JUST US: How Far We’ve Come | S2, Ep. 3


Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re T.H. & Jessica. 

Jessica: Welcome to this episode of Divorce etc. Today, T.H. and I are actually taking a look back – maybe I should say a hard look back, at the past year to be able to share some of our highs and lows, partially to let you know we are where you guys are also. Our tagline is always ‘We’ve been there. We’ve lived it so we get it.’ I don’t even know our own tagline. ‘We’ve lived it, so we get it.’

But what I was going to say is we have been there, and even if we’re not in the exact same places right now, we really do have a lot of shit going on that I think you guys can relate to and vice versa. We’re going to dig right in.

T.H.: Welcome, everybody to Just Us. Yeah, I mean, when I think back this year, it’s really hard. Since COVID, I feel like it is all one clump of time. I’m not really sure what month or day we’re in ever anymore.

Jessica: That’s the new normal.

T.H.: Right, that’s the new normal, which is also very scary. But I think I said scary only because I have a hard time being present sometimes because I don’t know where I am in the world of time anymore. I can’t even believe that we are at the end of 2021 so quickly, and a lot of great things did happen this year. I have to say first and foremost, Jessica and I have learned to applaud ourselves, just so you all know.

Jessica: We’re still learning.

T.H.: We are still learning. But we just launched our website in August. We launched our podcast around May, like full launch. We had a glitch with our website in February and had to find a new team to help us revamp it the way we wanted it. We kind of have been doing a hot scramble for the last six months on figuring shit out. But kudos to us.

Jessica: Kudos to us.

T.H.: This was an idea and it’s actually living and breathing and connecting with people. Our reach out with our experts and new potential experts and other people who just get it is really amazing. We’ve been validated over and over again from people who we were hoping we could get as a guest. Then when they’re on as a guest, they’re like, we love what you guys are doing, which is the greatest thing, even for anything you do in your life, just to get that validation. You’re like, damn straight. But when you’re going into it you’re like, holy shit am I making a mistake? So kudos to us. And it’s totally fine to congratulate yourself and recognize your successes. This is definitely one of my biggest successes. I’ve run businesses through large companies before, but I had a huge safety net, and there’s no safety net here. We put our money where our mouth is. We’ve been self funding, so everything you’re seeing is from our hard earned money in the past. It’s just we’re really proud of ourselves. I’m proud of you, Jess, and I’m proud of me, T.H.

Jessica: And you should be. And you should be. I’m proud of us too. I mean, I think that it is really hard for a lot of different reasons for any of us to kind of be able to take a step back and look at what have we accomplished, what have we done, what’s worked well, what we should be proud of, without feeling like we’re either bragging or we’re being, what’s the word, just…

T.H.: Arrogant?

Jessica: Arrogant about it. Yeah, exactly.

T.H.: Don’t you think that’s the society thing again?

Jessica: Yes, I think that it is.

T.H.: And with women in particular.

Jessica: Yes, I think that you’re right. I think that it is. I’m just saying I find it a lot easier to talk about exEXPERTS when it’s people, obviously, that are close to me. But when the time comes when we really have to be out in public selling ourselves and pitching ourselves in an interesting way, those are the times that I feel a little bit more afraid or timid, because I don’t want to come across really arrogant about it.

But we’ve made some huge strides this year. I mean, we do deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back.

We’ve had many thousands of podcast downloads and plays, which has been amazing for us. We came out of nowhere. We have no idea what the statistics–I mean, listen, I know Joe Rogan gets a million downloads per episode. We’re nowhere near that, but I’m so proud and of how many people we have that are out there listening to us and that we’re resonating with, and the growth that we’ve made, and the progress that we’ve made. It has been very gratifying that when we talk to people and connect with people that they are like we’ve seen you and we’ve heard you. We are reading what you’re doing. We’re following what you’re doing. It is very gratifying. For me, that’s probably been the best part of my year. Well, that and the fact that my kid got into college. [Cheers] So, like hallelujah!

T.H.: Halle-effin’-lujah!

T.H.: Both of our boys got into college this year around the same time. So in keeping with Jessica [I’m doing everything together] and my timing of events in our lives, this is probably also about a week apart.

Jessica: Right, that they both got into their first choices where they applied early decision and are committed, and so that’s just amazing great news. For me though, I feel like it’s been a really hard year for me. Oh my god, all of a sudden, I started getting choked up. I don’t want to cry, but it’s been a really hard year for me. I’ve moved three times. I’ve been living out of boxes for over a year. I tried to buy an apartment, lost it, found another one, which is great, and now it’s being renovated. I’m living in a shit hole, surrounded by boxes. I’ve had to have my mover/storage guy come two or three times over the past however many months to bring me stuff that I had not anticipated that I would need because I kept thinking that I was going to have a place to live. I’ve been with my kids so much less in the last six months, or about five months since I’ve been in this rental. Obviously, getting divorced, it’s been really a lot. Like a lot. Working two full time jobs and draining my life savings. I don’t know…but despite it all, I really do try to keep things in perspective and not let myself too often go down the vortex of disappointment and depression of where I am, and where maybe I thought I’d be approaching 50. This is definitely not it.

But for everybody, look, we have our ups and we have our downs. I think that it’s okay to be like, fuck, this is not what I thought my life was going to be, but still be able to acknowledge the things that are positive in your life. I got to see my family over Thanksgiving. It was the first time we were all together in two years. My kids are healthy and thriving. I’m healthy and thriving.

T.H.: And you have great friends, and you learned to play poker this year. You’ve definitely gotten out of your comfort zone more than you would have. You’re learning how to be a marketing guru through exEXPERTS. And I’m learning how to be better with writing and interviewing people. You always have a smile on your face. We’ve interviewed so many people who talk about the inner narrator in your head that messages you whatever. I think that your positive person is still stronger than your negative voice.

Jessica: I think so too.

T.H.: And your life is great. I mean, you have worked hard and are paying for a home by yourself, for you and your children. That is really hard to do. That’s only you. You’re going to make another beautiful home. By the way, for anyone listening, this is the second time she has done this on her own, not the first. She did pick up the pieces from divorcing Leo and has maintained positive relationships with both of her ex-husbands and created a life for herself and for her kids. That’s very positive and uplifting and happy and really on your terms. And so those are the things that I think about. I mean, I’m not with you in that shit hole. I’ve never even seen it. But I have seen the new soon to be home. What I think about it is regardless of all the cosmetic stuff you did inside, she can see trees from her window in New York City downtown. For me, that would make my day.

Jessica: Yeah, it’s a very light–

T.H.: You see green outside my window and not like a concrete wall of somebody else’s window? And there’s so much light in her apartment.

Jessica: There is.

T.H.: So all the things that you can’t buy for her apartment, she also just happens to have at her new home, which she will be in by the time we do another Just Us. 

Jessica: Hopefully. This is what I’ll say for everyone out there. First of all, get yourself a friend like T.H.

T.H.: I’ll be your friend!

Jessica: Because we talk about how important community is, and honestly, you need those pick me ups. But I will also say, and this is such a little interesting anecdote, but I agree with you when you say these–I don’t even know how…you just literally just said it, and I already forgot how you phrased it, but something about keeping things in perspective. I do feel the ‘problem’s’ that I have are, for lack of a better expression, first world problems. There are people that literally don’t have a roof over their heads and are starving–

T.H.: Don’t have food.

Jessica: Right, exactly. And I feel as with everything in life, this too shall pass.

I will figure out a way to make it work. I don’t feel like, thank god, that my problems are not that I don’t have a place to live, or that I can’t feed my kids. So I know that I have to keep it in perspective. I know that does keep me from complaining probably more than I do.

Because I feel like who am I and how do I have the right to even complain given my circumstances?

T.H.: So I’m going to explain why you do, okay? Another quick kudos for Jessica is that she is working on herself for the first time ever. She has made herself vulnerable and is going to therapy for her and not to fix a relationship, but just a place for her to learn about herself. So that’s probably, I think, your biggest thing that you did this year for yourself. Everything else is hard work. Mental health and feeling good about yourself, that’s the real shit. You have to go to sleep at night. You have to wake up. You’ve got everybody talking, and you have tons of noise in your head. And if you don’t feel good about you, everything else is off kilter. So I just I want to say that. But…I forgot what I was going to say.

Jessica: Well, I was just saying that it’s important to keep things in perspective.

I was supposed to go this Christmas, I was supposed to go to London, because I have a cousin, one of my first cousins, her kid was being bar mitzvah’d. They had chosen the date years ago and it was going to be Christmas weekend. I had booked the trip. Most of my family is unable to go, but I was going to go, and my brother was going to go. Based on all of the uncertainty and the fact that the UK came out with a new testing quarantine mandate, I ended up canceling my trip. And as the weeks got closer to the bar mitzvah, the circumstances got even worse. It turns out that now my cousin and her two daughters both have COVID. Now only the son and the father don’t, and so now they had to go to another location. They’ve already postponed the party [oh my god, I didn’t know that]. Now they don’t know if they’re even going to have the service. This has all happened in the last 48 hours. My mom calls me this morning and she’s like, oh my god, it’s so awful. And can you believe it? And can you believe it? And can you believe it? I am sitting there listening with her and I said, mom, you know what, I’m not really the person to have this conversation with. I said, first of all, I actually have friends whose kids– I went to at least three or four Zoom bar mitzvahs or bat mitzvahs during COVID, since 2020. I said I was at three Zoom funerals. I know a number of people whose weddings had to be canceled. I said, yes, it sucks that they had people internationally that were supposed to fly in. And it totally sucks that they have COVID and some of them have symptoms. I’m like I just feel in today’s day and age, the fact that they can’t have the party, I’m not really the person to complain about it too.

T.H.: Right. Right.

Jessica: It’s just… look around!

T.H.: Right. What I was going to say when putting things in perspective, and people don’t have a roof over their head, and people are definitely in worse situations than we are in, I will say that you are still in your own world and things that are hard for you can still be hard for you. Even if there are children and families and people who are in worse situations when you put it on paper, but from my own life, I know now I give myself permission to feel like shit sometimes and cry sometimes and to be annoyed and frustrated and pissed off.

I give myself that permission because if I don’t get it off my chest, it’s going to eat me up. If you give yourself permission to just feel, then you’ll see that those feelings will soon go away.

But if you don’t give yourself permission to feel, because of this, that, and the other thing, it’ll eat you alive. So, you’ve been through a lot. Not having a home base, I can’t even really imagine. It’s so unsettling, so you’re entitled to feel unsettled and annoyed and sad and fed up. Anybody who’s going to judge you for feeling that way, I’d be like, screw you. You’re not my friend. I’m not going to tell you about it.

Jessica: I don’t feel like anyone’s judging me for feeling that way, but I will say once again, for everybody–

T.H.: But you’re judging yourself for feeling that way.

Jessica: Right. But I first want to say, again, for anyone out there who is transitioning, or has been transitioning this past year, or leaving a relationship, getting divorced, or your divorce went through and figuring out what your next steps are going to be, we all know that you look at things on social media and think everyone’s life is always better than yours, right? The grass is always greener. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, put out a persona that my life is great and perfect, and that I don’t have any issues that other people have.

T.H.: Anybody who does is full of shit.

Jessica: Totally, totally. But I’m just saying, I feel people, even though we are so grateful for everyone who has come into the exEXPERTS community and is supporting us by going on the website, following us on social, listening to our podcast, we have shit going on also.

I think that’s what makes us in such a better position to be able to help other people because we have real life issues and real life problems that you’re also navigating, with a tight community of support and with the experts that we’re working with. We really know what we’re talking about when we are saying to you, you will get through it.

I’m literally looking around my apartment right now and you can’t even imagine what this is like living in. I will say I felt like I really was holding it together. I really was holding it together until I got into this place. Even when the weather was at least warmer, I felt like I was still kind of holding it together. And now for me, I would say the last month has been getting progressively worse and worse. I think that that’s probably also because there’s finally a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. I think I should be out of this apartment, hopefully before my 50th birthday in February, which I’m really praying for. But this is definitely one of the darkest bleakest times of my life. What I really hope is that’s not getting translated to my kids. Because even though I see them less, a part of me is a little bit glad that I see them less because then I’m like, well, they’re not seeing me like as unhappy as I am. But I really hope that just everybody out there…we all have the same struggles. And it takes the same courage and perseverance to get through them. Nobody has it any easier than anybody else. So that’s…that’s…

T.H.: That was very brave. That was very brave. We also know that everybody coming to us is struggling in one way or another. We do know what we’re saying about our own experiences. We haven’t experienced everything, but just because the facts are different, doesn’t mean that the feelings are – the loneliness, the fear, the questioning yourself.

I mean, we do get it and we do know that it takes baby steps to get you where you need to go. This is not an overnight anything. And if you put in the time, a little at a time–my biggest step, which has been a slow progression for many years, is to be present. 

Jessica: You’re really good at that though.

T.H.: But I have been working on this. Jason was 11–actually, I think the day that I got the phone call that my marriage was over, everything was crystal clear to me, because I think I had been living for so many years cutting off the world, because the world was going to hurt me if I brought it in. So really not hearing what my ex was saying, it’s just like I was literally living in a tunnel that I forced upon myself, because that was like self preservation. The minute I was free, it’s like I had imprisoned myself for so long I could finally breathe the fresh air. I literally do stop and smell roses now. When I was just up in Vermont this weekend and it was snowing, all I did was look around at how gorgeous it was. Like, snow, the trees, the mountains, those are things that fill me up to the max. You can buy me whatever you want under the sun, but if you can’t buy me that view, then don’t bother because those are the things that I’ve learned bring me so much joy. So on this journey, look at the things that bring you joy. Stop for the minutes that you feel that joy and take it in, because that’s a gift for you. And do it again. Keep your eyes open to the world. Also for the negatives, you know what? I don’t need this in my life. I am going to walk away. That is a very telling act of strength and bravery. But those are, as I said at the very beginning, in baby steps. If you’re dealing with your ex, you know what, this time I’m not going to answer the text. It’s very little action that has tremendous reward for you, for your self preservation, in a positive way. It’s not imprisonment. That’s freedom. That’s setting boundaries that are good for you. So those baby steps we talk about throughout so many of our podcasts that we do, depending on the topic, whether it’s dating, or co parenting, or self care, or dealing with your lawyer, or looking at your numbers and holy shit, I don’t make enough money to pay for my credit card, or how am I going to get a loan, I don’t have credit, these are all baby steps that will land you to where Jessica and I are today. And even though Jessica’s in a vulnerable position right now, she is also in a position of significant strength because she manages her own money. She makes her own money. She has put herself in a position to buy and renovate an apartment on her own. Those are–

Jessica: I mean…I’ll have nothing left by the time the renovation is over. I’ll be house poor for the rest of my life, but it’ll be totally worth it.

T.H.: But these are decisions you’ve made. We all know, and you all know out there that where you put your head down on your pillow at night, it’s really important. So when we think about giveaways and stuff like that, Jessica and I always go back to well, a new mattress would be awesome, new sheets, a candle or a diffuser that smells really good, and gorgeous towels, and a light up mirror. Like, who needs more than that?

Jessica: That’s right

T.H.: I could be in my bed all day. Especially now with COVID, you guys wouldn’t even know. But I would be happy in that bed because that’s where you rest and let your body chill out, or have really great sex. But whatever it is, it should all be good in that small space of your life.

Jessica: I totally agree. And it’s funny too, because I’m such an extrovert, and I’m such a socially active person, and I love being out, that the last several months have been much more of a struggle with that. I’ve literally gone out any opportunity, even things I don’t want to do, just to get out of this apartment. But I feel when I move back in–there is a part of me that really is a homebody. It’s very important to me to love where I live and make that investment. And so I am making–I’m investing everything into that apartment and it is worth it to me because it’s the idea of opening the front door and walking in and being like, oh my god, this is my home and it’s mine and–

T.H.: –love where you live.

Jessica: Right. And I love where I live. But I feel I’m going to be the biggest freakin’ homebody once I move back. You’re never going to get me out of that apartment.

T.H.: That’s fine. I’ll visit you in your nice apartment.

Jessica: Sigh, I can’t wait. I can’t fucking wait.

T.H.: I just want to say quickly that looking back on this year, you all would never know because I didn’t tell you, but I will now in the last two years have had five surgeries. I moved out of my home that I raised my children in. I raised them in the town for over 22 years and moved out of this home– we moved into this home like a month after I separated from my ex-husband and had been there for 13 years. And I started this business with Jessica like all in. I found, and he found me, this amazing man who just lights up my life. And so the surgeries and stuff to an outsider would seem bad. And trust me they’ve been more frustrating than bad. For me, the outcome has been positive. But me self inflicting the inability to walk for a period of time, it’s like there’s nothing I could do that’s worse than that!

Jessica: Not being able to be active.

T.H.: I mean I could walk after my other surgeries, this one I couldn’t. To just rest in bed has been actually very good for me as a person, but very difficult for me as a person. The fact that I am at a place in my life where I am comfortable living with someone after basically 16 years of not living with someone…I didn’t have to ask anybody what they thought. I didn’t have to share opinions. I just marched to T.H.’s rules, and that’s how it was. That’s how I know that he’s so right is because it doesn’t bother me. It’s just so wonderful and easy. It’s taken a lot of work.

But as we mentioned in our Reset and Rewind podcast for Just Us last year, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Jessica: Totally.

T.H.: If you sit in that pit of pain, you won’t be where we are ever. So please do for yourself. Take your baby step. Buy yourself a gift, whether it’s a candle or something bigger. Or take a drive somewhere great. Do something that just makes you so happy. That’s what we hope for you guys for your new year. And please ask us anything. Our Divorce etc podcast is rocking and rolling into season two so stay tuned for more of Jessica’s dating antics or moving. I’m sure you’ll hear about my move in and blending families and all of that. There was a lot.

Jessica: And I want to just add one more thing to what T.H. is saying, because we were laughing when we did an interview a little while back about the holidays with Dr. Elizabeth Cohen.

One of the things that she said when we were talking about how you can make sure that you’re looking out for yourself over the holidays, one of the things that she said was ‘no is a complete sentence’.

T.H.: I love that.

Jessica: We loved that and we laughed at that, but the truth is that applies all year round, 365 days a year. It’s not just for the holidays. I have found that I’m getting a little bit better about saying no to things and about prioritizing the things that are important to me in my schedule. And so yes, I was working this weekend on a Sunday for almost eight hours. But there are other days where in the mornings I’m like, no, I’m going to the gym. Or another day on the weekend, I’m like, I’m just not working today. This is what I’m doing now. I’m going out or–Don’t always feel beholden to everyone else and to everything that you think are your obligations in life. It’s okay to take a breath and to just say this is what I’m doing today, or tonight, or next week, or whatever it is. Make sure you have that time or space because otherwise you’re just going to spontaneously combust and that’s just never going to be a good thing.

T.H.: No. No. Well, send us your questions and send us your thoughts to hello@exexperts, and let’s kick off 2022 together.

Jessica: That’s right. Have a good one everyone.

Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exExperts.  Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS Divorce etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and our website at  Thanks for listening!

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