Did you know that ex-partners and lovers can get along? They might even send one another a greeting card. And today’s guests have the cards to sell them. We’re discussing a new corner of the greeting card industry on this edition of Frank Relationships.
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: KENNY AND WANDA BASS ON BRIDGING THE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN EXES
Guests: Kenny and Wanda Bass
Date: June 06, 2016
Frank: Did you know that ex-partners and lovers can get along? They might even send one another a greeting card and today’s guest have the cards to sell them. We’re discussing a new corner of the greeting card industry on this edition of Frank Relationships.
Yeah. As always, those are my babies. Thanks for getting daddy’s daughter today.
Welcome to Frank Relationships. We are the show specifically tailored for my middle-aged brethren and those that love them. We promise every listener, especially our brothers, that you will walk away from each week’s show with new information, a new perspective or a new disposition that will help you be a better parent and partner. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com.
You can also find me on ABC’s Good Morning Washington most Friday mornings during the 9 o’ clock hour. If you’re listening to the show on Blog Talk Radio, please follow us and if via iTunes, please subscribe so that you can effortlessly get each show each week.
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Greetings to my super duper co-host, Nancy Goldring.
Nancy: Hi Frank, how are you?
Frank: I’m great. How are you?
Frank: The consummate generalist is in the house.
Frank: Are we going to switch that up a little bit? You’re good there.
Nancy: I keep telling myself “Oh I’ve got to re-indentify,” but I haven’t done it.
Frank: Okay. So you’re good?
Nancy: I’m great.
Frank: Alright. We’re also joined by today’s visiting co-host, Mama Makini Owusu. Greetings, Mama Makini.
Mama Makini: Greetings to you. Greetings, everybody.
Frank: Who are you and what do you do when you’re not guest co-hosting?
Mama Makini: Who am I? That’s a great question. So I’m an educator. I start there. I’m a parent, a grandparent, an active member of this community and I do a wide variety of things but let’s just say that one of the things that I do and love is educating adults. So in a couple of areas, right now I’m doing a rite to passage for women. Relationships is something that we have to talk about all the time. We have to kind of change our perspective. Women have to—a little bit, I think. I’ve done rite to passage for adolescents for over 27 years with the [unclear / Oncobia] Society here in D.C. So I kind of branched out, still doing that, but branched out to include the adult women and that’s very rewarding.
I also do something that seems very, very different—and maybe it is. I work in New York through care coordination, patient-centered health care doing some training there with health care workers. So like I said, a wide variety.
Frank: And if someone would want to get in touch with you regarding maybe rites of passage or any of the stuff you just mentioned, do you have an email address, phone, anything you want to share?
Mama Makini: I do have an email address.
Frank: Hit it.
Mama Makini: email@example.com.
Frank: Thank you, thank you.
Mama Makini: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Nancy: Nice. Yeah.
Frank: Now, who do you think you’re going to get along better with today? You think it’s going to be me or Nancy?
Mama Makini: Is that a fair question? I don’t think that’s a fair question.
Nancy: Don’t get caught up with him. He is a troublemaker.
Mama Makini: I’ve known you for a long time, yeah. So…
Nancy: That answers the question right there.
Mama Makini: Okay.
Frank: As is the case, this week with Mama Makini, there’s a visiting guest co-host chair available each week here in the studio. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area or travelling to the D.C. area and want to join us in the studio on a given Thursday morning, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
In this forever changing world where the divorce rate is 50% and out of wedlock births are nearly 40%, there’s a need for cards that express the thoughts and point of views of those who reluctantly find themselves in unfortunate but sometimes necessary circumstances. Today’s guests are the proprietors that are committed to restoring, building, and maintaining relationships by bridging the communication between people that are not together but never forgotten.
So, if you like me, want to know how to run a business with your ex-partner, how to honor and nurture the many extended relationships that can spring from one romance and how to create an emotionally safe space for a new relationship to bloom while an old one lives on, then stay tuned as your Frank Relationships Team talks with the owners of Cards for Exes, Kenny and Wand Bass. Welcome to the show.
Wanda: Good morning.
Frank: How are you all?
Kenny: Thank you. Very good. You did that very well Frank. I’m really impressed with the introduction, thank you.
Frank: Ah, I try to be impressive every once in a while.
Nancy: Don’t [unclear] up it’s early. Oh my goodness…
Frank: Kenny and Wanda, before we get too deep into the interview, we got to check and see what’s new with the world of relationships with the team and I invite you all to weigh in. I hear you guys have opinions. So… feel free to share. Nancy, you got anything in the news?
Nancy: Frank, there are plenty of things in the news and of course I have something but I would love this morning to defer to you.
Frank: That is the word of the day. You know… along today’s show, we’ve discussed deference… We’re signing off. This is Frank Love. I love it.
Nancy: Alright, alright, alright… I got something.
Frank: Alright. I’m listening.
Nancy: So my question is… when you meet somebody new, if you meet somebody new through friends, do you have more or less confidence in the potential success of the new relationship?
Frank: Well what’s “success” mean?
Nancy: Oh, the question…
Frank: How do you define success? What if—
Nancy: Longevity in the relationship…
Frank: Does that mean a year? 5 years, 10 years?
Frank: Is a 1-year relationship more successful than a 10-year relationship?
Nancy: Mama Makini, Mama Makini…
Mama Makini: Okay, wow. Yes.
Nancy: I acknowledged in a prior show that I’m always in life-partner mode. So let’s get it clear, Frank. If I meet this person, is he Mr. Right? Is he Mr. Right or is he Mr. Right Now?
Frank: I say…
Nancy: So yes, the question is: is he Mr. Right? So I’m always in this question—is he Mr. Right?
Mama Makini: Okay, I think that she explained it. Right or right now.
Nancy: So if I’m saying does meeting someone through friends give you more or less confidence in the potential success of the new relationship, I’m saying: is meeting someone through friends give you that sense that this relationship has… what do we want to call you, you got me all like flustered now…
Frank: I haven’t brought an answer to my question…
Nancy: Wanda and Kenny? Let me apologize. Okay, all I’m saying is do you believe that the relationship has a greater chance of becoming a life partnership because you met this person through people you already know, love and trust?
Frank: And all I’m asking is, is someone that you’re with for one year more or less of a life partner than someone that you’re with for 5 years? And is someone that you’re with for 5 years more or less of a life partner than someone that you’re with ‘til you die? Or they die?
Nancy: No, no, no… What qualifies—
Frank: What do you mean no? You can’t say no. That’s not an answer.
Nancy: No, no, no… I’m trying to clarify what I’m saying.
Mama Makini: And we have started.
Nancy: Well yes. What I’m saying is, that it’s the intention so it’s not—you only know that person’s going to be with you a year or five years or a lifetime AFTER a year, 5 years or a lifetime. You don’t know when you start out that oh, I’m giving this guy 365, you know my game on that too.
Mama Makini: Okay, for to me, lifetime means a lifetime—
Mama Makini: —‘til one of you is no longer on this physical plane.
Nancy: On the planet.
Mama Makini: That’s what it means to me, that lifetime thing. Does that answer your question? Am I answer your question?
Nancy: Yes. Yes, please.
Mama Makini: To answer your question—
Frank: I’m saying that the question hasn’t been posed in a way that’s answerable but I will step back—
Mama Makini: But it is answerable. Thank you.
Nancy: Wait a minute. Wanda and Kenny, feel free to jump in. Frank is about to leave the room.
Kenny: The question I think someone who are going into a relationship feeling more confident and that—
Kenny: —just a friend and a friend knows each person. So you’re just not going off of a whim or just out of a blue, just meet somebody and go on out with them. So you figure while this person knows me, they know them. So you might feel more confident that you might be a better match in my opinion.
Mama Makini: Yup and that’s exactly where I was going. That you would be a better match. Again, if it’s a friend, someone who really knows both of you well, who knows you well, who knows what you like, who knows your characteristics no matter what they are, I would agree that you would feel a little more confident. It doesn’t mean that you’ll say “Oh yeah, definitely, this is going to work.” You just have more confidence in it.
Frank: and what part do you have more confidence in? Do you have more confidence that it would be a good first date or it would be a good… what? That they would spend a good 3—
Nancy: Long term match. Yeah.
Mama Makini: More confidence than the possibility that this is more than just today or tonight, more confidence in the possibility. It’s still a possibility.
Frank: It’s a possibility.
Mama Makini: That it will or won’t work.
Frank: Alright. What you got Wanda?
Wanda: In my opinion, I don’t feel confident in that at all unless that person, I can see that they had a marriage or a relationship that actually demonstrated something greater than 50+ years or whatever. So it would just be a good date for that day for me because I think that you have to look into what a good relationship need and you really don’t know that person. I don’t think anybody knows anybody behind closed doors, you know.
Frank: Which is a great entree into discussing something that you just said, Wanda, in these few sentences prior, well about the 50+ years. I really believe that we don’t know anybody’s relationship except our own.
Nancy: No, I agree. And you might not know that one.
Frank: And you—yes.
Nancy: My grandmother said—my grandparents were married for 37 ½ years before my grandfather made his transition. So my—
Frank: Transition to what? Did he come up to—
Nancy: He passed. Ooooh… oh my goodness. Reel it in, Goldring. Reel it in. You can do this, girl. He and… oh my goodness, in layman’s terms, he died.
Frank: Okay, alright.
Nancy: I got to keep it simple with this guy, right?
Frank: I got to ask! The people want to know.
Nancy: Is he the voice of the people, right? Okay, so she would say… She would say “I was married to him for 37 ½ years and I still didn’t know it.” And she felt, in so many ways, she did know him and yet even after 37 ½ years of marriage, there was still an element of surprise there.
Frank: Yeah. And—
Mama Makini: It’s kind of good actually.
Nancy: Oh it definitely, yeah.
Wanda: But that’s a good thing. It’s what keeps you on your toes.
Mama Makini: Absolutely, absolutely.
Nancy: Yes, yes.
Wanda: You never get comfortable in that situation and that’s a good thing.
Frank: And so to kind of—to finish my thought that I was trying to get out before Nancy cut me off on interjecting her own family story…
Mama Makini: It was a good one.
Nancy: Thank you.
Frank: I was saying that—even with someone with 50+ years. So Wanda, you were saying unless the person has or the couple has 50+ years, it’s probably best not to even think that they’re—
Frank: Yeah. But I’m thinking, even if they do have 50+ years, you don’t know what’s going on in their relationship. And I am one to say “be in your relationship” and that’s the only one you can truly be in. What you see, what you think you see in another relationship, you don’t know. Don’t compare, don’t idolize, don’t even think you want to be like them. I just don’t think it’s the thing to do. Come on, somebody…
Wanda: I totally agree with you Frank. I agree with that. You are absolutely correct because I did make a statement that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors, right?
Nancy: Yes, yes.
Kenny: I feel that you can admire someone’s relationship. You might not idolize it but you can admire it for what it is, for what it seems to be on the surface. If you see a couple that every time they come around, they seem to be happy and they’re both working and they’re striving for a certain goal, their family seems intact, I think you can admire a relationship and I idolize it to say that I want to be just like them but just be happy for them and admire what they have together.
Nancy: And what they appear to have.
Mama Makini: Yeah I think that’s really important because I think we have a hard time at being happy for someone else.
Mama Makini: Appreciating what they have and saying “Wow, you all are doing really well”. We then always want to go to that next step of saying “I want what they have” but as you said, as we’ve all said, we don’t know really know what’s happening behind closed doors and we don’t know what it takes to get there. I think that’s really important.
Frank: I say keep the admiration and go for the “I’m happy if you’re happy.” That’s my take.
Mama Makini: Okay, I think we can agree.
Frank: Okay. Now we got to find something to disagree about.
Nancy: Okay. That’s another issue.
Kenny: I’ve seen some couples that end up in divorce and I’ll be like—“Man, they seemed really happy…”
Nancy: Right, right…
Mama Makini: Yes…
Kenny: What happened with that? I think we all be seeing that, like I’ve never seen it coming. And you think they were so happy and then like come out late, like yeah just [unclear] they’re getting divorced. He’s like what?
Nancy: Well you—
Kenny: I agree with Frank. You never know what’s going behind so that’s why I agree with him not to idolize but maybe to just admire what somebody have on the surface.
Mama Makini: You know what else? Even talking with people—
Wanda: God insight Frank.
Frank: Thank you. Okay! Let’s roll. Wrap it!
Mama Makini: Nah…
Frank: Okay we got more.
Mama Makini: Yes, we always have more, always more. But even when talking with people like that who appear to be happy in public and the relationship is wonderful, I’ve always found it interesting to actually—well for those I know well—find out what happened. I really like to talk to people that find out exactly what happened and it gives you a sense that people put on airs, put on a face, whatever you want to call that fake thing for the public while other things are imploding. Because we aren’t always able to TALK to each other. Communication is so important.
Mama Makini: So we don’t talk to each other. We haven’t figured out how to talk about that thing that is eating away at us and all of a sudden, there’s this explosion and it’s done, and it’s gone. Very often, when we see those relationships that we thought were really good and now they’ve been torn apart, there’s a divorce happening… Had they only—it’s something simple—atleast it appears to be something—
Mama Makini: —simple that could have been discussed to save—if it needed to be saved—I see that look Frank. If it needed to save that relationship and I’m always thinking about who are you saving it for? Maybe yourselves, maybe for your children, maybe for your own development, it depends on the people actually. But still, I find it very interesting that people will fall apart and break up because of something simple that might have been solved—
Nancy: It was simple at the beginning, yeah.
Mama Makini: It was simply at the beginning but you know what happens with the laundry list. Hey, you can’t go back, can’t go back to number one.
Frank: One of the things about the admiration piece that we were discussing, the name that constantly comes to my mind is Bill Cosby and it’s not current day Bill Cosby when he’s dealing with his legal stuff but the Bill Cosby of the ‘80s, The Cosby Show.
Mama Makini: Right.
Nancy: Oh everybody wanted a family like that.
Mama Makini: Yes.
Frank: Everybody wanted a—yes, yes. And I am so vehement in my belief like leave that alone. You don’t know—
Nancy: What’s going on.
Frank: Right, right. And the families that you think that at a Cosby Shows, just leave that. I mean, have your own story, your own family… Okay, Jeff? What you got?
Jeff: I was just going to say what if Clara became Charlie?
Nancy: Oh my god…
Jeff: Because that changes the dynamic and now it’s a little bit more prominent because of reality tv but those things change relationships.
Jeff: And life partners, etc., etc.
Jeff: I won’t go off on a tangent because you know I like to do that but—
Frank: You do around here.
Jeff: But you never know. You never know. Children’s sexuality can also affect their relationships.
Jeff: Husband and wife.
Mama Makini: Yes.
Jeff: And breaking up.
Mama Makini: Absolutely because one of the parents could blame the other one for what happened to my son, or what happened to my daughter and there it goes.
Jeff: Back to your original point and I’ll just take 20 seconds to speak on this… one year or five years is a very myopic view of a life partner relationship.
Jeff: You get into 10, 15, 20, then you can say “this is my life partner” because you lived more of your life with them. You shared more of your life and you’ve made other lives and affected others lives because you are a couple.
Jeff: And life partners. And I can talk about that from experience.
Frank: Alright, perfect. Perfect.
Mama Makini: Alright.
Frank: What’s your experience, Jeff?
Jeff: I’ve been married 32 years.
Frank: 32 years.
Mama Makini: 32.
Frank: Would you say she’s a life partner?
Jeff: Oh absolutely.
Jeff: But I didn’t know that. and I didn’t know that when we first had kids because all of the dynamics changed… and yeah, I sort of knew that when we were raising the kids because they’re the single most important thing that we had in common and pretty much probably still are. But our kids are out of the house now. so we’re back to being that couple again and I’m having fun.
Jeff: You know, because I don’t have all the additional baggage that I enjoyed. I’m not going to the basketball game, I’m not in the gym. I’m not doing all that stuff that—you know, the kids’ lives that I wanted to be a part of them, I was. Now if they text me once a day, I’m cool. “Hey, how’s work?” “Great. Done.”
Jeff: I’ve got other things to think about.
Frank: Like hanging out with your wife—
Jeff: Like hanging out with my wife.
Nancy: Right, nice.
Jeff: What are we doing this weekend.
Nancy: Nice, nice.
Mama Makini: So that means you don’t have any grandchildren yet?
Mama Makini: Okay. That brings another dynamic.
Jeff: Yeah, there you go.
Frank: And in the spirit of what Jeff just said, I want to—first, let me preface by everybody that I will ask this to, the option of pass is there. You can just pass. You don’t have to answer. So…
Mama Makini: Thanks you.
Frank: There are 1, 2, 3, 4,–
Nancy: Wanda, Frank is talking to you.
Frank: There’s 6 of us here. So there’s Mama Makini, Nancy, me Frank, we got Jeff over here, we got Kenny and Wanda. Now I want—each one of us has a relationship story—
Mama Makini: Research question, are you telling all this information you’re going to collect? Okay, I’m sorry. Go ahead. We’ll come back.
Frank: We each have a relationship story or a relationship status or previous status. I am divorced and married. Okay, who’s next? Nancy you want to—?
Nancy: I am divorced and single.
Frank: Okay. Mama Makini you got to answer?
Mama Makini: I have an answer. Let me see… I am divorced twice and widowed, and i think I’m single.
Frank: Anybody? Kenny? Wanda?
Wanda: I’m divorced and single.
Kenny: I’m divorced and married.
Frank: And Jeff?
Jeff: I’m married and single depending on the bar.
Nancy: That’s what 32 years will get you? Flexibility.
Jeff: Just joking.
Mama Makini: I’m [unclear] I’m glad you said you were joking…
Nancy: Mama Makini was getting ready to go straight into—this has become healing…
Jeff: I’m married but not dead.
Mama Makini: Good.
Nancy: Oh my goodness.
Frank: Okay so 5 out of 6 of us have divorced in our status. Interesting, interesting.
Nancy: Yes, yes.
Frank: Which can—you know, one of the things we’ve been talking about Nancy is getting the guy who wrote the book “Is Marriage for White People?” on the show.
Nancy: Yes, yes…
Frank: So that’s funny. Because Jeff’s the only white guy and there’s 6 of us.
Mama Makini: Woah.
Nancy: And he’s still married.
Frank: And he’s not just still married, not divorced.
Nancy: He’s not divorced. Yeah, yeah.
Frank: So will we may come back to this.
Nancy: We need to get him in here.
Jeff: It’s a secret dynamic that has to be with pigment.
Nancy: Too much melanin and somebody’s [unclear]… Okay, alright.
Frank: Well we have been all over the place, haven’t we?
Nancy: Yes, you tend to do that.
Frank: Okay, Kenny and Wanda, you’re up. First question: what advice would you all give a 25-year old couple with a baby due in 2 months? You got anything on that?
Kenny: Go ahead, Wanda. You can answer that one.
Wanda: A 25-year old couple with a baby due in 2 months… That’s a hard question to answer.
Kenny: Are they married or just together?
Frank: All you know is what you know.
Wanda: Well I would definitely say that because they have a baby that’s definitely going to need counselling. That’s what I’m definitely going to say because a lot of times, a lot of our marriages or relationships don’t work because for me, preferably I can say I had a lack of spiritual guidance. There was a lot of ignorance there, there was a lot of unpreparedness in. And so I really would suggest that they seek counselling in that situation because now they’re bringing in a new life, and their life, their circumstances, their situation is going to affect that new life.
Frank: It’ll absolutely will. Kenny, you got anything you want to add?
Kenny: I would just say they need to communicate what they want together. It’s not just them to now, they’re going to be bringing a life into the world. So they need to communicate about what each of them—what they want and come to [unclear] and be on the same page because it can affect not only their lives but it can affect the child’s life. So they really need to sit down and communicate and see where they want to go with this.
Frank: How old were you two when you got married?
Wanda: Oh my god, we were young. When me and Kenny got—we were together over 15 year period when we were young but we got married in our 20’s but again, there were a lot of ignorance, unpreparedness there. So yeah…
Frank: So what’s your old story?
Wanda: What do you mean what’s our story?
Frank: Cards for Exes. How did this come about?
Frank: What is it and how did it come about?
Wanda: Well there was a time when father’s day or my ex-husband’s birthday came around and I would go to the stores and I noticed that there was not a category—
Frank: Now when you say your ex—
Wanda: —circumstance we were divorced…
Frank: When you say your ex-husband, you’re referencing Kenny, correct?
Wanda: I’m referencing to Kenny.
Wanda: Yeah, there were only cards for husbands, lover, friend… You know etc., the usual traditional Hallmark or American greeting cards. However, there weren’t any cards for the father of my children that express words that conveyed our current situation. So I would buy like a general card and I would write something inside that that express what I really wanted to say to Ken.
Frank: And what was that? What did you want to say?
Wanda: A lot of time what I wanted—the first thing that I wanted to say was “forgive me”. So a lot of cards—I would say, the first card that I ever wrote to him was called “The calm after the storm” and that card, it sort of talked about forgiveness, which is a great need because I think that asking for forgiveness is like a noble act, okay? It’s an acknowledgment that you hurt someone and it makes it easier for the forgiver to forgive. It sort of takes that burden away. But that was just the first step because I believe that if you really want to be forgiven by that person that you hurt, just apologizing isn’t enough. You have to right that wrong and sometimes you may not be able to do to undo that unfortunate circumstance but making amends count to me.
Once I got myself in the place where I could forgive myself, evaluate me then I went on a journey to writing card to Kenny over I think it was like a 4-year period.
Frank: And so this was 4 years post-relationship that you sent the first card? How long after the divorce did it take for you to send that card, that first one?
Wanda: For me, it took about like I would say… Not even a year for me.
Wanda: Not even a year for me. I’m a very, very forgiving person and I don’t like to hold on to a lot of garbage but my process is different from everybody else’s process.
Mama Makini: Of course.
Wanda: Divorce is traumatic. It’s like… It’s well-known that grieving, it has its stages. You love someone or you lost something dear to you, you go through that denial, that bargaining, that anger, that depression but you finally come to acceptance. That was the key for me by the grace of god. So then I was able to walk through forgiveness. It was a gift to me because it gave me that freedom while healing my wounds and able to attend to Kenny’s feelings.
Nancy: Okay, yeah.
Mama Makini: That’s very, very powerful and it is so very, very important. One of the things I’ve learned while doing this training for patient-centered care, to get more information about chronic illnesses. So many chronic illnesses are brought about by stress and holding on to feelings, holding on to this stuff is stressful and it causes so many of the diseases that we hear about and we take for granted. All of the little things that impacted, that affect it.
So I’m sitting here listening to you and I know what your process was but that self-reflection is just such a powerful thing that allows you to… I don’t think we can even say the release that happens exactly how far reaching that release is. But this is very, very powerful how you got to this is very, very powerful.
Frank: When you sit in your peaceful place, and I guess your humble place, did you want co-forgiveness? Meaning, did you want to forgive him also? You were asking him for forgiveness, were you doing so with the intention of getting forgiveness also or were you just asking for forgiveness period? You weren’t expecting anything in return?
Wanda: I had to go into asking for forgiveness with nothing in return. I left that in the altar of god.
Mama Makini: Important.
Wanda: Because sometimes you don’t know what the outcome is going to be but I knew what I was responsible for. So I had to be accountable with that.
Frank: So Kenny, what was your side?
Wanda: Does that make sense?
Frank: Absolutely, absolutely. Kenny, what’s your side of all of that? How did you receive that?
Kenny: Well, my process was a little different. I’m the one that was holding on to anger and hurt for quite some time.
Wanda: For years.
Kenny: I was… it was like 4 years and she was like, “You still mad at me?” I was like, “Hell yeah, I’m still mad.” And around 4 years or so, I guess I kind of start [unclear] because she started to express how sorry she was about some base I said I was sorry about some things and that kind of—and her kindness started breaking my anger down to my hurt. It just started beating at me and just pulling away the anger and hostility that [unclear] and I thought well, I just kind of let it go because she validated my feelings about what I was going through. So I was able to say, “Okay, she says she’s sorry,” so can like kind of let go of some of this hurt now. So when she used to write me cards like I won’t give her a card for a while. I wouldn’t give her mother’s day, father’s day—I mean not father’s but mother’s day or birthday, anything for a while because I was just holding on to things.
And then after a while, I was like, sort of let some of the anger go and I would go to the store and I would take my kids to take a birthday card or mother’s day card and I’ll be sitting there and I’ll be looking, I’ll be “You know what? She’s the mother of my children. We had something special. Let me—I could atleast get a mother’s day card.” And that’s when I would go and try to look and find something. I’m like “Man this is terrible. I can’t even find that for her.” So I used to do what she was doing and I use to like pick out a general card or whatever and then I would write something like “I know it didn’t work out between us but you’re doing a great job with the kids and I really appreciate the job you’re doing with the kids, and thank you.”
So I used to write things like that in there and then eventually, some time had pass and I would go for another birthday or mother’s day, I’m like “Man, this is crazy. There’s nothing out there like that.” And then suddenly it hit me one day, and I was at work in x-cards just popped up because I was like “man, there’s got to be something other people need in the world. I mean it can’t just be me that’s going through a situation like this,” and that’s kind of how we came up with it. I brought it to her attention like, “We need to start a business,” because I’m always doing business ventures and everything like that. So any time some type of idea come up, I’ll chase it.
Kenny: And I thought this was like a really great and unique idea that did not exist before we came up with it.
Wanda: But look at that power in that though. See what Kenny just saying—I’m just going to interject in there, I’m sorry, Kenny.
Wanda: But I want to interject that the power of validating somebody else’s feelings, look what god gave birth to… Xcard.
Mama Makini: Yes.
Frank: So what was the process of the company coming together? You got the idea, you’ve got the conversation… Now what?
Kenny: Now, they see… You know, like… I’m sort of like a businessman. Not very successful, I’m not like a Bill Gates in there but on that [unclear / real estate] I do other things like that. So I just took this step by step. First we had to write cards, get some [unclear] out there and the next step was like okay, now we got to get to design the cards. We got to get a software to design the cards so it was like just multiple steps to get the company where’s that today. I mean, first of all, I came up with the Xcard. I thought that was the greatest name in the world for a company like this. It was catchy, and it just fit the product.
Frank: And when you—
Kenny: And I knew that if anyone else came afterwards with—a copycat that came afterwards that I don’t really see another name that could outweigh the name that we have for this particular product. So I had to register the name as a trademark and I just took steps like that and then 2009, they viewed at the National Stationery Show.
Frank: And again that name is Card for Exes. How—
Wanda: Xcards for ex-relationships, not together but not forgotten.
Wanda: Our website’s www.card4x.com.
Frank: Got it, got it.
Nancy: There you go.
Frank: You said to where the company is now, how are sales? How is business?
Kenny: Business is good like we’re still developing but we’re making some major games. We just had a lot of medias but we got exes.com, Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune… I mean we have been all over the country, all over the world in media aspects. Since then, we began a large increase in sales.
Kenny: We [unclear] over the past year, we got into a major retail store. I don’t know if you have Shoprite…
Nancy: Yeah, definitely.
Kenny: So we have Shoprite over here in New Jersey and negotiations and getting to more Shoprite. So we’re moving. Some people that have greeting cards com—you want to—thousands of little gretting card companies out there in the world and they can’t really get any attraction because Hllmark and American Greetings have it—
Kenny: —locked up. Like they have contracts with these stores that say that you can’t bring another greeting card company into our store because they are a competitor.
Kenny: But what’s unique about our company and I derive on uniqueness in everything I do is that because our company is so unique and there’s never been a market for this and no other company does this, Hallmark and American Greetings does this—
Frank: Yeah, but they may catch on—
Kenny: …to those major stores because I don’t—conflict with the contract of the store and like the Hallmark and American Greetings. So I’m able to come in because they have their market and I have my market.
Frank: And what do you—
Kenny: That’s what’s great about our company.
Frank: If it catches, you know they will create a Hallmark brand—
Nancy: A genre…
Frank: —or ex-cards or something like that…
Frank You prepared?
Kenny: That’s why we’re trying to push it and really get it out there because we want o be known as the original card for your ex.
Wanda: And we are the original.
Frank: Okay. You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking to the proprietors of Xcards, Kenny and Wanda Bass. They’re committed to restoring, building and maintaining relationships by bridging the communication between people that are not together but never forgotten. What are you all up to and how can we find you?
Wanda: You’re definitely going to find us at www.cards4x.com, you can also find us in selective shopping stores.
Frank: We were going into a very interesting place in the interview and one of the things that you were talking about was kind of the anatomy of your coming to grips or coming to grips or to coming at peace with breaking up and being… I guess good with each other. One of the issues that a lot of couples wrestle with in terms of not being able to be okay with each other are the circumstances around their break up. Everybody thinks they’re scorn or their issue is unique and worse than anybody’s who’s gotten over that.
Mama Makini: Right.
Frank: Does—I open the floor. Does anybody want to… Do you guys want to throw out, kind of what some of the issues that you worked through or what you may attribute your break up to? And I say this from a place of really connecting with the audience because when people hear stories of triumph and getting over our stuff, it can inspire them to do the same. It’s one thing to just say “we broke up, we weren’t getting along” but it’s inevitable to go into the—
Nancy: Nitty-gritty kind of…
Frank: —the nitty-gritty of…
Nancy: What happened…
Frank: What you were working with and it helps people to get over their own.
Frank: So I mean, I don’t know if you guys want to go there but the floor is open.
Kenny: Wanda, you want to go there?
Nancy: Well then…
Mama Makini: I like that question.
Wanda: I’m going to pass on that. I’m the type of person that I think that everybody has some sort of similarities in their break ups… Come on. Whether it be through extra-marital affair or finances or sometimes with the children changing, seeing that you weren’t prepared for or whatever but I don’t like to indulge on those particular things. I’m kind of like… I think that’s for the ears of those individuals that come to me and private not to feel that. You know what I mean like…
Nancy: You have the level of relationship that would merit that conversation.
Wanda: Absolutely, absolutely.
Nancy: Yeah, yeah.
Wanda: I think that when people are actually ready to forgive and I mean, they want to be mature about the whole process of everything. You know that it’s going to come to me in that way but that’ll be actually having to and speak to somebody like casting your pearls—
Nancy: Like swan.
Wanda: —to somebody and they’re not even able to receive it in such a mature way. You know what I’m saying? Kind of like put your business out there.
Wanda: Not trample on then with no true understanding.
Wanda: I don’t know if that makes sense but—
Nancy: It makes total sense.
Mama Makini: That makes perfect sense.
Nancy: It makes total sense and I can—as I’m listening to you Wanda, I’m thinking you know what? At the end of the day, there are only a finite number of stories, they’re just told in an infinite number of ways. So yeah. So then… I get to come back next week… I keep my job one sense at a tie.
Frank: I [unclear] that’s right.
Nancy: So I say—go ahead Kenny.
Kenny: Well one thing I always say, our particular products is not for everyone. It depends to your situation and it depends on what happened in the past with your relationship because I wouldn’t send an Xcard toevery ex that I have.
Kenny: Because it depend on maybe what they did or what you did or…you know what I’m saying?
Kenny: Like you can’t come to grips to be cordial with that person again because they might [unclear] so dirty that you’re like “I don’t want to have anything to do with them again” but maybe they might want to send you Xcard saying that they’re sorry or whatever. So it depends on the situation. My situation, I would say that we went through some bad things but I would say that atleast we could be cordial because we had children together.
Nancy: Right, right.
Kenny: You know like we still have—like I’m all about business and I look at my children as a business because anyone that goes into business together, they want their business to be successful. And me and Wanda, we wanted our kids to be successful. So I wanted our kids to grow up in a positive and peaceful environment so they can focus on themselves.
Kenny: So I got over my ego and my pride. I let go whatever that happened in the past to say “Okay, forget about that. I’m going to do with what at hand, what we’re going through now, the present.” And I just let all the other things go and say hey, we got to raise the children together, we got to be on the same page with them, we got to mold and bring them up in a way that they’re going to have a good mind and a good happy children, and they’re going to be successful individuals. So it depends. If you have children, I think that’s how most people should be. If you don’t have children, you may not have an Xcard. You may just go yourself the ways in and just move on or you may send one because we have something that says “Hey, I’m sorry about what happened but I’m glad we could come back around and be friends again.”
So it depends on what happened in your life basically that’s how.
Wanda: Because co-parenting, it may not require friendship right away but it does require cooperation in order for your children to grow and still should be healthy environment. So I just added that to what Kenny is just saying. It’s not about us, it’s about THEM.
Mama Makini: Exactly.
Wanda: And that’s the objective between him and I which was one of the cards that he actually wrote. “It’s not about us. We have something between us that’s more important than the way we’re feeling towards each other, our children.” That’s one of his cards he wrote.
Mama Makini: That’s really very important. To have that thing that is greater than either of you so that you can come together and that’s what children are. Just generally, people have to get over themselves, that’s what I think.
Wanda: We do.
Mama Makini: You just have to get over yourself because the “I” is not as important as you think it is. It’s the “we” that really counts.
Wanda: Absolutely. And my greatest pet peeve is “choose to forgive” because when people hurt or offend you, you can choose either to respond either with anger that will harm you and your children or you could choose to walk through that forgiveness that I believe god calls us all to pursue.
Mama Makini: True.
Wanda: You have to work to kind of separate that emotional response that you know, your ex reactions are. And you have to seek solutions, not retaliation.
Mama Makini: That is powerful.
Frank: Any ingredients that make friendship and partnership possible between the two of you all on a day-to-day running a company basis?
Wanda: Kenny you want to—
Kenny: I mean, it was a time when Wanda would say “We’re going to be friends.” I’m like “I ain’t never going to be your friend.” And… and I meant that at that time and you know, like I said a lot of things that “oh I would never do this, I would never do that,” and over the years I was like “Damn, I did it. I have never believed this happened.”
Nancy: They have insurance for people like you.
Mama Makini: Reminds me of the commercial—“I will never have a house in the suburbs.”
Kenny: So before I stay a friends and running a [unclear]… like me and Wanda’s staying in partnership since we have children.
Mama Makini: Exactly.
Kenny: So it didn’t really changed as far as being in partnership in business because we’ve been dealing with each other for years and years because we have children to deal with. So it wasn’t nothing new. Okay now—now our baby’s this greeting card company. We got to raise this baby, this other baby now. Because we have raised babies together.
So it goes hand in hand. It wasn’t so new for us because we knew each other already, we’ve dealt with each other, we argue with each other, we compromise with each other. So this was just another kid we’re bringing up. So for us, it was nothing…
Nancy: It’s a great metaphor for business.
Kenny: …trying to make work.
Frank: You all were together for what? 12-13 years before getting married?
Frank: And were married for 3 years? What changed from—I guess we can call it dating to marriage? How did that—what did—what changed?
Kenny: Well… I’m a just tell [unclear]…
Frank: Right. We are just going to edit that out. Wanda say she’s not going there, we’re not going there.
Nancy: You want to keep that baby alive, Kenny.
Mama Makini: Right.
Frank: And you want to stay alive too.
Kenny: Say this… nothing, in those 3 years, nothing really changed. We kind of just started going in separate ways, like we kind of started one [unclear / different beings] adult life and it wasn’t coming together. So we started kind of going in opposite direction. It wasn’t like any infidelity involved, anything like that but we kind of started [unclear] after we got married. That kind of was what helped, [unclear] our marriage, before getting divorced.
Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships where we promise every listener, especially our brothers, that you’ll walk away from each week’s show with new information, new perspective or new dispositions that will help you be a better parent and/or partner.
You said that… we’ve talked about the content of your cards, but there’s also a card that’s pretty funny. You got one where the person opens it and there’s a middle finger that pops up.
Nancy: Something for everyone.
Mama Makini: Ha-ha.
Kenny: It’s for everybody.
Wanda: Yeah, that’s the sarcastic mind that Kenny created and basically because that’s where some people are consciously frank. Like you said, you might not want to get back with your ex but maybe you have children and at the same point—it just opens an aspect of a dialog to begin, some sort of laughter or whatever because you knew you shouldn’t have been with that person anyway. But a baby come ou of that so we did that to create a line for people that don’t want to get back but can find some humor in it and sort of work together in raising their children. and actually, we have a lot of people buying those cards because that’s consciously where they are right now.
Nancy: Right, right.
Wanda: You know what I mean? Yeah…
Frank: So for those people that may not be really a joke.
Wanda: It might not be…
Nancy: Right, right, right. When I saw it, I was like “oh my goodness, what?”
Mama Makini: Oh I’m thinking about laughing at it then I’m also thinking about somebody looking at it going “oh I have to get back at you” what? You said that’s anger, you know, buy the card and send it back.
Nancy: It’s one of their top-selling cards.
Mama Makini: [unclear].
Kenny: I sold a lot on those cards actually.
Mama Makini: That’s where people are.
Kenny: What needed to… She didn’t want to do that line at first and I wanted to do that line because…
Nancy: It’s real.
Kenny: It’s real, it’s real.
Kenny: That’s usually where a lot of people what it means if they want—really want to say to the other person or whatever. And what’s funny is that, we never talked about the sarcastic in the line like when we go to shows, anything like that. We always talk about the positive cards and everything. I have somebody like, just step back and put their hands in their head for like “You ain’t got no card to say like “I hate you” or I in such and such you”? You ain’t got no cards like that?” I’m like “Actually I do.” [unclear]
Mama Makini: Just waiting for the question.
Kenny: Excuse me and they—
Wanda: Not any aspect of hate, that’s a strong word.
Kenny: Well just said, you know, they don’t want the lovie-dovie thoughts and I was like yeah—
Wanda: The middle finger is something Nancy that he wanted to do to me.
Nancy: Oh hohoho… Woah, woah…
Mama Makini: Okay.
Nancy: I love it but guess what?
Kenny: We should be able to say “We got something for everybody.”
Frank / Nancy: Yeah.
Nancy: What did you say earlier?
Kenny: A lot of people ask for those cards and maybe cracking up when they see—
Nancy: Yes, yes, yes.
Kenny: While that was [unclear], that’s another thing. But they get some enjoyment out of reading those and thinking of the possibility of actually sending a… [unclear] and the reaction of the other person atleast…
Wanda: And believe me, we get a lot of letters and feedback and say, “Hey, I haven’t talked to him in over 20 years but we started laughing and we’re conversating now and actually came back home and started talking with the kids and he’s around helping.”
Nancy: See that was great.
Mama Makini: That’s the result you want.
Nancy: Earlier Wanda, you mentioned the stages of grief, and that card acknowledges a stage of grief.
Wanda: Yes it does. Yes it does.
Nancy: The bottom line. And I think it’s perfect that you have it in the line.
Kenny: Thank you.
Nancy: Yes. Oh you’re welcome.
Nancy: Yes Frank? Yes, yes.
Frank: We got a little something from Miko this week.
Nancy: Oh cool.
Frank: You ready for some financial wisdom?
Frank: Miko take it away.
Miko: Do you justify poor spending decisions? Talk yourself into spending when you can’t afford it? or ignore your budget with faulty reasoning? Here are a few excuses that we use to justify a lack of adherence to our budget:
1. “I deserve it.” We convince ourselves that we deserve things that we can’t afford because we work hard. Of course we deserve nice things. But more importantly, we deserve the peace of mind and financial stability that comes with making financially sound decisions.
2. “Oh I’ll pay for it later.” Oftentimes we spend money before we get it. We charge it off on our credit cards or borrow from friends because we’re anticipating income. We reason that we’ll pay off the debt later. Later, when the money comes, we may want to buy something else then too. So the money since never catch up with the debt.
3. “Debt is the American way.” Yes it is. But all debt is not bad, it does not mean we have to join the ranks of so many Americans who are drowning in debt. And finally…
4. “I need it.” What we generally mean is “I really WANT it.” What happens if we don’t buy that coveted item, we’re not going to that expensive vacation. Not only will we survive but now we can take the time to responsibly plan for the items we really want.
If you are still struggling at being financially honest with yourself, Miko’s Money Matters is here to help. Call us at 202-695-2404 and remember, it’s never too late to rescue your financial future.
Frank: Thanks Miko. You all have two sons, what do they think of your business?
Kenny: Wanda, you want to—
Wanda: Well yeah, I just started it Ken.
Kenny: What’d you say?
Nancy: She needs to say “Nothing, Kenny.” It’s all good.
Wanda: Actually our sons are very excited about it. They think it’s very mature and it actually really helps them to see a bigger picture when people break up and—
Frank: How old are they?
Wanda: —they both do these things. You know what I’m saying? It teaches them and grounds them. You know, what to expect and how they can react or actually respond [unclear].
Frank: How old are they?
Wanda: 22 and 15 years of age.
Frank: Oh so they kind of little age on them.
Nancy: They’re coming into the relationship dynamic.
Wanda: Yeah, yes they do.
Frank: And how long have you all been apart?
Wanda: In a while now. It’s 2002.
Wanda: Or 2003. 2002-2003.
Nancy: So right after your youngest was born, not long after that?
Wanda: Yes, after.
Nancy: Okay, okay. So…
Kenny: That was me [unclear].
Wanda: So you see there was a NEED…
Nancy: Yeah and he’s had a grown up in the spirit of healing and forgiveness, that’s powerful.
Frank: Well, he’s grown up in different phases and—
Nancy: But that’s what’s in the healing process, he’s grown up in a healing process.
Nancy: So I’m sure that—
Wanda: He has.
Mama Makini: At 15, yeah. He has experienced—
Nancy: A tremendous aspect of his development what he brings to relationships as he gets older.
Kenny: We want being example for our children because if they grow up and they get married and they get divorced, they have us as an example to say hey, I’m not going to be like other couples that fuss and fight and argue in front of the children like, they have an example of me and their mom that they could say “Hey, we can still get along though we have children together.” You know, because a lot of children, they copy what they see.
Mama Makini: Yes.
Kenny: So emulate what they see, so they see a positive, they see us as positive role models so they can emulate to say and think if it unfortunately happens for them.
Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with the proprietors of Xcards, Kenny and Wanda Bass. They’re committed to restoring, building and maintaining relationships by bridging the communication between people that are not together but never forgotten.
One more time, would you guys give us your website and let us know that you can find—let us know that—
Nancy: Where we can find you.
Frank: Yeah, yeah. That.
Wanda: Shoot Kenny.
Kenny: It’s www.cards4x.com and you can order cards online. We’ll mail them out to you. We’re also in…
Wanda: Selective shopping.
Kenny: We’re at Shoprite in Hillside, New Jersey and look into more Shoprites and other major retail stores. We’re currently in negotiations with several other stores to try to get me as well. So hopefully, we’re on our way.
Frank: What’s some feedback that you received from people who’ve purchased your cards or received one of your cards?
Kenny: Well basically we’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback through our website. People are saying how much—
Wanda: And Frank I’m saying United Kingdom, Arizona, Califronia, people from all across the country.
Mama Makini: Oh wow.
Frank: Across the world.
Mama Makini: Yeah.
Wanda: It’s just wide media thing, yes. And great feedback. People that’s gone through so many feelings, “I have never had cards in the market like this. I had no way to express because there’s a breakdown in communication today we see that—use the technology or the texting. People—” You know they have their current relationship over texting, over social media. And so this is now a way to communicate those words or say something that you might not be able to because the anger, the blame game, you know… And so yeah, I mean people are just so… just happy about it and they’re just giving us all of these great ideas and telling us their stories and so it gives us insight on some new additions that were bringing into play right now.
Frank: What would you… Either one of you or both, if you could suggest a book to our audience, what that might be? And if you want, you can always play the safe card and you go with the bible.
Kenny: That would be Wanda’s book.
Mama Makini: Okay.
Nancy: Oh my goodness.
Wanda: Whew… what would be the name of your book, Ken?
Kenny: I don’t know. I don’t have much time to read. I work like 4 jobs so… I guess I’m’a go with the bible I guess.
Mama Makini: That was like somebody’s rubbing off of you so feeling yeah…
Mama Makini: Not a bad thing.
Frank: See, did I start something here?
Wanda: You started something Frank. See you troublemaker [unclear].
Nancy: But it’s a good trouble. It’s good trouble, right?
Kenny: That Facebook out there [unclear].
Frank: Okay, alright. You got anything to add, Wanda?
Wanda: I guess I would say… “The Stepping Stone to Forgiveness” something like that.
Wanda: And then I would just basically, I guess go through the formations of the process at that particular point. If I was writing a book, it would be on the process of my life and what I did but also I would say don’t take from my experience. I really have to add that in there. I don’t want to go from anybody else’s experience. I have to step into the word of god and… because it’s the word of god that was confirmed in my heart that brought about that change. I couldn’t do it on my own.
Wanda: And I don’t think anybody could because we’re going to fail each time. So I would definitely take those stepping stones from the word of god because I can talk about my experience all day. It’s not going to help you fight through a wet paper bag. It’s going to be based on the standard of the word.
Nancy: Cool. You writing that book, Wanda?
Wanda: Thought of writing something.
Nancy: Yeah, I’m serious. You have a powerful story to tell. Why not?
Frank: We’ve been talking with and we are talking—we have been talking with the proprietors of Xcards, Kenny and Wanda Bass. They’re committed to restoring, building and maintaining relationships by bridging the communication between people that are not together but never forgotten.
Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed forgiveness, raising children when you are no long together and we even touched a little bit on whether admiration is appropriate to your relationship or any relationship. I hope you’ve learned as much as I’ve had talking with Kenny and Wanda Bass about their company, Xcards.
As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that I hope you create a relation that’s as loving and accepting as possible.
Let us know what you think of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter at @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. If you’re listening via Blog Talk Radio, make sure you like us there and if via iTunes, make sure you subscribe so that you can receive each week’s show.
This is Frank Love.
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