Divorced AF – Jess and Her Ex Tell All


Divorced AF – Jess & Daren Tell All About Their Divorce, S3, Ep 52

Jessica: What do you think your ex would say about your divorce? Do you think you guys are on the same page in terms of how it went down, how it was handled, and how you define the current relationship? You’ve heard me talk about my ex and the great relationship I think we have. For the first time, we’re having him join us on the Divorce etc… podcast to give his hot takes on our divorce and how he thinks I rate as an ex wife. We’re the exEXPERTS, T.H. and Jessica, though T.H. is basically going to be interviewing me and Daren. We help you navigate your divorce and successfully move on with your life. Let’s bring in today’s guest.

T.H.: So, Jessica says, “I think that we should bring Daren onto Divorce etc…” I said, “Well, why would Daren want to do that? I mean, he doesn’t even know what we’re going to ask.” Just a little refresher here, Daren and I were best friends in high school, and that’s how I met Jessica in college—she recaps a story that I do not remember at all, but I believe her—then couples best friends and all the things. Daren and I go way back. I actually found a really funny picture of Daren with like a total… what’s it called with all the hair in the back?

Daren: With a mullet?

Jessica: Mullet!

T.H.: Yeah, yeah, that. Yes.

Daren: Mm-hmm. I’m trying to grow another one out right now and like, mid process.  

T.H.: You’re all going to be able to see this video, but I’m welcoming my best friend from high school, Daren Herzberg, to Divorce etc… today, also Jessica’s ex, also the father, because he was married to Jessica, of Jake and Zoey. You’ve heard about all these people, and now it’s all coming together. I am asking them the questions that I think I’ve always wanted to ask Daren, but I know I have a feeling of Jessica’s answers. So it’s going to be interesting. Welcome to the show.

Jessica: Thank you for being here Daren.

Daren: My pleasure. I’m happy to help out. I hope I’m not being set up.

Jessica: No, you’re really not. You’re really not. I know. But originally, for people listening, the plan was that Daren and I were going to be together doing this interview, and then I had to travel for work, so I’m out of town. But you’re totally not being set up because initially, we would have been sitting next to each other and technically, you could have nudged me right off onto the floor.

T.H.: Okay, so we are going to get started here. Not long answers. Quick, easy, first thing that comes to mind. No hard feelings anywhere around here. But I am not setting you up. So, Daren, what do you think was great about your marriage to Jessica?

Daren: What was great about my marriage to Jessica, it started off as—or it very quickly became not just a marriage, but even before the marriage—I just felt like we were best friends from the start. It wasn’t necessarily boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife. We just did everything together, had a ton of fun together, wanted to do everything together, and built a life together. We didn’t really fight all that much. We just had a ball together. I think that was the best part. Even when we hang out now, it’s still fun.

T.H.: So it’s the friendship. The friendship was the best part of the marriage?

Daren: Yeah, I never thought about it that way, but I suppose so. I think that’s accurate. Yeah.  

T.H.: I think it’s important that you like the person you’re with. You can love a lot of people, but if you don’t like them—like, we love a lot of family members—

Daren: Well, that’s the most challenging partner relationship, right?

T.H.: Right.

Daren: Once you love someone, you love someone. Continuing to like someone—that’s tougher.

T.H.: Yeah. Jessica, what was great about your marriage from your perspective?

Jessica: I really would have had the same answer. I feel like we had so much fun together. First of all, I just want to say it’s been 15 years since we’ve been apart. Even just by you asking that one question, I’m like, “Oh, my God, I wonder if I’m going to get emotional in this interview.” Because when I think back, that’s exactly what I think about. We had so many private jokes. We were so on the same page in terms of our sense of humor, what we thought was funny, making fun of other people, making fun of ourselves. I feel like we were totally in sync. And I do think that’s rare and hard to find. I mean, part of it may have just been because we were so young. We literally grew up together.

T.H.: Right.

Jessica: But I would 100% say the friendship and the way that we got along was the best part.

T.H.: Okay, Daren?

Daren: Mm-hmm.

T.H.: I’m sorry, what did you say?

Daren: I agree. I mean, listen, in many ways, it’s easier when you’re young. There are really no problems. There’s nothing to fight about. You haven’t grown apart yet. You haven’t had differences with anything important. All you have to do is wake up and have fun and enjoy each other’s company. As long as you like each other, that’s not the biggest challenge. But even having said that, it sounds like I’m discounting what we had, because I’m not, even that having said that—

T.H.: No, no, no—

Daren: —what we had was so special.

T.H.: —it’s only the greatest piece of it. There are a lot of great things. There are a lot of great things.

Daren: Yeah, and my friends were her friends, her friends were my friends.

T.H.: We’re not there yet. Slow down. Slow down. We’re going to get to all of it.

Jessica: We’re off to a good start.

T.H.: Okay, now, Jessica, what was the weakest link in your marriage?

Jessica: I mean, I’d have to say the communication, but not for a long time. But really, look, I think it’s very easy probably always in any relationships, that way down the line, you can look back and romanticize how great all of these things were. But Daren and I used to laugh to each other about how we didn’t have anything to fight about. We waited to have kids for so long, we had so many fun years together. We’d be like, we don’t have money issues, because we had no overhead, we didn’t have kids. We totally respected what each other did for work and whatever. I feel like the communication has to be the weakest link. Because ultimately, without us even really realizing it, I think all of a sudden, it went down the drain. Then it was like we weren’t really talking or communicating at all. We always had a good time when we were out with other people as buffers. But at the very end, it was very stressful and very tense to be alone together. I do think that our downfall was the lack of communication and not recognizing when things were starting to become an issue.

T.H.: Okay, you can’t steal the same answer Daren.

Daren: Well, I do agree with Jessica. I think when you are so young, when you start so young, there’s so many lessons you haven’t learned yet about how to manage a relationship, any kind of relationship, albeit a marriage. I think if you ask anyone about what created the downfall of a relationship, be it a personal, professional, marriage, friendship, I would say at least 95% of the time, the answer is going to be unequivocally communication. Yeah, on one hand, we communicated beautifully. When things were good, we were very connected. That requires communication too. But when things weren’t that great, and when things started to go downhill, in retrospect, there were a lot of conversations, difficult ones that should have been had. I mean, perhaps on one hand, you can say we didn’t have the courage to have those conversations. But looking back, especially being so young, I don’t know that I was even aware that things were as bad as they were when we got there. I think in the back of my mind, even when things got really bad towards the end, we still didn’t mind each other’s company. We were still enjoying the family and the kids. Sure we had grown apart in some ways. If you had asked me even right to the bitter end if this was going to end up in divorce, I probably would have said no. It was just something that was so inconceivable. I think in my mind, I was like, “Oh, when we get past this, everything’s going to be fine.” So yeah, I agree.

T.H.: But what do you wish you knew back then that you realize now?

Daren: Well, a lot of—

T.H.: It’s like what do you wish you knew that you would tell your younger self?

Daren: Well, I wish I knew how to spot certain aspects of the relationship that were problematic, that were contributing to us growing apart. I wish I knew how to fight better. When I was younger, I was a bit more of a people pleaser. I just wanted everyone around me to be happy, including my wife. That is not a great way to manage a relationship. A great way to manage a relationship was with honesty, and people-pleasing is a form of dishonesty. It’s not a nefarious form of dishonesty, but you’re not getting the real deal from someone if they’re just trying to please you. Fighting, having an issue, being like, “No, that’s not cool. That doesn’t work for me. We need to sit down. We need to change. We need to talk about this.” But I feel like we weren’t even equipped to know how to do that back then.

T.H.: Right, and it’s a maturity, it’s a confidence thing to be able to stand up for yourself, not even at home, but at work or in general with family. We all face stuff like that.

Daren: Yeah. I also think when you’re young, because of the lack of experience, you don’t even necessarily know how things are supposed to be. If something wrong is happening, you don’t even know that it’s wrong at that point. You don’t even know that it’s weird. Jessica and I, towards the end, we started spending a lot of time apart for a whole host of reasons. But we had our housely duties and the kids and all that, and that was fine, and then we went our separate ways in the evening and stuff, and it all seemed fine. I’d come home, everything was fine. The morning was fine. But looking back, I’m like, God, we were spending so much time apart. I should have said very early on, “Hey, this is messed up.”

T.H.: Right, “I’m not comfortable with it.”

Daren: “We’re married. We shouldn’t be spending every second together, but we also shouldn’t be spending every second apart. Let’s talk about this, figure out what’s going on. And if it’s important to us, let’s fix it.”

T.H.: Right.

Jessica: We were just blowing it off, breezing past it.

T.H.: So Jess, what do you wish you knew back then that you realize now?  

Jessica: I guess, similar. I wish that I had been able to spot things going south before I realized how underwater we were. I feel at the time that I started realizing how bad things were, I think that we were so past the point of no return that then it was like, “Can you just deal with it on this level and for how long?” Not really facing reality and just trying to put your blinders on and be like, “Well, we can still go out on the weekends with other people. We can still have a good time.” And like, he’s out every night during the week, so I don’t have to deal with it. I just wish I hadn’t gotten to that point. I guess that’s what I wish I did. I had no—

T.H.: Back then.

Jessica: But I just want to go back to one thing that Daren was saying with regards to being able to have disagreements and fights. I’ve always felt, and I kind of do even to this day, but for sure back then, Daren is so easygoing—he used to be—so easy going all the time.

T.H.: He’s learning to stand up for himself.

Jessica: Hmm, but just in general. I mean, Daren, to his credit, a lot of things can roll off his back. I think I learned a lot of that also for myself from him. Not everything has to get stuck in the in the nooks and crannies and cause a problem. So for most things, Daren’s like, “Yeah, hey, whatever.” He’s so easygoing. But if I would push for whatever—it could be something so stupid—too hard, if Daren raises his voice…

T.H.: It’s a whole new ballgame.

Jessica: Well, no, it was almost like, “Oh, I really need to back off because I—

T.H.: You did it. 

Jessica: —look at my dad.

T.H.: You poked the bear too many times.

Jessica: Guys, if Daren gets angry, I know I’ve gone too far.

T.H.: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so Jessica, I know the answer to this, I believe, and this is really just in regards to your relationship with Daren, your marriage, the last however many years, do you have any regrets?  

Jessica: Do I have any regrets?

T.H.: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: Regrets about the marriage or regrets about getting divorced?

T.H.: It could just be any regrets in general. Like, you look back, what regrets do you have? Do you have any?

Jessica: I would have to say I don’t have any regrets because I don’t live my life that way. Maybe this is what you’re insinuating in terms of you know what my answer is going to be. I believe that we live our lives the way that we live our lives. We make choices and decisions in the moment based on the information that we have available and the circumstances that surround us. So I do not have any regrets. I know of people who are like, “I can’t believe I ever married that person. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had done all of this differently.” I don’t wish I did anything differently. I wish that I didn’t smoke as much pot back in the day because I think that I didn’t understand the bigger implications of the fact that for me, coming home and wanting to smoke versus people today coming home and having a glass of scotch or a glass of wine, that was how I would decompress. I think that that had a much bigger impact on our marriage. I don’t think that was the end all and be all of what the reasoning was in terms of why it ended. But I don’t say I have any regrets. I think that, like I’ve already said, I wish that I had been more understanding of when things were actually going wrong, so that we could have had a conversation. By the way, who knows how those conversations would have gone.

T.H.: Right. You may still be where you are.

Jessica: Right, I don’t know that that means we would have been able to make things better at all. But I don’t have any regrets. No.

T.H.: Daren, any regrets?

Daren: No, I mean, listen, there’s certain things I feel bad about—the way I behaved and decisions I took. Do I regret that? I’m not sure. Ultimately, I ended up in a very happy place. And I think that life is difficult. I think that you have to go through a lot of these moments in your life that aren’t working out for you to learn difficult lessons and eventually learn what makes you happy, how to find your happiness, and then be happy. I feel now at 53 years old and children and multiple relationships later and then just life in general, I feel like I’ve gotten there. I know what makes me happy. I’m a happy person. I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of who I am. Are there things I regret? I mean, I could look back and you could say yeah, sometimes I regret how much I upset Jessica with certain things that perhaps I was not sensitive enough to at the time. Is that fair, right?

T.H.: That was very nice.

Daren: I still look back because everyone’s got their stuff. Everyone played a part in it. But I think sometimes I made Jessica, in retrospect, feel a certain way that she didn’t deserve to feel.

T.H.: Jessica has nothing to say to that, because that was very nice Daren. I don’t always compliment Daren on things that he does, especially in the more recent or distant recent past. But I do make a point of complimenting you. That was very nice.

Jessica: And I agree that it’s very nice. I think for everyone listening, when you’ve heard me talk about my relationship with Daren and my divorce with Daren, and talk about the relationship that we’ve been able to maintain, I’ve always said that basically what Daren just said is probably why we’re able to have the relationship that we have. I believe him when he says that. I feel like that level of acknowledgement was important for me as our marriage was ending, and not being a dick, and being like, “Fuck you, I don’t care how you’re feeling. I’m doing whatever I want to do, and that’s the end of it.”

T.H.: I don’t know anybody like that.

Jessica: Things would have gone a lot differently. So it is a nice thing for him to say, and it’s what allows us literally to be right here right now today.

T.H.: So, look, we’re halfway through this podcast recording right now. Based on all Jessica has learned and I have learned, and you’re hearing some of what she’s learned through her marriage with Daren, we created a Divorce Rulebook. So if you want your copy, all you have to do is visit It’s right there for you. The link is also in the show notes. We wish we had a rulebook when we were navigating our divorces, and I think Daren would have liked one too for figuring out what to do with it all once everything was finalized—what’s happening with the rest of our lives. Sign up at You don’t know what you don’t know, but we do. Okay, so Jessica, what did you struggle with the most when you separated from Daren? What was your number one pain point?

Jessica: Hands down, I mean, I would say other than the obvious “Oh, I had two little kids; what am I going to do?” kind of thing—

T.H.: Well, look, that could be your biggest pain point.

Jessica: But I don’t think that was my biggest pain point.

T.H.: Right, so I’m asking what it was.

Jessica: I would say for sure my biggest pain point was like, who the hell am I if I’m not with Daren? We met when I was 18 years old. We split up when I was 36. We were together for half of my life. For half of my life, it had been Jessica and Daren, Daren and Jessica. I did not know what to do with myself. I didn’t know who I was. I had this whole other professional identity that I felt very good about. I felt confident in my in my professional work. But my whole life was so entangled with Daren and his family. I don’t know… that was really, really hard for me, really hard for me to be able to figure out how I was going to be on my own and not be with Daren.

T.H.: Daren, what was your biggest pain point when you guys separated?

Daren: I think letting go of the marriage was the hardest part. I think what I didn’t realize at the time, and I think what most people don’t realize at the time, is that when you end a serious relationship, it’s like an old tree that has a hundred roots. Every one of those roots represents a different part of the relationship, right? There’s the friendship, there’s the intimacy, there’s the family, and a whole host of other things that constitute a meaningful relationship. While some of those roots are no longer working, and ultimately what leads to an end of the relationship, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still a whole bunch of those roots that are growing and functioning beautifully. You don’t realize when you end that relationship that you also have to pull those roots out of the ground. That to me was very painful. I didn’t mind losing Jessica as my lover or the girlfriend aspect of my relationship because I was kind of checked out. I had already been with someone else. I was unfaithful. That part of my brain was elsewhere. But it was the friendship and it was the family, because we still had so much fun as a family. At that moment in time when you go through this, at least the first time, you think your life is over. You think that you’ve destroyed your children. You think you’ve ruined your one chance at life and you’ve taken everyone down with you. Ultimately, it doesn’t work out that way, and things work out. But when you’re so young, you don’t see the light of day because you’ve never gone through it before. All you can see is darkness, and then it becomes irreversible. Then you’re left in this emotional no man’s land where you’re like, “Oh, my God, I regret it. I so want to go back. But that doesn’t feel right. But I want to be here, but this doesn’t feel right.” You just don’t know where to be. It’s a very, very unsettling feeling.

T.H.: Yeah, no, it definitely is. How did the outlaws feel about your separation? Daren, how did your parents feel about you separating? And how did that affect you?

We know our parents have opinions and stuff, but did it affect you? Or was it like, “Alright, you got your opinion, and I can keep it to the side.”?

Daren: No, no, no, listen, my father was supportive. My mother most certainly was not. When push came to shove, and I got really upset, she was still my mother, and I was still her little boy. So she was always there. She made it very clear she wasn’t happy about it. Then I pretty much very soon thereafter was in a new relationship. Boy that was relationship non grata with my mother because of obvious reasons, and she blamed for the breakup of the marriage, whether or not that’s true. I had a difficult time with my mother. It got to the point where we barely spoke for—I can’t remember how long, it feels like a few years—but it was a meaningful length of time where I really was not as close to my parents as I wanted to be and as the way we grew up. That was really tough. Yeah, my father was always there. Men are different. We’re buds. He’s my dad. God only knows what he did in his life. But my mother is very old school, very conservative, grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and “Good people do not do these things categorically.”

T.H.: Right, but does that mean people don’t get a divorce? Assuming there was no infidelity, do you think she would have responded the same way if you two were just like, “Listen, this just isn’t working out. We’ve decided to move on.”?

Daren: I think it would have been better.  

T.H.: It may have been better for you. Yes. It may have been better.

Daren: Yeah, it would have been better.

T.H.: Jess, how did your parents feel about it?

Jessica: I mean, again, my parents had known Daren since I was 18. They really loved him and consider him a son. And so it took me more than a month probably before I even admitted to my parents what was actually going on. I knew that as soon as the words came out of my mouth, and as soon as I had to actually tell them what was happening, that their opinion of Daren was going to change forever. And I was never going to be able to get that back. I was very protective of him and very defensive of him to my family for a long time.  

T.H.: Were they like, “What the hell is wrong with you protecting him?”

Jessica: No, they would just remind me that he’s an asshole. I’m like, that doesn’t help me at all because he’s still the father of my kids, and I still am seeing him every day because just the way that the arrangements were for us in the very beginning. The kids were with me full time, and Daren was coming over every night to help put them to bed and was there in the morning. He was a huge part of my life. Again, the identity thing for me, it was really hard for me to just navigate figuring out what my life was going to be. Even with all of the shit going on, just having him around on a regular basis was still somewhat comforting to me and helpful, I guess, with regards to the kids. My parents, it’s not that they were angry that I was getting divorced. It was twofold. It was one, they were very angry with Daren, and I know in their minds, it was totally all his fault. Even leading up to the separation, my parents I think already knew before I even knew, because they would say to me like, “He’s out all the time. Why does he go out every night? Who is he with? What is he doing?” I think for me, I was just trying to block out the noise and just trying—

T.H.: Right, I did the exact same thing. If you don’t hear it, it’s not going to hurt you.

Jessica: —because I didn’t want to face it.

T.H.: Right.

Jessica: It was that, and then I’m sure to them, there was a little part of like, “We knew it!”

T.H.: Did they ever say, “I told you so.”?

Jessica: No. No, they did not. No, they did not. But I think also on top of that, my mother in particular, I don’t know about my dad behind the scenes, but my mother in particular felt so sorry for me. She felt so sorry for me. I was 36, so I was young. The kids were young. She was I think in her head, “How are you going to do this? How are you going to manage this? How are you going to make this work?” I have talked before openly about how it was so hard that I couldn’t carry my mother’s sadness on top of my own sadness.

T.H.: Right. You had to figure your own stuff out.

Jessica: She wanted to come to New York and help me, and I was like, “I can’t have you around me because I literally have to just figure this out first, and I can’t have you being sorry for me.” It was really hard, I mean, the parent thing.

T.H.: That’s hard. And you have to deal with your kids. Both of you had to deal with the kids—

Jessica: Right. The kids were young. I felt like that was almost probably the least part of it.

T.H.: The least of it?

Jessica: Yeah, because they were two and four. What the hell do they know?

Daren: It’s much easier when they’re so little.

Jessica: Yeah, it was hard—

T.H.: I know.

Jessica: With Daren’s parents, I think that maybe rightly so, but not rightly so when it comes to me, I think that Daren’s mom was probably worried, especially considering the infidelity as being part of it, that somehow I was now going to prevent her from seeing the kids, and that I was going to be that ex wife that was going to take the kids away and not let them see his kids.

T.H.: But I feel like she was super nice to you

Jessica: I think she bent over backwards—

T.H.: More than ever.

Jessica: —out of fear that I was going to somehow be that person. I think what she didn’t know is that I had not had a great relationship with my own grandparents. I had always envied friends of mine that were really close to their grandparents. So I was never going to be the person that was going to be that way about Jake and Zoey’s relationship. So I got along pretty well with his parents. They came to my apartment to see the kids because Daren wasn’t getting along with her. So it was very complicated, I think, with the situation initially.

T.H.: It becomes complicated with family. So, Daren, how would you rate your divorce in terms of success, which means stress level, money, and you and Jessica coming out in an amicable way, on a scale of one to five, five being the best and one not being good?

Daren: Yeah, well, I guess there are two criteria for rating that: 1) How I feel about it and 2) How I think it went compared to most other people’s divorces.

T.H.: So, no, just think about your own. For you and Jessica, you can’t compare to anybody else because we all have totally different scenarios. You know I’m number one, so you’re not the worst divorce. But for the two of you and your relationship, where you are now with the kids, with everybody, how would you grade your divorce?

Daren: I think on a scale of one to five, I think it’s a five. I don’t know how it could have been better. I mean, it’s never going to be perfect. It’s not going to be all smiles. If it were then you wouldn’t be getting divorced.

T.H.: No, and that’s also a little messed up to say it’s all smiles anyway.

Daren: Right.

T.H.: It’s sad. It’s the end of a relationship, of an era, of a family. Yeah.

Daren: Yeah. So my answer is five out of five. Listen, I think Jessica and I very successfully answered one really critical question that I think sometimes gets lost on a lot of people going through this because of the anger and the bitterness and the resentment, blah, blah, blah, all the bad stuff. I think when you ask a question and you can answer what’s best for the family, which is another way of asking what’s best for the kids, but really, what’s best for the family? If the family entity is still of value, which for me it was—we had a family. Jessica and I were getting divorced, but it doesn’t mean we were stopping being a family. To this day, Jessica is a—

T.H.: A family unit.

Daren: A family unit.

T.H.: Not just a family, but a family unit.

Daren: Yes, that’s going to experience changes. Even today, if Jessica called me and said, “Hey, I need a kidney tomorrow,” I’d be the first in line.

T.H.: I know you would.

Daren: No, don’t get me wrong, after 10 minutes on the phone with her, sometimes I want to poke my eyes out. But like—

T.H.: So don’t speak to her much after she asks for the kidney.

Daren: But, yeah, my kidney’s your kidney. You’re family. You’re the mother of Jake and Zoey. And not even just the mother of Jake and Zoey, like, I love Jessica. We spent half our lives together. So, family is always family. By the way, not all divorces feel that way, and not everyone has to feel that way to have a successful divorce. But that’s how we felt, and every step of the way, what’s best for the family, what’s best for the kids? I think we both followed that route of what we thought was best for our family entity most of the time. Not all the time—everyone has their moments—but most of the time.

T.H.: Of course, you’re still normal and human.

Daren: Correct.

T.H.: Jess?

Jessica: I mean, listen, I would say the same thing. I think in a lot of the podcasts we’ve done and all the notes that we write to the exEXPERTS community and the Divorce etc… community, I really do feel like I had the best divorce that I could have had under the circumstances. I think that we prioritize, like Daren says, what we needed to prioritize. I just was not the person who was going to get stuck in the bitterness of “He did me wrong.” It’s not who I am. It’s not how I live my life. That’s not what I wanted my kids to see, what me being a victim for the rest of their lives and they’re going to have a mother who’s bitter and angry forever? It’s just not who I am. So I feel like I would also say five out of five. In a way, when I look back—I mean, I would say I think it was a five out of five because I also don’t know how it could have been better. As hard as it was—

T.H.: For the two of you.

Jessica: —as much as it sucked. Yeah. But we’re also 15 years out now, and I feel it was hard for a number of years initially, and even back then, I think I would have said a five. But it’s much more comfortable now.

T.H.: It doesn’t mean it’s not hard and sad— 

Jessica: Right, so I don’t want to give people the wrong impression.

T.H.: —and have a good divorce.

Jessica: That’s right.

T.H.: You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t sad.

Jessica: Right.

T.H.: I mean maybe I’m not. But I was sad for other things. But I would also rate you guys a five. Daren, I always tell people that we speak with—I’m like, “Daren and Jessica got divorced in a hot minute over a box Kleenex at the dining room table.” That’s how I put it together. Literally, I—

Jessica: —and a lot of tears. But yeah, I mean, I don’t know that we could—

T.H.: It doesn’t mean you were skipping along and toasting and partying about it. It’s not a celebration, but it’s important.

Daren: I also think it’s important how you view the relationship too. Right after we were separated, I remember dropping the kids off to school, and the news was already circulating in the community. One of our kid’s friend’s mother comes up to me and said, “Oh, my God, I heard. I’m so sorry.” She looks at me and she goes, “Why did the relationship fail?” I thought to myself, “Well, fuck you lady.”

T.H.: I’m doing great, thanks for asking.

Daren: Well, forget that for a minute. But the second thing I thought was what a shitty way of looking at it. My relationship didn’t fail. My relationship ended. Just because it didn’t go to eternity, to discount what we had for so long that was beautiful, what a terrible way of looking at things. Do you know what I mean?

T.H.: But in all fairness, most people don’t even know what to say. She was pretty bold to say anything to you, to be honest, to ask that next question. But when it comes out of your mouth, sometimes when you’re talking to somebody who’s been through something hard, you’re like, “Sorry, sorry, sorry. I got to take that back.”

Daren: Without a doubt—

T.H.: She didn’t, and she may not be the right example here, but there are plenty of people—because we speak to so many people, and they’re like, “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. What do I say to them?” I’ve had plenty of assholes come up to me and be like, “Oh, my God, I heard everything,” “He said this,” and “Tell me more,” and “I can’t believe—” like, throwing all this stuff at me. I was like, “I’m doing great. Thanks for asking. The kids are good. Get out of my face.”

Daren: No, 100%. But I didn’t even have an issue with her question because like, whatever, it’s someone I don’t care. It’s the issue more of it really made me think about how we view relationships and how we analyze whether or not a relationship was a success or a failure, or somewhere in between. It’s up to you how you want to look at things, right? Still to this day, I look back at my marriage, which I think helps overall, and still our relationship, we had a beautiful marriage. And it ended. It wasn’t so beautiful towards the end of course, otherwise it wouldn’t have ended. But you know what I mean? As opposed to, “Oh, my relationship failed. God, what a waste of time. I can’t believe [it]. That sucks.”

T.H.: Well, that’s shortsighted, and that person’s probably not in a good marriage or relationship.

Jessica: I do also want to just add to what Daren’s saying because I feel a similar way. I feel like I know a lot of people who get married and then like I said earlier, regret that they ever married that person or whatever, and are so upset about everything with regards to their marriage. I’m like, we were together for 18 years, married for 13. I’m like, yeah, the last two or three weren’t good, but it does not negate, in my view, the first 15, which were fucking great. I think that there was still a value add afterwards. I feel like Daren has been and always will still be an important part of my life. I’m glad and grateful that it seems like he and I feel a mutual way. Because I think it’s really a shame that for anybody, they were two people who loved each other enough to walk down the aisle and commit to each other, and then it can end in such animosity and such ugliness that they find no value at all with each other. I feel grateful that I had an ex husband who we still have that. We had a great run while it lasted.


T.H.: Well, I think what you’re all hearing that’s been consistent through all these questions, and we are going to have a bonus episode with some other juicy questions, is that they have mutual respect for one another. They definitely are likeminded, even though there was a breaking point within the marriage. It sounds like your friendship is probably healthier now because you know so much more and you can have a better relationship maybe not being married than you were when you were married. But you were also in your twenties, and we’re in our fifties now, and you know stuff you didn’t know back then. I just want to thank you Daren for being brave and coming on here today. Stay tuned everybody for a bonus episode because I have some more questions. I’m not done. It really is nice to hear that you guys are able to communicate with one another. Again, it’s not Kumbaya. I do speak to Jessica, so I know. But I do know also that the most important thing is that you share a perspective on family. You share a love for one another and a bond with one another that’s really kind of unicorn, I have to be honest. And so that’s really great. I really applaud both of you because I know it’s not easy to get here. Either one of you could have been like, “You know what? Eff off. Just email me. I don’t need to be friends with you. I just need to know when Jake needs to come home.” So I applaud you guys. Stay tuned for the bonus episode.

Jessica: Yeah, and I will say—and thank you Daren for coming on. I told you it wasn’t going to be a gotcha.

Daren: It was fun.

Jessica: And for everyone out there, if you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Divorce etc… podcast with the exEXPERTS today, let us know by taking a moment to subscribe, rate, and review. It helps us out and it helps others going through divorce to find us and the resources they need. And of course, share this episode with anyone you know that can benefit from listening. Have a great day.

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