How do you juggle the demands of a high profile career while being an exceptional mother and everything in between after divorce? In this episode, Certified Divorce Specialist (CDS)™ Jennifer Hurvitz talks to Laura Lanier, Director of Technical Assistance for a Washington, DC-based government consulting firm, as she shares why she believes that no matter what you do, divorce sucks. She dives into why you need to love your children more than you should hate your ex and why is it essential to have two different relationships with your ex-partner. Laura and Jen talk about getting back to dating and what dating apps are really like today. Learn how to find the humor in a shitty situation and how waxing can save your marriage.
Listen to the podcast here:
Divorce Sucks No Matter What You Do With Laura Lanier
My show has a new name. It’s Doing Divorce Right (or Avoiding it Altogether). I’m glad to be here. I feel like every week, I say the same thing like, “I’m excited and happy to have this guest.” This is awesome because in the studio, I have one of my dear friends and this is rare. I’ve only had two good friends in my podcast in history and this is my third good friend, Laura Lanier. We’re going to talk about a bunch of stuff. She’s a fellow divorcee, which is grown up and shi-shi to say, but we’re both divorced. This is going to be a great podcast to get real, raw, honest and truthful about what divorce looks like and what it’s all about. She’s read my book Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. I want to know some good juicy stuff and what she thinks. Welcome, Laura.
I’m excited to be here. Not only did I read your current book, but I read your first book, too.
I’m glad you’re here and this is strange for me because usually, I have to be all super-duper professional-ish and I’m interviewing whatever. I want to know about you.
I’m three years separated and divorced. I was married for seventeen years and have two amazing girls. I love them. I’m doing a single parenting working mom thing. I travel a ton for my job. I’m juggling life. I have a boyfriend, but I agree with all of your philosophies in staying married and I’ve read your books. As I sit in bed reading your books, I’m laughing and I’m like, “She totally nailed that one. You need to read this. This for real.”
I don’t hold back. Some people are offended and when I public speak, I say, “I’m going to offend somebody here. Be prepared,” and I feel like that’s okay.
It’s authentic. One of the whole reasons why I’m excited to do this is because when I went through my separation and my divorce, I didn’t have anybody that was part of that world. My entire universe was married people. I was desperate to connect to someone that could say, “You’re going to be okay and you’re going to get through this. It’s crappy now, but you’re going to survive.” I’ve read your books and honestly, I was like, “That’s what I was going through,” because it normalized so much for me.
I felt like if I would’ve had my books when I was going through it, I may have felt a little better. I felt that you did and I was like, “What? Why didn’t someone tell me this? Why didn’t I know this? What was I thinking?” Didn’t you feel that way, too?
One of the whole reasons we met was because I was desperate to connect with someone. I was on Google googling divorce, divorcees and divorce scrapes. I was like, “Anybody out there, please throw me your divorce life.” I found your blog and I was like, “She’s from Charlotte. I’m going to stop this woman because she is going to help me.” We have 1,000 mutual friends.
I don’t think we knew that.
No, we didn’t. You were my beacon and I was like, “This girl, she’s my age and she’s my demographic. She looks like she’s done it, so I can do it too.”
You did and look at where you are. You can’t tell them that no one gets it. It’s hard when you’re in it to understand because you’re sinking. You’re like, “Someone help.”
That’s why I said the life raft. It’s awful. I don’t care if it’s wanted or not wanted. Divorce is an awful experience.
It doesn’t make a difference. It’s key. I totally love what you just said, “It doesn’t matter if you want it or you don’t. You talk about it, you’re in it. It doesn’t make a difference. Divorce sucks. No matter what.”
It’s untangling a life. I got married when I was in my twenties, so I grew up with this man. I was married for seventeen years.
It’s a long time.
Nobody knew me quite the way he did because we grew up together.
Of course, you lead a life together.
I was one of those people that didn’t want to get divorced. I’m not going to say I didn’t contribute because we all know that, but I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to get out. This ripped apart a family. I was losing my best friend, I was losing my person, and the father to my kids. I was going to now not have my kids. The punishment then is you don’t have your kids all the time.
Do you mind me asking, how do you guys do your co-parenting? I know you do beautiful co-parenting as well.
We do. I view my ex-husband as I have two different relationships with him. I have my ex-husband relationship with him and then I have my co-parent relationship.
I love that, Laura. I may quote you and use that because that is fantastic. I’ve never heard anyone say that before. That’s two different relationships.
If I commingled those, I don’t think I would be able to effectively co-parent with him. It’s the truth because I have all this sadness, angst and anger about the fact that the relationship didn’t work out, but I set that aside. He’s my kids’ dad and he’s a great dad.It doesn't matter if it's wanted or not wanted, divorce is just an awful experience. Click To Tweet
Many women can’t do it. I shouldn’t say women or men, but many people cannot separate those two things and you have to do it. It’s a choice.
Another thing that I said to myself early on was, “I will love my children more than I could ever hate him.”
You’ve got to put your ego aside. My kids are more important than the hate or the anger that I have for him.
If you can operate from that lens, you can co-parent effectively and if you can put your kids first always. What is in their best interest? Is it in their best interest to have their mom fighting with their dad 24/7 in front of them and me bashing him? No, that’s going to hurt them. All that’s going to do is hurt them and I’m not going to hurt them.
Another thing we have in common is that we both feel this. I feel that exact same way. I believe that you’ve just got to do it. You’ve got to dig deep, find it and do it.
We went through a little bit of the highs and lows of co-parenting where you’re trying to figure that out. Once you get into that group, it’s easy. Why do I want to walk around not having an easy co-parenting relationship? I don’t want to take all that negativity and have that be part of my everyday life. When you’re co-parenting with an ex, you are still involved with them on a daily basis.
There’s no getting out of it. That’s for the rest of your life. How do you guys do it?
I have two girls and when we got separated, they were 6 and 7 and my six-year-old had just turned six. We were concerned about doing the right thing by the children. Of course, when you’re in this place, we hired all experts. We were fortunate enough to be able to consult with what’s best for them. Given that they were girls and they were young, we were told that they needed to be with me more than him, not that he’s terrible.
They’re girls and they’re little.
We have almost a 70/30 split, which will change when the youngest goes into the sixth grade, we’ll go 50/50.
It’s whatever works for you guys. It’s specific to the couple or to the kids.
He and I are good that if we need to make an adjustment to that, we’ll do it. It always led with what is in the best interest of the girls.
Even with my ex and I, he’s friendly with my boyfriend of two years. We just do everything we can. I’m sitting here and people are probably swearing to go, “Oh my god.” I get it there. Everyone’s different and every case is different. That’s why I wrote my second book. My first book was cathartic for me and my second book was like, “Here are the mistakes I made. The divorce grass isn’t greener. You can work on your marriage.” I preface this every time I say it, “I’m not saying to stay in a marriage that is emotionally or physically abusive.”
I am of that mindset, too. Let’s be honest, we’re in our mid-life and we’re all around the same point. I have many friends that are in these stagnant marriages. I don’t even want to call them unhappy. They’re just bored and they’re living with their roommate. They’re doing the same thing every weekend like, “Which Charlotte restaurant are we going to go to this week?”
Do you think that can change?
Read my book for God’s sake. I want to hint it to them and scream like, “You can fix it.”
Everything put in your book is spot-on. I’m a proponent of if you’re in that marriage, you make it work. Divorce is not an option. Unless there is a pervasive issue in the marriage.
I’ve seen couples in there like one does drugs and one is lucky to get out. You’re in it with a narcissistic whatever. I’m not saying to stay in a relationship like that, but please read the book. At the same time, I have friends who are like, “My heart doesn’t flutter anymore when the garage door opens at the end of the day and he comes home.” I’m like, “Are you joking?” They’re like, “I just need to have more sex. I’m going to find it.” I want to scream and I’m going to be like, “Really?” They’re like, “If I get divorced, I’ll date more.” I’m like, “Do you understand what dating looks like now? Do you understand how hard it was for me?” Do you remember when we talked about it?
The dating pool out there isn’t that great. Can we talk about the online dating apps nightmare?
We could go all day.
I caught on your typical online dating apps. You know how that works, where you reach the end of the pool and you start expanding your brain. You start like, “Maybe I could deal with someone fifteen years older because I’m out of the option. I’ll go a little further.” I get on one because I had reached the end of my pool. I’m like, “Maybe there are more men on some other apps. I don’t know.” I came on some other dating apps. This is one where they can send you whatever and it’s not women controlled. I get the message and I’m like, “I’m firing already. Five minutes and I’m getting pursuits.” I opened up the message and it’s this GIF, this meme of two people having sex in the shower totally butt naked and ramming each other. I’m like, “What is this?” He’s like, “I’d love to tap your ass in the shower.” I was like, “This is what it is.” For all these people out there that are like, “The dating life is great.” That’s the crap you get and that’s 80% of what you get.
I have people that were like that with their wives. I want to scream to people. Work on your marriages and love the one you’re with.
Any relationship that you’re going to be in for long-term, let’s be honest, that passion and that crazy connection fifteen years later, it’s not going to be the same. I don’t mind you because I have a boyfriend and we still have that going on.
You read my book. It goes in phases and stages. Love changes, it evolves and it turns into affection and then it turns into friendships. I’m writing my book going, “I was dumb. What was I thinking? I can’t go back Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. and I don’t want to. I’m happy where I am now but if I can save a few thousand marriages along the way.
Can we talk about two parts of your book that I like? One was funny and one was a reality. The reality, you put it in words, Jen, like it was perfect because it was an experience that I absolutely had the same experience. It is the piece where you talk about how you’re no longer included with your married friends. Thank God you wrote about that because when you’re often at yourself, you’re like, “If I was thinking to myself that it’s me and it’s my pool of friends, they didn’t want to include me and they didn’t want to accept me. I’m a big loser over here and everybody else who gets divorced weathers the storm much better.” I’ve read that and I was like, “That’s it.”
I’ve realized that it’s okay because it’s the way it happens. I had it and it’s not bad or wrong. It’s life. I wrote it because I feel like people need to know. People who are getting divorced, they’re like, “Nothing’s going to change.” It does change. It’s okay to change but you’ve got to know.
You think, “I’m going to get divorced and all these friendships and all these people that are in my life are going to stay around. Especially with me because my ex ran off, so to speak. I was like, “I wasn’t the one that chose this.” You learn who your real peeps are. At the end of the day, there’s few and far between that have your back and are your real people. I am happier now with the quality of my relationship versus the quantity.
I had a good girlfriend who texted me and she was reading my book. I was in LA and she texted me, “Jen, it is funny. I’m dying laughing.” She loved it and 1.5 hours later, she wrote back, “I’m no longer laughing. I got to the part about you’re losing your married friends. I’m crying. Was I one of them? Did I do this to you?” I wrote back and I said, “I don’t know. Did you?” The thing about it is that I said, “It’s okay though,” because what’s okay about it is it’s life. This is what happens and it’s okay. I’m okay because I get it. The reason why I wrote it wasn’t because I was mad or angry, it was because I wanted other people who were still married and look at thinking about getting divorced to know the truth.
What I have to say to anybody reading to this is that it wasn’t just Jen’s experience. That’s not just you and your experience.
It’s what divorce does.
It’s the same for me. I’ve talked to other people and it just happens. Your entire life has to be reenvisioned, changed and reinvented.
I used the example in the book, it’s like a male gynecologist who understands what childbirth is. “You’re going to have an epidural. The pain will feel this way.” No, he’s never pushed a kid from his vagina. How does he know? I say to people, “Don’t you want a divorce coach or divorce woman telling you what it’s like?” I know because I’ve been there. I know a therapist and they’re married. They’re like, “This is what divorce looks like.” I’m like, “Are you joking? You’re married. What do you know?” I have this woman who was on my podcast. She wasn’t married and she wrote a divorce book.
Where is this coming from?
She’s a divorce attorney, she’s married and she wrote a divorce book.
Until you go through it, you cannot understand what it is like. I have a lot of divorced friends, but if someone had told me again that divorce is hard, I would have been like, “It’s fine. I’m a tough cookie. I’ve got a lot going for me. I’ll be fine.” Having been through it is like, “Oh my god.”
These girls, the younger starter marriages and they’re in their 25 or 35. They’re like, “He does nothing around the house and he comes home from work.” I’m going to be like, “That was me.” I want to say to them, “You better shut it and just get down on your knees. Shut your pie hole and stop your bitching. You’re going to be divorced in five years.” I want to say it and I’m thinking about it. I am biting my tongue but it’s the truth.
The other part of this whole thing is that you have to find humor in this role. Otherwise, you’re going to be unable to peel yourself off the couch. We can talk about the whole bit about waxing down there because it is God’s honest truth. This is my story with that because it’s the same thing. You explain it because it’s in the book and then I’ll tell you.
All of a sudden, when you’re married, you don’t have to worry about shaving. You do but in the summertime. I used to shave and wax when I’m going to the beach or you’re going out of a vacation, but otherwise, who cared about what you were doing?
I go out on my first date.
What did you do? Do you shave or don’t you? Because if you shaved anything, he thinks you’re a slut.
In my marriage, I shaved, but I shaved only when I wore a bikini to not see the outgrowth from this. I thought that that was the norm. I don’t have anybody that I’m talking about that because my husband is looking at my hoo-ha and nobody else. He didn’t say anything to me and I’m clueless. I go out with my first date out of the gate. Believe it or not, I didn’t know this at the time I was going out that I was with a 30-year-old. I’m on my date and this fine specimen is gorgeous. Everybody can think that I’m a major slut, but I had not had another man in seventeen years. At the end of my marriage, I want to say that we were probably having sex once every six months.
I’ve now been unleashed with the 30-year-old, gorgeous specimen in front of me and I’m nervous on this date. I overserve myself and I had fourteen drinks. I decided on drink number 50 that I am going to bring this man home. My kids were not there. I was on a mission. I’m like, “I’m having sex tonight.” He smelled, looked good and I was like, “If you’re going to come out of the gate, this is the guy you want to come out of it.” I’ve only shaved the bikini line and nothing else. I’m Italian and I got a lot of hair. That 30-year-old saw way too much.
Did he run from the door?The kids are more important than the hate that you have for your ex-partner. Click To Tweet
I think he was frightened.
I have to be honest with you. I don’t think he cared. You’re gorgeous and he’s probably like, “I’m going to sift through that.”
This must be the thing that the cougars do. Here’s the thing, I still didn’t realize it was an issue until that weekend, I started watching Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.
I can’t watch because I write a TV pilot. I’m scared that I don’t write it, so I don’t watch it, but I’ve heard of it.
The episode I’m watching, the main character, the girl is in our boat. Thank God she has good girlfriends and they tell her, “Before you go out on your date, you need to be bare down there.” I’m like, “What?”
Did he ever call you again or text you? What happened?
He did, but I was horrified. I’m like, “Oh my god.” It’s like, “It’s supposed to be gone down there.” I’m like, “I did not.” I made myself an appointment at the European Wax Center and that poor waxer, I was there for 30 minutes. She must have used 50 strips.
You took some Advil first because it hurts. Your leg up over her arm and she was like, “This big Russian woman,” that she’s battling you.
How embarrassing when you’re back out there and you’ve got it?
I had this little cute soul patch. I thought it was cute. He’s like, “What is that?” I was like, “What do you mean. It’s a freaking soul patch.” He’s like, “That has to go.” I was like, “What do you mean? I thought it was cute and super sexy,” and he’s like, “That is horrific.” I thought the jostling is going to paint it up or something. He’s like, “I was horrified.” This is what’s nuts about it is now, twelve-year-olds forget it. I didn’t feel like a twelve-year-old and I was like, “Now, what do I do?” Because I look like my niece.
Here’s my advice to women that are married. If you’re not taking it off down there, start there.
Could you imagine if you’re married and all of a sudden, your husband walks in the door and you’re like, “Honey, I have a surprise for you?”
He’ll be all over that.
If he’s not, it’s not that there’s a problem. He’s with someone who already is.
I shared this story with one of my married friends and she didn’t have a clue either. She was like, “Kitty.” I was like, “No, go and have that thing taken care of.” She did and she told me, “Our sex life has never been better.”
My book says, “Don’t give it away.” I’m telling you, everybody, “Get back in that bedroom.”
Those are the reality.
They don’t talk about it and that’s why I wrote it. I’m sure my parents are proud of the book. They’re probably like, “Oh my god.” Everyone’s like, “You wrote a divorce book and now, you’re writing them,” but I have one for everybody. The second book, Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda., I feel like married people need to read it. They need to know that Oprah picked up everything.
Let’s talk about the fact that you made Oprah’s list.
It’s not Oprah’s list. It was OprahMag.com, but it’s still huge.
I recommend it to everybody. I devoured it in a day. Whether you’re married, divorced or you’re in a relationship. I’m in a relationship now and I’m not married. I’m divorced. Anybody can call things up and getting themselves cleaned up down south.
That alone will give you tips on shaving your vagina. I can’t believe this has been fun.
I appreciate you having me.
I loved it. Can you come back? This has been awesome.
If you invite me, of course.
You can come back every month if you want. We could do this all the time.
We’ve got to get together and we’ve got to have it in person.
It’s been too long. Everybody, this has been amazing. Go buy the book, Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.: A Divorce Coach’s Guide to Staying Married and you can find me everywhere. The easiest place is www.JenniferHurvitz.com. Go grab your book. Peace, love and truth.