This is going to be an odd one this week. Tuesday and I will each be asking each other 10 questions for a total of 20.
So without further ado, 20 Questions with Tuesday and Scott Ryan-Hart.
SRH: Question 1: So… what’s up?
TRH: Not a lot. Just got done putting The Girl to bed, harassing The Boy about reading his book for English, and now about to do some work. Oh, and I will be doing some dishes because the dishwasher in the new place isn’t working.
SRH: I just got finished re-arranging the living room.
Question 2: So why aren’t we doing these things in the same place?
TRH: Well. As I’m sure you know, we’re separating. So that means...um...separating houses, too. It actually means a lot of things but the practical, tangible thing at this very moment is getting the new house ready (henceforth called The Annex) and shifting things around at the main house (henceforth called The Compound since my mom has a house in the backyard there).
SRH: I am well aware of the separation. This premise of this post is to inform others of our separation. I don’t think we need to necessarily get into too much detail of the process that lead us to this decision. I just want everyone to know that we did not make this decision lightly, even though the banter might make it seem so. This was a slow and deliberate process that could have been backed out of at any time. And yet, was not backed out of.
So with 2 households... Question 3: Why are we even on speaking terms right now?
TRH: Well. I mean, we do have children. So no matter what, we’d have to speak sometimes. But, and this is the reality that might make our fans scream WHHHHYYYYYY?!!??, we do actually still like each other. I’ve talked to you almost every day of my life since I was 20 years old. It would be completely weird for us not to talk.
SRH: That and we really are pretty much good friends. Really some of the bestest of friends… we-have-been-together-for-23-years kind of friends. There is still love between us.
Question 4: How are we going to refer to each other? I do not feel that “Baby Daddy” and “Baby Mama” are quite appropriate for what we are trying to do.
TRH: Haha! And also our kids are no longer “babies” - so there’s that. I’m enjoying calling you my wusband. Get it? Rhymes with husband but refers to the past tense. I can’t claim that genius, my friend Quanita came up with it. But I sincerely don’t know. My kids’ dad? My former partner? I’m not sure. We’re just starting down this path. Ask me again in 6 months.
SRH: I don’t think there is a clever portmanteau for “wife” and “has been.” Enjoy using the “wusband” moniker.
Question 5: How are we going to stay friends through all of this?
TRH: I’m not sure. I know that’s our intention, but as our therapist told us, “There’s no place for me to send you guys. You’re trying to do something that most people can’t do.” I wish I had the answer to the question besides: we’re going to try really hard. I think we’re going to continue to do things as a family of four and keep the well being of our kids at the center of our lives. Other than that, I see you trying to be your very best self through this, and I’m going to try to do the same.
SRH: I know this is going to be tough. I do think we can remain friends through this metamorphosis of our family constellation and our relationship. I truly and wholeheartedly hope that we can stay good friends.
Question 6: So, neither of us did anything egregious to “warrant” a separation. We’re not leaving each other for other people. There has been no emotional or physical abuse. We both genuinely like each other. So, then why are we separating?
TRH: I feel weird answering this question, actually. And while I would prefer that people just trust that we know what’s best for us and keep moving, but we are making an “announcement”, and I get that people will want to know why.
There are a lot of reasons, and they don’t have to be dramatic to be valid. I think we are good friends, and no longer good marriage partners. The daughter has accused us of “friendzoning” each other, and while that term is problematic, I think it’s fairly accurate.
SRH: Additionally, I think it is important for people to know that a relationship can still be positive without being completely fulfilling, and the people we were when we got together 23 years ago are not the people we are now. We have grown and evolved as a couple, as parents, and as individuals. Some of these changes moved us away from each other. When we finally took stock and looked around, I think we were both traveling in our own directions. So that makes this separation both harder and easier to do at the same time.
Question 7: So, when is the separation actually taking place?
TRH: First, yes, to what you said above. My first day being at the new place full time was last Thursday. New month, new start. That’s when rent kicked in, so my behind was in the place full time then. No need to pay for a place I ain’t using.
SRH: Word. No reason to pay rent if you aren’t living there.
Question 8: Since you are renting at the moment, you are not going to be able to have the pups at your house. What are you planning to do to make sure you see and interact with the doggos before we can get you into a doggo friendly place?
TRH: This one is a heartbreaker. I imagine that I will occasionally come over to your place during the day (with permission, of course) and hang out with them while I’m doing some work. I also imagine that whenever I’m at your place, I’ll be playing with the doggos, likely to the neglect of our children. I will also transport them from doggie daycare at times and likely stay around to love them then. I was hoping to have them with me some at the new place but that was a “no go” - so I’ll likely move sooner than I might have so that I can have them as part of the custody agreement.
SRH: That one is the heartbreaker? I’m right here, lady.
It really is sad because they are going to want to get under the covers with me at night and be all up in my space. You are much happier with dog breath on you under the covers than I ever will be. They are going to try to climb inside of me this winter.
Question 9: Do you have an ultimate vision of what this new “family system” will be?
TRH: Oh, I’ve got lots of fantasies. I imagine holidays together and family trips - with lots of friendliness and laughter. I want our children to be able to say that their parents were friends. I want us to show them that our family is still a family, even if we are not married to each other. That making this kind of decision doesn’t have to mean anger and acrimony. I imagine that - at some point - there may be other partners for each of us, and I hope that those folks will be an integrated part of a new, expanding family system. I know it will take a while to get there, but I’m hopeful.
SRH: I really want that too. I am trying my darnedest to make it a reality, but it is really hard work here at the beginning of this new family constellation. In every way it is harder than us staying married.
I know I that this is usually the question 20 on interviews, but the last half are questions you are asking me. So… Question 10: What’s next? Be as vague or as specific, as concrete or philosophical, and as near term or long term as you would like.
TRH: What’s next is exactly figuring out the above. You’re right. It is harder than staying married. This path we’ve chosen isn’t easy. So my “next” is trying to figure out - How do we do this separation and reconstituting our family while being our best selves? It’s a tall order. But I think we’re both committed to that.
And also. I’m hoping we can lean on 20+ year of love and care to help us with what’s next. We’ve worked really hard to communicate, be kind, and support each other for over 20 years, that should help. At least I sure hope so!
The other thing that is next is my remembering how to cook. It’s been A LONG time since I did much cooking, and we both know it’s not my...um...gift. But the babies gotta eat, and I gotta feed them. So cooking I will re-learn.
(Editor’s note: Tuesday is becoming the interviewer and Scott is becoming the interviewee)
TRH: Question 1: Okay. My first question for you...I have to re-learn how to cook. What skill have you totally dropped that you have to pick up again now?
SRH: Honestly? I guess prioritizing myself again. One of the reasons we drifted apart is that I lost sight of my identity and of taking care of myself. I was so consistently and constantly trying to care for you and the kids, that I kind of became a non-entity. I pushed my needs down to try and serve my family and in doing so became, well… I became nothing. You did not fall in love with a person who pushed down his needs to serve others, but that is who I turned into. I need to relearn how to be me again.
TRH: Okay. That’s a big deal. And I’m excited for you to become you again. That leads to the next question.
Question 2: What part of yourself are you hoping to rekindle? What excites YOU about becoming you?
SRH: I am honestly not sure. I think I have been ignoring myself for so long, that finding out who I am is really a surprise around every corner. The real hope is that I will rekindle some love of exercise. The problem there is that I am not sure I ever really loved exercise. Maybe I am just hoping to rekindle my willingness to exercise.
TRH: Part of what I feel concerned about is that folks will project all sorts of their stuff onto us. (That happens, you know.). Something like, “Wait a second. You guys are divorcing! What does that mean about my own marriage? I should tell you exactly what I think about your divorce because it says something about me.”
Question 3: So my question is, “”What does this mean for other people’s marriages?”
SRH: Absolutely nothing. This means nothing to anyone’s relationship other than to us and our families. Anyone who projects their own stuff onto our relationship is purely, well… projecting. If people question their relationship because of our relationship status, maybe they should be questioning their relationship for other reasons. Namely their own stuff.
I am more concerned with having to listen to people’s tales of relationship demises and getting advice from them when they are unwilling to speak to their ex. I don’t need advice from someone on how to interact with my ex when the person giving me the advise cannot be in the same room as their ex.
TRH: So that’s interesting! You seem to be getting stories about how hard people find it to tolerate their ex and I seem to be getting wistful glances and whispers of “how?” from folks who don’t want to be married anymore but can’t figure out a way to leave.
Either way, I agree. It doesn’t mean anything else for others’ marriages. It just means we have made this decision for us. No indictment, judgment, or support of others’ marriages included in that.
Question 4: Also. Were we for real? I mean, we looked SO happy in those family vacation pics! Were we just mugging for the cameras or maintaining an image? It was all just fake for social media wasn’t it? We pulled a tricksies on unsuspecting folks who thought we were happy?
SRH: It was very real. It IS very real. The good times were really good. Our adventure vacations were great and the smiles and laughter people see in the pics are genuine smiles and real laughter. Our parenting is top notch, and our partnership was unparalleled… but our partnership was also something we needed to renegotiate way earlier if we were to stay married. We worked really well as a team together and still do. We went to Little Man’s 4 HOUR cross country banquet together this weekend and laughed there as well. 4 HOUR BANQUET… who the hell has a 4 hour banquet anyway? It wasn’t the Oscars. Trim that stuff up people.
We can still parent together, and we are still a solid partnership. We just are doing it from different houses now, and we are doing it in a way that can keep much of the same strengths of what we had while building our own individual strengths.
TRH: That banquet. Not sure how I would have done it without you. So, yes, there are remaining “parenting trenches” we will be in together.
Question 5: Hey there, I...uh...noticed you’re still wearing your ring...when you gonna stop that nonsense?
SRH: I don’t know how long I will keep it on. I have gone some days without it, but it doesn’t seem quite right to not have it yet. I feel like I need to keep it on to hold the single ladies at bay.
TRH: Yeah, me neither. Wearing it some days and not wearing others.
SRH: Well, you did conveniently misplace it last week… the week you were moving out. I ended up finding it under some unmatched socks on a coffee table.
TRH: I imagine that one day it will feel okay to take off and then it will feel okay not to put it back on. It is strange after 21 years, though, probably more so for you since this is actually my 3rd ring! ;)
Speaking of strange. You’re staying the family house, which has all sorts of memories AND now has less stuff since I’ve taken some of it. That’s gotta feel weird.
Question 6: How are you planning to make the house “yours” now that I’ve moved away?
SRH: I have already rearranged the downstairs. I need to get a new chair, new rug, and I need some new big art. Your mom thinks I should draw 9 drawings and arrange them in 3 rows of 3. She’s wrong.
TRH: Look. My mom is wrong about a lot of stuff, but she might actually have a good idea there. I’m just saying. And since she’s still living in your backyard, you might want to pay her some heed.
Question 7: What’s happening with the kids? Are they living with me? With you? Are the feral out back with Mim?
SRH: 50/50. They are with you 50% of the time and are with me 50% of the time. We are not on a hard and fast schedule yet, but that is the ultimate goal. I also understand that with your work schedule the week on/week off schedule may not be completely able to be adhered to, but it is our goal.
The only person who is feral out back with Mim is Mim. Baying at the moon at all hours, rushing at the neighbors, and screaming at the squirrels. I think she has taken you moving out harder than the rest of us.
TRH: That seems likely. I’m her only kid and I’ve “left home” yet again.
So I’ve left you with the dogs, a feral retiree, and a house that can’t get decent phone reception anywhere. When I put it like that, it hardly seems fair. So, the next question...
Question 8: What petty revenge are you planning on me for taking the best years of your life?
SRH: I have already taken it…. You’ll find out… eventually. Mu-hoo, mu-hooo ha ha, mu-hoo ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. MU-HOOO HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Ahem… um. What were we talking about?
TRH: Nothing. We were talking about nothing. Carry on.
Question 9: Do you have a breakup anthem? If so, are you dancing to it right now?
SRH: Nope and nope.
TRH: That’s too bad. I like the image of you just bustin a move to some obscure song by a group I’ve never heard of. (We never matched up well musically.)
Question 10: What do you need from your friends right now? Be as general or specific as you’d like, but ask for what you need.
SRH: There are a few things.
Number 1: Treat me like you normally would. No reason to be on eggshells around me. I am not a delicate little flower. I am a goddamn adult, and I am handling this like an adult.
Number 2: Check in on me and ask how I’m doing. I might be up for chatting… I might not.
Number 3: Don’t say anything bad about the person I was married to for 21 years. I married her for a reason and that 21 years was not bad. She is still an amazing person and my friend.
That’s it. How about you? What do you need from your friends?
TRH: Yeah. I completely agree that I need people not to bad mouth you OR choose sides. No sides here. Just two adults doing their best.
I’m getting the support I need right now, I think. Lots of amazing people showing up in really important ways for me. I guess I need those friends that I haven’t reached out to not to take it personally. It’s been a very intense time these past several months and my bandwidth has been low. I’ve been cocooning in a lot of ways, and I’m not quite ready to fly out of that. But I’ll get there.
There is nothing to recap today
I think we laid it all out there pretty thoroughly
Have a great week everyone
TRH: Wait! Can we ask people to send me VERY EASY (I burned green beans last week) weeknight recipes? That would help a mama out! :)
Also. Have a great week everyone.