A week on from announcing their separation, Seven Year Switch star Cassie Thistleton says “things are going as well as can be expected” between her and her now ex-partner, Ryan.
“He’s here at our house every second day to see the girls. He does dinners and baths and hangs out; he’s very active still,” Cassis says. “If anything, this is positive.”
Quietly making the decision to separate almost two months ago, Cassie and Ryan became known around the country after appearing on the premiere season of Channel Seven's reality relationship show. There, they talked about the struggles of their relationship; the unimaginable hardships of losing their son, Dex, who was stillborn; Cassie's desires to move forward in their relationship, and Ryan's mental health battles.
Then, months after the show had wrapped and the reunion episode revealed the couple had stayed together, they welcomed their third child - a daughter, Mena Lee - together. From the outside, things seemed rosy.
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"We had gone so well after the show ended. We were going forward, we had gone to our marriage counselling sessions, everything was wonderful," Cassie told Mamamia on Tuesday.
But ultimately, she says, cracks returned and eventually turned into a break.
"The decision didn't come down to a particular moment, but I just wanted to keep going. I wanted to move forward. I wanted to focus on my career again, I wanted my children to be happy and to see their parents are happy," Cassie said, adding, "I love him to death, he's my best friend, but I need to look after myself for a little bit."
"It's sad because he's such a beautiful person, and I just want him to get back to who he was, but he won't do it while we're together. It's time for him to do something for him, and I can only do so much," she said.
"After losing Dex, I continued to try to be positive and move forward in life and I couldn't always do that because of where Ryan was. He has used our family as a safety network but hasn't been able to move forward and do anything for himself since then...and I've always had to be the strong one, and I've always had to be the motivator, and the inspiration, and it's exhausting."
Looking back on the decision now, though, despite its freshness, Cassie said: "We've been through so much together, we've done our best. It's a good thing on our part and there's no animosity there."
Having known each other for 20 years and dated for six, 34-year-old Cassie says ensuring she and Ryan manage their separation as best they can - not least for their three girls, Remani, Emerson and Mena - is a commitment shared by the both parents.
"We've both been in separated families and felt the impact of those families not working together, so that was something that has really motived us to put our problems aside and make the whole process as easy as we could on the kids," she said, adding: "we're adamant that this is not a negative thing and still show each other that we love each other and respect each other and we're here for them, and they'll be able to see that as they get older."
Finally, Cassie said, "Ryan is my family. He'll always be my family, and really, I just want him to be healthy and happy and move forward in life."