16: The Truth About Divorce | Drew Manning


Drew Manning (he/him) is the New York Times best-selling author of Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose, and the author of Complete Keto, which helps people achieve a complete transformation using a ketogenic approach. He’s known for his straightforward and empathetic fitness and health coaching, and has been a close personal friend of mine for years. In today’s discussion, we’re talking about how we each navigated our very public divorces. Today, we’ll explain the mindset shifts that allowed us to move from anxiety and fear into hope and empowerment, the one tool that proved life-saving for both of us during our divorces, the most important things we did post-divorce to keep us from repeating negative patterns, and how we see our relationships today, five years later.

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Drew Manning

New York Times Best-Selling Author


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Website: fit2fat2fit.com
Instagram: @fit2fat2fit
Facebook: Fit2Fat2Fit
Twitter: @fit2fat2fit
YouTube: Fit2Fat2Fit
Podcasts: The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience and the Single Daddy Daily

Show Notes

The Work of Byron Katie

Find a Byron Katie trained facilitator
Kathryn Dixon, Clarity Coaching Institute (Salt Lake City, UT)—a Byron Katie-trained facilitator
Episode 100: Life After Porn, Affairs, and Lies (Drew Manning on his divorce, in his own words)

Fit2Fat2Fit, Drew Manning
Complete Keto, Drew Manning
Loving What Is, Byron Katie (start here for The Work)
I Need Your Love; Is That True? Byron Katie
A Mind at Home With Itself, Byron Katie
The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

MU: 00:01
Hi, my name is Melissa Urban and you’re listening to Do the Thing, a podcast where we explore what’s been missing every time you’ve tried to make a change and make it stick.

MU: 00:20
Today my guest is Drew Manning. He’s The New York Times best selling author of Fit2Fat2Fit: The unexpected lessons from gaining and losing 75 pounds on purpose, and he’s the leading voice in the burgeoning Keto diet movement. Drew is known for his straight forward and empathetic fitness and health coaching. He’s also one of my dearest friends here in Salt Lake City, someone I’ve confided in for years about the challenges of running my own business, single parenting and life after divorce, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today in a very personal and emotional conversation, how we navigated our divorces. Our stories are remarkably similar. Drew and I met during a period of time about five years ago when we were both in the middle of a divorce, but because our lives were very public and our spouses were also our business partners, neither of us were sharing our separations publicly.

MU: 01:20
There were a lot of excuses made as to why our partners never showed up at social events. Later after we realized we were in such similar situations, we went on to have many conversations about releasing our stories about our marriages, how to move forward without carrying baggage from our relationships and how to navigate things like co-parenting, dating, and self care. I’ve often said that the two year period of my divorce and business split was both the most stressful time in my life and also the happiest, and that is the truth. There were a few key factors that allowed me to have that mindset shift away from the fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame around my marriage ending and into a beautiful period of self discovery, rebuilding, redefining, and blossoming a return to my highest, fullest, truest self. In today’s discussion, we’ll talk about exactly those mindset shifts.

MU: 02:22
The one tool that proved lifesaving for both of us during our divorces, the most important things we did post-divorce to keep us from repeating negative patterns or behaviors and how we see our relationships today. Five years later, we share these stories freely to remind those of you going through a divorce or recently divorced, that you are not alone. Time really does heal, but there are some key things you can do right now in the moment to make that mindset flip from fear and anxiety into hope, acceptance and true happiness. We encourage you to find connection during this difficult time. I hope you find some of that connection in our discussion today. Now onto the conversation. So Drew <anning, one of my very good friends Fit2Fat2Fit, welcome to do the thing. (DM) Thanks Melissa Urban. Yeah, it’s hard for me to say. It’s not hard. It’s just different. (MU) I know, but I appreciate it. Thank you for making that effort (DM) I’ll get used to it. Eventually. (MU) Yes, we all will cause it’s happening. All right, so the first thing I ask every guest is, what’s your thing?

DM: 03:34
So most people know me as the Fit2Fat2Fit guy and they assume that’s my thing, but it’d be to be, you know, you know me in a very personal level. My thing is being a dad. Um, I have one of my tattoos says strong fathers, strong daughters. So I have two beautiful daughters and I’m super proud to be their dad and that’s my main purpose in life is being the best data can be. I feel like it’s a lot of the pressure I put on myself to, to be a good parent to them. So they grew up in this world knowing how a man is supposed to treat them. You know, a girl, a daughter learns that I love from her mom, but she learns how to be loved for her dad. And that’s for me, that’s my role. That’s my main thing.

MU: 04:10
Yeah. I love that. And I’ve observed that in our friendship over the last few years. We’re here to talk about our divorces. You know, I’ve asked, I’ve been asked a lot on social media how I navigated my divorce, um, how I kind of rose from it. Then you and I are very, very similar in our stories. Yeah. I want to talk about how we met. I want to talk about that first dinner where we met because you remember I do. So it was 2014 I forget how I was introduced to you in the first place. Do you even remember someone was like you two should meet because you’re both in Utah, you do similar things. We started talking on social media. Yeah, first. So we arranged a dinner and I thought it was just going to be you and I like a business conversation and like the night before you were like, yeah, Lynne, my wife and I are going to be at dinner now. My ex husband who was also my business partner and I were separated at that point, but we couldn’t tell anyone because we had this book contract and we were about to go on book tour together. And so we were really keeping this like separation private. So I showed up to dinner by myself with you two and made excuses for him. Like oh he’s not here cause he had something to do or whatever. Yeah. And it kind of turns out that you guys were in a similar situation in that moment.

DM: 05:25
Very similar situation. It’s so interesting how that happened because now looking back, I see those signs of, you know, what you going through like, oh he can’t, he can’t make it. And then I would do the same thing with then. Yeah man, it was especially with my family even like, oh, she’s not feeling well, she can’t come on this trip. It’s just going to be me. And the girl’s been there, done that. And so, but that’s where we first started connecting. And then from there things eventually unravel for the both of us.

MU: 05:51
Yeah. So you were also married to your business partner. Yeah. Tell me about the business you ran.

DM: 05:57
Yeah. So Fit2Fat2Fit, um, you know, started in 2011 and she was, you know, my spouse. So she recorded me getting fat. She recorded all my weigh ins. I think she’s so done with it by the end of it, cause she had to record all my, you know, uh, food challenges that it had to do each week and all my weigh-ins. And you know, me crying about my, my love handles and my big belly. And like it was such an interesting experience, but she was my business partner. Yeah. And that’s the thing is we worked really well together. Yeah. Like, you know, I know a lot of couples and you probably do too. Like how do you guys work together? How’s that possible? Cause it doesn’t, it’s not common. So, um, she was my business partner and even to this day, we still have our business tied to each other.

MU: 06:37
Yeah. Which is a little different than us and that we did not work that well together. Um, we tried in the beginning. I think we did, but it just, it is very hard to work with your spouse. But we had a very public relationship as the face and the cofounders of whole 30 and you know, I think men, divorce is hard enough. Divorce plus the business split is harder. Divorced plus a business split in the public eye has to be like a whole different layer of challenges. So many layers. Right? Yeah. Yeah. What were some of those layers for you?

DM: 07:09
Very similar. Right. And having kids as another layer, like a whole nother layer. Right. Um, but yeah, being in the public eye was really, really hard because here I am someone who grew up scared to death of what other people thought of me to the point where it paralyzed me. I had that fear of growing up and if someone didn’t like me, it bothered the heck out of can I say hell (MU) yeah. (DM) Okay. Why did it bother the hell out of me? Um, and so here I was in the public eye, being on TV shows kind of similar to you and I felt like I had to wear this mask of like, oh, we’re happy with this happily married couple. And people would always be like, relationship goals, you know, all these, all these things. And Oh, I am, you would go home and Lynn would be crying your eyes out. Um, you know, just heartbroken. And I would just be devastated knowing that we’re just faking it. And it’s so inauthentic to live a whole life like the, and I’m so grateful here. I’m 38 now that even though I had to hit rock bottom to figure it out, I’m so grateful that it eventually happened because I think life’s too short to live in inauthentic life and so many people go through their whole life, 60 70 80 years living in authentically and never knowing what it’s like to be truly, authentically yourself.

MU: 08:17
Right. Do you feel like when you were having a hard time in your marriage but still showing up as a couple because of your business, do you feel like you were just doing the bare minimum to show up or were you doing some image crafting? Like almost making it seem as though your relationship was better than it was on purpose?

DM: 08:33
Yeah, I was doing some image crafting for sure 100% depending on who was the audience, like who was watching, you know, whether it’s social media or whether it’s my family or whether it’s her family or um, you know, it depends, but it definitely some image crafting those situations. And that was my survival mechanism though. You know, like that’s what I felt like I had to do in order to get through just this meeting or this TV show or this podcast. Like I just had to do the bare minimum to get by. But also sort of situations like, oh, we’re happily, and that’s the thing is like we did fake until we made it. And sometimes where I’m like, hey, maybe this will work out. Like we’re going on a day, we’re actually laughing, we’re having fun, we’re intimate. Like wow, this is, you know, maybe it’s working and then no more pretending, you know?

MU: 09:16
Yeah. And that image crafting, you don’t have to be a personality or like have a public life to be image crafting your, you know, dumpster fire of a relationship with your friends and with your family. But the problem with doing that is it’s even more isolating because then you can’t talk to anyone. If I was, if I went to anyone and said, actually Dallas and I are having really serious problems right now, they’d be like, what? Your life looks perfect. Right. So it’s just like catch 22 with the more you try to make your life look fantastic cause you think it’s gonna insulate or protect you, it actually just makes you feel worse

DM: 09:47
a hundred percent and not having that outlet is one of the hardest things you know, to go through in life. Like not having a close friend, a sibling. Yeah. Zero people to say this is what’s happening right now. And it sucks. It’s hard. Yeah. So for years we both went through that. Yup. You know,

MU: 10:05
we went through it side by side where we would hang out and see each other. You went to Hawaii for a little while and like neither of us knew that we were in the middle of this situation. Yeah.

DM: 10:15
I know. And I think a lot of people go through that in silence because that’s the way our parents taught us. Cause that’s the way they were taught. Right. I’ve just suffer in silence, pretend like everything’s okay. Don’t rock the boat. Yeah. Because we don’t have to deal with those emotions. Let’s just, you know, get by. And I’m so glad that we, you and I and other people I’ve learned to break that cycle. And it’s hard. It’s scary, it’s tough, but it’s so worth it in the end. Why? Because our kids, if we can break that cycle for them, they are going to grow up in a different environment where, hey, it’s okay to be vulnerable.

MU: 10:47
Yes. Yeah. And if we, and if we allow ourselves in that moment is difficult. It is, it is. To be authentic with the people that were closest to are the people who can offer support. Yeah. It makes us better. We’re more resilient. We’re stronger for not just ourselves and each other, but for our kids. Yeah. You know, don’t deny yourself that out of fear. Yeah. I know that’s so important. Break the cycle. I, you know, we, I’m not going to talk about why we each got divorced in part because I don’t talk about that for myself. And in part because you covered that already quite beautifully in a podcast that you recorded for your own channel. Um, and I’ll, I’ll make sure to kind of link to that cause you did a wonderful job there of exploring, you know, your own vulnerability. But I think I’ll just say that in any divorce you try as hard as you can, whatever that looks like until you just can’t try anymore. And ultimately that’s why people get divorced. Would you agree?

DM: 11:39
Yeah, 100% and I think it’s so easy to judge from an outside perspective like, oh just try harder. It’s like don’t give up. I get it. You know? But when you try and come from an outside perspective, judging someone’s, you know, intimate relationship like that, it’s, you know, it’s not fair and you haven’t had those experiences, you haven’t felt those emotions. Um, you know, and it’s so hard cause I came from a, a culture of endure to the end. Yeah. You know how hard it gets. You don’t. So there’s a lot of guilt and shame that came from my divorce because of the religion I grew up in. And so how do you overcome that guilt and shame? It’s not a simple switch, you just turn on in your head like, oh, I’m, I don’t feel guilty anymore. It took me years to get to a point where I don’t feel guilt and shame or feel like I’m a failure.

DM: 12:24
Um, and that’s, that was the biggest thing is for years I’m like, if I get divorced, therefore I’m a failure and I will be a failure with the rest of my life. Oh, you know, yes. Your first marriage, my first marriage and I was taught marriages are supposed to be eternal last forever. No matter how hard it gets. But man, yeah. The guilt and the shame that comes from the cultural upbringing of this as a failure is really hard to overcome. But I can happily say I have overcome it and I can gladly talk about that. I talk about that in my podcast too. How to overcome that.

MU: 12:54
Yeah. I do want to talk about how you overcame that in a little bit. Um, this was my second marriage, so, yeah, right? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’ve been married twice, so. I would have said, I think until I got into my relationship with Brandon that I didn’t have any guilt or shame over the fact that I had been married twice, that I knew. I kind of knew what happened in both situations and they were both learning experiences. And then I get into this serious relationship with Brandon and the first time you took me home to meet his parents, I almost had a nervous breakdown because I’m like, you know what, his parents are going to look at me and think I’m okay. Cool. She’s this recovering drug addict who’s been like married and divorced twice. Single mom with a kid. Yeah. She’s exactly who I would want for my son. Yeah. And he had to talk me off a ledge, like the guilt and the shame came in. Oh, it came in thundering when I thought I kinda had it all under control.

DM: 13:43
That’s so interesting. So interesting. Yeah. The picture we paint in our head of what other people are going to think of it before we even meet them. Yes. You know, it’s so interesting. Right.

MU: 13:53
And like again, Brandon would flip it around. I mean, he’d be like, um, you’re a New York Times best selling author, you’re the CEO of a successful company, you’re the best mom I know. You’re like, you know, you’re a great person. Like why would you tell yourself this awful story? But man, you know, obviously I was just terrified

DM: 14:09
It’s programming. It is what we grew up with, that’s what we tell ourselves. I know. And even you’d done all this work, you still deal with those things of this was like a year, two years ago. Yeah. So yes.

MU: 14:20
When, when you and Lynn decided to split, what were you feeling were, was there relief? Was there anxiety? Was there fear? Was there depression? Was there, like we know we, we’ve talked before about how there, there needs to be, and we’ll talk about the idea of a mindset shift during divorce, but like in the beginning, was it just, was it just like fear and soul crushing or, or what were you experiencing?

DM: 14:45
Uh, there was different phases of our breakup cause when we broke up it wasn’t like one day I was there, the next day it was gone. So let me talk about the phases. So first, when we seriously talked about divorce, it was this sense of like, my life’s over, right? Like how is this happening to me? How did I come to this place? Like I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive this. Yeah. To be totally honest with you. Um, sorry. Um, and that lasted for a long time. Yeah. I think about a year or so until you, in a way save this, you introduced Lynn to Kathryn Dixon, Byron Katie, Byron Katie’s work. Loving What Is. Lynn went to her and then I went to her, she scheduled an appointment for me and that’s where I first started to see myself from a different perspective. I learned how to love myself for the first time in my life.

DM: 15:38
Kathryn was the first human being to help me see myself and love myself despite my past and my, my situation I was in. Yeah. It was there that I learned that I needed to let Lynn go and I loved her enough to let her go. Knowing that holding onto our marriage was killing the both of us. You know, slowly, physically, emotionally it really was. And once I found that self love, I knew that I had to let go for a marriage. And I know it sounds backwards for some people, but just trust me. That’s kind of what I went through. And once I, once I had that conversation with Kathryn, I felt you know, a hundred pounds lighter, like just all this pressure and weight on my shoulders taken off and I’m like okay we’re going to do this and now, but I was coming from a place of self love instead of self hate and my life is over guilt, shame, all that stuff.

DM: 16:26
So once we pulled the trigger on the divorce, it was scary. But I was hopeful. Yeah. You know. So that’s what I’m talking about, the different phases of what it was like when we split cause cause even after we got divorced, we still live together. You know, people didn’t know that we, when we moved to Hawaii to get out of Utah, go through our transition in Hawaii. We lived together for the first six months. We didn’t sleep in the same bed, we slept in separate rooms, you know, but we want to do it our way. So we move out there as a divorce family, lived together for six months, eventually told her daughters what, you know, what was going to be happening in our lives. And then we moved out into separate places and that was a whole nother phase to go through of like, okay, now I’m alone. Yeah. How do I get through this? Yeah. You know, so it was a lot of Saturday nights by myself drinking glass of wine and watching game of Thrones till midnight, you know, or something. Just how do I get through this face. So yeah, those were the different phases.

MU: 17:19
I also credit the work of Byron Katie with, with literally saving my life during my divorce. And it is the only reason that I can say in all honesty, that this process of getting divorced and going through our business split was both the most stressful and also the happiest time of my life because I was able to do that mindset shift. And for me, I had been working with Katherine and doing the work of Byron Katie as part of our like marriage counseling for a year or a year and a half. So I was very well versed in the theory, but there was a moment before we decided to like split split where it just came to me that I knew I couldn’t try anymore. I had given as much as I could, but that if we left the relationship I could then have everything I wanted. I could then have everything that I had been missing in my relationship.

MU: 18:17
And again, it’s not to say that like he was the only one not giving me what I needed. Obviously it was mutual, but there were things I wasn’t getting out of our relationship and I think you give up so many pieces of yourself in a marriage when you’re trying to make it work. You just slowly chip away in the name of compromise and trying to the point where I didn’t know who I was anymore. By the time I got divorced, I didn’t recognize myself. And that moment it shifted for me and I realized that I could now build exactly the life I wanted and I didn’t have to compromise was the moment. It all changed for me. It all changed. And I took that mindset into my life after divorce. And you and I have talked about this a lot. We’ve done a lot of check-ins because our divorce happened on a similar trajectory because our lives are so similar in that we’re kind of in the public eye. We have kids. What were some of the things that you did post divorce that you think helped you be the most successful? Helped you navigate it with the most grace?

DM: 19:15
Yeah, so all started from that first session with the life coach Kathryn, and then from there was reading Brene Brown’s work to get rid of the guilt and the shame. And um, meditation was another big thing. Positive affirmations. I remember the first time I tried positive affirmations. I still remember this, the saying to myself, you know the words, I dunno why I’m so emotional today. Um, you’re a good man. You’re a good father. I love myself. Like I got goosebumps saying that to myself the first time. And it’s so, you know, obviously every time I think of positive affirmations I think of how that Saturday night live skit with Stuart Smalley. Yeah. It seems so cheesy and so corny, but it helped me change my perception of myself.

MU: 20:05
Yes. Because you are trying to override decades of programming.

DM: 20:09
Yeah. And so the biggest thing that I took away from all of this, and it was all these things that I started practicing was I have the power to change my perception. And if I can change my perception of myself or my situation, I can change my reality and I can change the story I tell myself and at the end I can change my life. Yes. I just came back from Hawaii and this is getting, you know, off topic a little bit, but I’ll bring it back in. I just came back from Hawaii, the big island where my family’s from on my dad’s side, there’s a lot of lava, there’s a lot of black lava. And you could totally look at that and say, Oh man, that’s so ugly. It’s a bad thing. It can kill you. And yes, Lava does destroy life, but also creates life.

DM: 20:46
That’s how all islands had been created. That’s how land is created. And over time, not at first, but over time, you know, shrubbery trees, grass, fruit specials start to grow in bills. This beautiful island known as Hawaii, right? There’s lots of violence. But that’s how lava works. So lava can be seen as this life destroying bad thing like a divorce can. But at the, on the other end of it, over time, it creates this beautiful thing. Yeah. You know, and so for me, that’s kind of how you could look at your situation that your perception and say, this is bad. This is not good. My life’s over. Or if I give some time and I trusted the process, I continue to progress and move forward. Good things will come from this. And that’s how I choose to look at my life. Yeah. That’s beautiful. Thank you.

MU: 21:32
The message in that, what I’m hearing and what I did for myself as well is that it takes time. Yes. I think there were moments where I wanted to rush through my process of being divorced. Yeah. And like just get through the part where I’m divorced and move on to the part where I started my life again, but I intuitively knew and part of it went back to this idea of like, okay, you can now build the life you want, exactly the way you want it and you do not have to compromise again, but this is going to take a lot of time and it’s going to take a lot of work because you need to return to yourself. Now, Melissa, I needed to remind myself of who I was and what I liked and what I stood for and my, my strength and my confidence. Um, and a big part of doing that was very deliberately not dating for a very long time. I did not date for probably a year and a half deliberately. And I know you did the same thing. Yeah. And we talked about that member our hike where we were like, are you dating yet? No, me either. What do you, why is that? So why was that so important to you?

DM: 22:32
For me, that was what I felt the most comfortable with first. Um, and I just, I knew I wasn’t ready yet. I knew I had to develop a relationship with myself cause I grew up hating who I was. I hated to be alone. And I knew one of the most important things to get to a better place was develop a better relationship with myself. And that required a lot of alone time. Right. So when I didn’t have my girls, I was on hikes, I was meditating, I was, uh, self reflection, journaling, those types of things for a good year to year and a half before I started dating people because I knew that if I went into another relationship broken still, I would just bring those broken pieces to that new relationship. And so for me, I felt like I owed it to myself and the next person I was going to date in the best version of myself.

DM: 23:15
And I tell people all this time if they go through a divorce, I spend time dating yourself. Yes, you spent the last x amount of years with this other person where you do lose your identity in a sense like slowly over time, like you mentioned, like who are you without that person now you have to find out. Yeah. It doesn’t just happen the next day. And so that’s why I chose not to date for a long period of time cause I knew I needed to date myself and figure out who I was and what I wanted. Otherwise be bouncing from person to person like yeah, you know, not really knowing and being insecure and then they’re okay, well are we together or did you like me? Where, where are we heading? So okay,

MU: 23:48
Patterns repeat. And not only that, but now you’re dragging your kids through it and that that makes it, that’s another layer. Yeah.

DM: 23:53
Yeah. That’s a whole another layer of difficulty with dating at, with kids versus if I didn’t have kids, you know, I probably would’ve been more open to dating. But you gotta understand having a kid and bringing that kid into a new relationship is so, there’s so many fears, even still to today, I’ll go all the mayday. I still have fears about that. Yeah. Bringing my kids into relationship with someone that I’m dating. What if they don’t like the person I’m dating? What if that person isn’t like my kids? There’s so many variables that, yeah. You know, I’ve worked a long time trying to overcome all of them. I’m still working on them.

MU: 24:23
Yeah. I understand that completely. You know, during that space where I was dating myself, yeah. I was getting back into hiking. I changed my training routine to something that like I felt really served me and I loved, I had to create a new relationship with my son. Yeah. Because now it was just the two of us and we had to create our own little routines and our own, you know, fun things that we did. Uh, I was focusing on my work, but not trying to throw myself into it. And I was coming up with what I called my list of non-negotiables. So this was like when I am ready to date again, these are like three or four things that I now know I will not live without. It was like if my sister or parents don’t like you, no questions asked. You’re out the door.

MU: 25:05
Yeah. You cannot be intimidated by what I do for work. You’ve gotta be really stoked for like what I do and when I’m successful, you’ve gotta be secure enough in that you can never question the fact that my son comes first. Yeah. And I feel like because I had taken so much time to come up with this list, it made it very easy. When I did start to date, I was not at a hookup culture person, so it was, I was just either by myself or I was in these relationships where I was like, okay, this isn’t, you’re not meeting my list of nonnegotiable so it’s not going to go anywhere. But spending the time to come up with that list was very, very helpful for me. And it also bought me a whole lot of time to be on my own. Yeah. And figure out what that looks like.

DM: 25:41
Well I think that’s why it’s so important to develop that. That list that you mentioned in my list, I guess I would say it’s very similar and then yeah, it makes it so much easier today cause you’re like, no, you know, you don’t meet these, these criteria, you know, if you will, that are very important to you that you’ve spent a lot of time. It’s not just like you threw it together one day. Oh yeah. It takes time to develop that. So I love that. Yeah.

MU: 26:07
How are you navigating or do you have, maybe you don’t have any anymore. I’d be shocked if you didn’t. How do you navigate the post divorce guilt when it comes to your kids? Whether it’s guilt about, you know that you’re not, um, you’re no longer a nuclear family. Yeah. Or you’re spending holidays maybe with them shuttling back and forth or maybe you feel guilty because on the weeks when you don’t have them, you’re super psyched to have like a week to yourself, you know? Do you experience any of that?

DM: 26:34
That’s good. No, that’s a good question. Not as much as I used to for sure. So I’m in a place now where my daughters have become, you know, very familiar with the way it’s set up now. And um, I would say the only time it comes back slightly is when they mentioned something like something we did go through a divorce has caused them maybe like they have to explain to their friends that, you know, oh, my parents are divorced or we’re at my parents’ house, my mom’s house, and if it hurts them or makes them feel uncomfortable, there might be some sadness on my end. You know, where if they experienced sadness, I experienced sadness for them in a sense where I’m like, man, I wish. Yeah, I wish it could be different, but it’s, it’s not a, but luckily that’s very rare nowadays. It doesn’t really happen a whole lot to be honest with you. So, uh, I’ll just being totally honest, I don’t really experience a lot of that, that guilt. That’s great. Um, you know, I’m sure there’ll be moments coming up in the near future, uh, with my daughters where they are older and more mature and we have more conversations. Maybe they have more questions where, you know, there might be some guilt or shame that is brought up if we haven’t explored that. But for I think for the most part, yeah.

MU: 27:44
I’ve also observed that you have a wonderful relationship with their mom. You guys co-parent beautifully. What are some of the most important things that you keep in mind to maintain a good co-parenting relationship?

DM: 27:57
We’ve even from the beginning, before we got divorced, we both decided that it was going to be as amicable as possible and that we would always be able to have that safe space to talk through it and in with the mindset that our daughters will always come first. Right. So we made the decision beforehand so it’s nothing personal. There is no trying to tear the other person down. So from the beginning, so we never really had to deal with that. But where we are now is uh, putting our daughters first and foremost in every situation and that just causes us to communicate, you know, as much as possible. So I’ll tell her if something has happened with the girls that I think might constant issue. If the girls go back and tell her, I’ll tell her beforehand versus like, oh well maybe the kids won’t mention that to her. Yeah. You know what I’m saying? Like, Hey, just to give you a fore warning this happened. If the girls bring it up versus hearing it from them. And you might wonder like, Oh you put the girls in this situation and vice versa. She does the same thing with me. She can call me anytime, she can text me anytime and there is a safe space to talk about, okay, this is what happened with the kids. This is where rat and you know, we’re very cute. Openly a, I would say even over communicative about that.

MU: 29:02
Yeah. Have there ever been moments where it’s been really hard for you to just set your own feelings aside and do what’s right for the sake of the kids?

DM: 29:08
Yes. There have been moments where, let’s say I was annoyed at something, you know, maybe like she canceled on me and she couldn’t help me out in certain situation or vice versa. She’s like, Hey, I need you to watch the kids from this time and the summer extra time. You know, it’s so easy to get annoyed with little things like that, but you guys remind yourself that’s a little thing. Yeah. And it’s not worth, you know, you getting upset at them too, where you hold a grudge against them and they know that and then the next time a certain situation has flipped, they do the same thing to you to get back at you. Yeah. Does that make sense? Yes. And that happens lot. So

MU: 29:42
I will say that that’s one of the most important things that has allowed me to navigate co-parenting with grace is that I remind myself constantly that any, um, dig that I think is coming from my ex husband, no luck. Maybe it’s not even right. Yeah. Maybe it’s just my story about it. Cause we have all kinds of entanglements there, but any dig anytime that he’s kind of like going low with me, you’re taking a cheap shot. Because in the very, very beginning, I would also respond with a cheap shot. While you’re going to do that, then watch me do this. And I realized immediately that that only made me feel worse. Yeah. The only thing that was hurting was me. Yeah. And so in my integrity, what I need to do is sit on it as long as I need to. Sometimes I wouldn’t respond to a text message right away.

MU: 30:21
I would just wait smart. And then I would raise, I would be able to respond with empathy and compassion and he would do the same. They were times where I know I would send him like a little dig. But invariably I can’t remember a situation in which eventually the other person didn’t apologize. You know what, that man, I was kind of short with you. Sorry. Or that was kind of like a jerk move. I’m sorry. Yeah. And I think that that’s me maintaining my integrity and staying in my business and asking myself like what’s the right thing for me in this situation? The right thing for me is not to take a cheap dig. Yeah. I think has been really, really important. And yeah, my maintaining like a good coparenting.

DM: 30:55
No, I think that’s awesome. Being able to have that relationship where they, you know, apologize or you apologize, you know, at least being aware of that versus not doing that at that step of apologizing. I think that’s really important.

MU: 31:07
And one of the things we’ve also talked about is that time smooths so much or you know how as fresh as the hurt is in the beginning and as on the surface as all of these feelings of anger and resentment and with time it just like a river rocks moves over and it does get better. I know for people who are out there in the beginning stages of this, like it does get better if you take the time to work on yourself because that’s the only way it’s going to get better. Yeah. Great. It only takes one person to change for a dynamic or relationship to change. Yeah. Yeah. One thing I want to talk about or mention is that it’s very easy to look at you on social media. You are this media mogul, you’ve got this incredibly successful business. You’re traveling all over the world and you’re speaking and you’re all, you’ve got a podcast, you’ve got two podcasts, you’ve got a line of supplements. You’re a fantastic dad. You’re taking your kid on trips and, and you’re, you know, traveling together as a family. It would be really easy for someone to look at you and say, well, he’s got it all figured out. Why am I struggling so hard? And I think it’s always really important for us to acknowledge the privilege that we have in this area. I know you think about and talk about it, but would you talk about what this privilege is and how it’s, it’s kind of benefited you as a co-parent? Yeah, I and

DM: 32:21
I, I feel, you know, this is the problem that we run into with social media in general, is there the whole comparison component of social media, but that’s all up to us and our perception of those people we see on social media. So what you see is, you know what I want you to see and you perceive me a certain way. And um, you know, I know that my situation totally different than other people’s situation. A lady just reminded me of that the other day actually, and it was good for me to hear it from her. She’s like, I’m a full time single parent. My ex doesn’t help out at all. Yeah. It must be nice to have an ex spouse that takes the kids 50% of time. And I’m like, you know what? It really is and I’m sorry you’re in that situation. That would be so hard.

DM: 32:59
I can only imagine how hard that is. At the same time, I do have to acknowledge that I do have privileges of having a great relationship with my ex spouse having a good relationship with her fiance. Yeah. Right. Where we all get along and we all can go to dinner together. You know, everyone doesn’t have that, that privilege and that ability to, to do that. And so, you know, I would just say it’s really hard to not fall into that trap of comparison. Um, but you know, I’ll be totally honest with anyone out there, like this is my situation. I’m very blessed and very fortunate, but like you said, you, you know, post the good with the bad. I’ll post, you know, lessons that, uh, you know, maybe I thought it was doing something right in a situation. Maybe I made a mistake and I’ll talk about mistakes I’ve made with my girls. Um, yes, you’ll see some fun stuff that we’re doing. I’m trying to teach them lessons and, and all these things, but there’s times where I mess up and I, yeah, I screw up and I’m like, dammit. Yeah, I still have some work to do,

MU: 33:49
But that only makes you more relatable. The fact that you’re willing to share all of these things and the fact that you’re willing to like share the good and the bad and that you’re willing to show up and say, I’m still trying to figure it out. A long time ago somebody asked me like, well how do you make it all work? Or I think it was in a podcast and was like, oh your your how do you effortlessly balance all of this stuff? And I’m like, let me tell you how I may have time mom with a very good co-parent. I have a full time nanny. I have a job that lets me come in and out when I please, I set my own hours, I’m financially stable. Like I have all of this privilege that you have to understand goes into like how I’m making it all look.

MU: 34:22
So quote effortless. Yeah. But I, but I also think it’s really important to share the tough parts. Um, you know, the, the meltdowns your kid has or the time where you, you know, feel like you messed it up. Or even just the insecurities. I know one year for Mother’s Day, I posted a picture saying like, I still have no idea how hard it is to be a truly single mom. Yeah. And I feel like it’s like, and I’ll, I’ll even add like single parent, it doesn’t matter if you’re a mom or dad or how you identify, but like to be a truly single parent is the hardest, loneliest, most like self doubt. Um, inducing job in the world. Yeah. And I give so much credit. All the credit.

DM: 35:01
Yeah. And I think that makes you relatable as well, because people feel like if you can, um, they feel validated or in a sense like someone understands my struggle. Someone sees the pain I’m going through and there’s hope at the end of the tunnel. I mean, that’s, that’s kind of what you’re doing in a sense. And we’re doing, um, yeah.

MU: 35:19
And for people who are truly single parenting out there and they don’t have the support of family or friends and they’re doing it all by themselves. Sometimes that connection you make on social media. Yeah. Where you know you can drop a comment and just say like, I see you. Yeah. I hear you can make all the difference. You mentioned earlier that you no longer see your marriage as a failure. Yeah. What did it take to get there? Or if it’s not a failure, how do you see it now?

DM: 35:46
Yeah, so similar to the whole lava, the thing that I mentioned, you know, I definitely don’t see it as a failure and the reason is because I don’t, I choose not to define myself as a failure. Right. The old me would have defined myself as a failure in my life’s over. No one’s gonna want to date me. Um, you know, my family’s going to disown me. I’m a failure for the rest of my life. That’s the story I could have told myself in the old self would have, you know, probably continued on down that path had I not learned that vulnerability is a strength. The power of owning my story, self love coming from place of self love versus self hate, uh, these lessons truly believing them really helped me change our perception of the, the marriage, uh, and the divorce happening because I’m in a place now where I see life is happening for means that, uh, to me, right?

DM: 36:31
So instead of life happening to me, um, you know, why did God put me in a situation? Why did it have to go through that versus okay, I got divorced. What can I learn from it? How can I grow from this? Cause if I don’t do that, I feel like I would be failing as a parent that would not break that cycle to pass onto my kids. Self-Love, embracing vulnerability as a strength, owning who you are, being authentic. So for me, that’s why, you know, I feel like it’s not a failure because if I can pass it on to my kids, I don’t see it as a failure. I feel see it as a learning lesson.

MU: 37:01
The way your marriage was showing up to you was actually the way you are showing up into your marriage. Yes. Yeah. And recognizing me and realize, yeah, that makes all the difference. That’s brilliant. Yeah. Byron Katie has a quote. She says, there’s no mistake about the person you’re with. He or she is the perfect teacher for you. Whether or not the relationship works out. How do you feel about that?

DM: 37:21
I believe that now I wouldn’t have believed that before back in of day with the upbringing that I had and the culture that I came from, but I definitely see that now. I think, you know, there’s people come to our lives for sometimes a reason, sometimes a season to learn something to grow from it. And if you look at life that way, you’ll be so much happier, happier, even though it still sucks, like the pain from a breakup and going through the worst. It’s still gonna be there. But if you have these tools in your tool belt to help you after the hurt and the breakup, you’ll be able to move along so much quicker. Yeah. Sometimes it takes a year, five years, 10 years, you know. But if you can figure it out eventually, you won’t waste your life. Yeah. Being in this place of feeling guilty and ashamed and seeing yourself as a failure. Um, so that’s why I love Aaron Cage.

MU: 38:04
Yeah. You know, if someone had read me that quote at the beginning of my divorce, I probably would have given them the middle finger. But it’s true. Yeah. In hindsight now, I can absolutely be so grateful for all of the lessons that I learned from my marriage. The hardest parts included from my divorce, the hardest parts included. Um, and I also don’t see it as a failure in any way. You know, we’ve got a beautiful child out of it. I learned so much because of that experience. I’m now in what I consider like the relationship of a lifetime, the best healthiest relationship I’ve ever in. Yeah. I’m, I’m very grateful for for him as a teacher. Yeah. Um, and that took a while to get to, and so if you’re in the middle of that space right now, again, you know, just be patient, work on yourself and allow time to, yeah. At the end of every episode I ask all of my guests, what’s one piece of advice that you could give to someone who was going through a divorce right now or freshly out of a divorce?

DM: 39:02
Um, it’s so interesting you asked that because I just had someone reach out to me today who’s gone through the forest, not sure how they’re going to get through it. You know, what are some advice I can give them? And I told them like, hey, embrace the suck. Like embrace the pain, recognize it for what it is and don’t try and speed yourself through the process. Like it took me years to get to the point where I am, I know you’re trying to shortcut. Like how can I get to where you know, Drew’s at. For example, right now it’s going to suck for a little bit and that’s okay. But after that, like here’s some tools, here’s the life coach I use here. Some books I read, here’s some podcasts I listen to. Here’s some meditations that I use. Here’s my positive affirmations. I lay all that out for them because that’s what helps mean, but each person’s journey so different.

DM: 39:40
So be patient with yourself and if you can learn how to change your perception, your whole life was going to change. So maybe that’s the working with a therapist or life coach or reading a new book or listen to new podcast or whatever it takes to help you change your perception. It sometimes it takes these outside sources of someone else talking to a friend. But if anytime you try and just figure it out on yourself and say, if I just, you know, white knuckle this and we’ll part my way through it, I’ll be able to figure it out. I promise you you’ll be light years ahead if you allow people to help you during this process.

MU: 40:12
Yeah. So don’t tonight yourself that connection during this really difficult time. Yeah. Be Brave enough to show up authentically. Yeah. Just as you have here today. Thank you, drew manning. Thank you so much for doing this with me. So where can people find you, connect with you and hear more about the things you’re sharing?

DM: 40:29
Yeah, so it’s super simple. All my social media, my website, my book, my podcast is Fit2Fat2Fit. So just Google that or put that in Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube. You’ll find all my stuff. It’s super simple.

MU: 40:42
Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thanks for listening!

Continue the conversation with me @melissa_hartwig on Instagram. If you have a question for Dear Melissa or a topic idea for the show, leave me a voicemail at (321) 209-1480.

Do the Thing is part of ‘The Onward Project,’ a family of podcasts brought together by Gretchen Rubin—all about how to make your life better. Check out the other Onward Project podcasts, Happier with Gretchen RubinSide Hustle School, and Happier in Hollywood.

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