think everyone basically the message is everyone should be friends with John and JP at the end of the day, but.


No, I love I love the feed. I love seeing the new episodes drop into the podcast feed So please continue what you're doing. It's awesome and it really goes a long way. Can't thank you guys enough

can do. Well, appreciate that very much. All right, Kims and Jims, that's been our show. Thanks, Eric, again. Make sure you check us out on the socials and the website and all that. We'll put it in the show notes, but thanks again and take very good care of yourselves.

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