Jessica Frew On Living a BOLD Life - Co-host of the Husband in Law Podcast

Posted by tonyoverbay

Jessica Frew truly lives a BOLD life. She is an author (https://theboldlogic.com/free-book), podcast host of the very real, raw, and funny podcast Husband in Law that she hosts with her current husband Matt, as well as her ex-husband Steve. From Jessica, "we were active members of the LDS/Mormon faith, and just a few months into our marriage, my husband (Steve) came to terms with the fact that he is gay." Jessica tells her story that is anything but what one expects when they get married but those experiences have truly made her who she is today, and along her path, she has discovered some very profound ways to help others take control of their own life, find joy, and silence the noise that so often gets in the way of helping us navigate the realities that life doesn't always turn out the way we expect. You can find the Husband in Law podcast here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/husband-in-law/id1464470280 or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can follow the Husband in Law podcast on Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/husband_in_law/You can watch this interview on YouTube here https://youtu.be/k1pPHfe3wd4 Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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[00:00:00] We're coming in with witty banter or something like that. Great.

[00:00:05] Ok, I'm really I'm excited. I'm excited that your response even to sending me sending you that article and I'm excited to talk about this is maybe from with my marriage therapist hat on or who knows.

[00:00:16] That's great. Ok. All right. So you ready?

[00:00:21] I'm ready.

[00:00:22] Ok, so I have to tell you, I've been I've been bingeing a bit on your podcast. That's been a lot of fun. And one of the things I thought was hilarious is I don't know what episode it was, but you you were you're being made fun of your laugh when you listen to it on time and a half or one point seven five.

[00:00:37] Yes. And I hear often that hearing me at one and a half at one point seventy five, a little bit brutal because I get going. So maybe this is a warning to all those who will be listening to this episode on high speed. They can slow it down a little bit and it might catch more

[00:00:53] Between my laugh and you talking fast.

[00:00:57] Yeah, exactly. And maybe a snort or to. But, Jessica, thank you so much for coming on the virtual cash podcast.

[00:01:03] Yeah. I am so excited to be here with you.

[00:01:06] Oh, I have to tell a quick story. So I when you when you would send an email, I said, oh, I totally know who you are because it's a crazy thing I was going to be interviewed on. I think it was Latter Day lives, so I wanted to go get a vibe for the podcast and the episode before mine was yours. And I listened and I just thought, whoa, what a story. I mean, and I won't spoil anything. But it's a fascinating story so that I had already kind of done a deep dive on you. Isn't it funny? That's why it's so random. It is, right. Yeah.

[00:01:37] Yeah.

[00:01:38] But I want you to tell your story. Where do we generally tired of telling your story to, you know.

[00:01:45] No, because I have felt for years that the reason I had these experiences and got to go through these things is so that I could help other people. And the more I share it, the better I get at sharing it and figuring out the things that people need to hear and what resonates with them. And so I love it. Like it's just I feel like this gift that I can give that's free and that's easy for me to do. And so I love being able to share this story and share my experiences in the hopes that I get to help somebody else along the way, that I get to give them some hope or some new insight or something that they can take from my experiences.

[00:02:18] I love it. And there's a part of me that I don't know if you have ever experienced this, but I love going into a movie where I don't know anything about it. It's kind of hard to do these days. And a part of me that when I recorded the intro to this, I almost want to not say anything about anything. And I want people because I have some some amazing, wonderful, loyal listeners and I want them just to just to sit back and listen and hear your story and watch where their own brains go with whether it's judgment or I would have done this or how could she have done that or. Oh, yeah, right. And I want to just welcome everybody on this journey. I'm going to try to not ask as many questions here, because I just want people to to kind of check in with themselves and see what are the stories their own brain saying about, well, I would have or why didn't she or all those things. And before I even do that, this is a plug to go watch this on YouTube, because your background is fascinating.

[00:03:07] Oh, thank you. What is your background? But tell me about that real quick.

[00:03:10] So these are flowers from like a party with a real hosted. They are like giant. Yeah. Three dimensional flowers that cover my office wall and they make me so happy. I'm a firm believer in having things in your life that just bring you joy. And this is definitely one of them. I walk into my office and it just lights me up.

[00:03:29] Ok, I'm a little bit my mind is blown because that was what two dimensional are when I first was. Now you just pulled them. Yeah, that's

[00:03:37] Definitely. It's real.

[00:03:40] Ok, Jessica, take us on your journey. I just want to hear you tell your story and everybody listening. Just I want you to just check in me with jot some notes down about things that you were thinking along the way. Here we go.

[00:03:51] Yeah. So my name is Jessica Frio and I am a mom, step mom, wife, ex-wife and a bold action taker. And people always ask me, well, why did you include the ex-wife in there? Like, that's when people get hung up on. And I'm like, it's because it is a big part of who I am. It has, you know, changed my life in many ways and not a title that we intend to carry. None of us want to have that title. Right. If you get married, you don't want to come out the other end say, I'm an ex wife and there's a lot of shame around it. And I have made it a point to try and take away that shame for myself and hopefully for other people along the way, too, so that we can start thinking of this in a new way. So I married my first husband when I was in college and he was a returned missonary and we dated and like from day one, we were together every day and just really had a great connection. And a few days before we got married, he opened up to me and told me that he struggled with pornography. And in our church, as many of you know, that's kind of a big deal. And so I was like, OK, well, what does this mean for us? How do we just

[00:04:51] And ask you real quick, and I promised I wouldn't jump in, but tell me a time frame. So, I mean, it sounds like you guys just were you were just in love and all every day together. What was that time?

[00:05:00] So we met in February and we ended up getting married in December. OK, so yeah, we met like mid-February and got married at the end of December that same year. So it was

[00:05:10] Like, I don't know,

[00:05:12] 10 months from from courtship or from meeting until married. So it was pretty quick,

[00:05:18] But also, not like a couple of weeks. So we can be in the culture.

[00:05:24] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:05:26] And yeah. And so he told me literally three days before we got married about the pornography. And he's like, I just want to be honest with you before going into this, which I have always appreciated and I think really set the tone for our marriage and our relationship.

[00:05:38] What do you think about that though? What did you would you think? I mean, was it a man who late or. I don't. It's OK. Or would you think that time?

[00:05:45] So I, I was processing. And I remember thinking in the moment of having this conversation, OK, how how do I want this to look for our relationship continuing forward? Like I need to kind of

[00:05:59] Check myself on how I'm going to respond because I want him to be able to tell me these things right. Like I don't want to straight out of the gate before we're married, make him feel worse about this thing or make him feel like he can't talk to me about it because I do want him to talk to me about it. I do want to have that door open. And so I I'm very grateful that in that moment I had that clarity of being able to listen to him and hear what he had to say and see his shame, like he carried so much shame around that it wasn't just guilt, it was deep shame.

[00:06:27] And it I felt for him and I didn't want him to carry that shame. I wanted him to know that there was more about him than just this one thing, that he was still a good man. He was still all of these things that I fell in love with. Yes. It added something to our relationship that we had to deal with. But that's that's life, right? Like there's always something to deal with. And I remember thinking, all right, I need to dive into this for myself for the next few days before we get married and decide whether I'm continuing forward or not. And I had I'd actually previously called off an engagement a year or so before and actually was at least a year and

[00:07:03] A half before. And so I knew I wasn't scared to end it if I needed to. So I wasn't worried about that. I wasn't scared to say, hey, I'm backing out, which I know is a real fear. Right. It's fear when you realize, oh, my gosh, I can't marry this person. But for me, it wasn't that I did a lot of fasting and prayer that weekend and just really felt confident in my decision. I felt at peace still. I didn't I wasn't freaking out

[00:07:28] And I didn't tell anybody.

[00:07:30] And so I just, you know, I continued forward and we got married. And it was interesting because I did ask him a few key questions during that. Like, I knew I knew if there's any child pornography involved, I was very not OK with that. And that was a big red flag.

[00:07:47] But there wasn't that. And I kind of was like, OK, I think I'm good. I feel confident in this, so I'm going to continue for it. And we did. And we you know, you hear about the first year of marriage is the hardest. And we didn't experience that. We had a wonderful first year marriage. I do have to say in there, like one day, six months into our marriage, I found a whole bunch of this pornography, like just stumbled upon it in on our computer and it was all gay pornography. And I was like,

[00:08:11] Ok, this is a whole nother level. I'm six months into my marriage and realizing my husband is probably gay, like whether you

[00:08:20] Ever wondered that before. And I hadn't it had

[00:08:23] Not crossed my mind. We had a very healthy relationship in all ways I could think of as a new bride and wife. And so I just never it didn't cross my mind. And at this point, I just thought, OK, he's he's probably gay. And I confronted him about it. There was a lot of crying and all these things. And he was just convinced he was in denial that he was not gay. He said, you know, I just I just felt it was better to look at men. So I wasn't disrespecting women. And he had created this whole thing in his mind to so we wouldn't have to deal with it. So we wouldn't have to be real about this part of who he was because he was raised in the LDS church, very conservative. And that's not you're not gay. And about a year and a half later, he came out. A year later, he came to terms with the fact he was gay. He was in counseling for their pornography and realized,

[00:09:09] Oh, my goodness. Well, the counselor told him the pornography is an issue. But the real issue is you're gay like you're gay.

[00:09:16] I tell you what's so fascinating about this, and this is I'm not going to hijack this interview, which is kind of but, you know, I have a pornography recovery program. Yeah. I always say I'm 0 for sixteen hundred and shame being a component of recovery. So I love that you're sharing that. I've never talked about that. It's fascinating to hear that. I hear that often in my office when people are struggling with their sexual identity or same sex attraction, whatever they want to call it, and they're turning to gay porn and saying, you know, that's so that I don't, you know, go back on it. So that's I appreciate you sharing that part is I you know, I hear that one from time to time.

[00:09:52] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we were going through all this and and.

[00:09:59] I started diving into books like just reading like, what does this mean for me? How can I support him? And he was doing the same like on his end of things like what does this look like for me as a member of church now that I've admitted this and we really just both decided we wanted to stay in the marriage like we were happy, we were content, and for him, this is what he felt like he should do. This is what he'd been told his whole life. You know,

[00:10:21] This is like, He was happy. We were happy. But obviously he's still struggling with the side of himself. That is gay and we continued forward, we had a daughter together about five years into our marriage, we dealt with some fertility issues along the line, all those the choice that come with that. And then we had this little baby girl and it just brought us closer together. And at that point, Stephen really got to the point where he could and Steve is my ex-husband. I used his name sorry, where he could open up to me about it, he could tell me what was going on and and his struggles and the things that he was feeling and thinking. And so it really brought us closer together. And we had such a strong emotional connection that it really brought us together in all of the ways we needed to connect.

[00:11:07] Were there still times throughout that just go where you felt like this is there's there's a chance this isn't going to work

[00:11:14] 100 percent, OK? And having read all of those books, I mean, I spent

[00:11:20] So, When Steve came to terms with the fact he was gay, he had moved. We were in the process of moving. He had moved to Belize. And I was in Boise and I was finishing up like things with our house and our car and getting rid of all the stuff and putting things in storage. So he was gone. And I'd like this. Two weeks I was living I was actually living my parents house while I was doing all of this, and I'm reading all these books just upstairs, like sobbing and just realizing there are all of these options that my life could look like now that I wasn't planning on. Right. I wasn't. And I guess these could have been things that might have happened if I was married to a straight man as well. But it was very

[00:11:56] Much a real possibility, like more real now because of this added dynamic. So I was thinking, OK, well, most likely he's going to have an affair at some point. That affair, we can either ideally work through it or he he

[00:12:11] Might leave me for a man or he just might leave without the affair. But then there's also the idea of we could stay together and we how do we tell kids this? How do we like where do we address this? Do we keep a secret, like all these things that I'm processing and going through? But I knew that by staying I made this choice to stay. We didn't have kids at that point that I was making the decision that,

[00:12:33] You know, it very well could end divorce. I could end up divorced. And if that's a decision I'm making to stay, then I own that decision just as much as he does. Right. Like, whatever happens, this isn't his fault. It's a decision we made together.

[00:12:49] So, yeah, I, I was very aware of the different paths might like it could take at that point. And he shared things with me, things that happened that were like building in him I would say, where he's getting more and more

[00:13:03] Wanting to live this life and it's harder for him to stay in our marriage. That we're just he told me about. And so I knew I'm like, all right, this is this might be coming. But at the same time, we're the happiest we've been and we're communicating so well. But he did ultimately decide to leave. He did have an affair. We tried to work through it. But after the affair, he just wasn't attracted to me anymore, which was honestly something I didn't like,

[00:13:28] Wasn't prepared for and really struck me a lot harder than I thought it would. So we stayed married for a couple more months and it was just a mess. And we were trying to deal with it on our own. So we didn't have to tell our whole family that Steve's gay and all these things that we hadn't told them yet. His mom knew he was gay. My parents knew he struggled with pornography, but that was it. That's the only things our families knew.

[00:13:51] But we got to the point where it was just like, Steve, Steve's like, I just can't keep doing this to anymore. I don't know what I want. I feel so conflicted. And and I said, OK, that's that's fine. Like, we will work through this. We can figure this out and and basically rethink how our relationship works. Right. Like it. Yeah. And there were a lot of there was a lot of tears. It was very hard. And I don't I don't want to make it sound like it was like an easy transition because it wasn't. And it took some time to figure

[00:14:19] Out and I was talking to somebody the other day who's going through something similar. And I want to like wanted to make it clear to her, like we we had space, like we took a lot of space to figure this out. We weren't at each other's houses every day. We weren't going on trips together. Yes. There were times that we were together when he would. I moved back to Boise. He was in Oklahoma at the time. And so, like, we would see each other when he came to visit Penny and all of those things. But I think that was one of the best things I did for myself at that point, was to create space so that I could process my feelings in a way that worked for me and still be able to communicate with him in a healthy manner.

[00:14:55] How did you do that? What were you doing? A lot of self care, that point where you reached out to others, or what was that like for you?

[00:15:00] Yeah, so I definitely I, I love working out and it's so good. It's something I know that works for my mental health. And so there were days I'd call my parents, I'd be like, hey, I need to drop Penny off my daughter off. I need to just go for a run right now. Like, does that work? Is that OK? And they're like, yeah, like bring it up. That's fine. And I would just go around for a couple hours and just to like process things, that's where I think that's where I go through things. And then there was lots of things like, you know, I get to find myself again. I get to nest like I really laid into that. I think it's it's a powerful tool to use that sometimes you overlook, like just nesting into my home of making it my own. It made me it

[00:15:37] Give me kind of safety and protection in that moment. Right. To kind of embrace who I was and myself at this moment, because this wasn't the version of myself I imagined at this point in my life. I wasn't planning to be a single mom and on my own and and needing to get a job to support my daughter and I, like all of these things that weren't in my vision or in my plan. And so I really embrace those things like, OK, what things can I control? What things are going to make me feel good in this moment? Not the things I thought were going to work for me. But how do I reevaluate that now?

[00:16:10] Well, let me ask you, Jessica. So, I mean, I love, first of all, my ADD real quick. I was in the episode you guys were talking about the other day, talking about ultra marathon running. And I've done a bunch of those. I to say, yeah, you know, I can tell you because he was like, I don't know what it really is or how much it is or what this is. And so it was so funny. I was just screaming, not literally but just and then I listen to them. So where you guys are talking about somebody that would email you and say that they want to text you, but they think, oh, they're probably recording right now. I love those kind of comments. Yes, because I wanted to jump in and be a part of your ultramarathons discussion. So what did I do? You're right. So I do so much with the around abandonment and attachment and all the good therapist things. And so there's this concept that I'll spare the whole speech to get there. But it's the when someone isn't responding the way we want them to, where we do this, what's wrong with me and my unlovable and the broken with and instead of realizing they're human, I'm human. Did you go through those kind of periods? Was that what did it feel like? It was what what could I have done different or was it pretty OK?

[00:17:09] There were moments of feeling like, oh, what could I how could I have done differently? Could I have been better in this area? Could I have met his needs better? Should I have given more of myself? And then I just kept thinking, I can't go there like this isn't helping either of us for me to live in this space. And so I did not stay there long. And the moments come like honest, like it always comes. That's part of life, of feeling these things. But you can process it and then move on more quickly like it doesn't serve anybody to say to the what ifs. And I know Steve did that a lot and I tried to help him work through that as well. Like, listen, you did the best you could. I watched you fight for years for our marriage. I know you love me. I, I know you love me. And I'm ultimately going to latch onto that and let go of all the other things that could be painful and that I could take upon myself and say, no, this is my fault. I should have done all these things. I should have been a better wife. I should have whatever it is

[00:18:06] I'm and just really let those go because they don't they didn't serve us. They didn't serve. They didn't

[00:18:11] Serve him. He already felt so much shame. He was he was suicidal for quite a while after we got divorced in dealing with how could I let go of this woman that I loved, how can I leave the church? How can all these things happen? And I knew he needed to know that he was still loved and he was struggling with that, with his family, of course, coming out to all of them. And so I was like, I can give him that. Still, I don't have to give up who I am for him, but I can

[00:18:40] Still let him know he's loved and let him know he's needed like his daughter needs him. I was a coming ways

[00:18:46] And there was a comment and I can't remember what it was. I can remember I was when I heard it. But you said something about not wanting to prove that people would abandon him or do remember what I'm talking about? Was it a yes? OK, what was that?

[00:18:59] Yeah. I mean, I really wanted to make it a point that I mean, he was very much convinced that nobody would love him afterwards after they knew he was gay, that nobody would love him if they saw the side of him. And I very much made it a point that

[00:19:12] This has nothing to do with who you really are. And I'm not

[00:19:15] Going to let you prove That. Right. Like, I am not going to allow that to happen because there's so much good in you that still needs this world, still needs you. And yeah, just really latching on to that idea that I wasn't going to let what somebody else experienced or what somebody thought our relationship should look like after what I even thought it should look like after determine how I wanted it to be. I wanted to figure out how we could make this work for us. And and yeah, I still I mean, he's he's like a brother to me, still like he is that close to me. And I know that's weird because we share a daughter, but it's that type of relationship. It's not. I love him that much that I care so much about him. And honestly, so does my new husband, like he genuinely cares for and loves for my ex-husband.

[00:20:00] But he hasn't listened. It doesn't know. That's why I love. It's like, OK, you know, you heard that correctly and just wait, right?

[00:20:06] Yeah. Yeah. And so we spent our time working through this and Steve and I actually dated again after we were officially divorced. We spent another he was living with a man. He was we were divorced and I was dating somebody else and things were getting serious. I was you know, you start falling for other people. You can fall in love with other people pretty quickly.

[00:20:27] And I told him because he kept mentioning moving back to Boise and I said, hey, I don't know if you're coming back for Penny. I don't know what you're what you're thinking here exactly. But I feel like it might be that you're wanting to come back for me. And I said, if you're coming back for me, you do it now. I don't care about your job. I don't care about all these other things, like do it now. And he called me the next morning. I sent him the Senate late at night. You called me like, say he's like, I'm moving back. I want to fight for this. I want to try to make it work again. And I said, OK. And so we tried dating again for another six months and it was a mess, like a total mess. But we also had that clarity of we tried everything we could like, we tried to do this. We we tried again, it's not going to work. And so we could walk away being friends of knowing we're not going to blame the other person. This is what it is. And that is actually interesting because when he moved back to Boise, he moved into my same church congregation and then my ex are my current husband actually moved in at the same time as us. So all three of us were living in separate places, moved into the same place. And my ex and my husband, my now husband, end up became becoming friends like they would go mountain biking together.

[00:21:35] I mean, that's the part that's so it's

[00:21:37] So funny, so

[00:21:39] That my husband said that he went to church the first time and he's sitting in Elders Quorum and Steve came walking up my ex-husband. So I was like, Hey, man, how's it going? And started talking to him and and let him use his pen. Like they always tell me that, yeah, I let him use my pen and I'm like, OK. But Matt said it was the first guy at church that he really felt connected to, that he was like, yeah, I like this guy. Like, he was very welcoming. He made me feel comfortable in this new ward. And it was just very

[00:22:07] Much like they just connected and enjoyed each other and they weren't like tight. They didn't hang out a lot, but they had a mutual friend that they would go mountain biking with. And so they they'd go mountain biking. So he knew who the other one was and a little bit of the other one situation

[00:22:22] And just kind of had hung out a few times. And that's when I actually met Matt. I didn't notice him at church because I was dating Steve and everything was a mess. But then Steve introduced me to him one day when they were going mountain biking, they were meeting at our apartment complex because it was like a mutual area and

[00:22:40] My apartment complex, not theirs. But they're meeting there. And Steve introduced me to Matt and I told Steve we ended things like a week later. I knew it was done at that point, like, totally knew we were over. And I told him when he ended things, I said, Steve, I'm going to marry Matt Frew. And he just looks at me like you've met him once. And I was like, I know I don't. I used to make fun of people who said this, but I'm going to marry him and he's funny. He told me I couldn't. He's like, he's my friend. You can't do that. I'd like you divorce me. I can do what I want. And he's like, that's fair.

[00:23:11] So, yeah, a while later, I ended up like nine months later, Matt and I ended up getting married. He wouldn't date me for a really long time. I tried to get him to date me and he was dating this other girl. And I just kept telling him, let me know when you break up with her. I think we'd have a really good time together. We have lots of fun. Just let me know when you break up with her. And he did. And we got married very quickly

[00:23:32] And have now so now I have two stepkids. I have my daughter. We have not had an Irish baby. We aren't planning to. And actually, at this point in time, Steve and Matt work together. So Matt owns his own business and he just recently hired Steve to come work for him. We host a podcast together, sharing all of our experiences and stories just to help other people along the way to not feel alone. And Steve said when I approached him about doing the podcast, I just kept thinking, if I had something like this when you and I were going through this, how how powerful that would have been and how helpful that would have been for me to hear somebody sharing their story. And he and so that's why he ultimately was like, yeah, I'll do it.

[00:24:14] Was Matt on board from the start? Yeah, I think that kind of evolves. So Matt and Steve actually talked about doing something

[00:24:22] In social media realm of just sharing their relationship to get people thinking about their relationships in a new way to open their minds up to, you know, you can have a good relationship with with your exes or with your wife's ex. You can you can make things work. And also, the idea that we are LDS and Steve is gay is also another dynamic that people are just like, I don't understand this. How do you make this work? Like, aren't you worried about all of these things? And they're topics we talk about and and do,

[00:24:50] Which I love that are very, very, very conversational and very I don't feel like there's a topic that's off limits. Is that true?

[00:24:57] It that's pretty true. We kind of just we've realized we can have the conversations and still get through it. And we know each other well enough that we know when to stop and when to be like, OK, this isn't helpful anymore. This is going somewhere that it's going to damage our relationship. And so we move away from it. But yeah, I'm thinking there's an episode actually dropping tomorrow,

[00:25:16] Which it'll be dropped whenever this comes out, but it will be there for you about my daughter's baptism, that I wasn't thinking it would be a controversial topic because it happened a few years ago and it was wonderful. It was beautiful day. And when we recorded that, we get into it. So I was like, oh, this is different. But but we have the whole conversation and it's the we are able to do that in a way that's productive and that we can feel seen and heard. And we understand the other person sees our our side and opinion. But it doesn't mean that we don't love each other still and that we don't care about each other.

[00:25:49] Well, and I love that. I mean, one of the ones that I was I can't let you go through. You look at all the topics and there's a part of me that wants to see, OK, how real or how raw do they get and the ones about no. Steve's disciplinary court or things like that. And I really appreciated that. You know, it sounds like that's been in a bishopric and there were just these conversations around what it could look like or should look like and what it did look like. And and I love that. I mean, I really did, because it's it's just they they both had different opinions and and that's okay.

[00:26:20] Yeah. And that's basically I mean, that's where we have to come to if we're going to continue to make our relationship work and we respect the other person and their decisions and realize we don't see eye to eye and that's OK. And we really do like we. We don't edit anything out of the episodes, we've had a couple that we've edited, but otherwise it's I mean, we it's real. We very much share all of the things that we feel are appropriate and that we can and and just try to put it all out there.

[00:26:49] When I sent you an email where the I want to be the special one and I wanted to have something that you haven't talked about another episodes before. And I and so we were talking about your current marriage and and some of those things where I wanted to pull my marriage therapist card. But I'd say you a quick article about interdependence versus codependency. And I did that this morning. And and I'm just it sounds like you guys have a nice, interdependent relationship, which is, you know, balance of self and others within the relationship. Both people are different. Both people are present. And we're not trying to break down the other person's reality or view or. I mean, and you kind of shared that. Yeah. That one resonates.

[00:27:28] Oh, yeah. Well, it was interesting, like getting into my second marriage. I thought, oh, my gosh, this is going to be so great. It's going to be so easy. And at that point, I got along with his ex and his kids were little and we had this great thing going. And I was so excited and just dove in and I had had a good relationship before I had been able to speak and be seen and heard and we had these hard conversations and he had the exact opposite. My husband Matt did. And so getting into this relationship, it was like, oh, this is not what I thought I was getting into because he panicked

[00:28:02] Had no idea. OK, what did that look like? What what you missed. Yeah.

[00:28:06] So he he really shut down and he admits and he didn't admit this to me until we were recording in the podcast and I didn't know how much it would mean for me to hear these words. But he said he's like, when we got married, I went

[00:28:20] Into panic mode and I just knew we were going to fail. He said. I knew as soon as we got married it was going to be it was going to fail. And I felt it literally the moment we got married, I was like, something just changed. When we left the church after getting married, I was like, oh my gosh, what?

[00:28:34] Just literally left the church, not left the church.

[00:28:38] Like, I left the chapel where we were getting married. Yeah. Now we're still active in the church to this day. And so it was just like reality of, oh, my gosh, what's happening? And I found myself getting into a more codependent relationship. Right. Like me trying everything I could

[00:28:57] To try and make the relationship work. And he's just given up already. He's already decided it's going to fail. So he's just pushing it to fail faster. And he he admits this now. And I was like I thought I was going crazy. Like, I thought I needed to do more. I needed to provide more to the family and I needed to do more things for his kids. And I I needed to do for more for him. And at some point I left. I was just like, I am so lost. I am such a mess, I'm out.

[00:29:24] And the marriage was that it was almost exactly a year in. We were getting ready to be sealed in the temple and I had gone into the state president for our interviews.

[00:29:35] And we had we decided to wait to get sealed. Our bishop highly encouraged us to to just wait until after we got married. So we're like, OK, that's fine. So we were going to get sealed on our one year anniversary and I went to see president and he's like and I just start bawling and he's like, you cannot I

[00:29:53] Will not, like, sign these papers for you to get sealed until you can come in here. And I know you're happy. He's like, this isn't like you can't do this. And I was like, thank you. I needed to hear that because I wanted to get sealed. I thought, you know, that's what we're supposed to do. I wanted that to help. And again, that's the idea of like, I just need to do all of these things and then it'll be OK. And so I left and a couple of days after that because he just stopped talking to me, Matt just shut down. He was so mad at me and shut down and just and I think he felt like it was another failure right in his mind. I don't know if he's mad at me or mad at himself, but he was mad and I'm sure it felt like another failure. And so. I was gone just for a couple of days, and then I was like, I got to go back and I remember walking back into our house and Matt didn't want me there. And he his kids are still up and he would hardly talk to me. And he puts his kids to bed and then came back downstairs and went and sat out on our front porch. And it's like, all right, I guess I'm going to have to be the one that keeps doing this. So I went out on the front porch to talk to him and I wanted him to fight for me. You know, I

[00:30:55] Wanted I wanted him to just be like, yeah, I want this. I'm going to I'm going to do better. All these things that we create, it's like I feel like it's like a rom com, right, where it's like, oh, he comes in and swoops in and realizes all his mistakes. That did not happen. But I in that moment, I remember thinking, Jessica, you know how this goes. The only person that's going to fight for you that you can you know, is yourself. And I it was like I needed that to snap me out of this

[00:31:23] Like this codependency. I was kind of getting into back into

[00:31:28] That point where I was OK on my own because that's where we were going to be OK. Right. Me trying to do more, me trying to give up who I was to try to fit all of the needs in check. All the boxes wasn't helping anybody.

[00:31:42] And so I did a whole episode on acceptance. And acceptance doesn't mean apathy. And this whole concept of radical acceptance and the example that I that I use that still sounds harsh to say, is someone accepting the fact that they may never get married or accepting the fact that, you know, and it doesn't mean OK, then know the back of the apathy truck. It just means that I love what you just said. And I'm not going to keep trying to figure out how can I present in a way that will get my needs met or will prove to him that instead of saying, man, this is who I am and be confident because I get your confidence. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:32:15] And I knew I was confident and I knew I was of Worth and I knew all of these things, but I was trying to prove it to him. Yeah. And I was like, I don't need to prove this to him. If he's going to see it, he'll see it. And I know he did at some point. Otherwise we wouldn't have been married in the first place. And I knew he was a good man. I knew he was of Worth and I saw the good in him. So I was like, all right, I have to start putting boundaries up around myself to protect myself. And it felt totally counterintuitive, but I knew

[00:32:43] I knew this better than anybody how to go back and do this and how important it was. And so I really embrace that in that moment. And I remember thinking, this is why so many second marriages fail. Like I get it, it's easier to walk away. It's easier to, you know, all these things. And I'm so glad I did it. I embraced

[00:33:02] Taking care of me at that point. And yes, I still showed up for him. And yes, I still made mistakes along the way. I feel like

[00:33:10] Just

[00:33:10] Struggling to to get back to where I know I needed to be. But I saw progress in myself. And as I saw progress myself, I saw progress in our relationship. And I knew that is what would happen. And I saw progress in my daughter, like she really struggled for the first little bit after we got married. And I think mostly because she could tell I wasn't OK. And the more OK, I was, of course, then the more OK she was. And it just has that trickle down effect.

[00:33:36] And I that's

[00:33:39] That's what I teach women, right. Is how to take that radical ownership and accept where you are in life. And I've done this time and time again, like when Steve told me about the pornography and then again when I found out he was gay. And then when I realized I might not be able to have kids and I got one kid, but I haven't been able to have more after that. And I thought I would have more in accepting those things and now accepting in our relationship that I don't get to have the relationship I wanted with his ex wife. I don't have control over that. And that's OK. It's OK for it to be different than I thought. And the relationship with my stepkids is not what I had hoped for. But it's OK. I get to protect myself and my daughter and show up in ways that I can. And so it's been this huge process of exactly what you're saying, that acceptance of I

[00:34:21] Love it and I love it and take two years. Almost like the foreshadowing of when you were accepting of Steve and saying, alright, I'm not going to be I'm not going to prove them that he is unlovable. I really love that because I feel like that's that same thing where there's a whole energy around. If I show up confident, calm, confident energy that, you know, you my spouse can you can run the thing into the ground on your end, but not on my watch. Right. But it doesn't mean that anything's wrong with me. And I love that you're talking about. You know, I I brought up the article I'd share with you and it codependency of being more reactive or people pleasing or manipulative or controlling behaviors or blaming each other. And so I love that you kind of stepped into that. All right. A healthy boundaries and clear communication. And you can engage and respond. And I know I love everything about this, so. Oh, yeah, that's a year. And then what was that how long did that process take from that acceptance to then he kind of says, all right, I'm figuring this out.

[00:35:20] So, I mean, he didn't, like, tell me to leave or that he wanted out or anything. At that point. He definitely told me he wasn't sure he was in, but he wasn't. He wasn't ready to leave, and I think it also kind of reminded him that he he did want me there a little bit like I did do some things. And I think he needed to see that that I was he could depend on me. And that's where he was struggling. Right. With his past issues from his marriage is he was cheated on and and numerous times and lied to and all these things. And financially things happen like all sorts of things. And so he needed to rebuild that. And so the more I understood where he was coming from, the more patient I could be with letting him get there of being like,

[00:36:02] Ok, well well, tell me about more of what happened with you and your first marriage. Like, explain to me explain to me why you don't want to put me on your checking account, but you also are good with me being a stay at home mom. But then I don't have any money. So like like explain to me what happened in your first marriage and getting to understand that. And I'm like, OK, I understand this more now. Let's have a conversation around it, figure out a way that makes it work so that I don't feel like I'm asking for money

[00:36:30] Just because

[00:36:32] We're something in here that's that, I guess. So my my so I've got this marriage course and I've got these things I think are the secrets of the universe. It's these four pillars of a connected conversation and everything's OK. All right. And you just it's such an amazing job. So if you're saying I don't want to check checking account, I mean, that would be you. And that pillar one, I got some good intentions. It's not doing it to hurt me. Number two, I can't say that's ridiculous. Number three, I ask questions. Number four, I can go into and say, fine, I guess I'm a horrible person. I'll never get money. I mean, it's like I love how you just OK. And then he shares. Tell me more about that. You get to say, what's that like and where you coming from? And then once he feels heard and you speak, you're OK. I hear you. That would be hard. I worry that I'll be asking for money. I feel like I love that. I mean, you're working the pillars, you know.

[00:37:19] Thank you. Well, and there is it's interesting because in doing our podcast, I went back and read a bunch of my journals from when Steve and I were married and then again from when Matt and I were married and all these things. I'm a pretty good about journaling and I'm so grateful I had. But I wrote in there at one point I was asking myself these questions of, OK, so why am I uncomfortable? How do I show up for myself? How can I can like if I am I? Is this a deal breaker for me or can I figure out how to make this work on my end of things even without him opening up to me? Like what does that look like for me until he's ready? Because I knew that with Steve, like sometimes I just had to give him a month or two or even just a couple of days or a few weeks to be ready to tell me these things, for him to feel safe enough that he felt secure in telling me those.

[00:38:07] And so I actually and I have like a journal that you can get now that's called The World, all the journal of how to ask yourself these questions make it a habit so that you understand what is it that's really bothering you. So really the fact that he's not giving me money or is it something else like how what is it I'm feeling? So then I can engage in that conversation in a way that feels more logical and more empathetic to him and and understanding of myself, of what I'm hoping to get out of it. Where am I hoping to go with this conversation? Am I just wanting to scream and yell? Am I wanting to be heard? Am I wanted to create some change in our marriage?

[00:38:43] But yes, that's been something I realized has been a strength and a blessing to me. And going through this is being able to ask those questions and not just react like it said in that article, you know, how are you reacting when they do when things do come up? If you can address things in a healthy manner, then then they're going to want to open up to you. They're going to want to tell you these things, or even I've thought about, too,

[00:39:08] When you do react in a way that you don't feel good about or that you didn't create a good conversation, accept that, like our own, that both say, hey, I'm sorry that I that I reacted in this way, that was not my intention. But in the moment it felt like too much or it felt really heavy and and it hurt me. And I'm sorry. I want to have this conversation again in a in a healthier manner, like, can I can we try again or just own that because I found the more that I own even the little things and take responsibility for my part, yes. It allows them to take responsibility for theirs and to open up. And so that was such a huge thing for us in the beginning of our marriage

[00:39:47] And all of my relationships. But it makes such a difference to just own those little things. Even if you want to go, you did this or your thing is so much bigger, which is our knee jerk. Right. Especially my first marriage where Steve's got pornography and he's gay. I've been like, well, you're bringing all the issues to the table. But every time I acknowledged something I did and maybe how I didn't respond in an appropriate way or how I could have been more sensitive every time I open that door, Steve opened up to me more and was more loving to me. And we both felt safe and heard and seen it.

[00:40:20] And it is and I love that you've got the you know, that the kind of those three takeaways that you had sent over and take control or ownership of your life. That first one and I and I want to say I love. Everything about your saying and doing that, even if your partner doesn't then open up more or don't, because there are situations where you can take ownership and they don't, they maybe they don't weaponize or use that. Yes. The alternative is not to then go back into the victim or codependent mode because we know how that plays out. So I just I love that.

[00:40:49] Yeah. And I really believe, you know, like you you keep doing it. And if you don't get any response, if it does get to the point where you're like, OK, I can't I can't do this, that's when you make a decision, OK, of OK, this isn't, nothing's changing. I'm still feeling very unsafe in my relationship or unseen. Then you take action in a different way. But, you know, I really feel like there's a lot of work that you can do by just consistently showing up for yourself first, obviously, and taking ownership, because when you take ownership, you have control and then being able to see how they react and give them a little bit of time

[00:41:28] And space and grace to do that. Hey, I want to get the other two as well. And there's me being very vulnerable. I usually don't schedule in the middle of the day and I have a client in 70 minutes. So let's both go into one and a half times mode because I want to hear about your and your three takeaways. Talk about the second, finding your joy. I'm dying to get the number three of silence the noise. But number two, OK, OK,

[00:41:52] I'll pound these out for you real quick. So I always say the three the three pillars for me, my three pillars to be bold are first taking ownership like we just talked about, taking ownership of your actions. No till is find things that bring you joy, like stop waiting for things to happen or saying, oh, when he changes or oh when so-and-so changes or when the situation changes, then I'll be happy. No, figure it out now. Find what brings you joy now. Not what brought you Joy yesterday or the day before years ago. Like we change that, we keep thinking, oh well, this is what I need to bring me, Joy, when really we can change that mindset. We can figure out, oh, no, there's other things that'll bring me joy now in this situation and maybe down the road I will be able to go run ultramarathons again or I will be able to take this amount of time for myself. But right now I can't. And so I'm going to find ways that bring me joy now. So I think that's really a big thing for us is to figure out, OK, how do I how do I change this thinking of, oh, if this changes, if that changes, or someday I'll be able to find joy and find joy now because it really makes a huge difference in how you feel about your relationships and how you show up, how you can take ownership and do those things you feel in control.

[00:42:56] And you think of something that what what was something for you? I mean, I love it. I do a turnaround. And then when you're trying to find in your example to find the joy, it needs to be something that is one of your values, not what somebody else says you should do or, yes, I enjoy it. And so what does that mean for you

[00:43:13] Trying to think of like a good example of when I had to rethink it. Well, maybe it is. And like I said, just accepting the situation of where I'm at or I'm

[00:43:23] Going to go back to working out because I do love working out and the mental clarity that it gives me and how that has changed over the years. I mean, a couple of years ago, I was training for a Spartan race and are like the the trifecta. And I was going all the time running because I had the time. I had the emotional space and the physical time to go do those things. But now I don't have the time to do that. It still brings me joy, but I can figure out how to make that work. So I've shortened my workouts and I do them at home and I include my kids in them. And that brings me joy, like it's fun to get those things and to create that joy in a new way. It doesn't look the same as a few years ago, and that's OK. It's just different. And maybe there will be a time I get to go back to doing it longer or more, whatever, but to embrace that, it changes and how that works for you and to make it work, don't just say, oh, I can't do it at this time. Oh, I can't go as long as I want to and give up, but instead say, OK, no, I want to include this, how can I make it work for me now? So it's really just that rethinking of saying, like, I just can't do it and instead figure out a way to make it happen, figure out how to include those things that are your priorities, figure out how to make those things that set you on fire a priority in your day. So you get them done and then you get to show up better for your kids, for your family, for whoever, because you've taken care of those parts of you. You get to focus more on that. That's how I always feel. I'm like, OK, now I feel more focused and attentive to my family because I've done the things I need to get.

[00:44:43] Self care is not selfish. I mean, this is a very you must you must get yourself in a good spot to be a better fill in the blank. So what if what a silence annoys me.

[00:44:54] Ok, so this is really shutting down that I should mindset. Right. Which is so hard for all of us and silencing other people's opinions. And I always tell people, listen, stop thinking about where you should be or how you should be or comparing yourself to other people because it's not getting you anywhere. You have to figure out what it is that you want for the situation. I mean, I stayed married to a gay man for seven years and people will judge me for that. And I don't care because it was such a great relationship for me and I learned so much. And I came out of it with amazing friend and co parent and

[00:45:29] And I just, you know, and I dated him again. I know people were totally just like, what are you doing? But I needed that for me. I needed to have that closure and to have that sense of like, OK, we did everything we could like, no doubt about it. We tried everything. And it was OK for me, like I was able to keep my sense of self through all of that. But you need to understand what it is you want and start listening to yourself the more you can silence the noise. And I tell people silencing the noise looks like unfollowing accounts on social media that don't leave you feeling fulfilled or that you're comparing yourself to and feel instead of feeling inspired by. You shouldn't leave feeling like, Oh man, I can't do that. Or I, you know, you might feel like, oh, I want to do that. That seems like something I could do. Like that's different. Feeling excited or you know about something is different. Feeling inspired. I even tell people I'm like, listen, your mom, your sisters, your brothers, your dad, like people in your family, don't always know what's best for you. They don't know what it is you are feeling and what you want. And sometimes you have to silence their opinions to understand they want what's best for you. You can listen to them to the extent that works for you, but you don't have to listen to everything and understand what it is you want so that you can take action.

[00:46:42] So, I mean, I was like, oh, exactly. If you ask somebody what sometimes they have their own experience, I got to give an opinion. I don't really have an opinion. I'll say this thing. And also we're thinking, oh my gosh, they they just told me this thing that it doesn't feel good. Well, then you can note it and thank you and.

[00:46:58] Yes, right. Yeah, yeah. Listen to what feels good to you. That's what ultimately comes down to you. If this didn't feel right to you, then it's not for you. And really trusting that the more you listen to that, the more you hear, the more you're able to act on it, the more confident you feel and saying, oh, I'm feeling this, this isn't resonating. Now I can go take action now. I can go do the thing that actually does resonate for me instead of giving in to this thing that I'm like, I guess I guess that's what I should do. I guess I guess that's the right thing to do. So start silencing that noise, start start toning down those things that aren't feeding you or inspiring you or making you want to

[00:47:34] Do the things you want to do in a healthy way. Shut them down and don't yeah. Don't search the Internet for all of the answers. Find the things that resonate with you and stick to those and then delete those and then move forward. But I think we

[00:47:48] We over inform ourselves a lot of time and taken all of these opinions and then we don't know what it is we really want and we get caught up there. But when we know what

[00:47:57] We want, we're able to take action that feels right for us and that feels good for for us.

[00:48:04] Hey, tell me about your podcast. How long has it been going? And I've been, like I said, been going backwards and on some things. And what's it been like for you as a fellow? Podcasters have been everything you wanted to be as relentless. Is it exciting? Are you get you get hate mail, you get feedback. What was that like?

[00:48:19] So we have loved it. Steve, I think it's been the most surprised by how much he loves it, he's like this has been so therapeutic for me to realize, to take away some of the shame. I've still been carrying around the situation of feeling like, well, I'm the one that left. I'm the one that ruined our marriage and all of these things which I've been telling him for years, I'm like, listen, you got to you need to let this go. I think really in being able to own that and realize that people weren't just going to say, oh, you're such a jerk. I can't believe you did that. Like all these things that he was expecting, he got none of that. And so it's been very healing for all of us and it's brought us so much closer together. The podcast is called Husband in Law because that's what my husband, ex-husband referred to each other as. And it's really just been such an opportunity for me to be able to find other people that I can help, that I can support that. And we get we get a lot of great feedback. Of course, there are always going to be people who don't agree. And that's fine. Like, I don't care. Those are their opinions. Yes. And they're entitled to their opinions and they don't have to understand

[00:49:23] And nor do they have to relate to everything. But it's given us an opportunity to help people.

[00:49:29] And that's ultimately what we wanted to do. And yeah, just been such a great experience. I mean, I spent I'm not making any money on the podcast, but I spend hours every day diving into stuff and helping, helping make it better and do things for it, because I love it and I've seen how it can help other people's lives.

[00:49:46] So and I do think it's it's worth the wait. It's worth noting. But I'm saying there's a bigger population of people. I feel like they have similar experiences of yours then. Have you found that's why I'm so fascinated by because as somebody who's worked in this field for a long time with, you know, primarily the LDS population, I mean, I've had a lot of men who are married to gay men, who are married to women and even have maybe told them before the marriage or not, or they're in it together and eventually have that struggle. And so have you been surprised by the numbers of people that are in similar experiences?

[00:50:20] You know, what has surprised me is the people that reach out, that aren't in our experience, that aren't experiencing the same things we're in that are like, oh, my gosh, this either gave me more insight on how to

[00:50:32] See lgbt people in our church or how to connect with them and how to help them and to understand their struggles or people who are saying this made me totally rethink my co parenting situation and how I interact

[00:50:45] With my ex and how I engage with them, especially for the sake of my children and for my own well-being. People who have said it's changed their relationship with their parents because they've re evaluated, oh, I can put boundaries around the relationship with my parents. I don't have to, you know, and and understand that I can have a relationship with them

[00:51:05] While still protecting myself and have something healthy. So it's that is what has been the most interesting to me is that more people have connected with us and found things that they that resonate with them, that are in our same situation, that has got them thinking and and you

[00:51:20] Know that then we do have people who reach out and that are in the same situation or a very similar situation. And my heart just goes out to them. I've been so grateful to be able to connect with them and and support them along the way where I can.

[00:51:32] Ok, Jessica, I love it. I wish we could keep going. I love to have you back. Maybe even with the whole team and. Oh yeah, some things that give you a lot of fun. Where do people find them?

[00:51:42] They'd be here. Yeah. So we are on any podcasting platform under husband in law and then also on Instagram, on husband law. We're very active there. And then I do have a Facebook group called The Bold Action Takers where we talk about living a good life and how you actually get to implement these things I've been talking about. So we mostly share stories and stuff on the podcast and whatever. But then I go in-depth on how you actually utilize these things in your own life in my groups and more on Instagram as well.

[00:52:10] So perfect. So I'll put all the links in the show notes and I get this thing out as soon as I can. It's been an absolute pleasure. I was excited to talk to you.

[00:52:17] Likewise. Thank you so

[00:52:19] Much. Yeah. To do this again for sure. Hey, I'm going to stop and hang on one second. Thanks, Jessica.

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