We All Need Community During Divorce – Divorced Over 40 | S2, Ep 70


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Jessica: Hi, everybody. Welcome to today’s episode of Divorce etc… We are so happy to have on the brains behind the awesome business, Divorced Over 40. We’ve been following their account and everything, all of their happenings and goings-on. We actually even went to one of their events a little while ago. We just love everything they’re doing. And so today, we’re very pleased to welcome Amy Greene and Travis Rolo from Divorced Over 40. Thank you guys so much for taking the time to join us.

Amy: You’re sure welcome. Thank you for having us.

Travis: Thank you.

T.H.:  We were actually on one of their Instagram lives, and it was really fun and free-flowing. We were on with Julie, who’s another one of your partners.

Amy: Yep.

T.H.: So it’s the three of you. Divorced Over 40, first of all, it’s great.

Jessica: We’re big fans.

T.H.: But there are a lot of “experts” in the industry. I think among all of us, we’re experts in life. We’re real-life experts. We’re not certified in this. We’re not esquires in that, whatever. But to be an expert in your life in a way that you’re able to share what you’ve learned with other people is a pretty major accomplishment. Congratulations to you guys and us for being where we are right now. Amy, why don’t we start with you, where did Divorced Over 40 even come from?  

Amy: Divorced Over 40 is kind of a gift to myself, I will say first and foremost because I didn’t really see myself ever as a business owner. I’ve always been more of a creative person. I’m a people, I thrive on energy, and I like being around people. This happens to just be a God-given gift that has brought some of my talents, I guess, to the surface. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to do this. But I guess the best way to explain how it became was the pandemic set up the perfect storm. There were a few of us, there were six to begin with, that were six individuals that didn’t know each other before, that were each divorced in our own timeframe. We found ourselves through just the way as I said, the pandemic was set up, through cookouts, happy hours, and hanging out with each other, and that formed a friend group. We realized there’s something to recognizing that all six, two men and four women, that there’s something to the friendship of recognizing what we all had been through. We all were divorced over 40, so we just decided that defined us. It’s not a hard rule. You don’t have to be divorced and 40+, but that describes us. We were all like-minded people who just wanted to start this chapter two together and through friends and figuring out things to do. I mean, dating and children and co-parenting and finances, it’s all in there. It’s all this large umbrella. We realized what we thought was going to be a blog about telling funny dating stories really served a greater purpose of sharing our stories of what’s really going on in our lives. That resonated a lot more. When we wanted to put these words of wisdom out, we realized that we had a little bit more to offer than just humor based. 

Jessica: Was the original intention of Divorced Over 40 to just be an Instagram account? Or was the intention to somehow grow a business within this divorce realm?

Amy: Absolutely a blog. We would just type or say our stories. We totally thought it was going to be dating stories and potential things gone wrong with dates that you just didn’t really know what to do, or how do I handle certain situations. We had no idea that there was a business brewing in there. It’s still working its way toward it. We’re still a passion project for the most part. But we absolutely had no idea that we held a recipe for gathering people. I think one thing about our platform if you will, or our business that’s different than all the others is we’re not just online based. We connect people in real life, and we encourage that. So it quickly went from Instagram to Facebook, but then it just caught on worldwide of connecting people.

Jessica: And Travis, Were you one of the original six?

Travis: I was not. Amy and I actually met on Bumble. And so we just talked quite a bit, and she shared what they were doing. I was one of the first Friday features that they did. I really wasn’t involved a lot at the beginning. Then as we migrated to Facebook, Daniel and I, I kept saying, okay, we need to set some rules up. We need to have some guidelines. Suddenly, I’m an admin of all these pages.

Jessica: Right.

Amy: CFO.

T.H.: That’s a great idea, Travis. Why don’t you build it?

Amy: Yes! Yes, we never turn away help. I always say to anyone in life, if someone says, hey, can I help with that? I will never turn down help, whatever that aspect is like because you just never know what someone’s talent is. If there’s somebody ready to help you, why would you turn them away?

Jessica: Of course.

T.H.: We actually just shared that today. As a slight tangent, we’re doing a self-care bingo game for the month of March. One of the things is asking for help. And that was Jessica’s tick.

Jessica: I’m not able to ask for help ever.

T.H.: But she did.

Jessica: But I did because I’m moving. I just moved this past week. I had to ask for help because there was nothing else that I could do. It was a huge personal accomplishment sort of, to ask for help.

Amy: It is. It is hard. But people will offer things to you. I’ll bet you–

Jessica: And I will turn them down.

Amy: Oh, okay. And that’s just–

T.H.: Accepting help. 

Travis: That’s me.

Jessica: I can’t ask for it. And it’s hard for me to accept it.

Travis: That’s me too.

Jessica: It depends. But in any case, back to you guys.

T.H.: Back to you Travis.

Jessica: So you get involved in Divorced Over 40. Now talk to us a little bit, because you said, Amy, I mean, one of the things is connecting people in real life in different cities. You guys really have done a great job with that. I mean, like I said, we went to one of the ones in Jersey, not so long ago. How do you guys feel you’ve been attracting your “ambassadors”, in order to represent you from different cities?

Amy: The way that we find them is they usually self-submit. We started out and we recognized that one person can’t do everything. You just can’t. It really doesn’t matter how small–I mean, it’s why a marriage has two people in it. I mean, it takes a village. What we realized right away in Tulsa, because Tulsa is the original group, and everything that we’ve done has started here and then quickly to Oklahoma City, we realized that between the three of us, Daniel, Julie, and myself, we couldn’t be at some of the first events that we started, because of our own lives, work, or parenting. Those were the two things that came up first, as always. We recognized we needed helpers. That’s how the City Ambassador, the people that would come regularly, the people that their heart wants to be involved, it’s pretty quickly recognizable. They have the passion already. They have the desire to want to connect people. They’re usually extroverts, but not always, and they just have the desire to go. They’re the ones that are saying, now, what time did you say it was going to be? I’ll get there and reserve a table. You’re like, great, get there ahead, and I’ll see you there. They’re kind of setting themselves up for being in this position. Then we usually put out some feelers on Instagram or Facebook and say, does anybody want to be in leadership? And they will self-submit.  

Jessica: And then what kind of–I mean, it’s not training, per se, but what kind of guidance are you giving them, Travis, to get them involved, and make sure that they’re honestly representing you guys in a way that you want to be represented? That it’s not turning into some, who knows what, I don’t even have a good example, but that it would be the kind of event that you guys would want it to be?

Travis: Well, I created a pretty lengthy document, to be honest with you.

Jessica: Of course you did. Best practices?

Travis: Yeah, rules, and guidelines. But a lot of it, right now we communicate through WhatsApp, or we have a Facebook group just for the City Ambassadors. If I noticed something that I don’t like, then I would–

Jessica: What would be an example of something that you wouldn’t be pleased to know about or see at one of these Divorce Over 40 events?

Travis: We’re not a dating group. Some people come in and think it’s just a normal group, or they can post memes and selfies and stuff for their own attention. No, that’s not what we want. We want people to be vulnerable and discuss their feelings and thoughts and difficulties and feel the actual support from the community. About a week ago, I sent out a notice that there’s some selfies popping up, and I don’t want to be the guy to have to remove all these. So, you know…

Amy: That’s people in the group. That’s not the CAs. We’ve been very fortunate that honestly, I was going to be questioning what he would bring up as what would be a bad situation because we’ve had so few. We have had so few things that have gone down a path that we haven’t been comfortable with. We’ve loved just about every single person we’ve fallen in love with as a friend. We do quite a bit of communicating with them on Zooms. We talked to them quite a bit over the phone. We do a two-time interview process with them, and plus, they go through some forms. We really try and get to know them first. Then we really encourage them to become friends, their own group of friends. We’ve gone on vacation with a lot of them too when we went to Mexico, and then when we go again to Jamaica. But we know these people now in real life, and I consider a lot of them, and I know Travis does too, some of my closest friends. We have really had so few things. I mean, I guess even if they went to a strip club, I don’t know that I would be mad. I would just–

Jessica: They are adults.

Amy: Right.

T.H.: I would be like, tell me about it. How’d it go? Was it all you hoped it would be?

Amy: Right, right. That’s part of life too.

Jessica: When you started growing from the blog aspect into more of this group meetup, what resources did you feel were already out there or not out there? I’m curious to know where you felt you guys fit in. What was lacking in the marketplace, so to speak, that you saw the opportunity, as opposed to having groups that were already out there, and then you guys going to their things?

Amy: There are no things that go to. Now there are plenty of groups that you can sign up for on Facebook.

Jessica: They’re virtual.

Amy: Right, virtually. If we all sat down right now and typed in any sort of group, you’re going to have hundreds to choose from, but very few there are activities or things that I can do coming Friday night. This Friday, what’s going on in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that I can hang out with people that I like, know, and trust? And who are those people? Well, now we have a group that we have encouraged people to find each other. Even though I personally may not go, or Travis in his area may not go to every single solitary event, because we both have other things we want to do, or our own friends or whatever, or we do the large group one, but we want people to find little pockets of friends, whether it’s something small of two, or a group of 22, or a group of 52, whatever that range is, go find your people. We’ve just shown you how to find them, how to do it, and how to connect with them.  

T.H.: We’re all real-life experts, and certainly, there’s a business side of it. But the emotional side is what helps you move forward for the rest of your life. Jessica and I actually just did a recording today where we were talking about your tribe. The fact is we all share this, whether we like it or not. Even though it’s not exactly the same, or maybe not even a little bit the same, there is still a little bit of sameness for all of us. That’s a common thread. If you’re doing this and you’re coming to these meetups with good intentions, then you will get something positive back for you, and then almost feel like you want to pay forward. I think it’s really great that you guys have been able to grow like you have and connect people who would never connect otherwise, who would never know one another. Then to share in the experience of holy shit, now I get to go on a vacation. I never thought I was going to go on vacation, and I’m going with people who have my back because they get it, and they don’t have an agenda. It’s nothing else. It’s just really coming from a good place. So really kudos to you guys for doing that, really.

Jessica: I’m curious though how you think the trip to Jamaica is not going to be some kind of a dating matchmaking–

T.H.: Yeah, well, I was going to get into the whole dating thing, because didn’t Daniel meet his girlfriend at one of the Divorce Over 40 events?

Amy: Oh, well–oh, I thought you’re going to say on the trip, so I was starting to guess what you said. Oh, yes, yes, yes. There are people that have gotten married in our “group”.

Jessica: How long has Divorced Over 40 been out?

Amy: Almost two years. There are people that I know, and Travis does too, that have met. I can even think of one guy, he wasn’t in the group, and I don’t even know if he’s married anymore, but there are people that have met and have gone all the way through their courtship or whatever you would call it, and are now married because of us. There’s more than probably just a handful. These are just the ones we know about. But people meet every day. I moved into this house a year or so ago. I still don’t know everybody on my street. Maybe I’ll meet somebody who’s walking their dog. I mean, you never know when you’re going to meet somebody. We don’t care if people do find someone to date, or maybe the next one. I mean, we all have a next one, I hope. And so they may need their next one at one of our events. Awesome. Great. That is fantastic. We just want people to understand like Travis said, this is a safe, vulnerable place. We don’t want that to be more the–

T.H.: Taken advantage of. 

Travis: Right. Right, I think that’s our biggest challenge. We want people to meet, but we don’t want the predetermined expectation of finding that person. This is focused around friendship. If you meet somebody that you vibe with, great, but we don’t want people to come in thinking that that’s what they’re going to find here. It’s all about friendship.

Jessica: Right.

T.H.: Right. Or that it’s like a hookup thing.

Travis: Right.

Amy: No asking. We don’t want you asking every, you know, like, hey, hey, hey. We want people to feel comfortable.

Jessica: Yes.

Amy: It’s got to be natural.

Jessica: I think that we can probably all agree that, just in general, women gravitate more towards groups of women and being more open and sharing and potentially going out to events like that. Travis, I’m curious, as the guy here, was there ever any hesitation on your part about going to–I guess, no, because you met Amy first. It wasn’t like we’re coming in blind. Because I’m wondering, the engagement from guys, are they more reluctant or more hesitant than the women?

Travis: I’m not typical, so it’s hard for me to say. But just as an example, I’m not from Tulsa, I lived in Kansas, and then for the last year, I’ve been in Texas. The only times I’ve been to Tulsa have either been to meetings or–

T.H.: To meet Amy [laughs].

Travis: –a couple of random events. I did go down when she was moving and she had a garage sale. We’re 70% women.

T.H.: Right, I’m not surprised.

Travis: I don’t see that changing. Just because of the male mindset. There’s a large portion, especially in our age group, we’re still sort of the old school type pre-internet age group, where we’ve still got our basis of life from our grandpa or dad, that you have to be the tough guy, and you don’t show emotion. There is a pretty good group of us that–we have a men’s only, and while it’s not nearly what the women’s only group is, there are some guys that have learned to deal with their emotions appropriately. It’s what I try to convey as the administrator of all these groups. You need to allow these guys to come in and say what they need to say, and a safe place to say it.

Amy: I will say that just on the men, and this pertains to everybody, but I wonder if it works well on men, is FOMO, fear of missing out is a huge piece of our story. We post pictures mostly as filler for Instagram, which was why we started. We just needed content. We were in the beginning dawn of ages of filling the grid. We needed pictures to put in there. Pictures work better always than a whole bunch of words. We realized that if people see groups of people, just like when you drive down the street on a Sunday at brunch time, you’re like, who are all these people? Where are they going? Why are they going into Urban Outfitters? Do I need to go in there? It’s that fear that you’re missing something cool over there. The same thing works right here virtually. If we post pictures, men included, this picture that people are looking at when they scroll past our event last weekend, if it looks like there’s plenty of great fun, normal, whatever that is, people in there, men and women, I think that encourages people to say, you know what, I might go to the next one. And you should. You should because it’s just great people connecting over the same things that we’re all thinking. Oh, crud, how am I going to manage my ex? How am I going to manage my kids, plus my pets, plus my friends, plus my parents?

T.H.: Plus yourself.

Jessica: Plus your job.

T.H.: Plus yourself.

Jessica: Right. So what’s next for Divorced Over 40?

Amy: Everything. Everything. The sky’s the limit. We’ve got some really great ideas. We want to continue to grow across the United States and probably internationally. But more important than that, we want each city, the ones that we already have, maybe not necessarily grow just bigger, bigger, bigger, but really get more people involved where we’re at and really nurture those people and love on those people, and get those people, like you said, to pay it forward and grow in those cities. But also, there’s a whole world of people that we want to reach on a level of helping them heal. One of the parts of our mission statement is “heal yourself first, and everything else will fall into place after that”. But if you work on yourself first, whether that’s like you guys through providing experts on things like therapy, or maybe it’s exes, or finances, or co-parenting, whatever it is, we want to be able to provide that information to them. We have a conference coming up this summer, and we have speakers. We want to get people together where they can be all in the city together, again, that closeness and actuality of feeling somebody’s energy and getting to do some things together, and there’s some fun sprinkled in there. That’s coming up on the horizon. Then we have our trip, like I said, in September, in Jamaica, that’s open to anybody that is divorced and “over 40” that wants to come. We’re always full of ideas. We are always trying to come up. We have our podcast, and we do some things on Clubhouse. We are just always trying to get our words out there.

T.H.: Awesome.

Jessica: So if someone is interested in being an ambassador or attending one of your events or something, what are the best ways for people to reach out to you?

Amy: I would say the best thing to do is to send us a message on Instagram. You can DM us there and follow us. Then we can quickly get you–you can also search “Divorced Over 40” on Facebook and join the global group. You can join either the men’s only or the women’s only. Please also search your city. You want to start with Instagram and Facebook, and then start listening to everything. You can always find our stuff on our website as well: Those are the main places. He looks at Facebook, and I look at Instagram. We’ll answer your questions anytime you send us one. You’re looking at the people that are going to answer the question. We’re here to help you.

T.H.: That’s great.

Jessica: Awesome. We’re going to have all of your information also on our website as well on the exEXPERTS page. But one thing before we let you guys go – are you able to each tell us one thing you wish you knew before your divorce?

T.H.: Looking back.

Jessica: In retrospect.

Amy: You go first, Travis.

Travis: Oh, you’re going to put me on the spot? I wish I understood how I had changed as a person. I was the nice guy for a lot of years. I let resentment and bitterness change me as a person inside my marriage. I have a good relationship with my ex-wife. My biggest regret is treating her the way I did the last few years. Regardless of anything, she’s my friend, and she’s the mother of my three kids. I know that we probably shouldn’t have been together. But my biggest regret is becoming that person that hurt her and was okay with doing that.

Jessica: That’s nice.

T.H.: Well, it’s really nice.

Jessica: I hope she’s listening to this.

T.H.: Right, and that you take ownership. It always takes two. It’s never just one. We all know that.

Travis: Sure. Sure.

T.H.: But first of all, you taking responsibility, and being a man taking responsibility, you set a really great example. So thank you for that. Amy?

Amy: He’s such a good guy. I mean, I know I am a little bit biased, but he really, really does set the bar really high for what a good guy is. I know quite a few, but Travis you really are. He writes a lot of our content, and it’s the stuff that gets the most eyeballs. It gets the most comments back. The people that really sense his vulnerability, and I know him well, he really, really takes it all very seriously. As he sits down to write something, that’s what his mind is focused on, and how can I share my heart with people, not necessarily for them, but it’s for him in the bigger picture.

Jessica: It’s so good. Sharing all that is what resonates with people. That’s awesome. What’s the one thing you wish you knew?

Amy: You know, I don’t know if this quite answers the question, but it is how I see the question being answered, is I just had really given up on myself. I had really, really just kind of shut the book on Amy Greene, and just figured I’ll be okay. I’ll be okay being married. I’ll be okay being their mom. I love my parents. I like my friends. I’m good. I’m good. I just was, pretty figuratively speaking, sleeping through my life. I realized, even though I didn’t choose to get divorced, and I wouldn’t have chosen it, it was really a gift. It has awoken my spirit. I’m very, very grateful to start a chapter two again. It started almost three years ago, but it has really, really been a gift. I love all the things I just named: my kids, my parents, my friends, all of that through a new lens of, oh my gosh, my life isn’t over. And this really is okay. I can do it by myself. I can.

Jessica: I love that. And you’re so right, it’s what you wish you knew, and a lot of people don’t know that it really will be better on the other side. It sucks getting through it, but once you can get through it, it really is a new opportunity. Thank you guys so much for taking the time to be with us here today. For everybody out there, if you have additional questions or anything, you can always DM us. Go look for Divorced Over 40 all over social media. You’ll be hearing from all of us again soon.

T.H.: And you’ll see them on exPERTS and on Instagram. We will share it all with you so you know where to find them.  

Amy: Oh, thank you, guys. You guys, I love it that you have all these experts available to people. So thank you for your time and what you do.

Jessica: Thank you.

T.H.: Thank you.

Travis: Thanks for having us.

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