For many people, D-day, or discovery day (the day they found out about their spouse’s infidelity) is a heavy, traumatic day. When they have the anniversary of that day coming up, it can fill them with dread.
In this episode, I’ll be sharing ways to think about discovery day that can bring relief, and even hope.
It does not have to be an awful day. It can be a day with some emotion as you remember what happened, but it can be many other things as well.
Listen to this week’s episode to learn how to think about this (and other) potentially hard days in ways that help you move forward.
To learn more from me, be sure to get on my email list here.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 104, Re-imagining Discovery Day.
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 free 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.
Hello everybody. I am here recording this podcast on the Monday morning
following Thanksgiving. I usually try to get this to my producer earlier,
and this time there’s just a lot going on. We had all 12 of our children…
All 12 come home for Thanksgiving this year. One of them, my daughter, who
lives in New York, had to leave the morning of Thanksgiving to get back to
work the day after, but she was there for a few days before Thanksgiving,
so it was awesome. We have 12 children, four children in-laws and three
grandchildren, and we had them all at our house. Anyway, today I’m home
getting back into the swing of things, but my daughter is sick, my little
baby girl, and she’s not feeling well. But I wanted to get this out the
door to you.
So today I want to talk about something important, but before I do, I want
to say just that I had some moments of reflection in this last week as I
looked at our huge blended family and shared with my huge blended family
how proud I am of all of us for making it work. When we came together, my
husband had five kids, I had six very different lives, living in different
places, all kinds of different things going on. And to be all together, to
have our adult children want to come together, want to be with each other,
it’s just such a gift. I’m so grateful. I had lots of moments of just awe
at our family and how far we’ve come.
Anyway, today I want to talk about reimagining discovery day. To start into
this, I want to talk about a client of mine. A few weeks ago on a group
call. One of my clients said that her one year discovery day anniversary
was coming up and that she was nervous about it. And then she said
something that was really profound. She said that she was nervous about it,
but that she also knew that it was the start of a much more honest marriage
and life, and that there was part of her that felt hopeful about that
anniversary day, that discovery day was the start of something new and
better for both of them.
So I went away from that really thinking about what we make discovery day
mean, and I just want to dive into all of that today and shed some light on
what is possible around that day. Okay. So first of all, what is discovery
day? Or as many call it D-Day? I never really talked about my own
anniversary days that way. I remembered the days that I found things out,
but it’s in the betrayal, trauma, therapy and things like that where they
talk about D-Day. But a lot of my clients come and use that term, and so
I’m going to use it too here. It just refers to discovery, the day that you
found out that your spouse or partner was being unfaithful in some way.
Okay. That’s what it means.
For a lot of people talking about that day, fills them with dread. Talking
about anniversaries of that day, fills them with dread. And I want to give
you some other context to put it in. Okay. When I was single, I went to
this retreat that was specifically for betrayal, trauma surrounding sexual
things, sexual kinds of betrayal. I went to this retreat, it was several
days long, and one of the presenters there is pretty famous in the betrayal
trauma space, Dr. Kevin Skinner, and he brought this monitor thing that he
attached to you and to your heart, and he asked for a volunteer, and I was
the volunteer. I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” I raised my hand. And what he
did is he attached it to my heart and I think to my finger and things like
that, and he asked me to tell the group about the day that I learned about
everything happening in my marriage, just to tell my story essentially.
And you could see as I was talking that my heart rate went up. You could
see that it was accelerating. You could see it on his little machine. So
even though I had done a lot of personal work around my story, it still
made my heart rate rise to talk about it. And that is the case for many
people that it can bring them to this place that feels fearful or sad or
panicky or things like that. He did comment that my heart rate was much
lower than many other people, that it was slightly elevated, and then he
went around the room and had other people volunteer, and theirs was much
more elevated than mine. And I think that, that’s just because I had done a
lot of work around it, around retelling my story, but clearly there was
still some anxiety around it.
So one other piece here to keep in mind is that for many, many people, it’s
not a one and done thing. It’s like there’s the initial discovery, and then
there are little many discoveries following or other big discoveries
following. For many people, it’s like a trickle where they get a little
information, get a little more information. That’s very, very common. That
was most definitely my experience. It was never a, “Here, this is
everything.” It was a trickle. So for some of you, it may feel like there
was the initial discovery, and then there were many more after that. Okay.
So I want to ask you to take a minute and answer this question for
yourself. Have you ever had a time in your life when something happened
that seemed like the worst thing ever and ended up being a great blessing
for you? You just didn’t know it in the moment? Take a minute, maybe even
pause this podcast and think about it. Once you identify an experience, I
want you to answer for yourself why it ended up being something good for
you. What came from it that you could not possibly imagine at the time?
As I was preparing this episode, I was thinking about, “What about me? What
about times in my life that have turned out to be the best thing ever for
me?” One of them was when I moved right before my junior year of high
school. I went to a high school my freshman and sophomore year. That was
really good. I had really great friends. I had made it into the school’s,
really elite choir that I loved. I had made it in my sophomore year, and I
had two more years left of it, and I loved it so much, and I knew I’d be
moving to a place that did not have anything like that. It’s not a huge
town, but much bigger town in Oregon called Corvallis and moved from
Corvallis over to the Oregon coast to Waldport, tiny town. Okay. Tiny town,
and I was sad.
I struggled with it, but I went anyway, of course with my parents, and it
ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. I got really
involved. I joined the cross country team. I ended up my senior year being
nominated as the cross country team captain. I ended up being nominated
after living there for a year to be the student body president, and I was
the student body president my senior year. I ended up being a foreign
exchange student to Germany. All these different things that came because
of this experience and being willing to jump into it, to really dive into
it. Just so many experiences. So many friendships that I still to this day
have, people that I still keep in touch with, really amazing, wonderful
people. And I wouldn’t have had any of that had I not gone or if I went and
had a bad attitude.
So I look back at that experience as one where I in part learned that I was
a leader in that town. I learned that I have the ability to lead, that I
have that people pay attention to me and that I have influence. I learned
that in that tiny little town, and it was something that I really needed at
that time. I felt small at the other school, and I was able to really
blossom and be more of myself in this new place. For you, it might be
things like a loss of a job. It could be the death of a loved one. It could
be divorce. It could be an estranged relationship with somebody. Any kind
of thing that feels really hard that you don’t want, something that you
didn’t choose that you don’t want. When we are in those things, we can’t
easily see beyond them. It’s hard to see. We just don’t know quite what is
available to us. Okay.
Back to infidelity. If you’re like most people, the day that you found out
about the infidelity was a day that probably rocked your world, probably
rocked your very foundation. Things just were not what you thought they
were. You know very intimately how hard that day was for you. So today I
want to spend some time imagining what could be as you face the
anniversaries of discovery day and other days that are associated with the
infidelity. Now, in any situation, there are the facts of the situation.
There’s the event itself, the thing that happened. Okay. There’s the facts.
Then there is a meaning that we attach to the facts or to the event, and
then outside of that is our awareness of the meaning.
So initially there’s the discovery. For many of you, like I said, a series
of discoveries not in one fell swoop but trickled out over time. Then there
is the initial meaning that we attach to it. For example, I can’t recover
from this. I will never be the same. Our marriage can never be the same. It
can never be fixed. I can’t be married to him. I must not be enough. I’ll
never trust him again. He just doesn’t want me. Okay. All the meaning. Now,
when we stop there, and that does not go checked, it goes unchecked. We
stay in those meanings and they become like a new event. In our minds, we
make them the facts. This thing happened, therefore, this meaning and this
meaning now becomes our truth in our mind. We believe the meaning just as
much as we believe the actual facts of the situation.
I’m asking you to push past that. What if there’s meaning that is
unexplored because you are stuck in the meaning of it being this awful
thing that you can never come back from. What if you’re stuck in this
meaning that has been unexplored by your awareness of it, that you’re just
believing it as fact? Okay. So what I want to do now is give you five
alternative things to think about when it comes to D-day or discovery day.
These are just options. Some of them you can kick out. If you don’t like
them, you may roll your eyes at me a little bit. I can take, it’s fine. But
I want you to explore. I want you to just think about, if I could just
detach a little bit from the meaning that I’ve attached to it, what else
could be possible? That’s what I’m asking you to do.
So here are some ideas to explore. Number one, it was the day that we got
real honest. This is one meaning that we can attach to our personal
discovery day. Finally, came clean. No more hiding. It can feel like a
relief. We might have known that things were not great. We might have known
that there were things that felt off, but we weren’t exactly sure why. But
now we know why, and now we’re having more honest conversations than he
ever were before. Okay. The person that was unfaithful can be in a more
humble, vulnerable place than ever before. You might see them more clearly
than you ever had before, and you might see yourself more clearly than you
ever have. Okay. We’re both holding up a mirror to each other. You may feel
like you can share things that you have held back from this new, more
vulnerable and real place. You’re not pretending anymore. You’re like, the
only way through this is if we’re honest.
So this is the day. It can be the anniversary of the day that we got really
honest, that we really told the truth maybe for the first time in our
marriage. Really stop saying what we think we need to say to be polite, et
cetera, and just really told the truth. Number two is the anniversary of
the day the playing field got leveled. Okay. If you, my friends are playing
small in any way, if you are watering down what you want, if you are
feeling resentful or have felt resentful because you don’t think you can
have what you need in your marriage, this is anniversary of the day that
you decided you are no longer going to hold back. You are no longer
allowing them, your partner to be in a one up position while you take the
It is either we are both equals here, or it doesn’t happen at all. You can
use this time to really own your own power. You may have more courage
because of the infidelity. You may have more courage to speak up and to
say, “The only way this is happening is if it looks like this,” to set your
standard high to fight for it. To stop playing small. You may feel more
courageous to say things, to really bring sometimes long standing things to
the table and say, “No more.” If this is going to move forward at all. If
there’s a shot here at all, this is what it needs to look like.
Number three, the day you both woke up. It takes big wake up calls
sometimes to really see ourselves, to see who we have been in our
marriages, where we have played small, where we have ignored or minimized
problems, where we have ignored our own wants or spent our marriage,
putting everyone else first. There are nuggets of wisdom to learn through
infidelity that may not have been able to be learned in any other way. It
strips us down to really take it all in to really see it all. It’s an
opportunity to wake up to what it is like to be married to us, not just to
them, but what’s it like to be married to me?
I want to make a point here, and this goes for all of the things that I’m
saying. Even if your partner is not on board with you in building, even if
your partner has chosen to leave, even if you are right now, not sure if
you want to stay, maybe you already know but you don’t, this is still 100%
available to you. All of these steps, all of these opportunities are still
available to you. You still get to rewrite the story in a way that serves
you. Okay. It is still necessary to really take stock of what happened in
the marriage, whether you stay in it or not. To take stock of what went
wrong, to take stock of what went right. That’s when we can learn the
lessons that we need to learn and release it and move on. We don’t have to
keep beating the same drum. We don’t have to keep rehashing and going back.
We can learn and let it go whether we stay in it or not. Okay.
So whether you’re staying or not, it can be the anniversary of the day you
woke up and really we’re more alive and awake in your life and in your
marriage and in yourself than you ever have been. Number four, the
beginning of marriage 2.0, starting over, building intentionally, learning
new skills together, putting to bed some things that are no longer serving
you, letting them go.
Now, for those of you who are sure that you are leaving your marriages,
whether by choice or by someone else’s choice, you get to create a new life
for yourself, and that might include marriage as well, if that’s what you
want. I will say that for most people that I work with, it is something
they want. They want an opportunity to do it again, and this could be the
beginning of stepping you on your way to a marriage that you really want to
be in and that you’re really delighted to be in. And you can be learning
the skills and healing, how to take care of yourself, how to be
resourceful, all of these things because of the things that you learned
from the infidelity. Okay.
Number five. Number five is probably my favorite. We call D-day discovery
day. What if it’s the day you started the greatest self-discovery of your
life, the discovery of you? What if D-Day set you on a path to get you to
know yourself, to really know who you are in a way that nothing else could
have? Sometimes it is the hardest crosses that we bear. The most painful
things that we endure that break us down enough or hurt enough to really
go, “There’s no way I can fake it through this. I have to figure this out.”
Or we learn some of the patterns that we keep doing, that we recognize we
cannot keep doing that. We cannot take those with us. That they’re not
serving us. What if it’s a blessing, my friends? What if there are things
to learn about yourself that will set you free for the rest of your life,
or that will guide you into a much better life than you had before? A much
better marriage, whether with the same person or someone else?
What if this will lead you to a more honest and true relationship with
yourself, where you cut the bull crap, where you cut the people pleasing,
where you cut trying to be all the things to all the people, because you
can see that it never worked. It never did work. Where you get to be you in
all your glory and where you don’t water yourself down anymore. Where when
you see things that feel off that you call them out, and when you honor
yourself in a way that you’ve never before. What if it’s the anniversary of
the greatest discovery of your life, which is yourself really knowing you?
I love that.
I will say, for me, that is really what it has been for me. I don’t know
that I could have learned the things that I’ve needed to learn in any other
way. I don’t know if anything would’ve woken me up enough, shaken me up
enough to go, I have to figure this out. I can’t keep doing this. I have to
let go of this. There’s no shortcut through this. It all has to be felt. It
has to be dealt with. What if discovery day can be an opportunity to see
your own strengths, to see what you’re made of, to take inventory of
ourselves and what we really, really want, what we have, what we want to
bring with us, and what we really want to create. To be grounded, like more
deeply grounded than ever, and who we are and who we want to become with
new skill sets, new relationships, and truly stepping into being the very
best version of ourselves.
So my friends, while you may dread the anniversary of D-Day, I challenge
you to practice reimagining what it could be. What if you could have both.
In one hand a day to feel the feelings that come up for you as you remember
how hard that initial D-day was, and in the other hand, a day to be
grateful or to be appreciative, or a day to just acknowledge the things
that have opened up to you because of that day. The changes, the growth,
the experiences that you’ve had personally in really stepping into
yourself, really knowing yourself in a way that you didn’t before? What if
you could have both? So my friends, as you look at upcoming days, whether
it be discovery day or something else that you feel a lot of dried around,
I want you to try to reimagine it. What else could it be? What else could
it be? Besides just awful or dreadful or all the things that you feel
leading up to it, what else could it be?
All right. My friends, that is what I have for you today. I look forward to
seeing you next time. And if you are interested in working with, me right
now my current know-in 90 group is underway. It’s awesome. My one-on-one
spots are currently full. I have a wait list. If you’re interested in
getting on my wait list, you can just email me at andreagiles.com, or you
can get on my wait list for the next round of know-in 90 right on my work
with me tab in my web page, andreagiles.com. All right. My friends, thank
you so much. I’ll 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
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