Episode 003: Stuck in the Middle
Episode 003: Stuck in the Middle (of her parent’s divorce) with special guest Abby Deely
Our parents experience doesn’t necessarily determine our own, but they most certainly have an impact. Comedian Abby Deely gives us her perspective on her parents tug-o-war breakup. Abby performs at clubs and colleges in the New Jersey and New York area and will be a featured performer in Escaping Trump’s America; a collection of liberal minded comics at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2017.
Leanne & The BF: 00:09 Hey, welcome to life after divorce, episode three. We are here. I am Leanne Linsky And boyfriend. Yes you are, Mr. for so happy to be here today. We have lots of good stuff to talk about. So what are we talking about this week? This week we are going to talk about. Well obviously divorce, but I was thinking about this. I’ve been married and divorced twice and yet my parents had been married for about 55 years. Fifty five years. Isn’t that incredible?
The Boyfriend: 00:46 It is because they got my parents be. Oh, bought about eight or nine years. My parents have been married for 48, 47 years.
Leanne: 00:56 That’s longer than we’ve been alive. Correct? I would hope so.
The Boyfriend: 01:12 You’re welcome.
Leanne: 01:16 It’s really late here. So we’re getting a little slap. Happy Baby. This is my problem. Anyway. Um, that’s a really long time that for me, that’s over my life.
The Boyfriend: 01:32 Amazing how that works out that way to me.
Leanne: 01:34 Math,
The Boyfriend: 01:39 but, but so your parents have been married for 50 plus years, might have been married for 45 plus years and neither of us are completely successful with our relationships, which makes it really interesting is no. Everyone says you come from a family or at least the people that you come from, a family that has a stable relationship that hey, you probably got a good shot at having a stable relationship on your own, but you said to Mary to marriages to divorce this for you and no marriages and I’m getting up there
Leanne: 02:09 and now you’re dating me. Would look where that’s gotten. I would have thought growing up I would have thought that if your parents have a successful marriage, you would probably be more likely to have a successful marriage as well. But that’s really not the case. And I was googling earlier cause that’s what I do and do the Google, but I actually was doing some reading. And did you know that they estimate about half of the American children will experience their parents going through a divorce.
The Boyfriend: 02:45 That is a lot of broken hearts. The kid.
Leanne: 02:49 Yeah. And then, I don’t remember the number now, but a very high percentage of those children will also witnessed their parents going through their second divorce, which that’s a huge number, like half of the country.
The Boyfriend: 03:02 Well, divorce rates row close to 50 percent. There’s a few things that help help help marriages survive. Like getting married a little older.
Leanne: 03:12 You have any college education
The Boyfriend: 03:14 being having a college education,
Leanne: 03:16 living in a, in a democratic state. There were David did that versus a red states versus blue states.
The Boyfriend: 03:22 Interesting. But I’m not going to get it right.
Leanne: 03:24 No we won’t. Um, but that was interesting. Also, religion came up a baptist are more likely to be divorced out. They have the higher percentage of divorce rate
The Boyfriend: 03:34 and the anti religion people are atheists and agnostics actually had the lowest rate, which you wouldn’t.
Leanne: 03:43 I like that wouldn’t come to mind if I were to get thought about it, I would probably would have guessed backwards.
The Boyfriend: 03:48 We could spend the next hour just talking about those stats, but we probably shouldn’t.
Leanne: 03:51 But you know what this tells us is how wrong I was about marriage in so many ways. I guess I should have done my research before I took the leap,
The Boyfriend: 04:02 but. But that’s interesting though because a lot of a lot of marriages are ending in divorce. A lot of kids are experiencing that through there too, while they grow up and their parents and that’s got to have an effect on them. They have a higher divorce rate also, not by a lot, but they have a higher divorce rate than the regular population, so it’s curious. Neither of us had to. Neither of us went through it, so it didn’t affect our relationship that way, but obviously would affect your relationship. So who’s our guest this week?
Leanne: 04:32 I guess this week is abby. Abby is a standup comedian who performs in the New York and New Jersey area. She is actually a featured performer in escaping trump’s America, a collection of liberal minded comics at the Edinburgh fringe festival this August.
The Boyfriend: 04:48 Wow, that’s good for her. That’s A. I’ve heard of that festival.
Leanne: 04:51 It’s a pretty awesome festival and that’s pretty great accomplishment for her. So we’re excited to have her on life after divorce today. Abby is actually, while you know what, you’re just going to have to listen to find out abby story and you can find abby’s contact information in our show notes.
The Boyfriend: 05:06 All right, well then let’s, let’s get on with the interview. Let’s get on.
Leanne: 05:32 Alright, so we are here today with abby. Thanks for joining me.
Abby: 05:37 Thanks for having me.
Leanne: 05:38 Absolutely. So abby is all the way in New York and preparing for some snow tomorrow, right?
Abby: 05:44 Yes, it’s going to be, it’s going to be chilly.
Leanne: 05:46 Oh my gosh. And what and what brought you to New York City
Abby: 05:51 college originally, but then I kind of stuck around because my love of comedy and wanting to build a stronger background in entertainment and I mean to New York when weird arty kids go to New York, they don’t really leave.
Leanne: 06:04 This is true. New York is pretty awesome. So now you have never been married or divorced, but we’re talking with you today because you are a child of divorce?
Abby: 06:15 Yes. Uh, my parents, uh, began the process when I was 16, finished up when I was 21.
Leanne: 06:22 That was a long five years. It was a journey. So what, tell me a little bit about what did you know they were going to get divorced or did it come as a surprise to you? It came as a toy,
Abby: 06:34 um, where I always knew my parents kind of had issues, but I didn’t really realize how bad it was because the day before I was actually in the car with my dad and I was like, your mom have a great relationship, but I really want to model myself after. And then he like broke down crying and I’d never seen my dad cry before. And then the next day my parents told us about their separation. Like, I am the worst person in numbers.
Leanne: 06:58 Feel like you’re like, oh my God, I can’t believe I just lost you. I can’t believe I said that yesterday. And I had no perception of my parents’ relationship. Like, oh my God, number one, how do we break this to her? Number two, she’s completely clueless. She has no idea how to take social cues or anything that blew your mind. Now, did they tell you together or they were just one parent? Do it?
Abby: 07:21 Um, so it was, they fought a lot about how to do it. So initially my mom had asked for the separation and my father then wanted it to be a, your mom is your mom is at fault for this. So he asked for it to be where they would sit down and then he would say, mom is leaving the house because he, uh, he had her leave. Um, and so my mom instead of doing that was driving me to me, one of my weird socially awkward friends in high school, like high school to go see a movie and we’re just driving and she was just like, your father and I are getting separated and then like waved as I rolled out the minivan, that was like, well that’s, that’s a big great. And then I went to go see true grit.
Leanne: 08:11 Yeah. So, so, so okay. You went to see true grit. How is that? Um, it was really good. It was like an office
Abby: 08:19 for what it was. I can’t remember one or was it nomination, but it was a really great fun western plague. I throw up a couple times during the movie because I got so stressed out. Oh God. Because I was like, my mom just dropped a bombshell and I was not prepared for it. Nor was my friend. My friend was definitely not prepared to deal with me having a breakdown.
Leanne: 08:41 Can we just watch the movie?
New Speaker: 08:43 Like we were not the kind of friends. We were friendly, but like we weren’t the kind of friends I cried in front of each other. Yeah.
Leanne: 08:49 So you were 16 when this happened?
New Speaker: 08:51 I was 16. Yeah.
New Speaker: 08:53 So the initial shock once the initial wore off then what?
Abby: 08:58 It was weird because it kind of became district change termidor where I’m a very open person where I tell everyone everything. Um, and I couldn’t mention thing to one parent without it being ammunition for the other. Like one of the clearer things I remember is my mom moved into an apartment where they never allow people with kids to live before. And I mentioned that I’ll handle the and my father and like two days later he put them in junction and to prevent her from signing her leads.
Abby: 09:29 And then like was like, have you sign this lease, I’m going to add it because he, he full custody. Um, and he was like, I’m going to add it to the case. You’re bullying doesn’t allow it. And honestly it took my mom 15 minutes. When your landlord, you say teenage people over the age of 13 are allowed to live in the house for it to be fixed. Um, so it became like this weird dynamic where you had to watch what you said to one parent or became ammunition. Each parent had an agenda that was beyond like, isn’t this interesting? Um, and it was very, it was a very trying time the first couple months, uh, because initially I think my mom had always said that her plan was take it to be a short separation. Like they were in couples counseling and that they were going to be done with couples counseling or they initiated the separation. And then a couple of weeks ago passed and to be okay and they would work it all out and move back in together. And my mom asked for the separation of my dad kind of took us a declaration of war. It should be noted that uh, his mother and his sister are both divorced.
Leanne: 10:43 So he was preparing,
Abby: 10:44 he was, he was repairing, um, I think my mom was under the impression of business just to kind of put us in the reality of the situation and make us fix things. And my dad was like building up a, like, like get in the armory together. So I think they approached it a two very different angles, which is what kept it from being okay. It kept it from being resolved for sure. Yeah. I kept it from being resolved and a captain from them being really fair where it would be like it’s my dad’s do for full custody. And then when they agreed to have joint custody of my mom wasn’t going to get child support as part of the deal. And then my mom a couple months later because my dad did something that upset her, it was like, all right, now what does Uber Child support? So there was never really like an end to it because they, everything was met with a fellow attack.
Abby: 11:35 Um, so it was just, it was just like a very weird scenario now. And you, you have siblings? Sorry. Yeah, I have two little brothers. Um, there’s three of us within three years of each other. Did were your brothers as aware of things as you were? Not really. I think. I think we all reacted very differently where it, it like my brother became very withdrawn from it. Like he wanted my middle brother Juan kind of nothing to do with it, didn’t interact with the family. He kind of, he just kind of separated himself from everything. And then my youngest brother really was just, I think very angry because he didn’t like the idea of divorce, didn’t like the fact that the marriage was ending in a forever kind of thing. So then got really mad at my mom for being the one that left. And then I are really mad at my dad for being the one who was making it so aggressive.
Abby: 12:33 So it kind of scattered the three of us in very different directions where we all didn’t want to be involved, but we were forced to be involved. Um, so it’s, uh, it became this very weird dynamic where the family was very split like motivations and almost like alliances. We’re very spread out. It is, it’s amazing how you can all live in the same experience in the same household and have such different views. And I think a big part of it was as the oldest, um, it never came to this, but I was the one delegated to the ones we’d have to testify. Uh, so I always had to be more aware of what was happening legally in case I had to go to court and be the mouthpiece for my brothers and I, that’s a huge responsibility. It’s a big responsibility. I mean, it’s, it was a weird thing, but I understood why because for a really long time it looked like they were going to have to do a big custody hearing.
Abby: 13:29 They were able to work it out in a moderate, in like a moderation. A mediation found it, figured it out. Um, but it took a really long time to get to that point, like it took, um, because I remember the really big thing that happened. So I was a high school speech and debate competitor. One of the best competitors were country. I travel nationally. I now coach it. I went to college on a debate scholarship. So I was, yeah, I was at one of these really big debate tournament and my mom gets a call from her lawyer and the lawyer was like, your husband’s doing for full custody. So I’m going to be in a big national final round. I’m like the top 12, like a couple hundred competitors and I think like, this is my moment, but I’m also have to cram into cry in the bathroom and then we’re on our way back from the tournament and I’ve got this award on.
Abby: 14:19 I’m still in my debate of it, which is like a fancy suit and like a tights and the high heels and I have to go to my mom’s lawyers office and he’s like this weird guy who’s wearing all denim with a bunch of birds and like learn all about how the law works so I could be an intelligent person in case I had to go to court it. Yeah. So it’s like, it’s just very weird scenario where I was kind of put very much in the forefront where my mom wanted to tell me everything, um, and let me know everything my dad didn’t want to tell, didn’t want the kids involved at all. Um, other than to take full custody. He didn’t want to talk about it with us at all. And my brother because he was so mad, my youngest brother was so mad at my mom for being the one that lasts.
Abby: 15:05 I’m wouldn’t talk to her about what was happening. So he only really got the anger from my father and my brother became completely withdrawn. So that’s intense. That’s a really big weight on the shoulders of a teenager. Yeah, I mean that’s a lot of tension at home. Then I would take, I was like the moodiest of moody teenagers. Teenagers are moody, just like everything is awful and it’s all, it’s like the world is against me. Yeah, I would imagine. How did this affect digit affect your schoolwork and you’re debating? And I mean, I think yes and no, I’ve never been. I’ve always been someone who always just rode on the coattails of my natural intelligence, uh, not, not really a hard worker where I was someone who I didn’t really push myself in school, but I always got good grades. Like I never had. Like I, I always had a GPA that was above like a three, eight, but I never really took advanced classes and subjects I didn’t like even though I could have, so I wasn’t necessarily being challenged at school, um, ever, et Cetera, like precalc, but like, no, it was like not my friend.
Abby: 16:27 Um, I think it made me more into debate. Um, and that made me a little bit more antisocial with a lot of my other friends because I, a little bit of backstory, I had a really weird educational background where I have a very severe learning disability. Um, and when I was first diagnosed, the elementary school I had fond to set that they couldn’t give me hell because I was too high functioning even though I had a disability and without assistance, my grades were like really low for someone my age. They’re like, well hold her back instead of giving me accommodations. So my. So my mom was like not and then homeschooled me and my brothers were awhile ago, which makes kids like homeschooling I think is really good for people who should be homeschooled. But it makes you so weird. It’s like teenagers were already crazy weirdos there alone all the time with Harry Potter books and socialize.
Leanne: 17:20 Do you need to be socialized? So the time.
Abby: 17:22 Yeah, exactly. And then I went to a private high school and then I just stopped going to that high school because they created a policy that kids with special needs couldn’t be in honors programs. Really? Yeah. Because I was the first person with special needs at the school that asked to be in an honors program, um, and I like screamed at a teacher about how, because the teacher called me like a bunch of call me stupid and not smart enough to be in these classes. And I was like, well, you’re the worst. Um, and so I had transferred to a different high school where I just didn’t know anyone. So I kind of put myself in the scenario where I wasn’t socially succeeding in an everyday setting. My family life was collapsing, so my life became about speech and debate. So then all my friends were just at schools across the country. So really I wasn’t socially thriving in the day to day, but my Saturdays, I was like the coolest person on a Saturday at the rock car. I was like, I was the Fonz of speech and debate.
Leanne: 18:22 Oh my God. So what happened? So as you progress through high school, by the time you graduated, were things a substantially better or did they stay the same throughout the hand? It was sometimes maybe get an alert, sometimes they get worse, like my dad denies this happens, but it did. Um, like at my high school graduation, my mom at the time had been dating her boyfriend for about a year, a man she’s still with and isn’t my stepfather, but essentially is, um, they’ve been together for about four or five years now and there was no real intention of seeing other people ever again and he was going to come to my graduation and my dad said if her boyfriend came he wouldn’t come. So was things like that or. Um, the biggest problem that really happened, that impacted my life was with like driving.
Abby: 19:15 So they got divorced when I got my learner’s permit and my dad was real bummed out because the divorce, um, so he was not the nicest of teaching me how to drive. So it eventually he was just, he was his leg. The day I die on my learner’s permit, he made me drive to Virginia on a stick shift and I’m just like, I’m just like, I’m as anxious leg 16 year old who like, it took me four times to pass by permit exam. He just wants someone to be angry at for a few hours, a night class. I was so bad. Like I almost caused like 19 accidents and I’m like crushed the whole way. It was the, it was the first and last time I will ever drive stick because eastern interests to so traumatic. That was your first time ever driving stakes for driving. Maybe drive stick that d’andrea my learner’s permit to Virginia. Oh Wow. Yeah. So, um, I then learned on my mom’s car, so he said my mom had put me on her insurance, not him. They had this big fight about who would pay for the insurance. So it was agreed that we go on my mom’s insurance, my mom only own one car. Um, and my dad owned. And so my dad said he had called his insurance company and put in an amendment in his insurance plan. So I ended up, I was caught driving the car, it was against the rules and I’d be arrested
Abby: 20:38 a stream pretty extreme. It’s also not possible. We would, if we found out like four years later when we were like on the phone with the insurance, it just makes, that’s not something that they do on the policy. So we made up this story to keep me from driving his car and like he wouldn’t let me drive the car to my job. I grew up in a safe artsy town and he wouldn’t let me drive my car down. He wouldn’t let me drive any car is to my job or even though my brother drove me because he’s like, it’s dangerous. But really it was because my mom lived there. Um, and like the worst thing that ever happened with the car stuff and really like this capture is kind of. This happened four years after separation. Like the toxicity of their relationship was I come home, I had driven the car to my mom’s house.
Abby: 21:28 I had fallen asleep at my mom’s house because I’m like 19. I was taking a nap. I woke up. It’s late and I’m like, oh, I don’t want to drive home. And I, uh, I guess my mom would call my dad asked gang and he was like, no, you have to bring your bag and you shouldn’t be bringing the car at her house and if you don’t, we’re going to call the police. So then I drove back and my mom came with me. I couldn’t talk her out of going back and she and my dad got in a physical altercation, like not, not like hitting each other but like my dad pushed her off the doorstep so my mom pushed back and let me just scream at each other at like midnight and play in, in suburbia because he didn’t want me to drive a car and I’m just crying in the background where it’s just like the unfairness of it all. And at the same time my brothers were allowed to drive all the cards. I was not. Um, and the issue only compounded because when a couple of weeks later my aunt who had bought my dad the car for us to drive, I know a lot of moving pieces. Put a tracker in the car, but alerted her every time I went with them, like, oh, a mile radius of my mom’s house and she can press a button to alert the police.
Leanne: 22:43 So things really escalated.
Abby: 22:45 Yeah. So it went from my mom being like, we’re going to have a little separation. Um, and then we’re, everything’s gonna be okay to like pushing each other at one in the morning over like a kid visiting a parent. Right. So really became you don’t get extra time. I’m like, they really like if you, if they would get mad if I would go, if I like a copy my mom on a week. That was like my dad’s week.
Leanne & The BF: 23:15 So, so here’s. So you went through this for five years before their divorce was final. Yeah, it sounds like it has its ups and downs and a lot of downs. The downs got deeper, but when you are, you’re out on your own now, right? Yeah. And everything now, do you find in your relationships as an adult, how has this affected you?
Abby: 23:38 Um, I think it, I don’t really know yet. So I’m in my longest relationship I’ve been in yet now and it’s only eight months, um, I mean I’m a gay person if you have a toll by my haircut and podcast community if you can’t tell by my voice. And I always like would date girls who were in the closet and so we wouldn’t have to be open or out about it because I can be like, oh, it’s secret and mysterious. And I think that that was my wall of keeping it serious was because my, the person I was seeing wasn’t out of the closet. We didn’t have to be in a serious relationship. Now I’m being confronted with those questions because my girlfriend and I are like, well, the next step for us, because we’d been together for eight months, we’re in a transitional period of our lives because we’re both postgrads are starting careers is to probably move in together and dig, put down deeper roots together.
Abby: 24:29 Um, I have to be like, it feels super weird for me to trust someone with my financial information to trust someone with like my life lands or to try to meet someone halfway with my life lands, um, at the same time her parents are also are currently going through a divorce, um, and our parents divorced also crazy. Um, and so I think it’s a double edged sword because at one time, because we’re both children of divorce, we’re able to share these stories and what we’ve learned from our parents, failures in relationships and try to grow from them. But we also have to deal with the fact that it’s like, what do we move in together, break up and then you screw me on the leads. Like we have to simultaneously like developed this camaraderie over the fact that like, oh, your parents are super crazy about money. Well, my parents wouldn’t pay for my classes to go to prom. Um, and like joke around about that, but at the same time be able to be okay with what happened in our past and be able to build that trust together. Um, one thing we can agree on is we both firmly believe in prenups.
Leanne: 25:41 Oh, well that’s my next question was, you know, even let’s say you’re not getting married right now, but you’re moving in. Have you talked about, okay, so what, let’s create a plan for us to move forward. But at the same time let’s create a plan. Like if this doesn’t work, we have a plan of how to communicate.
Abby: 25:59 Yeah. I mean my kind of thought was, well let’s just get a two bedroom because we can afford a two bedroom because we’re two people and then one of them is an office or relation go south. We sublet the other room. One person moves out, then it’s okay. Or we break the lease and we lose our security deposit. Which yeah, either one is a better option than being civil right. Trapped in the toxic relationship that has like oral form in like a shared home because, I don’t know, I’m a big planner and I think people were like, well, when you talk about that you plan to fail. And I was like, I think you plan for a better break. Like as much as I hate, like when if paltrow’s lifestyle, uh, and like all her weirdness, I think this idea of being conscious about a conscious uncoupling and being conscious about the possibility of relationship ending is better than just buying blindly believing it’s going to be perfect because it’s not like you never know. Like what if it turns out they have like really terrible morning breath and you can’t handle that school like one or two days a week, but like seven days a week. It makes you like want to rip your nose off your face.
Abby: 27:14 You don’t know how you’re going to feel in a couple months. Do my parents got married at my age? I’m like, that’s crazy to me.
Leanne: 27:22 Well here’s a question because you know, I’m considerably older than you at this point, um, well from now and forever probably because you’re not going to catch up. But I’m. One of the things that I’ve noticed, and I’m wondering if this is the same for you, I’ve learned that addressing something right away really nip things in the bud because as you saw with your parents, the more that they didn’t communicate, it became a fight or resentment. Right. So have you noticed in your relationship, do you have any of the same characteristics that your parents had that would create that animosity or that anger or do you find that you, you nip it in the bud right away?
New Speaker: 28:04 I think I’ve broken free remark because, I mean, I grew up, my mom is Jewish, my dad is Catholic, so we were raised religious, Catholic and ethnically Jewish. So that’s why I’m a comedian now. Um, but I think that really created like those are two backgrounds where you kind of keep quiet. Um, and I think I’ve overcome that. I, I, I, I love to talk. I love to be like, this is how I’m feeling this I’m feeling right now, let’s address it. Um, and I don’t like my feelings to be stifled. Um, and I like to get it out there. And I think one of the biggest problems in my current relationship is I feel like I’m the one who’s throwing a lot of feelings out there and I’m not necessarily having those feelings being met. Um, but then again, it could also be the one where it’s like, I just have more anxieties and feelings that are easy to express.
Abby: 28:55 So I think I, I’m almost overcompensating because my parents wouldn’t talk to each other, so I want to talk too much where the, where my partner might just not have anything to say and I feel like she’s withholding reciprocating. Yeah. But reality is she might just not have a response and that’s okay. I think I think I am dealing with not talking about. And she would knock out by being too much of a communicator, um, where it’s like I can’t sit in silence and to fill everything needs of noise. Like I said, my day job involves me sitting alone in an office all day. Um, if I’m not listening to music or have a video on, I like, I want to poke my eyes out and I go crazy. Like I have to go walk around and bother everyone else in my office. I’m just to generate conversation. And so I feel like because I grew up in a house that was about like quiet internalization of feelings, I’m now just like a feeling like I constantly just vomiting my emotions and people don’t know how to deal with it.
Leanne: 29:54 Have you talked, have, you know, have you and your girlfriend talked about that and your difference in communication style and like what your needs are as a communicator versus what her needs are?
Abby: 30:03 I think we’re still learning because the, it’s, we’re in the weird part where it’s like we’ve been together for more than six months but less than a year where like the honeymoon phase Kinda or the honeymoon while dating phase going to draw into a flow flowers and we’re really getting to know each other on a deeper level. Right? Um, and I think we’re going to learn how to be better communicators together where it’s like maybe being, maybe I’ll become less of a information is fewer and a better listener and we’ll be able to match each other’s needs together more. And I think it really, because I mean it’s, it’s both our first serious relationship with two people in our early twenties where were both children of divorce for both really just starting life where we’re gonna be able to learn how to be the best communicators to each other. Um, which I think is gonna help us flourish because we’re able to really match back. Um, and I think that’s a skill that certain developer we’re able to kind of deal with our own baggage and then become better people through listening and hearing each other.
Leanne: 31:04 Yeah. It’s interesting. I had never thought about actually having that conversation with somebody before and I now I think back to, and I do now now, like my boyfriend now, we talk about those things, what we need and communication styles. Like I know you need this so I’m willing to listen to you vent about the sort of talking about this and I know that you don’t need me to respond so I’m just going to say and stuff like that. Or during times could you see their problems like where they weren’t communicating and their styles?
Abby: 31:38 I think I can now in hindsight, but I think if you were to sit me down and six and say what are the problems? Your parents’ relationship or it’d be like I would have no idea. Like I thought they loved and supported each other. Totally
Leanne: 31:50 well, yeah. I just told your dad like I want them like you are. Yeah, exactly.
Abby: 31:55 We’re just like, I, I just was it. And now thinking back, I’m like all my childhood memories. I was like, Oh my dad’s relationship was so fucked up. Like it was so crazy and weird and not normal and it’s almost a good thing now that their relationships fail because I’m like, I know what a relationship but not look like. I’m like, I know all this weird like, and it just, you don’t even think about it. Like I like I vividly remember them having a screaming match, um, a couple of weeks before they announce it and I was like, I have my brothers and I were like, oh, what’s going on? Where I was like, well I think it’s tax season and there was a fourth November. So like why? Why are we just rationalize it way? Because we saw our parents perfect. And I think that’s a big thing about divorce being a child of divorce is that if your parents get divorced when you’re aware of what’s going on, it humanizes your parents who are really, like your parents are heroes and perfect people until you’re an adult and you realize that there flawed too.
Abby: 33:00 Right? But when you go through divorce, the humanness of your parents is just few find it out too early and it hurts a lot. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Because it’s just like we could see we saw them as perfect. They were, they were heroes. There are mom and dad and then suddenly they were like these crazy people screaming at each other, at two in the morning on the front lawn over nothing. And you feel like more. Did you feel at times more of an adult that than they were? I felt a lot of times I felt like the middleman, so I don’t know if I’d necessarily call myself more of an adult, but I think I felt like the more rational actor where I was just like, this is some petty bullshit. I’m like, I just remember my junior year of high school I wanted to go to prom, but to go to prom you have to pay the high school $200 in class dues. And I didn’t, I didn’t work because I had a privileged upbringing. Um, so I was like, can I have 100 bucks from to. And they were both, like the other parent has to pay the full amount and they fought over it so much. The problem was gone. By the time they decided they each had a pay $100. So. And then I didn’t go to prom. So it’s just like, I was like, but what have you. Each had just given me a 101 I asked and it will be fine.
Leanne: 34:11 Right. Like you’re messing up with my life over here. Yeah.
Abby: 34:14 Now my life is all messed up. And then my grandparents ended up paying it because even when I think they both times they were like, all right, fine. One person, $100. But the other person was so pissed off about the fight. We were like, no, no, you have to pay it all. And finally my grandparents, because you couldn’t graduate until you pay this fee. Like this was an issue. Wait until my senior year, my were like, here’s 200 bucks to take care of it. So you did go to prom and then you just paid late? Uh, no I didn’t go to prom. And you have to go to prom because junior year I didn’t pay the dues on time. And then senior year a speech debate nationals were at the same time.
Leanne: 34:43 So then your grandparents paid a fee for you to graduate just to graduate? Yeah. Oh really? Yeah. I, I would have hated to have kids see me go through divorce. That would have been really, really hard. Has, have you had a conversation about any of that after the fact? Like, have either
New Speaker: 35:03 my dad, my dad never admits wrong. Um, I, well my dad did. We worked really hard to develop a more positive relationship, but my dad I think has a selective memory where he can do them all wrong. Um, or I’ll be like, it was kind of messed up that you did that one time. And he’s like, yeah, I didn’t do that. And I was like, oh, we’re done. My mom and my mom is very open and willing to kind of talk about things where, what wrong? Um, and I think, I think she feels bad that she brought me too much into the fold. Like it’s almost like my parents used it on polar opposites where my mom gave me a legal briefs about their divorce. My mom gave me every agonizing detail and my dad gave me nothing. And I was like, what if we found a middle ground work?
Abby: 35:48 Yeah. Doesn’t have to know weird details about your relationship that a child should know, but I was aware enough that I wasn’t caught off guard by saying, um, so, I mean it’s, I think, I think now seeing my parents in each of my parents are now in longterm relationship. My Dad’s getting married next month, um, it’s better. I don’t know if my dad is a really kind of got to talk about it or to kind of be good on all the negative things that happened. Um, and like work that out. But I think he’s become a much more loving and much more kind person. And I think he’s learning to forgive my mom for leaving and learning from his mistakes as a partner to have a more positive marriage from an next wedge. And I take my mom went through a really big journey where my mom essentially was.
New Speaker: 36:42 So my mom went to law school, um, had me like first, second year of law school then was one of the top. Was like graduated third from uv law when I had my disability. And my brothers had other signs of issues she gave up that I became a stay at home mom. Then during the divorce, being a professional poker player. Well, yeah, it is a big change. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a big change. And then about a year and a half ago decided that you couldn’t live the kind of, as she says, degenerate lifestyles and went back to being a full time worker for the first time in 15 years. And I’ve it. So my mom has gone through this weird transition where she’s kind of. She was a mom for a really long time then she was kind of like a wild angry person that my dad at a failed marriage and I think she was internalizing a lot of that failure in not positive ways.
Abby: 37:43 I always say that my mom and I went through our early twenties together because she was raising my brothers and I when she was my age. Um, and it’s just, she became a wild child. And I think it’s more that, that she feels bad about the necessarily the negativity of the divorce because I think, I think she sees a lot of the escalation of the war. This is just my dad and I won’t say the majority did cover my head, but some of it did come from her. So I think, I don’t know if we’re really there to kind of hug it all out and be like we’re all over the divorce. But I think we’re at a place where it’s no longer toxic topic. Yeah, it sounds like everybody. I think time has a lot to do with it. I mean time really does help to heal a time to grow. I think we’re at a point where it’s okay, like isn’t that great? But it’s all okay. It’s definitely better. It was, yeah. My one of my brothers is engaged and then my mom came to the engagement party and met his fiance and it was like awkward but not awkward, bad. Just like normal awkward. Like I’m mix husbands in the house that I built with him. Essentially meeting his new fiance and also having to interact with all these strangers that are related to my future daughter in law. Yeah. Yeah. On the day after Christmas because they’re great at scheduling thing.
Leanne: 39:02 Yeah, that’s a lot. That’s a lot. That’s a lot. But the fact that she could do that and it shows, yeah,
Abby: 39:08 it shows a lot of healing.
Leanne & The BF: 39:09 It shows a lot of healing and it shows that you kids matter.
Abby: 39:14 I don’t think other than that time I’d had. There was not one of my graduation. They would not be an important of that. The only thing that makes it weird is my family is very bad at sleeping arrangements. Like at my, at my college graduation luncheon, everyone was there and they made. My Mom and my dad sit next to each other across the table from me, but the problem was there were four people from four people from my dad’s. I have four people from my mom’s side and then I have four friends, so we could’ve. We could’ve spaced it out where they were like close to me, but like not next to each other and all they did was they were turning their bodies as far away from each other. It’s physically possible, like they were pleasant and well behaved, but they were like, don’t interact with me at all far away.
Leanne: 39:59 That’s, that’s amazing. And you know, so here’s something, here’s a question too is when you, as you get older, do you find that you behave more like your mom or more like your dad?
Abby: 40:12 I think I, I’m like, I’m, my mom. I’m very, very much like my mom. Um, but I think I have more of the responsibility drive with my dad. Like my mom isn’t really fiscally and financially oriented and like I have my budget planned out for the next eight months with exactly how much is going in and out. Like I hate my day job but like I can’t quit it because I don’t know what I’m going to do if I don’t have a job. Right. Um, and things like that where I think my mom and I have very, almost very same personalities, but I think my responsibility comes from my dad, but who I am comes a lot from my mom,
Leanne: 40:56 made you a really balanced person.
New Speaker: 40:58 So I think I think I got the best event where you thing and crippling depression from boats, but like overall the best of everything.
Leanne: 41:06 And do you find that those things, those characteristics that make a big difference in your relationship?
Abby: 41:13 Like I see my dad shuts down when he’s angry. Um, I shut down. Like either it’s either a lot of yelling or like, like just like becoming like your silent but like you could feel the rage like emanating. Um, and that’s Kinda how I am in my relationship when I was more kind of mad at each other or bickering. And then kind of the wild adventurous side of my mom, I have that too. But at the same time I also have the ability to like make a financial plan. Like we want to move in together. This is our budget. There’s so much we have to save because my dad taught me how to do that and like my girlfriend’s parents and teacher how to budget, um, or didn’t teach her like the importance of longterm planning because it’s like we can go on a vacation to Lancaster tomorrow, but if we save $100 over the next, uh, uh, like 10, 15 weeks, we’re going to be able to do Montreal for a week.
Abby: 42:08 It’s like, it’s really being able to think long term. Um, my dad, like the greatest thing my dad ever taught me was by experiences, not things. And I think that’s the bulk of the more important lessons I’ve learned from him. And then the that’s really shaped me and another list and I really learned with my mom has really been just so like if you’re going to do it, do it. Like she want to be a poker player. So she did it like I want to be an idiot and I got to do it. And I think those were two life lessons that have really shaped me into the person I am because now I have traveled a lot because I don’t buy dump trinkets all the time, like the most expensive thing I own is a TV and my grandma gave me and then like, but at the same time, like I now have been actively pursuing comedy for two years because I wasn’t kind of chickens running around with the idea.
Abby: 43:02 I was just like, I’m real funny of parties. So I wonder if I could write a joke when I’m not funny apart he’s like, but um, we’re just like teach. Both of them taught me how to take a leap but in totally different ways and I think that’s really shaped who I am now. And that’s pretty interesting actually. And I am glad they were able to retain that and their new relationships. Yeah. So I know you’ve been doing comedy for two years. Do you find any of this family and growing up in this household and part of your material? I do. I talk about it sometimes. I do a lot of stuff about the very strange dynamics because my mom grew up, is from a very Jewish family, um, and my dad’s from a Super Catholic family and then, uh, they got pregnant and had to get married real fast and then, but uh, things like that, like I’m really being able to kind of take little nuggets but not, not kind of like the deep pain, you know?
Abby: 44:04 That makes sense. Yeah. We’re, it’s more kind of one liners. I think divorce is actually what made me funny. So let me revise my answer is I think I was always kind of like a weird, quirky kid. But when you’re put in like, bummer situations, my brother withdrew, my other brother became like very academically focused and I was like, what have I said? We all hate each other and really loudly. How does that make everyone feel? I mean, no one feels good, but like I giggled a little bit. That’s really what taught me how to diffuse tension and I think that ultimately led to here, it might not really be servicing in my material because I don’t know how to make the longterm longterm pain of the divorce funnier, but I’m able to put little one liners here in.
Leanne: 44:51 It’s interesting. I’ve talked to quite a few comics and this has come up numerous times now. They don’t talk about it very much because it’s still is too painful no matter how much time has passed and they find it’s very hard to dig in there and to make something so dark. So funny.
Abby: 45:09 Yeah, and I mean, I, I think I like to think of myself as a Dork or comedian, but I think in a five to 15 minutes that it’s hard to contextualize that neither of my parents are necessarily bad people. They just acted bad in this situation. Here’s the punchline, right? Yeah. I mainly write about like chronic illness, um, some other couple of chronic illnesses and it’s like, it’s not really funny when you’re 23 and like, you know, the hospital. But if I had the timing right, like I can joke about like shorting myself all the time and it’s not an issue. It doesn’t bump people out. It makes everyone laughs. Exactly. Yeah.
Leanne: 45:48 Because it really, it, it takes everybody out of the awkwardness of the situation. I find that comedy for me, and you may find this in the lot, like if you’re talking about illnesses that you’re probably doing the same thing, is comedy has as a way of desensitizing it, kind of like how your parents became human. They’ve, they became human comedy has a way of making them relatable but not
Abby: 46:12 harmful. Yeah. Is it like forget that at some point they, they might’ve been the bad guy and a couple stories, but at the end they’re just people. They’re harmless. Right.
Leanne: 46:22 And we, and I think too is it becomes relatable because we get it. We’ve all been there, we’ve all been a jerk and that kind of stuff. And so. Or even like
Abby: 46:32 or like everyone’s a child of divorce
Leanne: 46:34 eah. Basically. Do you plan on being married?
Abby: 46:39 I mean, yeah, but more for like political reasons, like yeah, now we have this right, but I think I’d be okay not getting married. I’m like, I think I would. I want to be settled down and have kids one day, but I think it’s also okay if I don’t. If I don’t have a wedding and a marriage to do that. Right. I think it’d be nice because I like presence, but do you think at the end I’ll be. I’ll be okay if there’s not a piece of paper.
Leanne: 47:08 Do you see getting married as mostly like the pomp and circumstance of it? The big event, the day, the clothes, the parties have gifts, that thing and a piece of paper versus a ceremony that’s more. I’m not, I’m not saying religious, but spiritual in the sense it’s a union of two.
New Speaker: 47:30 I think a little of both. I mean, this year I’m going to be in a bunch of different weddings because I’m going to get at that time of my life where I think I don’t really know anyone my age who’s married or getting married. So it’s hard for me to think about. Marriage is beyond the marriages that I’ve seen and the only marriage I’ve seen like in an intimate setting is like my parents is right where I don’t, I, I understand the commitment of a marriage, the feeling behind it. But the real I, I think I’m more understand the celebration. I understand weddings a lot more than I understand marriages and I think that’s part of the reason why I shouldn’t be getting married as of. Yeah.
Leanne: 48:12 Yeah. I think that you make a perfectly valid point because I, I got married around your age the first time and you know, you do. I did. I got wrapped up and you know, planning this event and the celebration of it and whatnot. And really the focus now if I were to do it again, is none of that. Yeah. And it’s more about the commitment, the spiritual side of it. What it means to, to people versus what kind of open bar I’m having and who’s deejaying, you know, what I mean,
Abby: 48:49 and not be different. Most of my education has come from or grey’s anatomy, you know, and like that whole thing is now that we’re married on a, on a posted note and that was it. Like I think that that to me symbolizes like marriage to me and that again, why should I get married? I’m like, grey’s anatomy seems to be really modeling gradate marriages, but it’s just, I think, I don’t think when people are my age, you can contextualize what daily married life is like. No. And, but I can, uh, but it, and I can think I know it, but I don’t think I’m really going to know a toll. I’m late twenties, early thirties, probably not.
Leanne: 49:34 I, I think looking back it comes from actually doing it. Yeah. And it’s not something that anybody could have told me that I would have understood or gotten the gist of just by a conversation or a class or, you know, just dating somebody even. And I think of it so differently now than I would have even three years ago. Yeah. You know, and I’ve been divorced like, you know, like 18, so it’s been a long time and I’ve had a lot of time and think about it but in a. and it’s changed over time, but now I look at it as it’s work every single day. Yeah. You know, it’s a conscious effort to be a team player, team player with somebody like that’s kind of your other half in life, that’s what you’ve committed to. And it’s not meaning like, oh I have to check on, I have to do this and I have to do that. But part of it there, there is a responsibility there to carry your weight.
Abby: 50:34 Yeah, I mean it’s like when you get married you have to grow as a couple while simultaneously in your, during your growth as an individual. Yes. So it’s caring for, to living things at the same time.
Leanne & The BF: 50:46 Bingo. Exactly. That’s exactly it. And I think that it’s, that’s at the point where I think of marriage works is when there’s that understanding and not just an understanding, but um, you get how to do that and I don’t know, maybe people don’t ever get how to do it and that’s why we’re all the forest. I don’t know.
Abby: 51:08 But you thought. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just like, I think I think you can get married without say without getting married. That makes sense. Yeah. And I think that’s something I’d be okay living like that to ultimately answer what got us off on this train. But it’s, it’s, I, I can live in the spiritual marriage without having a wedding and I’ll be happy with that. Um, and I think that’s what we have to be okay with because I, I’m just, I just see so many of my friends getting engaged and I was like, if you could still do keg stands, you can’t get engaged. You’re still playing beer pong. Yeah. Yeah. Like, like if you’re your entertainment choices, a frat party, you don’t know how to, how to nurture a longterm relationship as well. As long with your personal world, I think. I think in order for me to get married, I need to be. I need to be in an emotional marriage before a physical married for several years. Yeah, and I think that’s the best way for me to look at it.
Leanne: 52:12 Yes. You speak wise words
Abby: 52:16 Parents had a real crazy divorce.
Leanne: 52:19 Well, it sounds like you’ve. You’ve learned a lot from. From Vino, they’re doing well. If you wanted to leave the listeners with any a bit a bit of advice or thoughts, what would. What would it be? I think that’s
Abby: 52:34 a really good ending note is like it’s better to get divorce and even have a bad divorce than stay married for the kids because even though my parents had an awful, awful divorce, once everything was kind of settled, it was better because we got to see both our parents being good, healthy relationships that we can model ourselves after. Now we got to see them kind of be free of the negative energy of being around each other and they were humanized. We got to know the best version of them after it was all said and done. So I think I hear people saying we got to say it together. Well I don’t hear it because I’m like an infant, but like people say you got to stay together for the kids, but it’s like a steak. You’ve heard the kids by not doing it. So sometimes making the best choice for you is also the best choice for the kid.
Leanne: 53:26 That’s. I think that’s pretty fair. I mean, you know, you, you lived at so and, and thank you so much for sharing everything. That’s a lot and that’s helpful to me and hopefully helpful to other people that are listening and it’s really good stuff, so thank you.
Abby: 53:44 Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.
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