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Announcer: 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: Welcome to the Over Divorce podcast. My name is Tom.

Adrian: And I’m Adrian.

Tom: We’re here discussing the challenges and the opportunities presented by divorce, at a time when you’re probably not really thinking that’s really going to happen. Adrian and I sat down and talked a little bit and came up with the idea that maybe it’d benefit other guys to hear the common things that we went through and get an opportunity to learn about how they can become a better person through what is often a surprise.

Adrian: Yeah, the whole idea of using this moment the divorce event to essentially, take you to a better place. Hopefully, what we’re set up to do here is to help the guys like us who are going through a divorce to see the best way to make it through that and come out on the other end a better person. Talk about the issues and the good, the bad, and the ugly of what happens during the divorce and what to expect.

Ultimately, how to come out better off, as hard as that might seem, to be a better person a better man.

Tom: We’ve built 10 podcasts for you to check out. We made a decision. We’d cut the first version of this podcast earlier but we made the decision to re-cut it, because we wanted to be able to talk more clearly and honestly about what the other podcasts have.

Adrian: The first one sucked.

[laughter]

Tom: To do it again. So, here we are again. Yeah, it’s something we say in divorce a lot. Here I go again. We see patterns develop in our own choices and start to go “What the heck’s going on”?

Adrian: Yeah. Well, I think that first big hurdle, at least for me, was finding out. When my ex-wife came to me and said that she wasn’t happy. I knew that at that moment, I got punched in the gut and knew that this was going south quickly. I had no idea really what to do, what to expect and what to anticipate. All I knew is that a rug had been yanked out from underneath me and was really struggling with that, trying to overcome that.

Tom: I think this surprise is really very similar to the “five stages of grief”, that Kublerbler-Ross model that you study (when you’re in college) a little bit, a requirement for psychology or whatever. Then you start to realize how real this is as you sort of go through it, because it does feel like a little death — kind of. It’s really… It’s tough, but her five stages were: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I think that sure describes the things that I’ve been through so far. Had that denial… I think that’s when we started our conversation. It was me in the denial phase a little bit and how practical it was for me to try to resuscitate the relationship. You are kind of like “Yeah, you can try that!”

[laughter]

Tom: It’d be OK for you to try.

Adrian: I think you have to. I think there’s something in it, because it might work out. You might be able to turn things around. I think that part of it is going through that battle. Getting to a point where you realize that “Aw, this isn’t going to work out”. Knowing where that is, is just like it’s some shit you have to go through, before you really go into the second phase.

But there is definitely denial on my side, like: “It’s cool. It’s…”

[laughter]

Adrian: “Hey, you know, it’s just I got my arm chopped off, but it’s going to grow back. It’s cool, I’ll just put a little water on it and take care of it, little butter.”

Tom: [laughs] [jokingly] Butter fixes everything!

Adrian: [laughs] Then you realize, “Hey man, I got this stump!” [laughs] It’s a terrible analogy, but it’s the best I got.

Tom: [laughs] I think it is denial. You’re going to win her back. She just doesn’t understand. You’re going to argue your way through it. You’re going to make your case about why she needs to love you again. I felt the need to apologize for the things that I knew… The grievances that she had, that I knew were legit.

But that wasn’t just important for me for self-discovery, I think, to a point about getting to the next phase. I didn’t need to apologize though, because I was wrong about stuff. Unfortunately, copping it out wasn’t enough.

I think that it’s true for…In a lot of cases you’re just not going to be able to rationalize the relationship and make it clear to the other person why they should still love you from a rational point of view, because there’s so much emotion involved in it.

Adrian: I think that’s the big dilemma. Most of my guy friends that had been through a divorce, they look at it from a rational perspective. They’ll be like “OK, x plus y equals z and wait a second. You’re telling me your emotions? You’re feeling like this doesn’t feel right anymore? How do I turn not feeling right anymore into an equation?”

So a lot of guys are coming in from a rational point of view and saying, “Hey, wait a second. We’re good together because we do this and this, and this equals that. You’re saying that doesn’t feel right?” I don’t even know what to do with that. I don’t even know. [laughs]

Tom: I didn’t. I think you just go, “Where am I? What’s happened?” Then yeah, you’re just in this state of shock, and you just have to recognize it. That’s the truest thing, is just to deal with yourself in a state of shock. We talk about presence in a future episode looking into the future as we can do when we redo the first show. [laughs]

We talk about being present and being aware. It’s particularly important I think when you’re literally going through shock because of being surprised by something like this. Then you start to roll back on it. You, well, realize, “Well, maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking,” and you start to build yourself out of it and start to get a hold of yourself. I think you do that.

We talk about diet and exercise and its importance as well in the episodes coming up. But I do think that takes to the anger thing, right? Which is that second stage of just being really fully pissed off.

Adrian: Yeah, and what’s interesting is it’s not necessarily a clear transition as you go through the steps, so as you go from denial to anger to whatever.

Tom: Oh, that’s a really good point, yeah, because you do with your mood, too. You go up and down, and you get really dark and sad. Then yeah, you go out with friends, and you feel better.

Adrian: It can be a real pain in the ass in terms [laughs] of the emotional rollercoaster that you go on. So you can trick yourself into thinking like, “OK, I had a really good day. I think I’m over it. I’m over this stuff.”

Then there’ll be a trigger, and all of a sudden you’re back into sitting in your bathtub sucking on your thumb and being like, “What the hell’s going on? I thought I was over this.” So I think that’s one of the things that’s really insidious, is the rollercoaster ride that you go through.

Tom: Oh, I thought it was the sitting in the bathtub.

[laughter]

Adrian: That’s just something I like to do on a Friday night because I have no friends.

Tom: [laughs] That’s an insidious part, man. That scares me.

Adrian: [laughs]

Tom: That’s an image that frightens me.

[laughter]

Adrian: I’ll pin it up on my Pinterest.

Tom: [laughs]

Adrian: My shaking naked body in the bathtub. [laughs]

Tom: In the tub.

Adrian: In the tub.

Tom: I’m in the hot tub.

Adrian: I don’t take baths. I’m a man. I take showers. [laughs] The hardest part for me was just the thinking that, “I was OK and getting OK,” and it does get better. [laughs] The bad [laughs] times do go away, but they also come back in ways.

Tom: You’re further along than I am, and I’m still dealing with it. I’m still feeling back and forth and up and down. It’s so weird because when you go back down again it’s like, “Oh, wow. It’s deep.” You don’t really see the time of rising out of it sometimes. You just think it’s going to stay that way, but it doesn’t. You come out of it. I felt like two things helped me–being social and exercise. Those two things seemed to do the most in terms of just getting me out of my mood.

Adrian: Yeah. I think definitely the building up a support group, actively engaging with other people, going out, and building relationships is going to be key to the health and happiness. I mean that’s just one of the basic things in life. It’s basic for people that are struggling with depression. If you’re going through a divorce, you’re depressed. [laughs]

Tom: Yeah, you are. I think that’s important to realize unless you arrived at it from a different place in the context if you wanted it. I think it’s important to say that this podcast is really built around giving some information to guys who are blindsided by it to some extent and they’re shocked. If you wanted the divorce, now I don’t know if a lot of this is going to be true or not. I don’t know.

It might be an interesting [laughs] even in a future-future podcast, one that we’re unaware of, to explore that. If you broke it off, do you still feel lost and some of these other feelings? I don’t know if my ex feels those things.

Adrian: I think so. One of my buddies who got divorced, it was his choice. He basically left his wife for somebody else. He was still tortured by it in a different way. It was hard for me to relate because that wasn’t my perspective, but the pain was real for him. He still had loss. He still had his kids hate him [laughs] and still went through a lot of shit.

So I don’t think it’s easy really for anybody that goes through it. I think it’s a little bit different for somebody who wasn’t maybe expecting or didn’t want it. I think it’s not easy for anybody unless things are really clear and really horrible, then maybe it’s a relief for some.

Tom: I wonder how — just to the percentage particularly in our demographic — how many people…If it isn’t for the reasons that one normally associates with divorce, cruelty or drug abuse or child abuse or some…The traditional reasons we go, “Yes, a divorce is granted. These irreconcilable things exist, and it’s bad, and it’ll be fixed by having divorce.”

Now, it’s just emotionally, “I don’t want it. I don’t like it anymore. I’m not in love anymore or whatever.” It seems like that’s more common, that emotional bond being required. I read on Quora that some people were talking about the emergence of feminism allowing for more divorce because women weren’t trapped by economics anymore.

Adrian: Well, I think that there’s a lot of truth to that for sure. But I came to the realization afterwards that this person just didn’t love me anymore. I guess the exact saying is like, “Why am I struggling so hard to be with somebody that doesn’t want to be with me?”

Ultimately, that’s what it’s about. Do you really want to be with somebody that doesn’t want to be with you, that doesn’t love you anymore? I’m all about working it out, but if that doesn’t happen, then what? Now, they’re stuck with you, or you’re stuck with them.

Tom: Yeah, to be miserable, and that doesn’t make sense.

Adrian: Yeah, that doesn’t make sense either.

Tom: You’re right. It really is that, like to your point, it is that…So they’re bargaining, you do it yourself the way you say it to yourself. I’m not unlovable. It’s not worth it to be with someone who doesn’t love me. You got the rest of your life to live, and love is an important part of it. If love isn’t there anymore, you got to go out and be a part of it to get it.

Adrian: Or get a nice bathtub and wallow around in that.

[laughter]

Tom: There’s that image again, “Oh, no!”

Adrian: Burn it out of your eyes with acid [laughs] .

No, you’re right. I think that was a big realization. That was a big thing that helped me when I came to that realization of just knowing and accepting — just even thinking about it — and being able to wrap my head around the fact that this person just doesn’t want to be with me and then being OK with that [laughs] , like accepting that and being like, “OK. Well, we’re just not a fit.”

I think for me that was part of the battle is just coming to that realization, just really struggling with that, and then accepting that and being OK with that, ultimately. That led to a lot of relief.

Well, I didn’t want to hear it. It sucked for my ego and didn’t feel good. This person that I had loved and cared about…But ultimately, coming to that realization really helped me and was kind of a cap on things for me that push me through.

Tom: It’s a good story to share because in episode three, we talked about decisions and coming to the decision that it’s not worth it, coming to the decision that it is what it is and making that decision right is what we talked about.

I think it’s a good episode to check out because it really dives into this notion of making a decision. I think to move on to these stages you have to make a decision that you’re ready to move on to the next stage. That’s really critical in getting through this. And you do get through it. That’s the thing to remember. You do get through it.

Adrian: Yeah, and our hope is that if you’re listening to this and checking out the resources that we’ve got on the website and checking out the show notes, that we’re going to give you — to our best of our ability — the steps and the information that has helped us and helped guys like us who have been through divorce.

Hopefully, this is going to be a great resource for you to help you not only to just make it through and get over your divorce but also really make you a better person. I mean I’ve went through a tremendous amount of personal change through my divorce. One of my big things was the divorce diet.

[laughter]

Tom: It’s real, man. It’s real. You dropped 20.

Adrian: It’s real. [laughs] I did. I dropped 35 pounds since my fighting weight. I’ve really transformed my habits and things that I do on a daily basis, my daily rituals. I’m really in a better place physically, and mentally, spiritually, everything. I never would have thought that I can get anywhere close to where I was three and a half years ago, which is when I was going through my divorce.

Our intent is really to show how we’ve done it. We’re not experts; we’re not therapists, but we are doing our damn best to get some really good information out there because we think that it’s lacking.

Tom: I know I was looking for resource. Most of the people that I know that have been through this look for resources and really haven’t been able to find those. There’s lots of books on divorce, good books on divorce. We referenced them, but getting an overview through it and knowing that you’re not going through something that nobody else has been through is really helpful.

Adrian: A friend of mine told me once, he’s like, “Look man, divorce and this stuff has been going on for millions of years.” [laughs] You’re not the only one. I know it feels like it, but you’re going to get through it. And it happens all the time.”

That sounds harsh, but it really gave me some perspective. I was like, “Yeah, you’re right. This has been going on forever, and it probably will be one of the hardest things that you go through in your life, but you will make it through.”

Tom: And just going to those stages and getting to them and knowing what’s coming, I think, is helpful. I think one of the things that we want to be able to provide is the sense of what’s next and how to work through it and some tips and tricks that helped us work through it and helped other people work through it.

I think the key here is that we did some research to find some stuff that would be helpful to the things that you need to do to help make yourself better, a better person, and improved in ways that you wanted to but couldn’t because there are things that were on the way of making those changes.

How you can eat how you want, you can exercise how you want, you can get the sleep you want, and you can get the life you want as soon as you agree with yourself that you’re going to get up and get on with it, right?

Adrian: Yeah, and it’s as much as about the things that you do as the things that you avoid. We do talked on other episodes about some of the things you need to stay away from and keep in check, turning to alcohol or drugs or sex or whatever.

You are in a time in your life where you’re not clear headed and you’re not making rational decisions. You need to really check that because you can go down a bad spiral that can really ruin your life. Avoiding the quick fixes, the easy outs, and at least to have moderation is just as important as doing the good things like being social and exercising and doing those types of activities.

Tom: Because it really is about self-care and figuring out what that is and taking responsibility for it. In episode two actually, we talked about escapism and all those cool things that makes the pain go away, right away, but sometimes leave you further back than when you started.

It’s also important to look at your kids, your friends, and family and how they can help. Really, the responsibility that we talked about in episode four and the responsibility you have to yourself to undertake this thing and face it head on, look at it square in the eye and work your way through it. It’s tricky, but there are resources, and you find a good one, we hope.

Adrian: Yeah. We hope [laughs] . If not, it’s just going to be you and I talking to each other for the next three years [laughs].

Tom: I think the one thing that we want to make clear is that you can always reach us at [email protected] Your questions are always really great. We also have a forum that’s brand new, so be patient with it, but I think there’re some opportunities for people to share. We’ll be monitoring it. We’ll be encouraging people to use it. I think it’s going to be tough.

One of the reasons we built this whole community was it’s hard to really do that. For some people when they’re going through it, they just want to be alone. Sometimes if you don’t feel like you’re going to be pleasant, if you feel more comfortable being alone, this is an opportunity for you to still to help yourself — why you’re alone — and get on out there and be active and be with people.

Even if you’re not ready to that right now, you need to get yourself ready to do that. This is going to be the main thing that helps you get better.

Adrian: Yeah, and just being around other guys that are going through the same shit that you’re going through can be really helpful and having that sense of community. Even if it’s on an online type of setting, that’s a good way to connect. I think it’s going to be a good valuable help.

Tom: Register or ask a question. We’ll try to get a good answer for you. We certainly encourage anyone else that’s been down this road. It’s a great place to wrap up your divorce experience, just talking to somebody today like, “Yeah, I’ve been through it. I really am over it. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to think about it anymore. I already moved on.” It’s helpful to hear that.

I think maybe one of the things that can bring closure is contributing learning as you’re finishing the process. Again, the opportunity to do that is in the forum, right?

Adrian: Yeah, absolutely. We welcome anybody, and any good positive life experience would definitely be welcome there for sure. I would just say keep the negative shit to a minimum if you can [laughs] .

Tom: There’s a free book that you can get with your email address that gives you 60 things you can do in less than 60 seconds to feel better. Some of them are going to work for you, and some of them aren’t. The idea was, “Hey, here’s a lot of ideas.”

Maybe one or two of them will work for you. You can fulfill them, and see if one or two of them don’t speak to you and offer an opportunity for you to decompress and decouple from the angst particularly with the early stages of going through your divorce.

Adrian: That guide is really supposed to be basically a confidence builder. These are little tiny steps that you can take on a daily basis that will hopefully make you feel better and make you feel more confident and more able.

If you build upon them, if you start stacking these little tips and techniques, you will feel better, and it will be an upward spiral. You’ll live a more fulfilling life. You’ll be happier, and you’ll feel better about yourself and where you are.

It’s not going to happen overnight. [laughs] It’s not going to be tomorrow. It’s a gradual thing, a gradual progression. It’s something that I’m still working on in many respects. I think it’s a lifelong journey. The intent is we’ve got some things that you can do in relative short order that will hopefully get you in the right direction. Those are things that I’ve done, and they’ve certainly helped me.

Tom: We’d really like you to be part of the community because the more people who can share their experience — particularly going through some other situations — the more the pattern will emerge for everyone or the patterns emerge. That’s really helpful to manage the things that are coming is to know what you’re facing. Pre-warned is forearmed.

Adrian: The more information you have about almost anything, the better off you are followed immediately by action [laughs] . So learn something and then quickly implement it, and take action.

To that point, just don’t download the book and read it or listen to our stuff or necessarily believe what I always say, but if something resonates, try it out, and put it into action as quickly as possible. If it doesn’t work for you, throw it away. If it’s working for you, keep using it, and then stack something else on top of that.

Tom: I think IT see guys can relate to iterations. This just gives you a lot of opportunities to iterate yourself and become a new person pretty quickly with a lot of these steps like making a cup of tea and thinking about it and being present in it. As silly as that might sound to a lot of people, it made me feel better. Just start that process, start that ritual and feel better.

Adrian: Do you drink a lot of tea, my friend?

Tom: I do.

Adrian: Are you a teetotaler?

Tom: I like tea. I got to say. I live in the south and brew it up pretty much every day. It goes to what we talked about in our fourth episode in terms of responsibility, but also we talked about this idea of presence from episode five and how often these rituals will make us more present.

That can make us better. That can snap us out of that constant gibberish that we hear in our head when we’re sad that’s like a voice telling us that everything is going wrong. How do you snap out of that particularly early on? There are a lot of tools and tips we’ll talk about that help with that in the future episodes.

Adrian: In one of the episodes, we also chat about the kids. That’s an enormous issue, and we really just deal with some of them.

Tom: Episode six?

Adrian: Episode six with how to talk to your kids about the divorce, what’s the impact there, and the issues around having children. That was really tough for me. I’ve got two boys, eight and six. That was a difficult transition. Again, I think the more you know and the better armed you are to go in and deal with that, the better off you’ll ultimately be.

Tom: We talked about in episode seven friends and family, and they are a really big help in terms of snapping you out of your situation. We talked about how you don’t want to lean in to them too much, and what to do when you struggle on to find one. But they are out there.

The thing is now you have a community that you can join if you want to. Participate online with us or follow some of the links that we provide that may lead you to information that you’re really looking that’s going to really help you get to that next stage and ultimately get yourself over divorce.

What do we got coming up in the next episode? As if I don’t know, right?

[laughter]

Adrian: Gee, I wonder. In the next episode, we’re going to be talking about escapism, all the fun stuff that you shouldn’t be doing [laughs] , all the ways that you can trick yourself into short-term indulgence and good times.

We talked about it a little bit before — the old drugs, alcohol, TV, pornography, whatever — really needing to keep all of those things and in check and in balance so that they don’t take over your life.

Tom: Or just get you stuck. It’s really easy for those things to just get you stuck in one place and not be able to move to the next one.

To your earlier point, I’m no teetotaler, and I don’t think you are either. We’re not necessarily advocating that. But what we are saying is that you got to be much more conscious of it than you probably were when you’re married, and that’s tricky, for everyone.

Adrian: There’s a difference between going out and partying and having a good time with your buddies and trying to get through your divorce by going out and drowning your sorrows or buying a bag of cocaine or whatever. There’s a huge difference there, and it can really have some dire consequences. You’re in a vulnerable spot where that instant gratification can take you down a dark place.

Tom: And it feeds on itself. You do one thing, and then it’s easy to rationalize the other thing, and then it’s easy to rationalize the third thing. That’s the path you don’t want to get out. I guess everybody fought with it to some extent.

The trick is to get yourself back on track as quickly as you can, to recognize, “Oops, I made a mistake. I got to get back on path, back on the track. I’ll feel better. It will be worth it.” And just get yourself through it by actually taking…If you can’t think of something yourself, we got 60 ideas for you, until the next time we chat at you on podcast two. I’m Tom.

Adrian: And I’m Adrian.

Tom: Thanks for listening.

Adrian: Thanks.

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Announcer: Thanks for listening to the overdivorce.com podcast with Adrian and Tom. The opinions expressed are theirs alone. They’re not professionals. Join us next time anyway. It will 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.