Pornography in marriages can feel threatening, shameful and impossible to overcome. In today’s episode, guests Lindsay and Danny Poelman share their story of overcoming the grip of pornography and creating a marriage much stronger than the one they had before.
For so many, porn use can feel crippling. Many men (and women) feel intense shame around porn use which ultimately keeps them stuck. In this episode, you’ll learn how changing the narrative around porn use and empowering the individual can transform a marriage.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the, Heal from Infidelity
podcast, episode number 34, Pornography and Trust with Lindsay and Danny
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 freedom 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.
Welcome to the podcast, everybody. I’m so glad you’re here with me today. I
have some special guests that I can’t wait to introduce to you. I’ve had
them in the works for a while. We’ve been talking about doing this for a
while. They are friends of mine and amazing, amazing coaches with an
amazing story. Their names are Danny and Lindsay Poelman. I’m going to let
them tell you about themselves and their experiences and how they came to
be coaches, what they coach on. And I know that you’ll find it very useful.
I’m just going to go ahead and turn it right over to you guys. Tell us who
you are. Tell us who you are, who you coach, and a little bit about your
life. Go ahead.
Hey. Awesome. Thanks Andrea, and [crosstalk 00:01:34].
Hey guys. Good to be here.
Thanks for that introduction.
Yeah. So my name’s Lindsey Poelman, and I’m a certified life coach. I went
to the same school as Andrea and I coach women wanting to move past the
pain of their husband’s porn use. Want to introduce yourself?
Yeah. I’m Danny Poelman. And I work with guys who want to quit porn and
want to do it in a sustainable way that they can actually learn to enjoy
and look forward to. It’s not just a drag, and let it go for good.
Yeah. So we’ll share our story, Andrea, but of course, because you know
your audience better than us, then feel free to just interject or interrupt
with any questions that you have as we go. Does that sound good?
Yep. Yep. Perfect.
So we, I don’t even know where to start. Where should we start?
Yeah, I was a dentist and we had all these plans and goals. We were young,
[braided 00:02:31] couple, we were on the move and moving, grooving. We had
the plan for her masters, for my dental school. We wanted to get into a
house, have kids and [crosstalk 00:02:43].
That typical check, we had that check the box type mentality, when we got
married, we met and we got married and we wanted to check off all those
boxes. So, degrees, advanced degrees, house in the nice neighborhood,
babies and all the things.
Yeah. It was fun. We were going for it. It was fun.
It was really fun.
A lot of the time, but then we get into dental school. And for me, I had
experimented with porn a little bit in the past. Hadn’t ever been a big
regular thing for me. But then when I was in dental school, Lindsay, she
was busier than I was because she was CPA working at an accounting firm,
one of the big four. And I just didn’t really know how to manage my stress
very well. And some of my alone time, I used porn as one of my coping
mechanisms. And [crosstalk 00:03:35].
And you had an injury too, did it get worse? His second year of dental
school, he got in a car accident and it messed up his back. So I don’t know
if it got worse, your porn habit, did it shift during that time too,
because you were home from school for-.
Yeah, that was also a tough time too.
Yeah. For me, it was, every time I did it was my last time. I didn’t want
to be doing it and I had so many times, every single time, like okay, never
again. But then I just found myself going back to it periodically and I was
stumped, I was frustrated. It’s not like I’m a lazy guy or a guy who
doesn’t have a sharp mind, I’m pretty motivated guy. And I know how to get
stuff done is how I felt. But then there’s this thing that’s like, what the
heck’s going on. And I was so ashamed of it. I didn’t want to tell anybody,
especially my wife, if there’s one person that’s the last person I would’ve
wanted to know on the planet earth, it was Lindsay.
So tell everyone why you didn’t want me to know, because I think there’s a
myriad of reasons why people don’t tell spouses. So tell us your reasons
for not [crosstalk 00:04:51].
Yeah. I didn’t even really know how to face it myself, the fact that this
existed, because I just assigned so much shame to it, but then, if there’s
one person that I want to think the world of me, it’s my wife, Lindsay. And
the idea of telling her this and seeing the reaction. And there was one
time early in our marriage, the first year, maybe second year, one of those
years where I did look at something for a few minutes and I told Lindsay
about it. I was like, hey, this happened and just wanted you to know and
I’m sorry. And I paid attention closely to her reaction and I didn’t know
how to handle her reacting that way either, because she was [crosstalk
Yeah. The first time you told me, I just shut down and I took it incredibly
personally and was literally just like, well obviously it’s because of me,
it’s because of me, it’s because of my body. It’s because I don’t look this
way. I don’t look that way. So I took it really personally and it probably
took me, it almost, because I didn’t have any tools or skillsets, I hadn’t
learned how to process emotions and handle the pain or anything like that.
It almost just took time for me to get back to some equilibrium. But I was
still a little bit worried about it, but then from there we made a plan for
him to just, I would check in on him occasionally with this random code
sentence. I don’t know what it was. And then [crosstalk 00:06:21].
How are you doing personally? Is what it is.
Yeah. Something like that. Yeah. That’s what he wanted and what we decided
Yeah. So she would ask me sometimes just randomly, but then in dental
school, I was in the spot where I remembered how she reacted and that was
hard for me with some of the ways I’d learned to show up in our
relationship. And so at this time I kept it to myself and I felt even more
terrible for doing that. But what happens with a lot of guys in my
experience, guys I work with, is there are so many disempowering ideas that
we’ve been fed and we’ve learned throughout our lives about sex and about
pornography, and just so many disempowering ideas. And I had a lot of those
in full force going on in my brain. But you can be in this spot as the guy
where, and this happens with a lot of guys, where it’s like you, first of
all, I was told that it would get easier once I’m married and sexually
active. I had church leaders tell me this.
And that’s a bunch of BS, in my experience, and I haven’t found anyone yet
or they’re like, yeah, for sure, it’s easier once you’re sexually active,
it actually is totally unrelated, surprisingly. But then if you have it in
your mind that as a guy, you have to have sex every so often, you just need
it, these ideas that are also made up stories, then you think about telling
your wife. And what a lot of women do, who aren’t fans of this, is they
withdraw and you’re actually less likely to have sex. So it’s like, if
you’re in this position where you think you need sex to not look at porn,
but then you tell your wife and she doesn’t want to have sex, then it’s
like, how am I going to look at porn? And then this can go on in [crosstalk
… brains. But then I think even more on top of, the thing that was the
bigger driver for me wasn’t that as much as just, I really didn’t want her
to be disappointed in me. I didn’t think I could handle her being
disappointed in me at that time.
Okay. Okay. So going back to something you said, Danny, about that
narrative that you grew up with that so many men grow up with around porn,
the comment you made about, well, once you’re sexually active, it won’t be
a problem anymore. And you said that they’re totally unrelated. Explain
more about that.
I just know. And even in my experience, looking back, there are times where
we would be intimate together and I maybe would’ve thought that it would’ve
been easier to not look at porn that week, but then maybe it was even the
same, or next day that it would happen. And the reason is because it all
starts in your brain, it’s just patterns in your brain. We give porn so
much power with how we’ve learned to think about it. But the way that I
like to describe it to people I work with is that porn actually has no
power. It just sits there. And it doesn’t jump out off of the screen and
come and get you or grab you. It just sits there. I like to think of it
like passing a billboard on a freeway. When you’re doing certain things as
a human, or driving on a freeway, you’re going to pass certain billboards
on the way.
But the billboard doesn’t come and get you. You get to choose, do I get off
the exit and go over and sit by that billboard for a while? Or do I just
see that’s a billboard just sitting there and there it is, and moving on,
passing on, drive right by. But yeah, the reason it’s unrelated is just
because it has to do all with our thought patterns. So for a lot of guys,
what they’re doing with porn is using it as a buffer where rather than feel
their feelings, which is something a lot of us aren’t taught how to do.
Let’s look at porn. And oh, I feel a bad add feeling or uncomfortable.
Something’s gone wrong. Got to get away from this. And here’s something
that at least makes me think I feel differently for a little while.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Yep.
That’s how I would start talking about it. Would you add anything?
No. No, I was just thinking, because I feel like you can say that today
because of everything that you’ve learned, but why did it feel like you
didn’t have control when you were looking at porn?
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, the initial technique, or tactic that a lot of us use
for stuff like this is willpower. That’s white-knuckle and fight against
these urges and cravings with willpower. And so number one, you have this
craving that comes in. But then number two, when we start, when our only
way of addressing those cravings is to fight against it with a limited
resource, like willpower that does run out in our brains till we sleep, or
eat, or replenish it, however we need to, then it actually makes it harder
to quit because then it creates this pattern where, okay, instead of doing
something more productive and learning how to sit with an urge, and this is
a skill that I teach my clients, how do you sit with this urge and allow it
to be there and learn all of the, to let go of all the thought patterns you
have that have made it hard to process or metabolize this urge without
reacting to it.
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
And it’s an incredible game changer type of skill that most guys, when they
start learning it, that’s when they really start gaining some momentum,
it’s a new thing for a lot of guys. Okay.
But when you use the willpower approach, you create all this resistance and
then it runs out eventually, and it’s exhausting, and really uncomfortable
to do it this way. And then you end up usually looking at porn anyway. And
so you get that dopamine, concentrated dopamine reward from the porn, and
you’ve rewarded this whole other pathway that actually rewards your brain
for creating that resistance right away the next time an urge comes. Okay.
So rather than just having the urge and then respond to the urge and reward
that pathway with the dopamine, that’s the first pathway, we’re also on top
of that rewarding our brain for doing the willpower fight technique, which
leaves us exhausted without willpower left. And then we cave in anyway. And
so then it’s two of these patterns on top of each other that, yeah, make
it, that’s usually when guys feel like they’re out of control, they just
don’t have control. And then with what we’re talking about today, it’s one
of the big reasons why guys don’t trust themselves with this kind of thing.
Yeah. I’m sure feels out of their control sometimes. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Yeah. I just remember being so confused and frustrated and like seriously
again, again. And after certain number of times you just start wondering,
is something wrong with me? Even with 12 steps and some of the ideas out
there, maybe I am defective, maybe I’m diseased, maybe I’m broken somehow,
or maybe I’m just powerless and that powerless type of mentality that
didn’t work for me long term. For me, it was much more helpful to tap into
my already existing power that I just didn’t know how to access yet.
Yep. It’s always there.
And it’s also a big part of what I do with guys. But I remember with, when
it came to the trust side of things, because I had gotten so deflated from
not trusting myself in this way, and I started wondering, can I trust
myself in other ways? I don’t know, because I thought I could, but maybe I
can’t and I’m just second guessing myself. So then once I involve Lindsay
in the conversation and she’s aware of what’s going on more, I think
there’s what happens with a lot of guys, and for myself, is part of you
wants her to trust you, to soften the blow of you not trusting yourself.
That makes sense?
It’s almost like we want them to trust us for us.
And if that’s what we bank on, then even if she does choose to trust you
before you choose to trust yourself, you’re still going to be left with the
same insecurities and doubts and second guessing of yourself. And that’s
another big thing that comes up with most of my clients, is how do we learn
to trust ourselves?
Yeah. For sure.
I love that work.
Yeah. And I think from my perspective too, he talked to me about the porn
really early on in our marriage. I think it was the first year. And then we
had our little plan where you ask the unclear question to get the unclear
Yeah. Or not making eye contact, just-.
I love it. Yes. Yes.
So, for me, I felt like there was betrayal in the sense that I had been
asking how he’d been doing and he’d been telling me no. And then, he came
and told me that he was looking at porn and he’d been lying to me about it.
And so that was a big blow for me because I felt like we’d just bought the
house in the nice neighborhood, I just had my third, we had a three month
old, a two year old and a four year old. And so the fact that I was like
postpartum made it hard too, because I was like, oh, of course, he tells me
now where, because I really did think it was all about me. So, of course,
he tells me when my body looks like this or like this.
And so I was taking all of that blame and then definitely, I felt like, at
the time because this was all pre-coaching, and before I found the tools
that really helped me feel more powerful and empowered. It had felt like
some major trust had been broken, because I think with trust there’s a
very, all or nothing approach to it, either or, all or nothing. And so I
was letting something that Dan here, my husband was doing maybe 0.0005% of
our marriage. It started making me question 100% of my marriage like, what
else isn’t true? What else did I miss it? How could I miss this? If I
missed this, what else have I missed? And so that’s, I started going that
direction and [crosstalk 00:17:25].
It was the same direction I was going myself in my mind, if I can’t
… myself in this one area, then maybe I can’t anywhere.
So, we were all [crosstalk 00:17:36].
We were both not trusting me.
Yeah. Yeah. So it was pretty tough for a while. And then, after he told me,
within a week of telling me he started having panic attacks and a bunch of
anxiety and depression and childhood trauma came to a head and he stopped
working, which just, to me just felt like another sucker punch at that
time. I was like, what? But what it also did was it put the pornography
stuff on the back shelf while we worked on getting him more stabilized with
meds and things like that.
And from there he started going to their therapy. About five months later,
I started going to therapy, because in the beginning I didn’t want to get
help, because I didn’t think it was my problem. And I remember when he
first told me about the porn use, a friend of ours was like, there’s this
program through the church for women. There’s a 12 steps for women. And
you’ll have to tell me what your thoughts are, Andrea, because my brain was
like, why do I have to do anything?
This is his thing. He needs to fix things. Why do I have to go through all
I completely agreed. I was like, let’s fix me so you can be happy.
And I was like, let’s fix that so we can go back to normal.
Did you even do any 12 steps type stuff when you were going through what
you were going through?
No, I didn’t do 12 steps, but I went to a lot of therapy specific to
betrayal trauma. So it was very much in the area that I was struggling in.
And I remember having that same thought, why do I have to do all this work?
I didn’t do this. Why do I have to do this work? And I hear that from when
I have calls with people who are first starting with me and not quite
understanding how empowering it is that they’re giving themselves so much
power that will help them for the rest of their lives. But it definitely is
a shift to say this, what do I want my experience to be? And owning that
piece that, but yeah, go back to what you were saying. So, how did you come
to terms with that? Did you go to the 12 steps? Did you choose something
else? What did you decide?
So I went to some 12 steps. It took me a while to go to 12 steps, Andrea,
because I was so ashamed. And I was so ashamed because I just, I had heard
friends who had talked about their husbands looking at porn.
Or being sex addicts. And I remember being like, wow, that’s not me. Thank
Isn’t that interesting?
Totally playing into that, but then it was just like, how is happening?
So it was all with my lens before I know everything that I know now, but so
that’s really where I was. So I was ashamed. But after about, I would say a
year and a half, I was doing pretty well in my healing. And I thought, I’m
curious about this, but what I did notice is that it bred connection, there
was a lot of connection. And for me personally, I just, there was no, it
was like, I don’t want to… I don’t know. It just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t
helping me with my healing. And that doesn’t mean it doesn’t help other
people with their healing. I just know for me specifically, I was hungry
for more. It was like, there just has to be more. And that’s when I found
coaching. And that’s when I started just seeing how much power I could have
and how I feel around this instead of being completely reactive around his
porn use, or his lack of porn use, or he’d stopped working, his working,
his not working.
The coaching helped me just really turn inward to see what I could do, what
I could control. And that changed everything for me.
Yeah. Lindsay, I remember you telling me at one point that you had people
giving opinions. I’m sure Danny did too.
I’m sure you both had people giving you all kinds of opinions about what to
do. You should do this, you should bail. And that’s what a lot of my
clients deal with, is these thoughts of, well, what self-respecting woman
would stay? That kind of thoughts, really punishing to themselves, shame
around staying, shame around leaving shame, or [crosstalk 00:21:56].
… much shame, so much shame, just around the whole narrative, so much
shame. And so tell me for you, how were you able to set down the things
that were being told to you and really go inside to what you wanted?
Such a good question, because in the beginning it was very, I was very
externally focused and I had seen families like break up over things like
this. That’s what they say.
People will peg the porn you use, or the affair as the thing when there’s
usually so much more going on. And so there was a lot of fear there, but
interestingly, because his mental health was, I don’t know if fragile is
the word, but because he was very non-functioning. We again, I shoved the
porn stuff because that’s where we were focused on just helping him like
stay alive, get meds, fall asleep, stay asleep, all of that stuff. Because
of that, I just, pretty early on, just trimmed the fat of my life.
Everything I thought I knew, it’s like I created my own new foundation of
what things were going to look like. And I was really struggling at this
time too. Actually, there’s a lot of foggy times too. But what I will say
is that just a lot of stuff I’ve been told, I decided that I just had to
carve out my own marriage and my own life in the way that it works for me
and my family.
So I felt like even at the very beginning, when he had his mental breakdown
and stopped working, even at the beginning it was like, I just had to
decide for me what that was going to look like. And so then when, once he
was stabilized, more stabilized in figuring stuff out and able to get more
specialized therapy, I think I just continued on that, my own little
trajectory, my own little path. I felt like I just had to carve out my own
path, because yeah, there were people telling me to bail, and there were
people saying that this isn’t fair to you. And I was gaining a lot of
weight. So people, especially when people that loved me, they had the best
intentions, but they were they were physically seeing the difference in me,
but they, again, they didn’t know what I knew, and they didn’t what
marriage I had. And they didn’t know we have this history together that has
been, it had been really good.
And so even though it felt like, at the time, the pendulum had swung
completely to the other side, as far as what I knew, what I thought I knew,
I wanted to continue to work on myself to see where things leveled out. So
I could make a really clear decision moving forward about what I wanted for
me and for my marriage. And he was, he got to do the same thing too.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Perfect.
I think what I would chime in here is, I remember paying attention to all
these people’s advice too, and I’d paid attention throughout my life
really, things you hear about guys who struggle with porn and marriage and
divorce. And I would listen to Lindsay, whenever that subject came up
between her and someone and I was in earshot, I’d be like, what are they
And usually it was something like, oh yeah, divorce. A lot of times it’s
just, there’s so much jumping to the conclusion of divorce. And so I just
remember when I did decide to open up to you about what had been going on
for several years at that point, I thought for sure, I was going to be on
the curb that night, or kicked out of the house and that I might get
divorced. And I thought all the things most important to me would just be
gone suddenly. And it felt like one of the more courageous things I’ve done
in my life, to open up to her that day, I just decided, it’s just time, but
I was freaking out, man. I thought it was all going to be taken away. And
there was part of me that believed I deserved to have it taken away. I feel
very differently about that now. But at the time, man, painful spot to be
So why did you tell her? What was it that mustered up the courage to go
Oh man. Why did I? I was at a point in my life where I’d reached a lot of
my big goals. We had our third kid, got a new house. I was becoming a
really good dentist, about to buy a practice. I was this close to buying a
dental practice, because I wanted to own a practice. And we were doing the
thing, I was going to church doing home teaching for those of you who are
LDS. And I was still, all the stuff that I assumed would feel better once I
reach all these goals didn’t, and it was very disappointing. And so I was
like, okay, maybe I need to figure out the porn thing. And I was also at a
point where I was just like, I need to know, I just want to know. I’m in
this marriage where I do, I love her and she loves me, but I want to know
too, if she knows everything about me, do we still have what I think we
have? There’s part of me that wanted to know, felt like it was worth it to
let the truth be told.
And so I told her, and I remember that day I was, I texted her and said,
hey, I want to talk to you tonight. That was my way of roping myself into
telling her something.
I sent her a text [crosstalk 00:28:02].
No backing out.
Yeah. I need to talk to you about something [crosstalk 00:28:04].
And I thought, I remember thinking I was in trouble, it’s like uh-oh. Did I
forget to return something, or?
Yeah. So then I [crosstalk 00:28:14].
… kids were down for bed. I ripped off the Band-Aid, and told her, and
there was some sobbing involved, and mainly on my side [crosstalk
On his part.
… that night. Her sobbing came later.
Yeah. My style, I think is more like a shutdown, so I disassociated, but
then once he left the room, I let it all out [crosstalk 00:28:34].
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Yeah. But I didn’t die. There was a lot of anxiety leading up to it and
after, I felt relieved after telling her and, yeah. So that’s what was
going on in my brain that day. And I was fully prepared for it to be a
divorce, or get out of here thing, and here we are today, years later and
we’re happier together than we ever have been right now. And I think a lot
of what we have now wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t go through what we
went through then. And it’s amazing to see that from this side of things,
that perspective. And I always wished I had a little bit more of that
offered to me at that time instead of just hearing the divorce narrative.
Yeah. And the thing is too, everywhere I looked, because when we were going
through this, there just weren’t a lot, I didn’t feel like there were a lot
of resources for me, but, and you’ll have to speak for yourself if you want
to. But everywhere I was looking, whether it was coming from very
specialized professionals, I was basically being told, this will always be
a thing you guys deal with, the rest of your life. And I remember asking,
but really? Always? It’s always going to be like this. And to hear
professionals look at me, and be like, yeah, sorry.
Sex addiction, certified therapists [crosstalk 00:30:06].
So I think, to be in this space where it actually isn’t a thing anymore and
we’re living this marriage that, and it wasn’t easy. There was a lot of
work and it took both of us turning inward, to get to stabilize ourselves
in a way so that we could come together interdependently. So it took work.
And I think because we both wanted it, we definitely are more committed,
more happy. Everything is better than I could have even pictured.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
I like what you said too about taking ownership, like you know what?
There’s different advice coming from different directions, even from
therapists, who have experience with this, but I still, for me, need to
decide. And that’s something that came up for me too, along the way. I did
all different kinds of therapy for several years and did a lot of healing
through that time. But the porn stuff was still, I was still stuck on that.
So I took on coaching, and I was just at this point as, I felt, I think a
lot of times we want someone else to come and show us the way and just tell
us how to do it.
It sounds so nice.
I found myself craving, where’s the guy I can look up to on this that can
just come in and tell me exactly what to do and how to do it, and who’s
living the life I want for me. But I remember this point where I realized
one day I was just like, you know what? Instead of waiting for this guy, or
trying to find this guy, what if I’m just that guy for me? What if I’m, I
lead off for me? And I can become the role model that I want for me. You
know what I mean?
And that was a really empowering shift for me. I remember even as a
dentist, the easiest people to treat well, are the people who really take
ownership in their own care. And even for medical doctors, the same thing.
If you take ownership, you’re going to get better treatment. And it’s the
same thing with this type of stuff. If you’re willing to just take the
wheel and be in the lead, then you’re going to get so much more out of it.
You’re going to get more what you ultimately want out of it. And yeah, that
was a important shift for me.
I can hear how even just acknowledging that you had the capacity to lead
out, that I can be in charge, I bet, I’m guessing that felt so empowering
to you rather than I’m just, I have no choice, but just to defer to all of
these other people who are the experts.
And then turning inward and letting yourself be the expert. That’s so
I hear a lot from people who listen to my podcast, people email me and say,
I really want to stay. I want to stay, I want to make it work, but they’re
not convinced that they can make it work and really be free from some of
the stories that they’re telling that are really painful. And I’m guessing
both of you probably have dealt with that, of going, Lindsay, will this
always just be a thing that just hovers, will always just be there? And I
know, for me, I work with women who have experienced infidelity, but for
some of them, pornography is a big piece of the picture. So we have a lot
of overlap. So what would you say to these women who, when you say it’s
better than you ever imagined, better than ever was before? Why is that?
Honestly, I think it’s just because of a series of many, many paradigm
shifts that I had over time that have had a radical compound effect. And
I like it.
… what that really means, Andrea, is taking ownership more often than
not. And shifting that ratio of taking more ownership, turning inward and
just asking yourself really good questions, because for me, it was like, I
remember being just telling myself, there has to be more, if there’s more,
I want it, I will claw myself up and out of any hole if there is more. So,
my brain was turned on and looking for that. And because I was in that
space where even though at that time I didn’t have the skills, but I had
sent out the feelers. Once I found a life coach and started hearing things
that were new to me, I was like, whoa, this is different. But then if any
of this is true, I have to know more. And then it just went from there.
What are some of the paradigm shifts with trust specifically that happened
With trust? I would say, that’s actually a great question, because trust, I
think trust is such an interesting word that we use, because I think it’s
just a very fluid term, but what I realized is it really did have so much
less to do with Danny than I could have ever known. And if someone would’ve
told me that in the beginning, I would’ve been like, no.
You can walk out that door, just turn around. Just go.
It’s all Danny. Yes.
But I got to my low, my low, my rock bottom. And I just remember telling
myself, I just have to start trusting in what I can control and that’s
myself. And so then I was developing and honing in on my own self-trust.
And because of that, there was so much, I didn’t have to be thinking about
what he was doing all the time, because I was taking care of me in this way
that I never had before. And it’s not always easier. I think it’s easier
for us to think that someone has to behave a certain way for us to feel the
way that we want to feel, because I think when we talk about trust, we’re
looking to feel safe. We’re looking to have some certainty or some safety,
and we think that it’s outside of us.
And what I want to offer to anyone listening, even if it feels like I’m
from another planet, you can create what you’re looking for with your
brain, as soon as you’re ready, once you’re open to it, you can create
that. And a lot of it comes, and even if spouses are still looking or not
looking, or still cheating on you. What we can start trusting is that we
will know how to respond. We will know how to keep ourselves safe. We will
know how to show up, and we will know how to be the person to make the
decisions that we want to make if those things happen, or if they don’t
Perfect. Thank you.
Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. So tell me now, moving forward, tell me where you guys
are now. So first of all, to my listeners, they live in France, because
they just decided they want to. So they moved to France. I love it. Remind
me how long you guys have been there?
Three and a half years.
No, two and a half years.
Two and a half.
Yeah, this is our third school year with our kids. So two and a half years.
Okay. Two and a half years. Okay. So, I want to grab something you just
said, Lindsay. So you talked about when you’re working on yourself, you
worded it really beautifully, but when you’re working on yourself, what you
bring back into the relationship it’s a much more solid sense of self. It’s
a belonging to yourself first and then bringing that to your partner. And I
want to hear from you, I know I have my experience to draw on, I had the
same experience when I, early on in marriage where, even the word
pornography, I would feel anxiety around.
Yeah. Me too.
And we’d have meetings with our leaders, our Bishop, our state president,
meetings where, would really harp on it and go home and so much fear, just
so much fear around it.
And so I remember, I had a similar experience as you, where early, early
on, my first husband mentioned something to me and I had the exact same
response where I was just like, oh, it must be me. I must not be good
enough. I really made it about me. And as the years progressed, his comment
to me was, I remember later on when so much stuff came out, that he was
worried about how I would respond, and that he was scared of how I would
respond. So with that, how did you get to the point where you could stand
there and hear it, and hear it and stay in the same space with Danny, not
retreat, not run away, not that it felt great. I’m sure you had felt
things, but how were you able to stand there with him and move through
Oh, such a good question. What came to my mind, as you said that, is almost
this, it’s weird. You took me back to this place and time. But honestly, I
got to this space, Andrea, where I just loved myself a lot and I supported
and sustained myself so that when he did tell me, even if it came off,
there might have been times where he told me and he may have wanted me to
console him or help him. If I didn’t have that capacity, it was like, I
loved myself enough to know that I didn’t have to be that person for him,
and that I could take all the space in the world to take care of myself in
whatever way that looked like. So, with my clients, you’ll have to tell me
about yours, we have safety plans set up and ways that they can take space
to ground themselves back into the present moment.
And so then whatever we are hearing, if we know we can always get ourselves
back to this grounded present space, even if it’s present in pain, or
discomfort, or discouragement, then we can at least let it pass through us.
And so I think just developing out my unconditional love for myself, the
way that I feel like my heavenly father loves me, I don’t know why I’m
getting emotional, thinking about that, but developing that out for me
helped me support myself on those really tough days.
And Danny gave me the space to not trust him, or to trust him. There was
never any requirement from his end, why can’t you just trust me? Or why
can’t you respond the way I want you to, and he totally could have, and he
didn’t, and some people do that and some people don’t, but when we’re,
again, when we’re turning inward, no matter what they’re saying, or not
saying, or needing or not needing, we can really just sustain ourselves in
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So beautiful.
What do you think? What about you?
I would say the same thing that over time, you guys know my marriage ended
in divorce, but for me, the work that I’ve needed to do, even to be present
in my current marriage, that’s the mistake we make is thinking, oh, I just
need to bail. I need to get out. And then I’ll find somebody who doesn’t do
these things, or I’ll just be alone. But our brains come with us to the
party. And until we do this work and learn how to speak differently, those
stories come along with us.
And so for me, it has been necessary for me to do this work. I also did a
lot of therapy. I did a lot. And like Lindsay said, when I started hearing
about coaching, what is this? It caught my attention so loud. This is
different. And I knew I needed more and I just couldn’t get enough of it,
because it made such big shifts for me so quickly, just so quickly that I
was able to let go of these stories that I’d been packing around for 20
years or longer, just like that.
And so for me, same thing, the more I learn, to bet on me, that it gives me
freedom to experiment with the things around me, to not need to control
outcomes, to not need to know how things are going to go, because I know
that no matter what, I got me and I’m okay, and I can take care of myself.
I don’t need to micromanage. I don’t need to be monitoring, or things like
that. That even extends to my kids. It gives me freedom with my children
and how I discuss things with them. It’s this shift of letting people take
ownership for their lives and me taking full ownership for mine. And really
it does come down to that love for yourself, which is so powerful and
beautiful. Danny, I have a question for you.
So, can men stop doing pornography? Can they stop?
It’s possible. It is possible. It does not always have to be a problem. You
can feel empowered, you can feel proud when you hear word pornography, you
can feel in the driver’s seat and accomplished, and absolutely it is
possible. And this is something, when I meet with people, if you’re making
decisions about how to approach your problem with pornography, if you’re
making it from a, it’s not possible type of mindset. You’re not going to
make decisions that help you get where you want to get with it, whereas if
you are in the mindset, no, it is possible. And I’m just going until I get
it. Then you’re going to make decisions that take you there. And not all
your decisions are going to be the perfect thing for you right away, but
let that be part of it. It’s, this is a big thing that I do with my
clients, it’s how do we play the long game?
Let’s play the long game. Take massive action and just decide, you know
what? We’re acting as though it is possible. And we’re going to take action
and go, make as many mistakes as we need to, till we get there. We’ll just
go until it happens. And self love. Can I just add an amen to what you both
If there’s not one like, just you’re all type of thing out there,
self-love, that’s part of what helps you start being willing to play the
long game with yourself like with an endeavor like this. If you cultivate
that self-love, you know what? I am worth this effort, I’m more playing the
long, I am more sticking with as a husband and as a father. Yeah. Maybe
I’ve looked at porn, but I’m still worth it.
I love that.
That type of mentality didn’t come naturally to me, but it’s gone a long
way. And then I would just add for this audience, I know our time’s coming
to a close, real quick. Lindsay found coaching before I did. And I was slow
to take it up. But part of what made me want to go dive in is seeing the
impact it had on her. And although I am a big reporter of, you can figure
this out guys, even if she never gets help, you can, okay. That being said,
her finding coaching, and getting that help and seeing the way it impacted
her, it felt very helpful just for me to have the space to figure out my
stuff that much more.
Even though I could have done it without that, it was really helpful for
me, for her to get that help.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Beautiful.
Just thought I’d add that in here.
Yeah. And vice versa too. You can totally, for women, you can totally get
to a place of peace, empowerment, confidence, whatever it is that you’re
looking for, you can feel lighter, you can feel free, and you can do it
whether he stopped stopping or not stopping.
And then it can happen. And sometimes it does open up that space. It’s also
really wonderful too, but it doesn’t have to, that doesn’t have to happen
for you to find every emotion that you’re looking for.
I so appreciate you saying that because I think that where some of our
clients can get stuck is in looking outside and watching for every little
thing, every clue. And one of the ways that I’d like to explain it is, it’s
like when we’re trying to lose weight, for example, or excuse me, when
we’re trying to get healthy, let’s say the goal is to get healthy. If
you’re changing your patterns, your habits to become a healthy person,
weight loss is a byproduct. And I feel like it’s similar to the work that
we do that when our goal is to strengthen ourselves and to learn to trust
ourselves, and learn to deeply love ourselves, the decision making process
becomes so much easier. The way shows up before us, we just know this is
what I need to do. Sometimes for some of my clients, it means ending a
marriage. Sometimes it means committing to a marriage, going all in on it.
But the decisions become so much clearer coming from that space of trusting
Yeah. And I think too, real quick, could you imagine trying to figure out,
like you said, changing your eating habits to get healthier, and having
someone looking over your shoulders, and having all of their emotions right
on that, whether you figure it out or not, and that’s the thing [crosstalk
… a lot of these guys, they haven’t, it’s a mental skillset they haven’t
learned. And [crosstalk 00:48:02].
Yeah. It’s a skill. You’re not lying there.
… when we’re looking at that and we’re like [crosstalk 00:48:02].
… we’re like, ride that unicycle tomorrow, or else.
I’m out. Yeah.
That can be scary. And having someone watching you try, being all totally
invested, whether you do or not, I’m not saying it’s a problem, but I will
say having the space to do that individually [crosstalk 00:48:30].
… my own work individually was really nice.
Beautiful. I love it.
And I wanted you to have the help and support. I wanted you to be okay.
For sure. For sure. Mm-hmm (affirmative). We are already out of time. I
could sit forever and just, this is a great conversation. Yeah. It’s been
really, really good. I know that my clients will, or my listeners will
really appreciate this conversation. So, tell us where they can find you to
learn more about you.
Yeah. So for women looking for help around this, or men looking for help
around this too, I have some gay clients, you can find me at
lindsaypoelman.com, Lindsaypoelmancoaching.com, P-O-E-L-M-A-N.
Yeah. And then for me, we have separate websites right now. So we do one on
one with our clients. And for me, it’s www.dannypoelman.com. You can go to
Make sure you spell Poelman. P-O-E-L-M-A-N.
Yeah. And there’s good resources on both of our websites too.
Awesome. All right. Well, thank you [crosstalk 00:49:35].
Thanks for having us on.
… do you have anything, any last words you’d like to leave my listeners
I would just say nothing, whoever you are, if you’re going through
anything, you are not crazy. There’s nothing crazy or wrong with you. No
one is, you’re not defect, you are perfectly whole right now. And if you
have the desire for change to happen, it is absolutely 100% possible.
Perfect. Thank you. Danny, how about you?
Sure. I’d just say, you know what? It’s okay to have this problem and
you’re worth getting help, and it is possible to have a porn-free life.
Absolutely. And it doesn’t have to be a big, miserable battle. You can
actually learn to not want porn and reduce the desire from the inside out,
so it can actually become easy eventually, even.
So amazing. So amazing. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here,
you too. Thank you so much. And I will catch up with you later.
Of course. Thanks Andrea.
See you later.
You bet. Thank you. All right. Bye-bye.
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
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