Episode 001: Communication Breakdown
Episode 001: Communication Breakdown (and divorce) with special guest Jim Barnes
Jim Barnes, stand up comedian, host of Jim Barnes and Friends and The Sunday Night Mic at Flappers Comedy Club in Claremont, CA joins us to share his relationship experiences.
Our first episode and we’re going to talk about…communication.
We communicate every day to our friends, family, co-workers, strangers, everyone. It’s how we navigate our way in this crazy world. So why is it so difficult when we’re in a relationship?
The Boyfriend and Leanne agree that direct communication is crucial for any relationship to survive. Hoping someone reads your mind or picks up your subtle cues just doesn’t work no matter how many times we try. Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. It seems easy enough, but it’s amazing how many times we don’t do it. What’s holding us back from being open and honest with the one we care about most? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s just not knowing any better. Either way, like any good habit, it takes practice.
Then there is the other side of it. Listening, and really hearing someone -not just what we want to hear. What is the tone? What is the situation? What is the body language? Paying attention to our partner rather than to what’s going on in our own head takes practice, too. But what is this practice all about? This should be easy. We communicate with people every day.
It is easy, until we are in a relationship and our emotions take over.
Our guest, comedian and divorcee Jim Barnes shares how ineffective communication tore apart his 21-year marriage.
According to Jim, their marriage was great until the day it wasn’t. He admits things were a little weird, as his wife was about to turn 50, premenopausal, and her father had just passed. She was feeling down and Jim chalked it up to her turning older and he thought she was probably upset that he forgot their upcoming anniversary. So he let her believe that he forgot for a while. After all, he wanted it to be a surprise. He was planning a big combo party for her birthday and anniversary in Southern California.
They had it all, great kids, a beautiful home, and everything they could ever imagine. But despite his best efforts, the surprise party didn’t seem to go over well. Jim sensed something wasn’t right.
As it turns out, things were not even close to being right.
Once Jim and his wife returned from the trip things were still weird. Jim wasn’t sure what it was so he did what anyone would do, he Googled it. Someone once told him that when you when you don’t know what’s going on, she’s probably having an affair. Sure enough he landed on a site called 10 signs your wife is having an affair and all the symptoms matched up.
Once he confronted his wife, the story began to slowly unravel. She’d been seeing someone for a while.
Jim felt like world was falling apart and just wanted to fix it. He couldn’t get mad at her right away. He was trying to make sure he knew everything and was trying to put the pieces together. They went to counseling.
In Jim’s mind, she was supposed to beg him to take her back so he could say no. But she never did. They continued with the counseling anyway.
One day Jim went to go get coffee and muffins. As he got into her car, he realized that the GPS would tell him where she’s been. Once again, Jim did what many of us would do, he pushed the button for “previous places”. She’d been to See’s Candy, the pharmacy, and a lawyer. It was over.
Jim asked her to please stop seeing the other man while they got through this. She didn’t and Jim moved two blocks away so he could stay close to the kids. He wanted to do everything right and make it easier for everyone.
“We can’t have the best marriage so let’s have the best divorce.”
And now… the ex and the boyfriend are married.
Jim admits to being a little passive aggressive at times, although he doesn’t want the ex back, not even for a second. But moving on hasn’t been easy.
“If everyone around me gets back to normal, then I could just move on.”
When Jim thinks back on their marriage, he sees all the fun they had. They traveled all over the world, had lots of friends, all the toys, the homes, great kids… everything! She had reached out in a few different ways, but he didn’t pick up on her signals. No, he thought. We’re going to be okay. Thinking back, he wishes he would have listened more closely, acknowledged her fears, or at the very least, just paid more attention. Lesson learned.
Now he’s paying attention to new things, new people and new relationships. In so many ways he feels seventeen again. Yes! There is an upside. No supervision! Newfound freedom! He regained his old self, his old hobbies, new friends, a career in comedy, and a whole new perspective. In fact, he’s probably more the man she fell in love with than the man she left. It’s been 3.5 years since the divorce and he had hoped he’d be over it by now, but he’s giving himself a little more time and the opportunity to continue his own journey.
If you ask Jim about marriage now, you just might hear, “I retired from it. We were married, and now I’m retired from it.”
What you’ll learn:
- If things feel weird, they probably are
- Everyone Googles
- Some of the 10 signs your spouse is cheating
- GPS tells you all the previous places you’ve been
- Ignoring the signs doesn’t mean they’re not there
- You can have a good divorce
- They might not ever ask you to take them back
- After the crushing horror of divorce, you get your old self back
- Comedy is always an option
- Life goes on
What you won’t learn:
- How to read a map
- How to ride a motorcycle
- The Boyfriend’s true identity
Our favorite moments:
@15:01 Surprise! She’s having an affair
@16:01 When in doubt, Google it
@15:32 Still curious? Previous places on her GPS…
@25:26 So I followed her
@28:35 And now they’re married
@32:40 A friend of mine is having an affair
@36:20 He wishes I would have killed him
@39:00 I’m the non-couple
@43:24 Identity crisis
@56:28 It’s all in the delivery
Tweet: If everyone around me gets back to normal, then I could just move on. #please #movingon #divorce @lafterdivorce
Tweet: We can’t have the best marriage so let’s have the best #divorce #positiveattitude #hope #lifelafterdivorce
Tweet: And now… the ex and the boyfriend are married. #reality #movingon #karma #YouKnowHesSorry @lafterdivorce
Tweet: Communication – it seems so easy! #divorce #relationships #whatdoyoumean @lafterdivorce