Announcer: [0:02] You’re listening to the OverDivorce.com podcast with hosts Tom and Adrian, two guys swapping stories about getting over divorce. If you’re going through a painful divorce and are struggling with anger and anxiety, then you’ve found the right podcast. Hang with us for the next 30 minutes or so, and we promise, you’ll gain useful insight and effective tips and techniques for getting over your divorce and rebuilding a better life.

Tom: [0:25] Welcome to the Over Divorce podcast. I’m Tom.

Adrian: [0:28] I’m Adrian.

Tom: [0:29] Today we’re talking about hope and change. I think it’s fitting on the tenth one because we started this a few months ago, and here we are at 10, and I think it’s worth a virtual high five.

Adrian: [0:46] Right on. Let’s do that, the high five, and really dork out.

[0:50] [laughter]

Tom: [0:52] No, I’m pretty proud of sticking with something for 10 episodes, going through all of this crap that is the divorce in the first year. Been at it ten months now, so I’m pretty much done with it. It’s really just me getting through it emotionally, at least on my timeline. How long has it been for you?

Adrian: [1:10] For me its about three and a half years since the actual divorce, actual document and so it was another nine months, kind of a year, before that, where the turbulence was and that led to that. I’m a good distance from that, a little bit of perspective on that. Feeling pretty good in terms of where I am.

Tom: [1:32] There is some hope there, I think for me at 10 months I’m starting to see it.

[1:36] We were joking about air travel before the show started and I was thinking about how fortunate I was for what is typically a full flight and it wound up being extremely pleasant. My expectation was it was going to be bad, but it wasn’t. It was actually as good as those experiences actually can be. Even with a little bit of light weather that we had coming in to land.

[1:57] There are a lot of reasons for hope even though I think a lot of times, even at this point. I imagine that, I don’t know, do you still hit times when you are like, I don’t know, or do you feel like now that you have completed it and thank goodness those key areas of health, career, and your relationships all are pretty solid, right?

Adrian: [2:22] Now I’m feeling pretty good about where I am and how my marriage ended and what I went through. I think going in to it if I would have known how hard — I had no idea how hard it was going to be, and I had no idea what of really what to expect. That was the shocker for me.

[2:40] I was just going into this unknown, and it was difficult. I didn’t expect a lot of what had happened, and I didn’t expect the depression I went through. It’s hard to put a time frame on when does that turn around, when do you start coming out of that and kind of accepting where you are and moving forward with your life.

[3:02] I think a lot of that has to do with what you’re willing to do to kind of accept the way things are and implement new things to make your life better. For me, I think it was probably around the year and half, year mark, somewhere around there where it wasn’t quite as hard and where things were actually, they better than they were back

Tom: [3:24] Yeah, I think that’s really important to know, and I recall asking you that back 30 days kind of into this. I remember thinking, man a year is so long through month three and through month four, the holidays. Those times, so tremendously difficult and so brutal to try to get through that stuff just didn’t seem like it was going to be possible that things would brighten up, but I can begin to see that probability of things brightening now. Whereas it was really hard for me to do that six months ago.

Adrian: [4:00] I think that everything just kind of mellows out, and for me it was just kind of getting, being happier of who I was and developing my life and my own hobbies and just living a fulfilling life doing things that I enjoyed. I’m in a new relationship now, and that’s really great. I’m really connected with my kids, and we have stronger relationship, and I’m really connected with my family. Really, a lot of that is due to the fact that I went through this divorce.

[4:34] The irony is my family kind of fell apart or changed and yet was made stronger in other areas, so it’s pretty interesting the way that can shape up. You have to work at that. I think, you have to use the divorce, and the way the way I looked at it was as a launching pad to create a better life, to try to make something better out of the pain and use that as a learning experience and use that as a way to say, OK, I’m going to change things, I’m going to do things differently and use it as an opportunity to move on.

[5:08] I think you have to have hope and optimism and all those kinds of things when you’re going through it because it doesn’t become clear, it’s not evident that things are going to get better and that they’ll change and that you’ll be OK, but things do get better.

Tom: [5:19] I was trying to think about the evidence piece. What kind of evidence can you look for? Particularly, in month one, month two, and month three when things are really bad, you’re stressed out, it’s catastrophic, and you’re disoriented. What are the evidentiary things that you can grab on to to know that this isn’t going to be permanent and you’re not always going to feel this way?

[5:48] The first thing that comes to my mind is your friends. To me, that was the first piece of evidence that things were going to be OK because I still have those close relationships.

Adrian: [6:00] For me, it was coming to grips with the fact that all the hard work had to be done by me. I had to basically implement new habits to make my life better. I wasn’t necessarily looking outwards, but more inwards. The first few months for me it was hard to find anything good and that this was going to end. I was confused, didn’t understand it, and was just in a lot of pain.

[6:33] I knew that I had to change, not necessarily my habits, but more of my attitude and my perspective. I started getting more perspective on myself and my life, and what I wanted to do with it and move forward with that. That’s a key thing is getting some awareness and distance from yourself. If you can get some more perspective on who you are and knowing that there’s been a million guys who are in your situation and who have been through that before.

[7:07] That they turned out OK, the likelihood is that you are as well. That gave me a little bit of comfort.

Tom: [7:12] The fact that there have been so many people and so many journeys through this whole thing. Another thing that helped me was the ability to take control, just like you were saying. You have the ability to redefine your identity. In order to understand that, I started running and trying to eat less, not really I can’t say necessarily better, trying to eat better. It’s always been about eating substantially less, giving my body a rest, and doing some fasting.

[7:45] That actually helped a lot because that gave me that I needed that I did have some control over what was going on. I couldn’t control even some of it, but there were a couple of things that I could do early on. In my case, drop some weight and I could physically see that I was dropping it. I was like OK. I made this better. I can make some other things better. I do have some control over this stuff and that was really helpful.

[8:16] This is where it just gets down to the individual and what kind of evidence is required. What does that person need on their own terms?

Adrian: [8:25] Yeah. You hit on an important part about the control. We don’t have a lot of control over most of the things that are happening outside of us, but we totally have control over our actions and the decisions we make. The more that we make conscious efforts towards something, towards diet, nutrition, how much sleep you’re trying to get, and how you’re spending your time. You do have control over most of those factors.

[8:52] The more you make conscious choices, that does feed back into itself. If you’re making good choices, you’re feeling good about what you’re eating, and if you’re exercising, that gets into a positive cycle. In that, OK I might be in situation that I don’t like or don’t want to happen, but I’ve got control over this area. I can decide that I’m going to eat good food, exercise everyday, I’m going to make sure that I’m drinking good water, and I’m going to meditate.

[9:23] I’m going to carve that out and I’ve got control over that. That builds confidence and you can see that. At least for me, I could see how that was making me feel better. Ultimately, long term, you build these little things up and you have a redesigned life.

Tom: [9:40] It really just takes one thing and it can cascade from there. You can go, OK I did this. Now, can I do this next thing and bite off small chunks? We’ve talked about eating elephant one bite at a time. That’s really how you see that evidence that things can be better and that you can come out of this a better person. You can come out of this and you can get what you want out of your life. It isn’t by any means over, and there is a lot of value that you can still bring to the table. Start by being kind to yourself and making good changes in your life.

[10:23] Even if that means going to see your doctor and asking him what the best way to do it is and getting his input on that one step you can take.

[10:32] What’s the next goal? What are you going to do when you achieve that goal? What are you going to give yourself? You’re going to give yourself some reward that acknowledges that you’ve achieved this specific thing, that gives you proof that things are going to get better for you.

Adrian: [10:48] I know we’ve talked about this before, but the social impact. By that I mean just being around other people. Going out and taking a class in something, or joining a gym, or taking a cooking class.

Tom: [11:04] Volunteering.

Adrian: [11:05] Starting a cult, something like that. Exactly.

[11:08] [laughter]

Adrian: [11:09] Yeah. Volunteering is brilliant. Yeah. Doing something like that. That’s super key into kind of seeing evidence and feeling better about yourself and finding out that “Hey, I’m more than just what I was during my marriage, in my previous relationship. I’m this whole other person.”

[11:27] I think that’s crucial. I think getting involved socially in your community — whatever that means to you — the more you can do that, the more that you’re out there, I think the better connected you are and the better you’ll feel.

Tom: [11:39] More good things will happen, because more things happen. I think it’s easy to get kind of stuck inside and not want to go out and not want to be with people because it seems like a lot of work.

Adrian: [11:51] Yeah. Unless you’re a dick. Then all bets are off. Nothing good will happen.

Tom: [sarcasm] [11:58] No, no, no. It worked out fine for me. Everything was good.

Adrian: [12:04] You’re right. I mean, I think the volunteering is that you’re helping somebody else out. You’re giving back. You’re feeling good. You can’t go wrong with being engaged in your community in that way.

[12:16] It’s super easy to do, and it’s usually not a lot of heavy lifting. There’s a ton of resources online so you can work with different groups and community organizations and get involved for as much or as little as you want.

Tom: [12:30] I think there are even some websites that we’ll link to where you can go and sort of see where they’re looking for some help. Sometimes it’s literally simply going in in the afternoon and volunteering for an afternoon to move stuff around.

[12:43] It’s remarkable how those sorts of things will feed on themselves and create opportunities for you to find validation and some inspiration about who that person is you’re meant to be.

Adrian: [12:55] Yeah. I think another good resource is just talking, maybe to somebody who’s gone through it before. Somebody who you respect and who’s got their life together. You can say, “Hey, man. I know you went through this. Give me your perspective on how things worked out for you” and “What did you do?”

[13:11] Get some insight from them. I think that type of thing. Because they’ll be able to relate to you and hopefully give you some good guidance in that area.

Tom: [13:19] Lots of people have been through it. I think one of the things that’s been so shocking to me over the past 10 months is how many people have been through it. Hearing people go, upon hearing I’m divorced, “Oh, yeah. I’ve been there.” It’s like, “Really? Whoa.”

[13:34] You never would have thought it. You’re right, people are pretty forthcoming with support and can help you kind of see your way past this tunnel. You’re really just kind of focused on this tunnel vision, one thing way down the road, and is it a light at the end of the tunnel or is it a train?

[13:51] This questioning and wondering “What’s going to happen?” and “How catastrophic is this?” and “Am I ever going to find my way out of it?”

Adrian: [13:58] That is for sure. I mean, it becomes for me, yeah, it was all-encompassing and learning to, yeah, the old adage of time heals all wounds. It’s such a clichCB), I hate saying that. But it’s kind of true. I mean, it dissipates.

[14:14] We mentioned before there’s some things that you can actively do to move towards that easing and that moving forward into a solution. What about you? What are some other things that you saw as some little triggers or some little lights of things softening up?

Tom: [14:29] I think when things just got resolved and when it was clear what was going to happen with respect to our arrangement. What that was really going to look like. Once I was able to see that, I was able to then skip past it.

[14:45] Because I talked about the whole grudge thing and how bad that is. It’s really important to sort of move on in your relationship and sort of accept what’s going on, internalize it, and then work through it in the context of knowing it’s going to pass as well. That all this stuff is transitory.

[15:03] Everything good and bad ends. Your bad feelings will end just as surely as any good ones. But I think what’s important to know is that, if you think past on your own life, if you reflect on your own life, you’ll see that it’s really hard to maintain the bad memories.

[15:23] I think the brain really works hard to give you a rosy view of your history when you reflect on it. You focus on the good times and remember the good times. Just kind of know about that going forward. That there’s still good times to be had and good memories to be made.

[15:40] Things that are hard to imagine when you’re two and three months into this thing, four months into it, are hard to really grasp onto.

[15:48] I also think going to a group and just kind of listening to other divorced people talk about it was helpful, too, because most of the people that were in that group were further down the divorce cycle and process than I was.

[16:03] It was clear to me that they were recovering and getting better, and that getting together and talking about it was helpful to them. Like you’d said earlier, seeing someone else and talking to someone else that had been through it and gotten through it helps you to see in your own terms what’s going to get better for you.

[16:20] Adrian, I remember you telling a story or really, more specifically, I’d given a tip about going out to dinner and making sure you go out to that same place and begin to build a clique of friends, even if it’s just sort of the waitstaff that gets to know you, right?

Adrian: [16:37] Yeah. There’s this great little pub near my house called The Bobcat, and they’ve got great handcrafted beers and really good food. I would go in there and I would just have dinner at the bar. Try not to eat alone.

[16:52] I’d go out there two or three nights a week. After a very short amount of time, like a couple of weeks, you get to know the bartender. Make sure you tip well. You get to know kind of the regulars. It is kind of like going into “Cheers.”

[17:08] You know the people there in very short order, and it feels good to go out there and kind of start your own community. You can do that anywhere. You can go in and make claim of the little Italian place down the road as yours.

[17:22] You go in there three nights a week, and you don’t have to spend a lot of dough to do this. You can just go out there and leave some big tips initially. That usually helps. But just go in there and smile.

[17:35] You don’t even really have to talk to that many people initially. If you’re afraid of doing that, you can just go and hang out. People will pick up on that, and you’ll start talking to people. It’s going to happen.

Tom: [17:45] Is it James Alcher? I never know how to say his last name, I’m so embarrassed, that has the newsletter we like so much was talking about the $2 bill trick. You go to the bank and you get yourself a load of $2 bills that is expressly for tipping, people remember you. Because they’ll always remember the $2 bill. I thought that was this great idea. It’s particularly good, if you’re saying to yourself, man I’m going out and I’m going out alone and I’m going to do this because it’s doable.

[18:23] It’s a good step and I’m going to go yeah I’ll sit at the bar. By the way, I have a bar client that I work for. One of the things and you can ask anybody in the restaurant business, they’ll tell you that if you go to a bar restaurant or a restaurant and bar always sit at the bar and eat. The food’s better, the conversation’s better, and it’s a really good experience.

[18:46] Unless there are more than four of you or any party under four, particularly party of one, always eat at the bar.

Adrian: [18:53] That’s way under four.

Tom: [18:54] Yeah.

[18:54] [laughter]

Tom: [18:57] That’s a double eagle right there, my friend. It’s a really good tip and it’s something I’ve always appreciated knowing because now I very much enjoy eating at the bar. It’s funny because when I see other people at the bar, it’s an inside piece of knowledge.

Adrian: [19:14] Right on. That’s something. Yeah, you can always make friends at a bar. There are always some drunks that’ll talk to you.

[19:20] [laughter]

Adrian: [19:22] Especially, if you buy a couple of rounds…

[19:24] [crosstalk]

Tom: [19:25] …Buy a round or two you’ll have all kinds of friends.

Adrian: [19:26] Yeah. You’ll be locked in man. It doesn’t take much.

Tom: [19:31] It’s important to review the idea that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it really does come in the form of taking control over your own situation and making yourself the person you want to be and looking at those changes in your life that are happening that are positive. Small steps forward are still steps forward and recognizing them is your clue to know that things are really going to get better.

[19:58] Whatever it is that reveals itself as your way forward, whether it’s losing three or four pounds, sleeping better, learning how to meditate, or getting the courage to go out at night to a local pub and getting to know the folks that are there. They’re all steps further in the right direction to seeing a better life and redefining the person that you are. The new person that you’re becoming.

Adrian: [20:28] Right. I guess to chat a little bit about what we’ll be talking about next week.

Tom: [20:34] Yeah. What are we talking about next week?

Adrian: [20:37] I’m glad you asked me that Tom. Next week, we’re going to be talking about new love. Being open to new love versus looking for new love. Learning from your experiences and to be around people who challenge you in a positive way.

Tom: [20:50] I’m really looking forward to this because I am clueless about this. I’m still stuck on the notion that I’m never going to get involved with anybody again. I can’t see it happening and it’s very weird for me. I’m very much looking forward to discussing this from the perspective of yeah I’m looking for that light to emerge here at month 10. That’s thing that I’m seeking because I know that it’s going to happen intellectually.

[21:19] Emotionally, it just seems foreign as it can possibly be.

Adrian: [21:23] Yeah. We got to take care of some restraining orders first and then delve into the emotional issues. We can do the legal stuff and the rest just takes care of itself.

Tom: [laughs] [21:32] Right. I need to follow the judge’s instructions and everything will be OK.

Adrian: [21:38] 500 feet, my friend.

[21:39] [laughter]

Tom: [21:41] Oh boy. Until that happy time, I’m Tom.

Adrian: [21:45] I’m Adrian.

Tom: [21:46] Thanks for joining us.

Adrian: [21:47] Thanks.

[21:47] [music]

Man 3: [21:48] Thanks for listening to the “Over Divorce Podcast with Adrian and Tom.” The opinions expressed are theirs a lone. They’re not professionals. Join us next time anyway, it’ll be good for you. Visit overdivorce.com to get your free divorce recovery guide and get some fantastic resources on making a better life. Contact us via email at [email protected] Follow us on Twitter and like us on our Facebook page. We want to help you if we can.

[22:14] [music]