It’s always felt a little weird for me to get personal on this blog. In the rare occasions when I do, I suppose it’s never quite as big a deal as I make it up to be in my head, and on top of that, you’d think that with the kind of public life I maintain with the work I do and my advocacy against old school conceptions of privacy, I’d be beyond separating my work life from my personal life.

And so it’s been for the past two and a half years that Tara and I have lead an intertwined existence, blending our personal affairs and our professional lives into one big jumble of sweat and energy and purpose and dedication to embracing the chaos and establishing a better, and more open, way to make business.

Citizen Agency, our company, is a labor of love. Citizen Space, our coworking office, where we host many an independent entrepreneur, is a result of constant collaboration and communication. The things we’ve started and accomplished in the past two years still floors me.

Yet while we’ve found great success in our professional endeavors, we’ve often struggled to find a balance between love life and work life. And even after working at it for some time, we finally decided today to end our romantic relationship.

Deep breath.

So, why are we making a public statement about this?

Well, for one thing, we’ve been the benefactors of countless friends, hosts, partners, family members, mentors and serendipitous encounters over the past two and a half years… telling everyone individually, or at the same time would have been impossible, so to avoid any confusion, we wanted to put out an official word from the source.

Second, Tara and I expect and plan to continue running Citizen Agency and operating Citizen Space. We will continue to serve our clients and continue to be involved in the projects that we’re already engaged in. Just because we’re transitioning our personal relationship doesn’t mean that our professional passions change. And we wholly expect to (and will) remain friends.

As incredible as this might sound, we both see this transition as being for the better, and continue to see great things ahead for us, and for the work we’ve already begun. We’re going to have to work through this change, and there’s no limit of uncertainty here for us, but we’re resolved to seeing this through.

Tara’s been the best partner I could have asked for and I respect her immensely; even if our romantic relationship is at an end, there are many more opportunities just beyond the horizon calling us forward.

And I probably can speak on both our behalves when I say thank you, from both of us, for all your continued support and encouragement.

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

42 thoughts on “Transitions”

  1. so sorry to hear of this. please both take some time to heal.

    I had something very similar with an ex from 14yrs ago hence many of the statements I made over the new years 🙂 now he and I are good friends and if things work out right over the next couple of months. We will be business partners.

    And I am good friends with his wife as well. After meeting her I understood better what he had always needed and was so very happy for him.

    i hope the best for you both and will be thinking of y’all

  2. Chris–
    What a graceful post. You’re truly manifesting as a man of honor and wisdom, in your public/personal life–good luck with all this and best wishes for future joy, friendship, discovery, peace.

  3. Chris – with a true friend, transitions come and go. It is what it is – and you both are people we care about truly. Best on your continued endeavors and making great music with all the parters you are with – now and the future.

  4. Hi Joe,

    Just saw your “tweet” regarding this very special post.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    You certainly have my continued support.

    Twitter ID: lindasherman

  5. Chris,

    I said the same to Tara, but again, it’s very admirable that you’re both able to address this in a public forum.

    It’s been great getting to know you over the past few months, and I can only hope to continue to learn new things from you in 2008.

    There’s an open invite to sushi to you as well 😉


  6. Chris-
    As I tweeted, I’m really glad to see you guys are doing this well – its an inspiration to me going through a divorce – where you guys share a business together, my soon-to-be-ex-wife and I share kids. But committing to move forward together with your shared commitments (Citizen Agency) even though your personal relationship is changing is quite a challenge and I wish you the best of luck.
    Also, personally, I can’t imagine blogging about this sort of “transition”, even though I often *do* want to blog about my own divorce… This sort of sharing can be cathartic, and also shows the world that these transitions, while not desired, can be made workable – and often the folks involved end up more happy afterwards..
    As I said before, good luck and thanks for sharing.

  7. It takes a lot of courage to make this kind of transition out in the open but somehow I can’t imagine you doing it any other way. 🙂

    My ex-wife and I approached our split much in the same fashion over 13 years ago and I am proud to say that we remain the very best of friends to this day.

    Best of luck to you both.

  8. Hey Chris, thanks for letting us know. Even when things end well, it can still be tough.

    I’m glad to hear that you and Tara are both moving forward as friends not with regret.

    I tried to write something more eloquent and supportive, but I’m horrible at it. Just know that you and Tara both have a lot of friends who are here if you need them.


  9. My thoughts are with you, I know it’s difficult. Staying close and working together can work out, it just takes being willing to do it.

  10. Ugh… things like this are always hard. Some good, some bad. But the hope is always that long-term the change is for the best.

    As I commented over on Tara’s post, the best thing is just to surround yourself with friends. It has certainly helped in my transition from married life.

    I don’t think you’ll ever have a lack of good friends 😛 … but don’t hesitate to call on us when you need to!

  11. Though I’ve not been as public about it (since my husband and I didn’t live the public life you guys have), I’ve recently gone through similar with the break up of a 20 year marriage. It can be done gracefully and good for you two for trying.

    In fact, right now, he’s moved back in with me for a month or two while he’s in a transition. We honestly are doing very well in the same space. We’re good friends. Be deliberate and be forgiving. Don’t forget the things you admire about the other person. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be at the level they once were.

    Good luck to you both!

  12. Chris, you and Tara both continue to inspire by your bravery, strength, and trust in openness.

    In getting to know you both over the years, I can’t help but be saddened by the news, but know from both your words that you are figuring out what is best for both of you, and that shows true caring.

    And yes, it’s perfectly ok for you to get personal on your blog.

  13. There is much pain and promise of hope that still remains in this post. As you have been their supporting, sharing, and caring for the community so we offer this back to you. There are many things that we do hold as private and expect to be private, but when public and private intermingle our expectations and reality change.

    Peace, love and prosperity in the things that matter!

  14. Chris – as Susan posted above – “What a graceful post.” that is just a great description of your post as well as both of y’all as people.

  15. I don’t you kids at all other than through your great flickr stream, blog and twitter – through each of which you both do give so much. Best of luck.

  16. Oh yeaaah, you will be mine, all mine Chris… 😉

    Seriously, best wishes to you both…you guys are both cool as hell.

  17. I just posted a similar sentiment to Tara, but I truly respect how courageous and honest your posts are for this – your candor is inspirational. Am thinking about both of you…many, many best wishes.

  18. Amy and I are filled with melancholy over this! We adore you both as individuals and we adored you as a couple. It won’t be easy but we’ll make this work…and have a good time doing it. We’re there for you.

  19. A very thoughtful and respectful post – I don’t know you personally, but for what it’s worth, very best wishes for a successful future, both in business and in love.

  20. Chris, I heard it from you first and thought it neat how you shared. Two such professional advocates are making a great impact past and present. Thank you.

    It may just be time for a new avatar. 🙂

    See you at Macworld!

  21. the end of a romantic relationship is in some sense the death of an idea or an ideal, and that’s what makes me sad – but I also trust that you guys are doing what you know is best for each of you and that makes me, if not happy, hopeful.

    take good care of yourselves in this transition, since there are bound to be sore passages.

  22. Hey Chris,
    this is sad news, but c’est la vie.
    A très bientôt sur San Francisco ou Paris.
    keep up the good open work.

  23. I read this last night as I was catching up on feeds, and felt an immediate sense of loss. I haven’t known the two of you long, but to me it has been “the two of you.” I wasn’t sure if I’d leave a comment, but since you both live your life in the open I decided I would, too.

    I respect you both immensely, and respect your desire to continue on in life as partners and collaborators. I know it can’t be easy, but also know you both have the strength to make the transition gracefully.

  24. Sending you both my warmest wishes. Please take care of yourselves.

  25. Saddened, heartened, encouraged, inspired and amazed all at the same time guys. Wishing you both the best.

  26. Wow. My best to both of you. Best of luck with your continued work collaboration. Sounds like you have a good thing going there.

  27. Chris the immense work that you and Tara have done to make the internet a more open environment – microformats, flock, songbird, xfn, WP-plugins, OAuth, Dataportability etc. is truly exceptional and like many people here I thank you both and wish you both well in the future.

    But I am saddened and can only hope that the sacrifice of your personal time proves to be ultimately worthwhile.

    Last year I got caught up in the web with twitter, blogging, RSS reader, email, techmeme, etc and soon found myself spending more time with my Mac than my wife and family.

    I have walked away from the 24/7 web lifestyle and found I have missed nothing. At the sametime I have lost weight, got fitter, met real world friends and reconnected to my family.

    I wish you both all the best for 2008.

  28. Chris,

    Best thoughts are going out to you both. Although tough I think you guys are absolutely stand up people who I’m sure will move forward with the same honesty & transparency that got you here.

    It’s been great getting to know you both and Citizen Agency still has two great partners at the helm.

    Best wishes in this time of change.

  29. Godspeed.

    There’s a great space across the street from where I live, between McCoppin and Duboce, on Valencia. It would make a perfect citizenspace-type shared office, with beautiful light through huge windows. It used to be the top story to Cotrell’s used furniture. Now it sits over a car rental space, near a couple of citycarshare type lots, and centrally located to just about everything. Next to Bahai Center.

    Good luck to you two.

  30. well..i read your post, i appreciate your sincerity a lot, but in my opinion it s hard to rest friends with our ex partner if there was a true love…anyway good luck!

  31. The maturity and clarity with which you’ve approached and handled this situation amazes me, even if I simply observe from afar. You should be both be quite proud of yourselves. Please do remember to leave room to heal.

  32. Superb graceful beautiful post!!

    P.s: New blogger… would love to hear from all you people in my blog!! Pls visit and post comments on how i improve it!


  33. It says so much that two people can be so close and then still be friends because they want the best for each other and because their ideals that are larger than themselves. I admire your openness and perspective. I’m right there with you — I broke up recently but we’re still friends and care for the other deeply. I guess every step of the way is a learning process as we all grow and learn together. Best always.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: