Episode 133: On today’s episode, I bring back an interview I did with my ex a few years ago. We talk about co-parenting, integrating new relationships and taking responsibility for your experience. I’m grateful for such a good relationship with Chris and it wasn’t always easy.
I hope that the information we share helps you and, mostly, I hope that it gives you hope that there is something easier ahead if you are in the midst of a divorce and restructuring your relationships too.
You’re listening to Episode 133 of The Art of Living big. So I would say like one of my superpowers is that I’m okay. failing. I think for most of my life, I’ve been okay, failing. And I’ve even for the most part been okay failing and like having people know that I failed. So and Okay, and I don’t necessarily call it a fail, because as soon as I said that I was like, I don’t really fail, because I just keep on figuring it out. So which brings me to today’s episode.
So years ago, I’ve had this podcast for two years, but maybe it was four years ago, I decided I wanted to start a podcast. And so I did. And I did. I don’t know, maybe like six episodes, it just it never felt right. First of all, I hated the name of it, which I’m not even going to tell you because I hated it. And though, but the concept was similar, right in that, like, I was interviewing people or whatever. Alright, so during that time, I did an interview with my ex husband. I know, we talked about like, being exes. And we did it over the holiday time. So I have dug that old interview out.
And I wanted to share it with you just because I know that the holidays are such a stressful time or can be a stressful time with family and then especially with exes. But I tell you, I’m okay to share that I failed, because I’m okay to tell you that I had this other podcast that didn’t work out, whoop dee doo. And I figured out how to do it better this time it’s working. And, you know, I screwed up and got divorced, too. And, and so I had to figure out how to keep going and make that right for my kiddo. And it’s hard. And it’s doable. And I’m lucky because I have a co parent who wants to co parent right?
So I do recognize that, that I had a partner in the divorce, it still had the same goals that I had, which was like to still be friends. So anyway, I’ll bring you today’s interview, which is really an interview from like four years ago. So you know, I Another thing I don’t mind is just being totally authentic and transparent. Because, you know, I sound kind of silly in this, I think, but it’s important. I think it might be helpful to you. So anyway, onward.
Here we go. Welcome to the show. Welcome to the art of living big. I’m your host, Betsy Pake, and this podcast is done to share interviews and new ideas to help you redefine what could be possible for your life. Now, let’s go live big. My guest is chris chris hodgdon. This is my ex husband. And so today, we’re gonna do a little bit different. It’s not gonna be an interview, as much as it’s going to be more of a conversation. So welcome.
Welcome, Chris. Glad to be here. How are you? So excited that you’re here? I’m super excited. Do we not have to be this close to the microphone? I don’t know. He’s sort of the professional with this stuff. I just I can tell you, I can lean in a little. All right. So. All right. So the holidays are coming. And Chris and I have been divorced For how long?
This is a this is a quiz nine years,
nine years. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And we have a daughter who’s almost 14, oh my god.
And so we have
managed to have a and create a good relationship over the past nine years. And, and I and I truly believe that it’s affected in a positive way, the way that my daughter sees our relationship and her relationship with each of us. And, you know, the holidays are coming. And I hear so many people really, that like really hate their exes. And it’s sort of painful.
And they’ll talk about it, or they’ll write things on Facebook. And even if it’s not their ex, it’s just somebody in their life that’s close to them a family member, but you know, you can’t get rid of them. And you’re going to be around them on the holidays. So we wanted to talk a little bit about some things that we’ve done, and some strategies that we’ve used to create a better relationship for ourselves and our new spouses and our kids too.
So shall I start? Yeah, go ahead. Maybe this should have just been a conversation with me. I could have just talked. See this is what this is why we get along well now. So one thing to start, and I’ll just start off and and then you can pipe in and you can have your own thanks to all right.
Um, but I think that whether we realized it or not, when we got divorced really quickly. I know I looked at Chris in a different way. And I’m actually gonna tell a little story. So all of was for when we got divorced, and she was maybe like four or five. And he had moved out. And she said to me, at night, I want to talk about daddy because he was gone.
And I mean, I was like, for real? Okay, we’ll talk about daddy. And that night, she listed things that she loved about daddy. And this went on, like, Night after night for a couple of weeks, where I’m going to list some things I love about Daddy, okay. Well, after a couple weeks, I realized she would say things, and I would go, Oh, yeah, I love that, too. That’s funny, or she would bring something up that had happened. That was silly, and it made me laugh.
And it made me realize that any kind of beef that I had with Chris was done, right, it was over, we were divorced. And so the only thing that mattered now with my relationship with Chris was that he was a good dad, and that all of was happy. And when I made that shift, it changed the way I saw Chris, and any sort of wish for hate that I may have had on you. So I feel like that transition in my head. happened pretty quick. Yeah. But that I think makes such a big huge difference.
Yeah, I think that’s the hardest part. Is that separation, right? So you go through divorce, there’s a physical separation that happens, right? We pack up your stuff, and you move out. And you know, you get to different places and different sets of stuff. Right, right. But there is a mental component that has to do with sort of the projectory of your life. So you thought your life was gonna go one way, right? Yeah. And it didn’t go the way you thought it was gonna go. It took a turn.
Yep. And it’s very hard, I think to separate that out. So in other words, to say, Oh, this person doesn’t? Isn’t that part of my life anymore? Yeah. So it’s almost like you have to start over. Right? It’s very difficult to separate that out that aspect, it’s very easy to pack a box and go get an apartment or do whatever, right. But the hard part is separating and then re rebuilding or remaking whatever, then that new relationship is gonna look like. Right, right. Yeah. And so I think that’s the hard part that most people have. Yeah, is trying to figure out. Okay, we’re not a couple a couple anymore. And so what you do isn’t about me, and what I do isn’t about you. Yeah. But that’s really it’s much easier to sit here and say that Oh, yeah.
Yeah. And I think that even though we no longer had a relationship, we still had a relationship. And so it was this relationship we’d never had to figure out before never had before. So now all of a sudden, you go from one relationship that you you are used to, and maybe you don’t like it, but you were used to it, and then it ends.
And then what’s the new relationship? How to really define that? Right. And I think that process for me having all of talk about you and named the good things, just something clicked in my brain where I thought that’s all that matters. That’s the relationship now that matters. Yes. is witnessing the relationship with him and her, you
And I think you had that too, in some way.
Yeah, absolutely. And me knowing what a good mom you were, uh huh. It made me want to make sure that we were good parents. Yeah. Yeah. So that I, I think one of the things we consciously did was not talk bad about each other. Yeah, too. Well, when Olivia was around, he might talk bad about each other to our friends. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Or whatever. But never. Well, they
still do I still talk bad.
After all, these still can’t get it right. But never from Bolivia. But yeah, it was about us still being parents.
Yeah. And I never ever did that. And not because but also, I knew you weren’t doing that. I felt comfortable with that, that you weren’t doing that. Yeah,
it was never a battle. Right? Like, oh, you love me more? Because she’s so awful,
right? Yes, yes.
Right. And I think a lot of people fall into that trap of using the kids to kind of win some points. Yeah. against their spouse. Yes. Yeah, that’s right. where it’s like, well, she likes me better. Yes. So I win, right? Whatever yeah means, right? Yes. Or, yeah. And, and so one way to accomplish that is to talk bad about right person and score points. Yes.
and point out weaknesses. You perceive
my house and you get to have chocolate. Yes, yeah, right. doesn’t even matter.
But then they get to be teenagers, and then you hope they like the other one better. So they leave. So, so. So just to reframe what we just said, I think really making the transition in your mind that the relationship that you had is, it has changed. And the only way that you need to see it now is how that relationship is with the with the child.
That’s right. And I know that there are people out there going, well, the relationship with child stinks, because he’s a jerk, and he doesn’t call and whatever. So I’m gonna say something that I think is really hard for people. And it might be a little bit in your face. And so I’m, I’m sorry if I offend you. But I truly believe that you have to take responsibility for your part in that relationship.
So if he’s a jerk, and he doesn’t call, what are you doing to facilitate that? What are you doing to make him not want to call? What are you doing to make it uncomfortable every time he has an interaction with the kid? So I’m not saying that they’re perfect, and you’re not. But I’m saying take responsibility, even if the other party does not, because you can’t control what somebody else does. But you can control what you do.
And I know from any relationships that I have, whether it’s friends or family or, or romantic relationships, if somebody is nice to me, and somebody likes me, it’s really hard to be a jerk continually for a long period
of time. Right? That’s right. So the other
thing that I would say, and that really would make make a has made a difference is that when I looked at the goal, so I made that transition in my brain, but then I looked at the goal, like what do I really want? So now, this is what I got, right? So I’ve got I’m divorced, and I have a kid. And what do I really want?
And really, what I decided, for me that I wanted was I wanted to have a peaceful relationship. And I wanted if I was dating someone else, for them to not have a drama filled acts as part of the excuse why they didn’t want to be with me, right? So if I found somebody I really liked, and they had an and they thought you got way too much drama girl with that, like, I always was, I always would think I want everybody’s got baggage. I want mine in Louis Vuitton. I don’t want it in a budget u haul truck. Right? So I think that really picking your goal. And I think you did that too. Like learning piece.
Yeah. And I think
I think once you set the primary goal, which is, in our case, Olivia. Right? And the kids, yeah. If that’s your primary goal as it should be, right, like, let’s do, let’s do the best we can to be good parents, right? Right. Then all the secondary to me, the secondary goals after that are okay, if we’re going to be good parents, we have to be able to communicate, we have to be able to be in the same room with each other, we have to be able to speak with each other on the phone, drop kids off, pick kids up interactions at school functions, all of these things. those interactions should be as easy and as peaceful as possible.
Right. And so don’t show up with a grudge or chip on your shoulder. Yeah, right. Show up with the primary goal in mind. Yes. You know what, it’s gonna be a lot easier on the kids on Olivia in this case. If whenever I come pick her up, it’s easy and peaceful and nice. Right. It’s not contentious, and there’s a problem. And there’s a right. Yes, always. So I think there’s a lot of that going on with me in terms of let’s make this as peaceful or as easy as possible, right? Because we’ve got this other thing in mind.
Right? Yeah. Be aware of the energy you’re bringing to it. And, and I and I think that goes hand in hand with you know, you so you know what your goal is, right? But then, so I think that when you got your goal in mind, and then you know, you know, you’re aware of the energy that you’re bringing to it, but then also to say, there’s gonna be I’m, I might just not get along with them. Like, this may just be the kind of thing where I’m not gonna win. And my goal of having peace is bigger than my goal of winning.
And so I’m gonna let this little thing go or something. thing comes up, and you’re like, you know what? It’s okay. I’m gonna just let it go. And I’m just gonna keep moving because my bigger goal is to have like a peaceful day. And, and you know, Chris and I have done. I mean, we’ve done holidays together, we’ve done Christmas morning. So we’ve done Christmas mornings with boyfriends and girlfriends, and then fiance’s and then spouses, and we’ve done birthday parties and
Yep, all kinds of stuff we’ve all set together. And, and Chris has remarried and has two little ones. And I’m remarried. And he’s the only little one. He’s the only color kid in my life. But we’ve all done things together and sat together and I’ve met your in laws, and it makes for just like, such a much easier, an easier life for everybody. All those happy spouses, I think are happy.
My spouse seems happy with it. You know, everybody seems happy. The other thing that I wanted to talk about and is really about, you know, so many times we think everything has to do with us. I’m gonna tell I’m gonna tell a little story. Should I say this is? Well, this is a little embarrassing, but I’m going to tell it because, because I because I want to be transparent. I want to be able to help somebody if I can.
So I think I had just started dating my husband when when Chris got married, and he had gone he was off on his honeymoon. Number four, he left on his honeymoon. He had all of he had gone I think out to get her some shoes. I think his fiance had gone to his wife now had gone to get her some shoes. And school was he was gone. I mean, it was a lot.
I had her for nine or 10 days straight, which at the time, that was a long stretch. She was only what six or something. I mean, I was just tweaked out. And he was on his honeymoon. And I knew like I’m a beach person, y’all like I just want to be at the beach all the time. And I knew he was at the beach. You don’t know this whole story. You don’t know. I knew he was at the beach. And this whole wasn’t conscious thought, right? But also I just got pissed. Like you’re at the frickin beach. You found somebody else.
You are like you bought her the wrong size shoe. Like now is cool. Starting morning and I’m trying to deal with the shoes. And she was like having a little meltdown. And I sent him like a nasty text.
Like Where were you like St. Lucia or something? St. Lucia? I mean, I didn’t even know if his phone was on y’all. But I knew it was gonna make me feel better. And I was a jerk. And I don’t. I can honestly say I think that was one of the few times that I’ve really been a jerk. I mean, disagree with me if you want, but no, I think I think there’s a few times, right. And he did get the text and he responded. And he said, I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry, you’re having a hard time. Thanks for taking care of such good care of Olivia long gone. And you could have said like you effing jerk.
Like I’m on my honeymoon, get a grip. I mean, he could have said a lot of things. But what he did was he realized that it probably had nothing to do with him. It had nothing to do with him. It had to do with me. And everything that was happening with me. And and I lashed out, because because I could, and that could have taken a turn, right?
He could have told his wife and maybe I’m sure he did tell his wife. But I mean, he could have told his wife and they could have been all mad and come back mad and been a jerk to me at the door, but nothing else was ever said about it. And I think that there is a point where you have to give the other person grace for whatever it is that they’re going through.
Because we’d been divorced, like five years or something by them. It wasn’t anything new. It wasn’t like we I was like, pining over you. No offense. I mean, you’re great. But like, it wasn’t like I was, like struggling with my relationship loss with him, but I just was frustrated. And so, um, you know, I think that what you have, there’s gonna be points where you have to be the bigger person, thanks for being the bigger person. And and giving the other person grace and going, you know what, I don’t know what they’re going through. But this has nothing to do with me. Yeah.
And I, and I think
there are certain people in anybody’s life that are the easiest people for you to blame for things.
Yeah, like, and it doesn’t matter if it’s your ex wife or your ex husband or your sister or your brother, your mom or your dad, somebody, someone in your life is the person that you tend to blame for things a lot, right? They never did this. They do this, whatever it is,
and even when you’re a kid, you do that like to your parents because you can because you know they love you anyway.
Yeah. And it’s much easier to blame someone in your sort of circle than it is outside, you know, strangers. And so I think what you have to realize is I, I’m somebody that thinks that a lot of times when we blame other people for things, it’s to deflect off of our own responsibility. Right. So it’s a lot easier for me to blame Betsy for doing something than to tend to stop and look at myself and say, oh, what what should I be fixing about me? Yeah. Because it’s easier, right?
And human beings, we love to take the easy road whenever possible, right? So instead of me fixing something about myself, it’s a lot easier for me to go show. That’s just Betsy being Betsy. And yeah, she’s difficult. And that’s just the way it’s going to be instead of me saying, no, maybe I need to take a step back. Right. And then the other thing is, that concept of, especially after over time, I think this is very difficult to do when you first get divorced. Right. But I think over time, that notion of it not having anything to do with you, is easier, right?
Because there’s, as time goes by it’s the separation that I was talking about earlier, it gets easier to deal with that notion of it’s not your life, isn’t it doesn’t involve me, outside of Olivia. Right, right. You have a new husband and a new relationship and a new jobs and new ends and new everything. Yeah. And there’s a component of your life. That is Olivia, that, yes. serves me, I want to make sure she’s getting what she needs and all and she’s happy and all. But all none of the rest of that has anything to do with me. Right? Yeah. Right. And so I have no control over that.
So Betsy is having a bad day. Yeah, I can recognize that as a bad day. And it’s not about me, it’s about something going on in her world. And I don’t know anything about her world. So it could be anything, and I don’t have any power to make it better or right. fix it. That’s really hard. Yes. Yeah. To sort of let that go. And, and, and just sort of grace is the word you were using. But forgiveness or whatever it is. Yeah. And just realize. Sometimes you got to swallow a lot of shit. Yeah. Right. Yeah. In order to make peace, right things work. And that isn’t just about ex husbands and wives. It’s about current husbands or wives.
Yeah. And in laws and family members. I
always said there’s a couple things if you want to have a happy relationship with your ex one is never take the bait.
Yeah, like ignore the bait know when you’re being baited? Yeah. Because sometimes there’s a need in that other person to have a fight. Yeah, something out. Right. So don’t take the bait. Yeah. And then swallow some shit. Yeah. Like, don’t you just know that we’re both to blame for lots of things. Right? Yeah. And it’s not all her and it’s not all me. Yeah. And so sometimes you gotta swallow some stuff. Right? You might otherwise want to bubble out. Yeah. For the sake of that long term goal.
Yeah, yeah. And I think that goes right back to the take responsibility, which really affects every area of your life, not just your relationship with your ex or anybody else. But take responsibility and be self aware. I think that’s my word for 2016. self aware, self aware, because I feel like that is really how you create change in your life, how you create change in your, in your relationships in your job, like, become self aware and take responsibility for what you find.
And know. And I think the self awareness also has to do with taking control the things that you can control, and not worrying that much about the things you can’t control. Right. Yeah, yeah. And so which is hard, because we live these sort of tangled lives now. And we’re on this podcast, and it’s all and like, and it seems like you’re connected. You’ve there’s a lot of things that are part of your world that are completely out of your control. Right. Yeah. And then you can’t worrying about them or trying to fix them is not gonna do you any good. It’s that small amount that we can control that we need to work on. Right.
Yeah. And so, and, and I want to say, and I think I said this before, you know, Chris, and I don’t do everything, right, right. I mean, we don’t, this isn’t a perfect co parenting relationship. But I think that we try really hard and we respect each other.
And really now after nine years, like I value your friendship, and although although I get the point that like the only relate part of my life that you have any kind of what is the relationship with all of really I actually go to Chris for lots of insight for things because he knows me, he’s known me for so long, and he is on the outside. So he can’t does have a different view on what’s happening. And I think he cares about what happens to me because what happens to me affects Olivia Absolutely. And so over the years, we have really kind of created, I think a nice friendship. Yes. And so I just want to paint a picture for you of what could happen.
You know, I was saying that Chris has remarried.
His wife, Kelly superduper. Nice. And she’s really good with my kid. Like, my kid loves her. And, and, you know, I don’t even really know Kelly that well, if I’m being honest, but like, that’s what I know the most is that my kid loves her. And so to me, Kelly can’t do anything wrong. Like if Chris and Kelly were in a fight, I’d probably be like ants pilot, Chris, you know, so.
So, like Kelly’s cool in my book. And they have two little kids. So they have a three year old and a little over one year old. And when Chris will come over to get all of, I mean, over the past couple years, he’s brought Emma his daughter, and like I have, I love when he brings me over. I love it when she goes, because then I’m like, Oh, that’s like being on like, down here all the time. But she really brings me joy. I mean, I was saying to him the other day, and he had Christmas list for Emma. So it’s, she’s important to me, and it’s all of sister.
So she’s important to me for that. And then I just got to meet Jordan, who’s just a little over a year old, just this worked out where he just wasn’t big enough to be like dropping all of off. But he’s like, such a little dude. And he’s like standing and walking like a robot. And like, I mean, it. It really made me joyful. And I thought to myself, the day that he brought Jordan over and and really why I wanted to do this podcast, is because, you know, I, I he left, and I really, I felt joy. And I thought, imagine how different my life would be, if I didn’t have you in it.
If I didn’t have Emma and Jordan in it now and Kelly, and I have all these new people to care about. And people that care about me. Yeah, I think y’all care about me. And so, um, it changed really the trajectory of not just all of life by us making that decision, consciously or unconsciously, but it changed my life too. And so I think there’s a bigger picture out there for what can what can what could be for you, if you are struggling with an x. And, and, and how, you know, won’t happen all at once. It won’t happen immediately.
But there is a way that you can have high school graduations and you know, first apartment and move ins and college graduations, and weddings and all of those things to come and still make those things great. Yeah. So thanks for coming on my podcast, very welcome to do it. And that because that because your friend because they’re not just a co parent. So anyway, so thanks so much. I hope that this helped you all and that you got something out of it that might help you on your way, I hope that you have good holiday with your ex. Well, thanks for listening to the show. That was an oldie but goodie. And I’m glad that I listened to it myself today. And I’m glad that it kind of came around.
You know, divorce can be so difficult on so many different levels. I am going to be doing a special training on sort of getting yourself back together after divorce. If you want to look for that. It will be up in the next few weeks. But I want to mention it on this podcast. In case you’re listening, you know at a later date. If you’d like to get on my mailing list, you can just text the word live big just one word live big 2444999.
And that’s if you’re in the United States, you can always go to my website to Betsy Pake calm and just sign up for the mail list. But when that comes out, I’ll make sure that you’re notified. And if this is a couple weeks later, just head to my website and you should see the free training right on the front page. So thanks for listening for being here on my journey. And now we’re going to have a message as always from my new husband. See you guys next week.