But early in our marriage, my husband and I started leading parallel lives. We were both effective in managing our work (he was busier professionally and traveled much of the year) and home lives. Once we stopped jumping the initial hurdles that a couple does—baby, surrogacy, two house renovations—I realized something was missing for both of us. When there wasn’t a project to invest in together, we didn’t have much to say to each other.
Once I slowed down and got quiet, I could hear myself saying, “We are not on the same page. I can either remain in this comfortable zone and distract myself, or I can face what is not working in my life and fix it.” I chose the latter. During this time I would wake up at 4:30 a.m., run on my treadmill, and listen to Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. It was the only time I could take a deep breath. I knew then that something had to shift.
Most of why my marriage didn’t work was not my ex-husband’s fault. He loves work. He loves being on set, on location. I knew this from ages 27 to 32, but it became a problem for me once the kids were older. I wanted a partner.
So, toward the beginning of the pandemic, Andrew and I decided to separate. The combination of being apart for most of the year for many years and growing apart emotionally took its toll.
Mason and I had met once, while we were both still married, four years ago. At a lunch with mutual friends, he sat next to my then husband, and they talked about Hollywood. I’m always shy in new social situations, so I excused myself and wandered around Park City. But I took note of Mason; he was cute, charming. Shortly after that lunch I started following him on Instagram. I enjoyed his sweet, self-deprecating humor. His intelligence made him all the more attractive. He started following me as well. My heart would leap as soon as he liked a post or commented on something I’d written. We had similar backgrounds: We’d grown up abroad, ping-ponging from England to Brazil (me) and Indonesia (him).
Four days after I separated from Andrew, I was on a plane to San Francisco to visit this man I had only met once but who had stayed on my mind. I knew he’d been separated for two years. I wanted to see him, to confirm whether the image I’d built up in my mind matched reality. What I got was far more than I expected.
When I landed, Mason was at the bottom of the escalator holding a sign with my name on it. My heart was fluttering like a hummingbird. I felt at once super panicked but also strangely grounded. I couldn’t help but move toward him. He took me into his arms and we embraced. For five minutes. In our masks. Everyone at the arrival terminal walked around us. During a time when the world avoided all contact, when it was mandated that everyone stay six feet apart, Mason and I blended into each other. I thought to myself, Please kiss me. And he did.
From that day on Mason and I saw each other every other week. We began thinking about how to blend our families. Therapists and friends urged us to slow down, to enjoy the time alone, but we knew this was right. I guess what didn’t work for me last time was working for me now.
Friends asked me about my kids and the toll it would take on them. They saw my decision as sudden, impulsive. The problem was that they didn’t know it was 13 years in the making. What seemed like a huge event was in fact a slow unraveling. They just didn’t look close enough. That, or I’m a good actress.