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Episode 086: When a divorced family is all you know
Episode 086: When a divorced family is all you know with special guest Gianmarco Soresi
How do you protect your child from divorce when that’s all he’s known? Meet Gianmarco Soresi, a child of divorce and NYC comedian on The Last O.G. with Tracy Morgan and headliner at Caroline’s on Broadway and Stand Up NY. Gianmarco’s parents split when he was only one week old and he’s been in-between ever since – spending time with mom on these days and dad on the other. He shares his own inner battle with commitment both on the podcast and in his new off-broadway show Less Than 50%.
Leanne: 00:00:08 Podcast, episode 86, I am your host, Leanne Linsky.
The Boyfriend: 00:00:12 And I’m the boyfriend
Leanne: 00:00:13 and welcome back to another wonderful week of divorce.
The Boyfriend: 00:00:17 Keep coming.
Leanne: 00:00:20 I thought you were going to say for sure that they keep on rolling.
The Boyfriend: 00:00:22 Nope. Nope.
Leanne: 00:00:24 He knew I had something to rhyme with that. Yep. Hey, while you’re out there tuning in, make sure you rate, review and subscribe and hey, why not check out the website at life. Laughter divorced.com. We have an online store with handcrafted in divorce. Theme soaps and candles. And also if you click on the new life coaching tab, you can schedule your free session with me. That’s right. You can take your life from boohoo to woohoo!. Let’s do this.
The Boyfriend: 00:00:55 You’ve also made a big splash on Pinterest too, right?
Leanne: 00:00:58 Yeah. You guys check out our Pinterest site. We have all kinds of good things there. or you can find us on Instagram, Facebook and twitter. Boom. Check it out. But Hey, this week, boyfriend. Moving right along. Do you feel comfortable talking about your relationships openly, like in public?
The Boyfriend: 00:01:21 No. I don’t want to mention you to anybody.
Leanne: 00:01:27 Yeah, you’re really funny. Boyfriend. Yuck it up over there. I know you like to keep your anonymity at all, but you talk about relationships on here. Of course.
The Boyfriend: 00:01:38 Yes. And no one knows who I’m talking about
Leanne: 00:01:41 and you do keep me somewhat of a secret. so yeah, I guess I better just answer the question on my own. Like me on the other hand, I have talked about relationships publicly. Obviously I use my real name in this podcast, but also like I wrote a one woman show, well in Standup, I also talk about exes and you and I had this talk when we first started dating about will I talk about you because I was producing my show out here,
The Boyfriend: 00:02:08 right in her whole set was her first two husbands, the guy you dated in Oklahoma that’s in your set. A couple people in New York. So yeah. So a bunch of people. So once they become your ex, they are free rein in your set.
Leanne: 00:02:24 Right? Right. And so you know that as long as you treat me well you’re not part of my set.
The Boyfriend: 00:02:30 No, I’m just, I’m just stuck here.
Leanne: 00:02:33 Oh, he’s a comedian now. So, but, and yeah, and then I actually did a whole show based on previous relationships that you wrote
The Boyfriend: 00:02:46 a one woman show that you performed on the east coast.
Leanne: 00:02:48 So my show was lady luck is a whore, what happens in the show stays in the show. So, and I did that. I premiered it in New York and I took it to, to get to cap fringe and DC and then I took it to a fringe Wilmington in Delaware and then I brought it back to New York at theater row for the United, United Solo Festival. And so yeah, so I not did it once, but I did it quite a few times and took it all over over a year’s time.
The Boyfriend: 00:03:23 Had some great reviews too.
Leanne: 00:03:25 Yeah. But the thing is about, about writing, it is in the process and that’s the other thing I think by talking about things and is one thing because it gives us an opportunity to think things out and hear our words out loud and it Kinda gives us different perspective. Right. And also gives us the opportunity to give feedback as we learned from, from these relationships and when I wrote my show, what I found in writing my show is it changed my perspective because I also had to tell the story from their point of view, which is actually sometimes more often than not funnier, the my point of view because I get to be that person. I get to be in their head and be truthful as like where they were coming from and stuff. And that’s kind of fun. That’s funny.
The Boyfriend: 00:04:12 So eyeopening because you’re trying to put yourself into their shoes and understand what happened in that situation.
Leanne: 00:04:20 Right? Because for me it’s not about going out and doing a show in bashing somebody. It’s going out and doing show that truth from the heart, but that’s relatable. And, and if it’s just a show about being bitter and nasty, I mean that’s not common to me. That’s not comedy. I don’t want to be bitter and nasty and hurtful. I want to tell my story, but I also want to give different perspectives on it. And that’s what made it fun for me is like getting into their head and talking about what was important to them and their interpretation of me. Those are the things that I don’t know, it just, it changed everything. And I felt like I was, when I was done with my runs of the show, I was, you know, and after doing standup with a lot of it and stuff, it’s kind of like, wow, I’m kind of done with that. Like I’m good. Like that gave me such closure on so many things and and I felt good about how I did it, you know. so yeah, and, and I, and I think it’s interesting because when we first started this podcast, when we were talking to comedians and different people, it was interesting to hear that they didn’t talk about their past marriages or relationships, that they weren’t comfortable doing it. And that I found super eyeopening for myself, because I thought, oh, well that’s just what everybody did. But apparently not. So I found it really cool talking to today’s guest because this is another person who did exactly what I did, who went out and wrote a show based on his past relationships. In fact, he went out, he did a show and I’m on his email list and from back in New York and I love seeing what people are doing and how their shows are going. And he actually wrote a show called Less Than 50 percent and it got some great reviews. It’s really fun and very comedic. He had other people in it with them. They got all. They got great reviews. So I would like to introduce our guests for this week. He has been seen on the last OG with Tracy Morgan, recently headlined Caroline’s on Broadway and also performs at stand up New York.
Leanne: 00:06:35 I’d like you to meet Gianmarco Soresi without further ado… Gianmarco, welcome to life after divorce podcast.
Gianmarco: 00:07:01 Hello. Thank you for having me.
Leanne: 00:07:02 Yes, our pleasure. I’m excited to talk to you and get to know you and learn all about what you have going on because I know you have some exciting things that we want to, we want to share with our listeners. So. Alright, you have never been married so therefore never divorced, but I understand you maybe your parents have.
Gianmarco: 00:07:23 Yes. well my parents got divorced when I was very, very young. I say seven days, but it’s somewhere between seven days in a month after I was born. Yeah. So, so I really, my life has been with divorced parents going back and forth. There was never a time I had one family.
Leanne: 00:07:47 Yeah. That’s really soon. Like, so did they start the procedures right after you were born or was it like finalized right after you were born?
Gianmarco: 00:07:57 I think it would started right after I was born. I was born and they had intentions to stay together and then there was some, some in fidelity that might’ve been a found out soon after I was.
Leanne: 00:08:11 Okay. So you don’t blame yourself?
Gianmarco: 00:08:14 No, no, no. That’s something that that’s like, something must be in some book somewhere where parents tell you all the time. It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault. It was so weird because I never thought it was my fault. That was never a thing I needed to be told. so yeah. Yeah. I never thought, I just, it seems like a strange thing that you could be a catalyst for sure. But yeah,
Leanne: 00:08:42 yeah. Well that’s good. That is good to hear. And then, so you never knew any different. They were always that way. What was, did you, did you have like a certain amount of time with one with one parent than the other?
Gianmarco: 00:08:56 No, so I mean, I think my schedule, it was kind of a two week cycle that repeated itself and I had more weekdays with my mom, but my dad got slightly more weekends and that’s just how I live my life. So it was like a, it was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with mom, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday model. So it was like, you know, that was, they came up with that and that laid out my entire life.
Leanne: 00:09:28 Wow. So do you have brothers and sisters?
Gianmarco: 00:09:32 Yes. I have four younger half siblings. so my, my mom remarried and then got divorced probably six or seven years ago, so she’s twice divorced and I have three half siblings on that side and my dad dated a lot, almost got remarried to someone who had a kid with but then they split up. So another half sibling on that side.
Leanne: 00:09:55 Oh Wow. So it’s kind of like the Brady bunch but so, so different but never under the same roof. Right. And No, alice? Yes. Yes. So I’m dating myself here and I could have watched it on nick at nite and yeah. So I’m wondering like how is this affected your adult relationships?
Gianmarco: 00:10:19 I think it just, I think couple of things. I think I don’t have a blueprint of like what is the ideal or what is the goal. I feel like if you grow up in one household, it’s kind of like part of is attempting to recreate your own version of that. But like, there’s nothing about my situation that I am trying to recreate in my old life. I don’t think I necessarily, I don’t think I had that same kind of like, oh, this is what a family is, this is what it looks like, this is what it feels like. which I think changes kind of the drives that that I have in dating or what it is like doing with my life. and then I think it just made me skeptical of the whole institution, but in a way that I am sure everyone experiences in some way or another. But just like, I, I’ve seen how, like I never saw my parents together, you know, they were when I was a baby, but I didn’t remember anything. But it’s very surreal to look at. I have the wedding book, of when they got married and like to see them hugging or kissing or standing next to each other even while smiling and not in a courtroom feels very, unusual. It feels strange and I seen that, oh, they went from that to not speaking to each other. So I, I would say not even a skepticism about marriage, but almost like a fear that if you really want to, get, remove someone from your life forever, you should marry them because eventually it will lead to that. Like I’ve seen how bad it can get if you go for it like that. So I think it’s not just, Oh, I don’t want to get married because it doesn’t work. There’s also a, I don’t want to get married because if I love someone and I want to have them in my life forever, that’s a surefire way to lose them forever.
Leanne: 00:12:20 Yeah. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. So do your parents speak now?
Gianmarco: 00:12:25 No. No. I mean there was just so many messy things. My mom ended up marrying my dad’s former lawyer and I think I, I don’t think it was quite a scandal. He was working for my dad at the time, but just, you know, it’s a little too close for comfort.
Leanne: 00:12:45 yeah. Whether he was. Oh, okay. Yeah. That’s whether you had him hired at the time or not. Yeah, that would be awkward.
Gianmarco: 00:12:53 And then like there’s all sorts of custody problems. It’s very, there’s so many, there’s so much room for conflict in terms of like, you know, there’s this legal agreement, but it doesn’t necessarily account for what happens when it’s Martin Luther King Junior Day and my dad wants to go somewhere for the weekend, but it’s my mom’s Monday. So then they fight, they fight about, oh, can I have this extra day or can you take this extra day? Then you add on top of that conflict, you add alimony payments and those kinds of arguments that can come up with that. And then I think there was some stuff where my dad had a custody battle with, with my half sister, with another woman and my mom ended up testifying. She was like asked, requested to come to court to testify against my dad. And she did. And that’s, that’s when they stopped speaking altogether. Oh yeah. That got messy. Yeah, there was all sorts. My Dad, my dad ended up dating my kindergarten teacher and I think it was after I moved to the first grade, or at least that’s when I found out.
Leanne: 00:14:08 Oh, so what about like your mom dating your Dad’s former attorney? This would have been weird. It’s like, well, it was after I was out of kindergarten,
Gianmarco: 00:14:18 my former kindergarten teacher and then my mom I think told the school and the teacher got fired. There was all sorts of ways that their relationship was strained. Wow. And yeah, it’s really, it’s really tough and it’s really tough to keep the kid out of those arguments and those, those conflicts.
Leanne: 00:14:42 Right. Okay. So how did you feel as a kid with all this going on? I mean, were you were pretty aware, I’m guessing?
Gianmarco: 00:14:49 Yeah, I was very, at the time it changes so much when I was a kid. My Dad was, my dad was single, so he was single and he had time. I saw him on the weekends. So like his house was the party house, his house, I could watch any movie I wanted to. I think he was very cognizant of making sure his house was fun because what, what can be tough is, especially if you are sometimes going to court to try to win sole custody, they had a shared custody. I think Sheridan joint are slightly different definitions, but they had shared. But I think my dad wanted sole custody and I think at some point he tried to win sole custody. And so what happens is you are so terrified as a parents of your kid’s saying, hmm, I want to go to, I want to live at Mommy’s or I want to live at Daddy’s, that you, it’s kind of a race to the bottom to spoil your child to make sure they never say that to make.
Gianmarco: 00:15:56 It’s very hard to be a disciplinarian when you’re worried that your child could go, oh, I want to live at Mommy’s. And all of a sudden the mom has a case to get sole custody because the kid doesn’t want to. and so I think my dad really wanted to make his house as fun as humanly possible. Lots of toys, lots of fun. And then he was dating, so every, every new woman that kind of came into his life, I think she wanted to be beloved by me, by the child, so she would spoil me to every new girlfriend, every new girlfriend meant like a new round of presence.
Gianmarco: 00:16:39 And that’s what happens when you. In the beginning I think I like fell for these women. They were like, these motherfuckers are just these wonderful, caring women that would come into my life. And then as you get older you become bitter. And like in my teens when my dad was dating someone new, I was a jackass because I’d be like, ah, you’ll be gone by Christmas. I’m not even going to learn your name. because you had your heart broken so many times. I’m so, so, so back then were you saying like, I think my dad’s house was the cool house, especially because my mom remarried and my step dad was just a very different ilk. He came from Ohio. He was raised conservative, so he was strict and he was scary. And like in the framework of my childhood, he was really the antagonist. He was the bad guy, the disciplinarian, so I always just wanted to be at my dad’s and it was only later in life we’re kind of balanced out and my dad’s kind of loose parenting became problematic or I liked the structure of my mom’s house. so yeah, it, it really shifts like as a kid, my dad’s house was the place I always wanted to be and then later on I was ready to just live by myself.
Leanne: 00:18:05 Yeah. So when did you, when did you move out on your own?
Gianmarco: 00:18:09 It wasn’t until college, so I went back and forth until I was 18 and then even past that, you just get used to it. It’s just kind of the life that you lead. And I would bring this big Duffel bag with me everywhere that kind of had everything I owned. So that kind of was my home was in this bag with all my video game systems that the action figures all that. And college was the first time where I had one place that I went to every night. It felt good. It felt relaxing and felt I just to be free of that commute and that always having a place where all my stuff was was wonderful. It was wonderful. And then, you know, I started dating and all of a sudden we’re going back and forth between our places. I was like, no, the same thing all over again. Oh No.
Leanne: 00:19:06 When you approach your dating life and stuff, like you had mentioned earlier that you don’t have like a certain, like this is what a family should be. Is it safe to say you have an idea of what it should be like?
Gianmarco: 00:19:21 No, I don’t. Like, I think I had romantic fantasies of, of getting married and having kind of a single unit and someone were to dive in with. But then it’s, I think I’m just skeptical. I’d have to be like, I, I’m just very cautious. I think I’m more cautious than at least it seems like some of my peers are. And I don’t know. There was there. I had a very long relationship in college, that went past college and it was like four or five years or so. And I’m always curious if I had been raised differently, if, if I would have married that person, but I think I always, even when we were dating in college, I kind of had a game plan of, well, after college we should break up because there’s no to get married. That young to me felt stupid.
Gianmarco: 00:20:15 It felt like a stupid thing. It like a naive thing. And I thought, I, I just thought, you know, I certainly wouldn’t want to get married until I was with someone for a very long time and until I was at least in my thirties and that person who ended up kind of parting ways ended up marrying a, I think when she was 25 and now has kids. And there’s plenty of times where I’m like, oh, was that a huge mistake? Would I have settled down with this person? If it was, if I had a different upbringing that I can’t tell for sure. But I just know that I’m skeptical about it and I’m skeptical when I see people get married after a year of dating, I feel like going, are you nuts? Are you crazy?
Gianmarco: 00:21:06 And, but that’s mixed with the pain of like, you know, you go to a wedding and I’m a human and I see this, these people who are in love and I go, some move, but I think I just turned 30 and I’m starting is, have a couple of friends where they’re starting to tell people about their divorces and I’m like, well, here we go, let’s see. Takes out. So I don’t know, but I still have that fantasy. I still have that fit. And then I go, I see the number of people that cheat and I go like, oh, would I want to be in an open relationship? Is that something. But then another part of me is like, I don’t think that works either. I don’t think any of this works. so I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know, but I’m very, I think I would have to be beyond reason to want to get married. And then it’s under the legal contract of it all. It’s all in Maryland. For example, when my mom and Stepdad got divorced in Maryland, before you’re allowed to file for divorce, you have to live under separate roofs for a year and you’re not allowed to have sex during that year. That’s part of the legal. It’s in. It’s in the legal framework of it. Maybe they say copulate or something, but they put a nicer term. Yeah. That’s like, I don’t know. I’m always need to do the research on it, but it was this at a time where the man was traditionally the breadwinner, so it gave him the power because if you want it to move out, if you’re not the breadwinner, if you were the person raising the children, you know you don’t necessarily have enough money to get a different roof for an entire year. So it’s left to the moneymaker to decide if he wants the divorce. I wonder if that’s how the law came about back in the day. Probably. Yeah.
Leanne: 00:23:11 It’s like that in New York too. You have to live separately under separate roofs for a year before you can actually move forward
Gianmarco: 00:23:18 and again, like that’s. That goes against, like when my mom, my mom was a lawyer and my dad and basically asked her to leave her job to raise me and this is back in the eighties, but, but that’s what happened and so my mom then becomes in a disadvantage position in the legal system to get a divorce because of that stupid stupid law.
Leanne: 00:23:44 How did, how did that change things for her to. So they had to be live separately for you?
Gianmarco: 00:23:51 Yeah, part of me wonders if they got married. I wasn’t married. My stepdad and my mom and my dad got married in DC or Virginia possibly. But with my Stepdad it was, it was very difficult because, my mom was a teacher and she is, she going to move for a year?
Leanne: 00:24:20 Your mom is also a lawyer, right? A former lawyer.
Gianmarco: 00:24:22 She’s a former lawyer. But what happens, you go to court and if someone’s arguing against you, you can go, well, you’re a lawyer, you should be able to make x amount of dollars. And my mom goes, I haven’t been a lawyer for two decades. I can’t just jump back into the law firm Paul, so she’s, she’s a teacher now and a successful teacher, but you know, there’s a cap on how much that could make compared to a lawyer. so it just puts, it, puts her in a tough position and it’s because she took on the role of, of raising the children. So this just, there’s all these, these complications of like people who have a joint account and then when they get divorced someone decides to take all the money out of the joint account and who’s going to do at first? but you see these adults going to war with each other, going to war, going to court and using you saying things about the other person.
Gianmarco: 00:25:23 I mean, I, that’s the other part of marriage is like when you think of, when I think of a relationship is like I want someone I can confide everything to divorce. All of a sudden these people are using everything they know to destroy two characteristic passivation and I need things in, in the bedroom. Things thoughts that you shared while while drunk and stoned and just you wanted to talk to another person and I think it just, it adds this where some people get married and they’re able to go, well this is the person I can share everything with because we love each other till death do us part. I feel like I’m always cognizant of, well, you don’t know.
Leanne: 00:26:13 People who absolutely loved each other suddenly can hate each other so much. How is that possible?
Gianmarco: 00:26:19 Yeah, and then they can reveal it in a bad part of me is like, yeah, you know what? At least I have a therapist because that feels more trustworthy in terms of this person will never reveal. These are not necessarily like I’ve murdered someone, but just like someone who will. Who will bring up everything you’ve ever said or thoughts are expressed.
Leanne: 00:26:39 Yeah. And because they know everything about you, they know exactly what will hurt most, how terrible, how terrible. Well when like what about kids with you? Do you want children?
Gianmarco: 00:26:55 I love kids. I know that. I know some people who kids. A part of it is like, it’s two things, one, it’s like, I mean for me it’s like marriages is really just a matter of labels, but to a kid it’s like I would have to believe that I’m setting up some kind of home that has stability. part of me is like, oh, I should find someone to have a kid with who I am not married to put. We just raised them to Katherine because that’s safer. So I think I think I want kids, but I’m also, I’m a standup comedian and a performer and it’s like, will I ever be able to put a child ahead of my ambition and will I ever have a career where I can have stability? and I don’t know the answer to that question. I like really you don’t know in this profession, but I think I certainly, I feel like because of the way I was raised, I have a certain bar of like I need to have a home setup. I need to have a partner of some kind that I trust truly and deeply. Even if we did separate and I would have to believe that before I would bring another life into that home.
Leanne: 00:28:20 Yeah.
Gianmarco: 00:28:22 But I love kids and I think anyone with, with kind of a difficult family, I have a Santa Clause of like a fire to kit. Here are the things I would do that would make him or her feel so much more secure and happier.
Leanne: 00:28:40 What would be some of those things?
Gianmarco: 00:28:43 Well, I think the biggest thing with divorce is like whether if I was raising him with, with an x, it’s like to not bad mouth or not insults or shame or complain about the other person. And that’s so, that’s so easy in theory, but everyone does it. I seen with my stepfather and my mom because my siblings on that side, had to go back and forth for a bit and like they just talk so much shit about each other. My mom and stepfather and it’s like, what do you do it, you know, this kid, this kid’s parents that you’re insulting and you’re complaining about and like that, if that makes them feel horrible. My, my complained about my mom or, or, you know, sense her kind of nasty texts or emails, and my mom complained about him and they would say something to me like, Oh, you’re acting like your father. And it’s like, that’s, that’s mental. That makes because I am genetically half of my father. So you’re complaining about him, you’re, you’re complaining about me. but also I can understand how it’s hard to not complain when you’re like, well, he’s not paying alimony payments and I’m struggling with money to raise you and he’s not paying for school on time or while she’s testifying against me in a custody battle, how do you not talk shit about that person?
Leanne: 00:30:29 Right.
Gianmarco: 00:30:30 so like I think that’s just, that’s what I think about with the child. We’re like wouldn’t. And again this is all in theory because I’m sure my parents didn’t mean to, but they just do you, you live with someone and you, you, you behave poorly from,
Leanne: 00:30:49 right. It leaks out, it leaks out. So, you know, so you, you mentioned you’re doing standup comedy. How does this influence your comedy and your work on stage?
Gianmarco: 00:31:01 I think, I think because there were situations growing up that that made me develop a comedic sensibility to kind of add some levity to any kind of mood I’m in. I think that’s kind of where that came from and my desire for attention came from, from that. and then on stage I, I use it just to talk about. I think it gives me a unique perspective on family. I think a lot of comedy is a, taking a skeptical look at institutions. We just kind of accepts and finding the humor in kind of the hypocrisy that we live with. So I feel like I’m able to joke about family and siblings and relationships with a unique perspective of having grown up with divorce. you know, there’s lots of people who experienced it later and they have their unique stories. But I, I also got to see what divorce looks like older because my mom and Stepdad separated probably when I was 18 or 19.
Gianmarco: 00:32:13 And and I, I basically grew up, they got married when I was four, so like I feel like not only did I get to grow up with divorce from the Gecko, but then I got to see what it was like older. I got to see it through my siblings. I’m dealing with it in high school. and I just think, comedically, it gives me a unique perspective. and especially, you know, there’s nothing better. Someone told me the other night that her and her sister don’t particularly get along, but some of my divorce jokes I guess they were able to joke about because that was something they could relate to each other with siblings, siblings who deal with divorce. I, I’m very lucky. I feel the older I get the clothes serve God with all my siblings has been kind of a nice surprise getting older and we’re able to talk so much about just the insanity of dealing with these parents acting like children, these parents acting with more maturity than a fifth grade couple going through a breakup.
Leanne: 00:33:25 Wow. And you probably have conversations of like, this doesn’t have to be so hard.
Gianmarco: 00:33:30 Yeah. Yeah. And we’re all, we’re all skeptical of marriage. I would really love a nephew or niece, but I don’t know, we all are kind of a little bit skeptical and nervous about the whole.
Leanne: 00:33:48 So it’s interesting that that people are coming up to you after shows and saying, hey, I can really relate. And we had it. We, me and my siblings and myself had a, had a shared laugh over that kind of brings people together. Tell me, I know you’re doing a show all about relationships. So where did this come from?
Gianmarco: 00:34:07 So basically it came from, it was a person I saw that I was seeing for a long time in college wide tremendously. And the, the, the game plan was like after college we would break up. She, she came from divorce as well. and I just was kind of the loose understanding of the relationship. And then when we did break up, you know, it was, it was, it was devastating. It was strange because it was like part of me is like, well why did I, why did we go through with this? But we went through it anyway, but like I had this fantasy of a, of all maybe we’ll get back together someday after years and years of seeing the world.
Leanne: 00:34:55 Like when you met Sally type of thing.
Gianmarco: 00:34:57 Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And we also were actors together, so like I have this idea that we would do a play together in the fringe festival, which has a big summer theater events here in New York. They just moved it to October for some reason, but used to be a big summer theater event and so it was kind of this. I was creating some kind of platform to make sure we stayed a part of each other’s lives despite being broken up. Like it was almost like a kind of theoretical solution to how to maintain a relationship without married will be, just will be acting partners forever. And it was, it was a romantic comedy. So like it was pretty fucked up in that, you know, there was, there was kissing on stage and we said we loved each other so it was kinda like I didn’t start therapy. It
Leanne: 00:35:57 this after you guys broke up or before?
Gianmarco: 00:36:01 After we broke up with like we were still talking every day. It was for all intensive purposes. A long distance relationship. You were broken up. We weren’t dating going on dates at least, but emotionally it was a relationship.
Leanne: 00:36:17 Okay. So you were. So you break up, you’re both doing your own thing but you’re writing the show together?
Gianmarco: 00:36:23 Yeah. And like next summer she, she was in la and I was like, next summer she’s going to fly to New York and we’ll do this show. And I of course had fantasy as well. We’ll do the show and we’ll end up just living together for that summer and then we’ll see after that we’ll just do this again forever. And so we did. And then what actually happened is I didn’t get in that year, it was one of the two shows that got rejected. And I’m in the fringe festival. Yeah. Yeah. We should have gotten it, but that’s another story. And I ended up getting in the next year, but by that point, we, she had met someone that had gotten kind of intense, like in the beginning it was, she would go on dates, but then we would talk after the date, like that someone who she fell in love with and we, it, it, it was, it wasn’t a pretty first.
Gianmarco: 00:37:30 I didn’t know that she had met someone who was intense, but so it just felt like she was just growing increasingly distance. and then she told me that she had fallen in love and we should take a break from talking and you know, I was just devastated. but the play had gotten into the festival. So now I’m doing this play but without her. Oh Wow. And I ended up making the play about what it is I was trying to do the first time round. So the play became like, oh, the play became about putting on a play. It became about putting on a play with my ex girlfriend, like, what did I want to accomplish? What was I trying to create? And it became this kind of metal look at why I was trying to write a play with us in the first place. So it was like, oh, I was trying to achieve this bubble where we could have a relationship, but without getting married I was trying to create a world where it was safe for us to love each other, but we would never a cringe on each other or, or do what happened to my parents. And actually as we were casting that play, I found out that she got engaged to this, to this guy she was seeing and then found out she, she was having kids with them and it happened like as we were doing this play about how I wanted to see her in some capacity. So it was a tough. It was a tough summer and it was, it was, it was also a reality of, of like, you know, it’s easy to look back and go like, well, if I had proposed we would have gotten married. I don’t know if that would have been the case, but it was also just a look of like, well, if, if, if I’m skeptical of this thing or if I don’t want this thing right now, I might, I, I lost, I lost or I might lose someone who wants those things. and I think there’s a very interesting dynamic with, with a man and a woman in that when you’re in college and when you’re in high school, you, you date people who are your age, who are the kind of the same life life experience. Maybe you know, a freshman dates a senior, but more often than not you’d date within your grade or one or two above. But then you go out into the real world and everyone has totally different life plans and goals. And I’m the person she, she ended up being with was an older man, not, not in St Louis, older but maybe six, seven years older. And it’s Kinda like, wow, you go to the real world. And, and she had a different life plan than me. Or maybe she didn’t know. But then someone who’s older who has a life and who might be able to provide a home and a family, he and her, it’s like all of a sudden they settled down and I go, oh, I thought we were on the same trajectory. I thought we were both the same age. We both didn’t want family until at least somewhere down the line. But then you enter a new sphere where someone who’s figured things out more or who just is isn’t a PR in a different place in their life goes, you know what? I want a family right now and she wants a family or boom, all of a sudden I go, oh, people aren’t just going to wait for my life plan. And I think that’s one of the scary things of, of being a skeptical position of marriage where you see people getting married and I see either women I was involved with or just other women who I, who I might be friends with and go like, oh, that’s someone who, who knows, maybe we could have dated, but now they’re married and now it’s done. Right. And, and I, I missed out and again, it’s not like, oh, I could have dated all these people if I wanted to, but you’re just like, oh, the pool is shrinking. And then some of those people get divorced and then it’s like, oh, the pool is reopening. That doesn’t change. I mean, I’ve read like dating in your sixties is the most fun and I don’t know if that’s true or I just. Because I’ve seen my parents, it doesn’t look like a cake walk. There’s a lot of things to deal with. New Challenges. Yeah. And data kids. I mean it’s got to be hard, but.
Leanne: 00:42:26 Well, kids. And you’re in your sixties, fifties and sixties, I think kids are the least of your worries.
Gianmarco: 00:42:33 Like there’s a totally new things going on. There’s a dread of like,
Gianmarco: 00:42:40 every time I see someone who who I’m like, oh, I wonder what could have been. And they get married. You Go, do I have to buy into this? Because you can fight the world all you want. But these institutions are a part of the fabric of our society. And a lot of people just buy into them, not necessarily because they believe in, but it’s like, well, you just gotTa what are you going to swim against? The current your whole life you’ve got to conform or else you might lose someone. And I don’t think there’s, there’s, I have that fear and me particularly. And I don’t know why. For me, I’ve never been someone who’s dated much younger. I turned 30 this year and I don’t know if it’s because I have younger sisters and like if I see someone my sister’s age, my oldest sister is four years younger, but I think sometimes I see people their age and I’m like, Oh, you’re just the kid because I know my sisters and you know, I view them as like, you know, and I’m sure even when they’re 40 I’ll be like, oh, such a fucking child.
Gianmarco: 00:43:50 Youngest sisters,
Leanne: 00:43:51 right when you’re going to be like, that could be my daughter. Yeah.
Gianmarco: 00:43:56 But, yeah, I, I just, I’ve never liked younger. And I think there is a thing where I feel like I’ve always dated, you know, my age, slightly older, slightly under, and if I’m with someone, if I’m with a woman in her thirties, there’s a certain number of them that are looking for something to build something. Yeah. I think it increases the older I get. I’m not that every woman’s trying to settle down, but it’s just like, ah, it’s, it’s different. It’s different. The older I get and I see guys maybe my age who take 23 year olds, 24 year olds and you know, they’re able to not necessarily worry about that or think about that. I’m in the same way that if I’m dating someone my age or older, there’s a higher percentage that it’s like, you know, they are thinking in a more longterm.
Leanne: 00:44:48 Right. Well, and plus at that age, a lot of women are thinking, you know, their biological clock is ticking.
Gianmarco: 00:44:54 Sure. And I mean, I can’t. And I, again, I love kids and I don’t know where I stand with kids, but I, I certainly don’t end the, the, the biological clock or just the like, okay. Thirty five, like an advocate. Well I know a couple of people in their late thirties so I had a kid and everything was fine. Like I don’t, that’s got to be very stressful, especially if you’re like, I do want kids but I don’t necessarily want to settle down or I do want kids but I’m just figuring out career stuff is going great. And this is this huge, huge new responsibility that you kind of, you got to take on now or it’s getting harder and harder. It’s very. I don’t envy that at all.
Leanne: 00:45:38 Yeah. And there is no perfect time.
Gianmarco: 00:45:40 Oh, not at all. And then like see someone like Jeff Goldbloom who I just like, but he’s 63 and he’s had his first kid I think when he was 60 and like what a, what a how nice. How Nice. Thank you. Could like really, you can, she can just do whatever he needs he needs to do and not worry about a kid. And then at 60 he can go, now I’m ready to go.
Leanne: 00:46:07 Do you have that option as a male? Right?
Gianmarco: 00:46:11 Yeah, but I think. But I also look at some Jeff, you know, being with someone younger, I go, oh that’s what I’m into and I’m not the judge who knows, maybe all my dad likes younger women and he talks, he talks like a younger woman. Makes them feel alive or not as old, but I can’t help when I see a 50 year old or 60 year old with someone. I’d go, what the is this? This is the child.
Leanne: 00:46:41 Yeah.
Gianmarco: 00:46:43 So I don’t know if I’ll be that guy,
Leanne: 00:46:46 right? Oh yeah. Right. Yeah. I hear you. And I’m wondering, so in the show that you ended up doing in the fridge, in the fringe without your ex, what ended up? Tell me more about the show.
Gianmarco: 00:47:02 So you have to show, kind of became about the show was like, what would have happened if I had, if I had gotten in that first time and it’s Kinda like you see this, you see a younger version of me, I’m kind of circumventing the system by essentially trapping this, this, this, this, his girlfriend in a version where he gets to kind of have all the benefits of, of having her as his partner without getting married. And, and in the play they actually, she, she has, she has a history of her family. Her mother struggled to get pregnant. and so she decides she’s at an age in her twenties where she wants to have a baby on her own because she wants to do it while she’s still labeled. Before she deals with all the medical issues her, her mother went through, and I kind of volunteer, you know, what, let’s just use, you know, a vice perm and we can be like already divorced, but we don’t hate each other and it can be your baby. And it’s just like, again, it’s this fantasy of, oh, we can have, we can be partners forever without getting married and it doesn’t work. It’s just kind of you, you see basically that the other option isn’t necessarily better. the other option leads to more chaos than if I had gotten married. And again, the play doesn’t seek to be like, well, you should have gotten married. It’s more just like, well, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too. Like you might lose something if you don’t go down that path. You might not be able to have the kind of relationship you want kids to make it difficult to. It’s just, it’s hard. It’s just, it doesn’t, it’s not, it wasn’t perfect. The plan that I have wasn’t perfect. And avoiding marriage isn’t necessarily the better life. You may lose people, you may lose someone you love because they do want to get married and they’re not inherently full of shit because they want to buy into this institution. and so it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of confronting what is the fantasy I have and had and realizing it’s not necessarily better so it’s reflective of, of just we’re all just trying to figure out some kind of relationship and we all have fantasies of till death do you part in some capacity or another. And it’s hard, it’s hard no matter what a relationship is a life of its own. Yeah. And, and every life has a death. You can’t necessarily fight at whether you get married or not.
Leanne: 00:50:33 You know, I find it interesting is, you know, talking to a lot of married couples and people who have been together forever, they say that, you know, there were times where they didn’t even like each other. There were times where one would fall out of the relationship and back into it and the other one would be not so into it another. And they said they would say a lot of people say it evolves. Right? And it changes over time, through the years there. It’s really great. And the years where it’s really hard and through it all, no matter what happens, there’s always one person who says, no, we’re sticking this out and we’re, we’re riding this out, we’re going to figure it out. And then it comes around. It’s like a, you know, it, it has a cycle. And and I’m wondering, you know, is I think back, and I’m hearing what you’re saying like, well, what if I had stayed in that cycle and let it evolve? What would have happened? Right. And it makes me wonder like, what happens when one person hangs on and, and one person, you know, and it’s like, okay, I’m going to be the strong one in this sense and we’re gonna make this work, does it, is there a chance where it could have come around because I’ve been married and divorced twice. And I think, I think back to that like, well, what if I had not given up? What if I had said no, we’re going to stick this out and hung in there? What would have changed?
Gianmarco: 00:51:57 Yeah. But then you see like, like my, my, my mom’s parents stuck together. And you know, it was a disaster, it was a nightmare and it was a nightmare for the people in that house. Yeah, I think it’s. So, it’s so hard. I think my biggest problem is just that there’s an assumed model, that would, that came about when we were dying younger and came about when there was a much more, even more misogynistic culture. Even more like sexually I’m constricted culture and like that’s just the model we’re still using as opposed to kind of like a choose your own adventure which can be chaotic. I mean I understand the desire to have some kind of model but we haven’t. We’re all still kind of going along with this thing and I will be much more exploratory. I mean I’ve always, I’ve always been a big proponent of therapy and I’ve never. I look back even on the relationship with this person and I wish I had been in therapy and I still like every couple should like try some form of therapy because there’s just so many things that can go wrong and things you don’t realize and toxic behaviors. But I think that would create a of where you could at least examine if your relationship could be improved and maybe there is a way to push through and I certainly think especially with kids, you know, you have an obligation to like give it some time to see. But, but then maybe we will if we had more of a conversation and it was less of like a, well you’re married and if you get divorced, here are all the money issues that are going to be going on with the law suits and the lawyers and the custody may be that we would have a more fluid conversation and we can more readily recognize when a relationship had had run its course or when it’s just a phase. But right now it’s like you’re married, you’re divorced and there’s a lawyer and there’s a joint custody and there’s a. and, and we do things. I think we do things financially that put people in a, in a very tough position where like I, you know, especially if they’re seeing things with a joint account. I, I’ve always been of the mindset. And I knew, I knew some married couple that did this where it’s like you have a joint account for groceries, but like for a savings you should be financially independent. Like maybe if someone who’s the breadwinner, maybe that means he or she is giving half the money and you put it in the other person’s account if they’re raising the kids at home or that’s. Or maybe they’re not. But that’s just how you’ve arranged it. Like, like what kind of healthy relationship can spring from financial dependence. You know, I, I do not want to be that guy. And I see even people my age where it’s like, you know, and my wife, my wife’s be shopping, she got a hold of the credit card or he got ahold of the credit card. But it’s like that’s money is toxic. So money is just so corruptive. It’s like any way that you can. Like if I was, and again this is all in theory, I don’t know, let’s say I was with someone and she decided to raise the kids and I happened to be a multimillionaire or a stand up comedian. Somehow
Leanne: 00:55:48 it’s going to happen.
Gianmarco: 00:55:52 part of me is looking at it theoretically and I go like, I would want to just a certain amount of money so that we don’t have to have a honey. Whoa, what happens? What did you do this or you bought business. Horrible conversation. Awful.
Leanne: 00:56:08 It is. And you know, it’s, it’s interesting that people, you know, it’s like one person will be like, well, I’m bringing home all the money, but what about the value you put on someone staying at home and raising your kids? Of course, yeah.
Gianmarco: 00:56:22 Of course. You know what? They value it. They value it when they’re married, but then when they’re getting divorced they don’t. And they’re like, fuck the other person. They go, no, you don’t deserve this money and you eat all that. All that worth you have maybe raising the kid becomes a meaningless in the court of law
Leanne: 00:56:42 and they think, oh, they were just sitting at home all day. Why was busted my butt at work? Well, no, not that’s not the case. That person also sacrificed their own career to stay at home and raise kids.
Gianmarco: 00:56:53 Yeah, and then there’s the inverse of like the person who raised the kids might have like all the, their kid goes, well I want to be with mommy or I want to be with daddy or mommy or daddy on the other hand was working and that’s why he was busy all the time. So there’s all sorts of ways that we do not create value legally speaking or monetarily speaking for these roles and that’s all fine and dandy when you’re married. But, but, and this is what’s difficult, is part of what would make a healthier marriage is to create the capacity for there to be a healthy divorce.
Leanne: 00:57:28 Yeah. Yeah. And because divorce doesn’t come up and tell things are wrong and it’s already gone south and there’s almost as like, what I love about this podcast is being in a relationship with a boyfriend going through it. We talk about so many things that we wouldn’t talk about unless we were actually breaking up. You know? And it’s like, H if I look back on my past relationships, especially when I was younger, if we had these conversations about how people behave when they’re breaking up and what that looks like, it would have been a game changer because you don’t talk about that until it’s like it’s done.
Gianmarco: 00:58:04 And I, I hope like if there’s one benefit of, of the kind of life that I have is if I ever get married or if I have kids, I would hope again in theory, but I would hope that I would fight or not fight or just I would be willing and, and would desire to have those conversations before we had kids have those conversations before we got married because I’ve just, I would have seen what’s possible.
Leanne: 00:58:33 Yeah. Agreed. Agreed. Well, I know you’ve been doing, doing this show, which sounds fascinating and I really wish I were in New York so I could see it. And you, you did the show in the fringe, right? And you got rave reviews, raving reviews about it.
Gianmarco: 00:58:51 Yes. Very good experience.
Leanne: 00:58:54 Had a great experience. And what’s happening next with your show?
Gianmarco: 00:58:58 well we have some other theaters that are, that are interested. We just wrapped up a run at 59 east 59 theaters, which was fantastic. and we got some great feedback. So right now some theaters are interested, maybe we’ll, maybe we’ll do a commercial run here in New York, but we’re starting to have those conversations and you know, I don’t think, I don’t think it’s the end of it by any means. and I just love doing it and I, I, I love you. And we did a small off Broadway house and I just, when I get people in the audience who had divorced parents, that’s where I feel like it feels really great because I feel like even growing up when I met kids who had with divorced parents, especially when they were younger, it felt like it was seeing someone I had a special kind of affinity with. We really, we saw at an early age, an institution breakdown, and institution that kind of governs the world down and it just created a certain kind of vulnerability or certain kinds of experience and emotion that let us connect to each other and so I just hope to bring it back soon and you know, share that experience with, with people who have experiences, whether with their parents or with themselves.
Leanne: 01:00:18 Yeah. What I really love about what you’re doing and what you’ve shared with us today is that although you and your ex or not together today, you still, your essence, your relationship lives on in this play onstage. Yeah. And so you have actually created something that will go on even though you’re not married and she’s moved on in a different direction. Like you, you’ve actually created something that you’ll have forever. Yeah.
Gianmarco: 01:00:52 Yeah. And it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s tough and it’s one of the results during the players just like I get to, even though she’s not in it, it’s, I get to reflect over what was very important to me. And one of the things I always wanted when I see these people who got married and got divorced and now they hate this person, at least outwardly, there’s always a part of me that wonders like, do you still have any kind of love for this person? You spent years with this person, you shared intimacies, you, you went on trips together and you’re like. And then you, is there a part of you deep down, like if you were at a deathbed, would you go, hey, thanks for the good times, but I never get to see it. And so part of me is like, I, I love this person. And, and even even though we’re not talking anymore or, or even if whatever it is, I never want to pretend like I don’t have love for that person.
Leave: 01:01:58 And what a beautiful way to show it. And I am curious. Has she seen it?
Gianmarco: 01:02:03 No. Maybe one day I think, you know, it’s like when you’re starting a family with someone know, talking to an x fit to the cards. And it’s been, it’s been so long. I think I always, I will always hope that. Can Talk to her again one day we can be friends, but who knows, who knows, you knows, license, done stranger things. but I certainly hope.
Leanne: 01:02:31 Well, what are your final thoughts for our listeners today after this incredible journey that you’ve taken us on and shared so much?
Gianmarco: 01:02:39 I think it would just be say it’s just to have to talk about it if you’re going to get married or two to just kind of talk about what might happen and, and figuring out ways that you can keep independent. Yeah. I guess to prepare for divorce that to have a healthy marriage is, is to create the capacity for a healthy divorce and it’s bad. And I would just say if you have kids and you’re getting divorced, it is like that’s going to be one of the hardest things is to, you know, there’s this traditional sense that don’t put your kid in the middle and you know, there’s a very, there’s a very blatant way that you can do that. A lot of people try to avoid, but there’s a lot of poisonous ways that you can end up talking about that child’s parents. And you have, you have to have to figure out a way to not do that because you will, you will poison your relationship with that child if you talk shit about their other parents and even if that other parent is suing you, even if that other parent isn’t paying alimony, is trying to take custody away.
Gianmarco: 01:03:52 You need to find someone else other than your child to commiserate with because that child is half that other person and they, you will create a kind of either self hatred or bitterness or pain if you express your hatred for their other parent to them. and it’s incredibly difficult. And I don’t know what the solution is. And again, this is coming in theory, but as a child who saw it multiple times, you can’t. And that’s the bargain you made when you had the kid. And it’s not easy, but you have to figure out a way to not poison that. That kid’s life. Because that kid, maybe that kid has a bad relationship with the parents. But most times that kid has a relationship with that parent. And you just, you don’t want to be an obstacle to that, you don’t want to because it’s going to affect your relationship and it’s gonna Affect your kid and that’s, that’s Kinda the hardest thing and I think if you’re going to have kids, again, preparing for the worst in a way, if you’re going to have kids know that if there’s a divorce that’s, that’s a battle you might have to deal with to where you feel anger at that other person’s parent and you have to figure out a way to not lay that anger your child’s shoulders.
Leanne: 01:05:19 Yeah. Great. Great Advice. Very wise words. And especially, you know it firsthand. You get it. You get it. Wow. Well thank you so much for, for sharing your experience. Yeah. And congratulations on the show and I am so impressed that you’ve taken something that’s been such a, of a challenge. You know, a struggle. Like it’s one of those things that you’re always gonna wonder and I love that you’ve taken it and make it made it something absolutely beautiful and putting it out there to the world for everybody else to learn from as well as is tremendous. So I’m excited to see what happens next. I was super pleased to see in your emails all of the reviews coming in and that you’re continuing on with it, so I wish you nothing but the best and we’ll be. We’ll be watching you. Sure. Thanks so much.