FULL TRANSCRIPT – Season 2, Episode 55
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 Jessica and T.H. And keep in mind you can get exEXPERTS in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter. Get the latest news and find out all about our events before anyone else, plus, access to special discounts and prices. Head to exEXPERTS.com to subscribe.
Jessica: Hi, everybody, welcome to today’s podcast episode. It’s a Just Us, T.H. and I, and we are talking about moving and getting settled. We had a podcast episode that came out in January 2022, and it was all about our transition periods and I was crying about how miserable I was during my transition waiting to get into my new apartment. T.H. and I both in the last several months have moved into new homes. We completely understand and feel for everybody who’s going through that transition period, despite the fact that T.H. has been out of her marriage for 14 years, and I was out of my first for that long and my second has been obviously much shorter. But the point is transitions can take a very long time and they can come up even later after your divorce. So we feel your pain.
T.H.: Yes, so let’s talk about it. I mean, there are highlights to moving – it’s super exciting, brand spanking new, maybe a new neighborhood, new rooms, new furniture, and you’re moving in with someone new, which was what I did. It was a whole new experience for my family, so that was all really exciting. But then there are a lot of struggles that your family can go through. We’re going to talk about what our highlights are and then what are–
Jessica: Our lowlights?
T.H.: Our wins and our woes. Our lowlights and our highlights.
Jessica: Right, exactly.
T.H.: So Jess, what were your lowlights?
Jessica: I would say my woe–we’ve been doing recently things about wins and woes. I think that my top three woes and struggles were not being able to have my kids for as much of the time according to my actual custody and parenting schedule, because during–I should back up a second. I guess my top woe was the fact that since my separation/ divorce the second time, in the past year and a half, I had to move four times. So for anybody out there who hasn’t moved in 20 years, or doesn’t move frequently, it’s a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. The quick reason for that was I moved out of that apartment, and I moved into a temporary rental thinking that I had six months to find a new home. But I didn’t get the original apartment that I wanted, so I had to move into the new apartment that I did end up buying, which was a gut job. I moved in there temporarily for four months. I had to rent furniture. I had to rent plates and knives. So if you guys are in that very, very transitional period, I’ve been there and I totally get it. Then I had to move out of that apartment so it could be renovated, and I moved into the most disgusting shithole rental in Midtown in New York City, which was definitely one of the low points. I lived there for seven months. Then it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I finally moved into my renovated home, which I hope to be in for a long time. My biggest woe was moving four times in a year and a half. The second one was due to that situation, I wasn’t able to have my kids as often as my parenting schedule states. The reason for that is because I was no longer the stable home parent. My ex Daren has been living in his apartment for eight years. It was a harsh reality for me to accept the fact that when my kids think about where they live and going “home”, they’re thinking of his place, because I was in transition, and I just kept moving. The whole idea of your kids living out of a suitcase – I mean, that was happening. They didn’t necessarily always want to come to mine because they had to pack bags for everything.
T.H.: It was a pain in the ass.
Jessica: It was a pain in the ass. The moving, the not having my kids, and then I would say just that last rental apartment was really dark. It faced the back of the building, it was in a shaftway kind of, and I really was in a downward spiral in that apartment. By the end, I was telling my therapist, I was crying to her about the fact that I was actually feeling depressed. And I’m not a depressed person. I didn’t know what to do. She had ended up suggesting that I get one of those lights for Seasonal Affective Disorder because I just had so little sunlight in my apartment. I was in a black hole all day long working from home. It was a very hard time for me. So I’m just saying if you’re going through a hard time–and there’s the list of the most traumatic events in a person’s life. Those three events are the death of someone in your family, moving, and divorce. When you’re getting divorced, you’re basically going through all three of those things.
Jessica: So I get everybody. If you’re the one who’s moving out of your home and you have to find a new home and deal with all of that on top of the overwhelming amount of shit that you have to deal with just getting divorced, I mean, I just totally feel your pain. It was a very long year and a half, a very hard, very long year and a half for me.
T.H.: Yeah, no, Jessica was not in a good place. So the lesson learned here is when you’re looking for a new home, light is really important. I actually have trouble getting up if it’s a cloudy day. It’s ridiculous. I’m like I just need a little sun somewhere, somewhere. Yeah, you definitely need light, and you need to make a space that’s happy for you, even if it’s a dump, but your bed is gorgeous and you love to get into it or whatever your indulgence is. For me, I transitioned after a long time being in a home with my kids, having raised them in this house and it was essentially right after my separation. They were eight, six, and four. By the time we moved, they were 21, 20, and 17. But move meant not just to a new home, it meant I was moving in with someone. We were temporarily moving into his current home because he and I were building a home in which my kids would each have their own space. But for about seven months, they were living out of a suitcase. They were sleeping in his daughter’s room. My son was sleeping in his oldest son’s room. It was a lot of compromises on his end, on his kids’ side, on my kids’ side, and all for the greater good of moving into this gorgeous home that we were building together and this life that we were starting together. But my kids weren’t used to that from me. They were used to it’s just us. It’s the four of us. And now it was more than the four of us. It was time for me to move forward personally because this person was the person that I knew was right for me and for our family. I would say my biggest struggle was really how difficult the transition was for them, plus moving in with somebody else. The whole dynamic of our relationship was shifting too, and their father at the same time had decided to sell his move home and move out of state. There was a lot.
Jessica: This was a lot of transition. It was a lot.
T.H.: I would just say the best thing is that my daughters were away in college and my son was at a boarding school, so it wasn’t a daily situation for them. But the summer was definitely tough. So that was probably my biggest woe. I mean the moving and stuff like that was just annoying. But that was my biggest woe. But my biggest win is that I do have this amazing home, all of my kids are getting settled here, they have their own space, his kids have their own space, and we are really working out well as the next version of what our family looks like. It’s just very exciting and very awesome. Just so you know, I was in other relationships, and this was never going to happen. And I knew was never going to happen, but I didn’t know it was because it was the wrong guy, which I obviously figured out. It can be difficult. It can be a struggle. I always put my kids first and never thought of myself. This time I was thinking of myself, and they weren’t really sure what that was going to look like. Like, who the hell are you? What did you do with my mom?
Jessica: It’s important to do that. You have to. As our kids get older, after you’ve been divorced and separated, you’re entitled to move on with your life. It’s a fine line to find that balance between prioritizing your kids, which obviously we all do as parents, but also being able to give yourself the leeway and the freedom to move on yourself. T.H.’s part of her whole move and transition was that in the state of New Jersey, alimony is tied to cohabitation. So if she had moved in with someone during the time she was getting alimony, the alimony payments would have stopped. Her timing worked out perfectly, but that was also a discussion. Like, okay, for anyone out there who has a similar situation where you feel like well, I can’t move in with someone because my alimony will stop, you have to dig deep and decide are you going to put your life on hold and pause it because of your alimony. In some cases, maybe you have to for whatever reason.
T.H.: And I definitely needed that alimony literally up until the point that I made this decision had I not sold my home at the perfect time to make a nice chunk of change on top of the purchase price. It’s really the universe had lined up for me. Alimony was really an important part of my income and supporting my family and paying for the house and all that stuff. But then as my kids got older, I realized it’s time. It was just time. It was just time. So just make the right choices for yourself financially. Personally trust your gut. Moving totally sucks, but look at us now, we are totally both winning in different ways. But we are both in spaces that make us happy and bring us joy. We walk into our homes and it makes us smile and feel proud that we own these homes for us and for our family and our kids. You can certainly get there too.
Jessica: Right. For me, owning a home, for some reason, I’m just one of those people who are like, that’s really important to me. I feel it just makes me feel more stable and calm inside. There are sacrifices that come along with that. My big sacrifice along with that was the seven-month extra transition of having to renovate the apartment. But now I am in, and the move-in was an absolute nightmare, but as T.H. said, we’re here now, right? It’s just time. Everything works out over time. Even if it ends up not looking like what you wanted it to look like, it can over time, as long as you’re patient with it. My perspective, on the whole, moving into all of these rentals and going through all of these rocky months and not having a specific stable home for my kids was like, okay, well, this is a short-term pain for long-term gain, and I know that in the end, this will all be worth it. You have to just trust your gut. It’s a really hard road when you’re separating and moving in somewhere new and having to create a new home for yourself and your family. But so many other people have been through it also. So sharing your story and being able to talk about it openly and hearing other people’s stories can hopefully help you realize that you’re not alone. Everyone’s got baggage, literally and figuratively.
Jessica: And going through the stages are tough. By the way, we’re both out of our first marriages 14 years. This last year and a half with my four moves, that was just my second marriage, but T.H. just went through this transition all of these years later. So just know that if you feel sometimes that your situation is dragging out or you’re having a transition years down the line, it does happen. You’ve got to be able to roll with the punches and you have to be able to keep things in perspective and just know that you’re always moving forward. Wherever you’re going, wherever you’re moving, you’re always moving forward.
T.H.: Yeah. Stay tuned till next time.
Jessica: Thanks for listening.
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