For My Male Listeners | Ep #139

Most of my podcast episodes have been geared toward women who have experienced betrayal, but this one is for the men.

First I address men who have been betrayed by their spouse/partner. I cover how betrayal affects men differently than women and why that is.

Second, I address men who have betrayed their spouse. In my many years of coaching, I have learned that there is no black and white, and people are much more complicated than we make them out to be. You will learn some ideas that will help you heal and move forward, as well as how to support your spouse.

To learn more from me, be sure to join my email list at: https://andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/

To work with me, go to: https://andreagiles.com/get-your-life-back/

Follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/theinfidelitycoach/

Episode Transcript

I’m Andrea Giles and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 139 For My Male Listeners.

Hello and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Heal from Infidelity. As
always, I’m so glad you’re here. Today I have a unique episode. I am going
to direct this whole episode towards my men. These are the spouses of some
of the women clients that I have, some of the women listeners. These are
some of the men who have experienced infidelity that their wife or partner
was unfaithful and they have experienced infidelity, and listened to my
podcast. This is for you today.

Why this episode? I decided to do this episode because more and more I’m
hearing from men and there are a lot of men that are in a lot of pain
trying to feel better and reaching out, wishing that there were more
resources for men. Or thanking me for my podcast, saying that it’s helping
them, even though I’ve geared it towards women. So today, this one is for
my men.

I’m going to be talking to two audiences today here. The first that I want
to talk to is my man whose wife was unfaithful. You’re here because your
wife was unfaithful, your partner, and you are looking for some healing and
refuge, and have found some of that here. I think that men and women have a
lot in common, and I think that men and women also have some pretty big
differences. And a lot of it comes back to our programming. I do think that
men and women just innately have some differences, but we have been
socialized in different ways. One of the things that I talk about a lot
inside my program is how women are socialized to think certain ways about
loyalty. About what it means to be a good woman, about your roles in this
world as a woman, and the value we place on different roles like motherhood
and being a wife, things like that, and how infidelity can really challenge
those roles and really challenge what we think about ourselves.

It is the same for men, but I do think that it looks a little bit
different. I think for men it can hurt in different ways than it does
women. I think men want to be the provider in many instances, want to be
seen as the provider, the protector. And so when there is some form of
infidelity, it can feel to a man like he was not a good enough protector.
That in the way that women think of not being good enough, men do too, but
it does have a different spin on it. Men, I think take it personally in
different ways than women. For many men, it can really bruise the ego, and
women too. But for a lot of men it can really bruise the ego of wanting to
be the only one, of wanting to be the man, wanting to be taking care of
your wife and providing for all of her needs, and all of those things.

And so when your spouse steps away, it can feel quite like a big blow. It
can feel like a big blow to the ego. I know that just like women, part of
what men are navigating is some of the stories that you maybe have about
yourself that go way back to early years. Some of it may be really pushed
on. Some of those stories may be really activated, and raw, and exposed and
be very, very painful. Some of the work that I’ve done has been working
with men who they’re just devastated, and so hurt and feel much like my
female clients, “Why was I not enough?” It’s embarrassing for them to be
out in their communities knowing that their spouse cheated just like it is
for women. So some of these are the same. I just think that based on some
of the way that we are socially conditioned, we can interpret it a little
bit differently.

So first I just want to normalize that. That it hurts for men, it hurts for
women. That is normal. I also want to say that I want you, my male
listeners as you listen to my podcast, to just put yourself in wherever it
fits. I know that I’ve always had it mostly geared towards women, but I
know that there are many, many men out there who are experiencing it more
and more. So please take whatever is applicable to you.

Why are we seeing a rise in female infidelity? Part of the reason is
because one of the predictors of infidelity is opportunity. When there’s an
opportunity, it can be much easier to get pulled into. Not many years ago,
women were home, like most women were home raising children. There was not
a lot of opportunity to meet different people. Where the men had more
opportunity, they were out of the house. They were out and about
socializing, so the opportunity was there more for them at the time.

Now, women and men are out and about working with different people,
experiencing different things, and the opportunity has grown higher for
women. Therefore, we are seeing a rise in women that are having affairs, or
being involved in infidelity in one form or another. So this is common.
We’re seeing it all over, and personally I don’t think it’s going away. I
think that with the increase of all the technology that we have and some of
our faulty coping skills, or lack of, that people have or don’t have, I
think that we’re going to see more and more. And it’s a bummer because it
is such a painful thing for people, right?

Part of how I see my job is raising awareness around relationship patterns,
things that happen in relationships, to hopefully decrease in my own way,
in my own little corner to decrease some of it or to help couples to where
it never happens again. To help individuals so they’re never in
relationships where it happens again.

But you’re listening because it did happen and it probably felt like the
unthinkable. I know that you’re probably deeply, deeply hurt. I know that
it probably has threatened your manhood of being enough, being manly,
providing in all the ways for your spouse. And I want you to know that you
are normal to feel that way. I want you to know that this is a common way
of experiencing it, but it’s not necessarily true. I want you to look at
all the stories, all the things that you’re making it mean and push back on
them. And ask, “If it doesn’t mean that what else could be true? Or is
there anything else here that could be true besides this thing that I’m
making this all mean?”

The healing process looks pretty similar for both men and women because it
has to be an inside job. We cannot put all the expectation on the other
person to magically make us feel better and magically make us whole.
Because a lot of the stories that we are making it mean had nothing to do
with them. Just like a lot of the reasons why they stepped out of the
marriage had nothing to do with us actually. Is their own lack of coping
skills, their own lack of boundaries, their own lack of being able to say
no, of their own people pleasing, and things like that. And so part of the
growth here is for both parties to learn some of these relational skills,
learning to cope, learning to have stronger boundaries around places that
you’ll go and people that you’ll be with, things like that. And these
things need to be developed out together. It can’t be a one person thing. It
has to happen together.

For some of you men listening, you are trying to debate if you’re staying
or going. And the process looks similar of what I teach my women that there
may be stories about what it would mean if you left your spouse, if you are
some kind of failure, or giving up, or stories like that. I’m here to tell
you that your best bet in finding peace, whatever your decision is in
making that decision from a very calm, deliberate mind of going, “Do I
think I can honestly have the kind of marriage that I want here? Even with
this infidelity now, this is part of our history now. Can I have the kind
of marriage or relationship that I want? And if I can’t,” then getting
clear on what you want and making that decision from that space rather than
a bruised ego and leaving because your ego was bruised.

That might sound a little bit harsh, but I think that looking at the bigger
picture can help you get out of that immediate pain of a hurt and having
that ego bruised, and look to the bigger picture of what you might want to
create together. Okay, so first I wanted to speak to the men who have
experienced infidelity from their spouses.

Next, I want to speak to my male listeners who were unfaithful to my female
listeners. I want to say that in my five years of coaching, I’ve talked to
lots and lots of people. I’ve talked to the women who have their hearts
broken because their spouse was unfaithful. I’ve talked to couples, I’ve
talked to the one that was unfaithful, and I’ve learned some things that I
want to share with you. I’ve learned that one of the biggest challenges to
healing is overcoming your own shame. After making a decision like stepping
out of the marriage and betraying trust, it can be so easy to go to a place
of, “I’m a terrible person. What is wrong with me? How could I do this? How
could I have hurt her?”

They can be really, really easy to go there, which will pull you into so
much shame. And shame is an emotion that really does not serve us well
because it shuts us down. When we are struggling with shame, we are pulling
away from other people. So one emotion that we often have is contempt,
contempt towards another person. Shame is contempt towards ourselves. It’s
turned inward rather than outward. And the problem with shame is that you
cannot be the kind of spouse to your spouse when you are constantly in
shame because it is turned inward. There’s not room for you to open up and
to really feel other things like empathy, like compassion, like connection,
like love even. If you are turned inward in that shame place, there’s not
much that you can give your spouse where this is the emotion that’s leading
out.

Now, let’s talk about shame. Shame is an emotion that rather than seeing a
mistake was made, shame is you are just a mistake. You are a problem. Shame
is loud, it’s an aggressive emotion. It shuts us down from other people.
It’s very isolating. Shame thrives in secrecy. Oftentimes the earlier days
of affairs, what happens is people start going down the path of tiptoeing
into infidelity, and then they feel really guilty about it. And there’s a
lot of shame, and I’m a terrible person. And then rather than fixing it’s
like, “Well, I’ve already come this far and created such a monster. It’s
such a mess that what’s the point? It’s too late now. I might as well keep
going.” And this can be a real problem. And so it’s going to take a lot of
courage to learn how to contain shame.

It will be there. At times it will rear its head. But the more you can
learn to just sit with it and notice what it feels like in your body,
notice what you feel tempted to do when you’re feeling shame, notice what
happens with your spouse when you’re feeling shame. Do you lean away from
her or do you lean into her? My guess is that you lean away like, “Oh, I
need to be alone. I’m a loser.” So just noticing that.

Another thing that I really want to just point out is that all of us are
made of lots of different parts. We all have parts of us that are very
kind, very good, loyal. All of us have parts that are not so great. Maybe
mean, maybe petty, maybe selfish. We all do because we’re human beings
having this human experience. And part of that is a myriad of different
emotions, different ways of expressing ourselves.

Some of us have been taught to only express ourselves in certain ways, or
taught that if you do this, you’re good. If you do this, it’s bad, very
black and white. It is this way or it is that way, pretty rigid. For many
of you, you’re probably looking at the choices that you made and having
sweeping assumptions about yourself like, “I’m bad.” And what I want to
make sure that you know is that there’s a part of you that did some things
that you’re probably not too proud of. There’s a part of you that hates
that you did it, and that regrets it and that wishes so much that you could
have a redo.

What I want you to know is that you are made of many parts, and there are
many parts of you that are still good, and still intact. There are parts
that are good providers, that are loyal, that are trustworthy, that are
honest. There are parts and then there are other parts that you learned can
create a lot of pain for yourself and for others.

Part of your challenge in healing is going to be learning how to contain
those parts that feel so heavy, and so bad, and shameful, and really
learning how to speak to them so they’re not running the show. Part of you
that are still dealing with the repercussions, or maybe it’s ended but
you’re still really trying to navigate building something new. It’s going
to be the learning to manage these parts that’s going to be your
superpower, minimizing their impact, learning to contain them, learning to
set boundaries around them. Learning to know when one of these parts is
getting really loud and like, “You deserve this. You should be able to have
this. Look, your wife is this and this and this. You should be able to do
this.” And learning to be onto yourself and recognize it.

That will be your healing, that will be your growth, and it will be
developing that out. That will help your spouse learn to trust you. Because
they can see that you’re developing your ability to speak to these parts
that would lead you to paths that are not real healthy for you or for the
relationship. It’s learning to recognize and learning to do something
different.

I want you to know that this thing that you did does not define the whole
of who you are. You are good, you are capable, and you did something really
crappy. Okay? It doesn’t mean that you are terrible. It doesn’t mean that.
Both can be true at the same time. And the more that you can honor that
yourself, that you are a person who did some things that you really regret.
Some of you listening may go, “I never imagined, and how did they get to
this place doing things I never imagined.”

I want you to also hold in that same breath, the parts of you that are
good, the parts of you that are wise, the parts of you that you can still
count on. And you’re going to be using those parts to help nurture where
things went wrong, learning to manage urges when they come, learning to
manage uncomfortable emotions that are really big and really painful.
Learning to handle conversations that are really, really uncomfortable for
you without bailing. Being able to step into them and talk about things
that are really hard, being able to be a good listener even when it’s
really, really hard to hear. And sometimes it means being willing to stand
up for what is true and what is not true.

What I mean by that is that sometimes in the wake of infidelity, the person
who is betrayed is so desperate to find some kind of answer or trying to
make sense of it. And so they will dig for answers and push for answers.
And sometimes the things that their brains come up with might not be
accurate. And it can feel very uncomfortable to say, “No, that’s not it.
That’s actually not what this was about for me.” I encourage you to do
that. It will make you more trustworthy that you’re not just going to go
along with something just because to keep the peace.

Tell the truth. As you learn yourself different parts of what this was for
you, tell the truth. And even if it’s hard to hear in the moment, it will
make you a more trustworthy person.

Okay, so this is it for this week. I know that I have many listeners who
are not female. I want to make sure that you know that I’m aware of you,
that I think about you, that I have some things coming up that I think will
help you, different programs, different things that I think will help you.
But in the meantime, I wanted to make this episode just for you.

I will also invite anyone who has listened to this point to come register
for my free class, How to get your life back after infidelity. Whether you
leave or not, please come register. I have some dates coming up this month
and would love to see you on that call. You could register in the show
notes here under the podcast episode. You can also go to my website in the
Work With Me tab and scroll down to the bottom and there’s a page there.
You can go over to Instagram, go in my link to read there, and you can
register there as well. I’d love to see you. I’d love to hear from you.
Take care, and I will see you next time.

Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andriagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andriagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.

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Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.

Why was I not enough?

Does this question torment you? It did me too until I learned that the actions of my spouse had nothing to do with me, my worth, or my lovability. Click on the link below for a free guide that will teach you the 3 biggest lies about infidelity and why they are keeping you stuck.

Hi. I’m Andrea Giles and I am so glad you are here.

Not many years back I found myself in a life I didn’t recognize, feeling confused, sad, and so small. My “forever” marriage was in shambles, and I didn’t know if I could ever trust my own judgment again.  Through my faith and some great tools, I was able to completely change my life and find myself again. Now it is my mission to help others who are right where I was. Click the button below to read more about my story.