Three Myths and Three Truths About Infidelity | Ep #140

In this episode, I cover three common myths circulating about infidelity, and three truths to counter them.

With a lot of conflicting information out there, it can be quite confusing to navigate a clear path forward. By applying the principles discussed in this episode, you will be able to more clearly identify your own path and what is best for you.

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 140, Three Myths and Three Truths About Infidelity.

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.

Hello everybody. Welcome back to another episode. Before I jump into this
week’s episode, which I know you will love, I know it will be very helpful
to you, I just want to take a minute and shout out to those of you who have
gone in and left a review on my podcast. It is so touching to me to hear
from you, to hear how this podcast has helped you, how it has brought you
comfort, how it has brought you direction, and I want to read one of the
reviews that came in this week that was just so touching to me. Whoever you
are that posted this, I want to say thank you. Thank you for taking the
time to post this. The title of it is When I Was Lost, Andrea Held My Hand.

She said, “It has not even been two weeks since I confronted my husband
about his three-month-long affair. Day one, my life had been blown to bits,
my emotions and mind were uncharacteristically explosive one second, then
ultra sad and painful the next. The thought of a therapist came to mind,
but that took research and I needed something immediately, almost like an
ER doctor. I needed urgent care. I couldn’t talk to just anyone or family
members about it because it would’ve caused more destruction and more
confusion. Day two, I said to myself, there’s got to be a podcast or an
audiobook about this. I had never subscribed to a podcast. I barely listened
to them.”

“I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I typed in my search and the
first podcast that showed up for me was Andrea’s. I am so, so grateful for
every episode she has made. I didn’t start in chronological order. I found
titles based on what I was feeling and on topics I needed help with at the
moment. Every day, maybe twice a day, I’d find an episode and I’d find time
for myself and listen and breathe. Every episode helped me find myself
again, helped speak reason into my soul and life. Helped me feel safe,
helped. I’m forever grateful for you, Andrea. My words can’t eloquently
express how much you have helped me. Thank you so much. There’s a long
journey still ahead, but I am hopeful, which is a great start. Thank you
for my healing heart.” Again, listener who wrote this beautiful review,
thank you so much for taking the time to share that. It was very meaningful
to me and I think it will be meaningful to others who are just starting out
on their path, who come across that and stick around for a while and look
for help.

These reviews do matter. They put it in front of people, like when people
are searching infidelity, it puts it in front of them like she said, it’s
the first one that came up. That’s because many of you have gone in and
left reviews, so thank you so much. If you have considered leaving a review
and haven’t yet, I would love it so much if you would go do that, it would
mean the world to me. All right, now moving along this episode, Three
Myths, Three Truths About Infidelity. Let’s just dive in. Myth number one,
if you’ve made the decision to stay or go, you should be good. You’re good
to go. You’ve got your decision made, you should be able to step back into
your life and feel peace. If you decide to leave, you should just feel
better. You should may be sad and feel some grief, but then good thing you
left them behind and now you can go live your life. Right? Here’s why it’s
a myth. I see this all the time.

I see people all the time that come to me and they say, for example, “I’ve
decided to stay, but I can’t feel any kind of peace. It’s constant chaos.
I’m constantly doubting. I know I want to stay,” but they’re really dealing
with a lot of conflicting emotions and thoughts in their mind that are
making their decision to stay very doubtful in their mind where they’re
really going, is this actually the right decision? And so they question it
and question it and question it. I see people who are separated, who are
either separated with the intent of seeing what they want or they are
separated on their way out the door and they may have felt a little bit of
peace on their way out. Like I’m out of that constant chaos, constantly
feeling triggered by this person, but they are still very much rehashing,
regretting how it happened, feeling really mad that it happened, all kinds
of really intense emotions.

I am not talking about the initial grief of the change, that’s not what I’m
referring to. It’s after you’ve made the decision, you feel good about the
decision or the other person maybe made the decision for you and you are
going and living your life and putting things together and learning how to
co-parent if you have children, things like that. And you still feel the
weight of it every day, almost all day, like I cannot believe this is my
life. I can speak from so much experience about this because I got divorced
after my first marriage and at first there was a relief. Some of the
tension in the home did feel lighter. It did feel lighter right out the
gate. But then some of the same emotional patterns that were there when I
was married to him were still there. Some of my same responses to things,
some of the same things I worried about.

Some of the same ways that I processed things and then I started dating my
current husband and I brought with me some of the anxieties and worries and
again, ways that I thought about things and ways that I processed things
into our dating experience and then into marriage number two. And as I have
gone deeper and deeper into my work as an infidelity coach, part of my job
that I take very seriously is looking at the areas where I either have or
have not applied the very things that I’m teaching you. And I can see how I
thought that by getting divorced and then remarried, that it would be just
so much better moving forward. And the reality is that some of the hard
stuff that I emotionally experienced before followed me into marriage number
two. It was there some of the doubts and fears and worries, and as you
probably know, those of you who have been around for a while, I married a
widower. And she died on Valentine’s Day.

She would forever be fairly young and beautiful and just the nature of when
people pass away, we often put them on a really high pedestal. And I was
there being very human, very, very human, and it really, really messed with
my head. It really messed with my head. I remember days where it felt
intolerable that the fear of not feeling like I was number one, that I felt
in marriage number one was right there in marriage number two. And it was
pretty bleak and pretty painful. And I really did think that once I decided
of leaving and then of getting remarried, that I would just feel so much
better. And there were areas that I did. I genuinely enjoyed being around
my husband, things like that, but some of those fearful patterns that stayed
with me because I did not know how to work with them carried right into
marriage number two, and I’ll be honest here, reap some havoc, reap some
havoc.

So here on point number one, the myth that if you decide you’re good to go,
the truth that counters this, it’s not about deciding. Deciding is step
number one. That’s step number one. It’s about how you came to that
decision. It’s about how you back up that decision. It’s about how you
contain the doubts and worries when they come. I’m not saying if they come,
I’m saying when they come and it’s about taking ownership of all of it, of
you taking ownership of saying, this was my decision. How am I constantly
pulling back from my decision or doubting my decision, questioning my
decision? Or that was my decision, so how am I going to support myself in
fully embracing this decision so that it works for me?

So for some of you who are staying, who know you want to stay, but that
constantly are questioning, my guess for most of you is that it’s less
about did I make the wrong decision and it’s more about simply lacking the
know-how and support to know how to really back up your decision, how to
contain your decision from protecting it from doubts, how to take full
responsibility for it. That’s really important. There are things that we are
not taught. We don’t learn these things in school. Most of us are not
modeled this stuff in our home lives and we don’t know. We think that if we
made a decision, we should just feel better. And the reality is that making
a decision is half the battle sometimes not even half. There’s so much more
that needs to happen for us to really embrace our decision. It takes
tremendous courage to not only make the decision but to fully execute the
decision to go all in on it. All right, moment of truth. How many of you
verbally say, “I’ve made a decision,” that internally are all over the
place?

That’s your problem. That’s your problem, is that you might have said
outwardly, “I’m staying, I’m going.” But internally you’re constantly
doubting it and so you’re creating more of the same for yourself. You’re
just creating more of the same. It’s not about the decision, it’s about how
you back it up. It’s about taking responsibility, going all in on it. And
you know what? Part of this is learning where maybe I didn’t take the time
to really make sure it was a wise decision. I had jumped to it because it
was the most comfortable decision even if I’m very uncomfortable now. This
looks like I’m just going to stay because I don’t want my kids to have a
family broken up. I understand that and it’s valid, I understand it. But I
do recommend really looking at the whole situation and making sure that
you’re giving yourself full permission either way.

Okay? All right, let’s move on to number two. Myth number two, once a
cheater, always a cheater. How many times have you heard that? How many of
you have gone online for some kind of infidelity support and stumbled upon
a Facebook group or an Instagram page or some online forum about what
should I do with my cheating spouse? What should I do? And the advice is so
much of the time, “They’re showing you who they are. You need to run, you
need to get away. Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Now, why is this
problematic? It’s problematic because we’re putting people in a very black
and white box without knowing anything else other than this action that
they took. We know the action. We do not know this person, their
background, their childhood, any trauma, any modeling that they got from
their parents or other people.

We do not know what kind of relationship you had prior to it. There’s just
so much missing information. There’s so much missing information. And a
fallacy of humans is that we tend to stick to black and white. Either
somebody’s good or they’re bad. They’re right, they’re wrong. It’s up or
down. And part of your healing, part of your growing is learning a more
nuanced view, seeing that there are multiple truths at the same time that
sometimes seem counter to each other, but they actually work with each
other. This person did this thing that was really hurtful to me and they
are actually a really good person. That’s one example. Sometimes it’s this
person did this thing and while they have some qualities that I really
admire, it is not somebody that I want to invest more into. The payout here
of me investing more is not worth what I think we can have. For some of you
that’s going to be your answer, is that you just don’t want to invest what
it would take to repair this relationship.

That’s entirely your right. Where I see this is people who where it was
very troubled to begin with, where the relationship is already very
troubled, where there’s not a lot of really great to go off of. There’s a
lot of pain, there’s a lot of trouble. And somebody just saying, I know I
need to heal. I know I need to move forward from this, but it’s not going
to be with this person. Another place that I see this a lot is when people
are looking at their partner or spouse and going, yeah, I wish that we
could work through this, but I can see that I’m willing to put in way more
than they are and I’m not willing to continue carrying more than a what is
mine, that we’re not equally matched in our commitment to create something
here that is really amazing. Okay, so what is the counter to this?

The truth is that people are far more complicated. That is the truth.
People are very complicated. We have parts of us that are amazing and
strong and capable and truthful and fierce and fun and funny. And we have
parts of us that can be rotten, that can be dishonest, that can be unfair,
that can be cruel. And part of the recovery from infidelity, part of
growing our ability to be in solid, healthy relationships is in learning
how to tame and put restraints and restrictions and limits on those parts
of us that if left unchecked, if there are no boundaries, could wreak some
real havoc in our own lives and in the lives of others. And so this is
where that statement, once a cheater, always a cheater, I think is very
limited because it’s a label, right? This is all this person is. And what
I’m seeing is that there’s a part, yes, that person did do that.

That person did do this thing. And there are all kinds of other parts too.
So let’s look at all the parts and see what we’re actually working with
here. Okay? All right, onto number three. Myth number three, it will always
hurt. It will always hurt. It will always cast the shadow over my life,
over my marriage if you choose to stay. Or over future relationships, it
will always just be there. I understand why it feels that way right now.
This thing came and blew up your life. It just blew up your life. It feels
huge. It feels catastrophic. It feels like the biggest blow probably of
your life, and it’s hard to imagine that there might come a day when it
won’t always be there. Now, I want to talk about this a little bit. Okay?
So I want you to think about somebody who has lost a loved one.

In those first days, months, maybe even first years, the missing of that
loved one is probably going to be hanging there most of the time. Most of
the time. And for some people, they insist on it. They want to remember
because they’re stories that they’re telling about if they don’t think
about that person constantly like, oh, I’m terrible. I had a whole day where
I didn’t think about them. And so they might almost shame themselves into
thinking about this person or feel like they’re betraying them somehow if
they don’t. But for many people, what they find is that time goes by and
they have moments. Maybe it’s just moments where they’re laughing and where
they’re genuinely feeling something different than grief and sadness and
they can go, oh my gosh, I didn’t know I could again, I didn’t know. And
part of their taking responsibility and choosing is moving forward and
going, I’m going to choose to live my life again.

I’m going to choose to feel, I’m going to choose to honor person by living
my best life, right? I’m going to choose this and I can speak from my own
experience a little bit here. As many of you know, my first husband passed
away seven months after we got divorced, just seven months. It was very,
very raw, very fresh. I had just seen him a couple days before. We had a
nice interaction and he was just gone. He was gone. He died instantly in a
car accident and there was no saying goodbye. There was none of that. He
was just gone. And it was really, really hard. It was really hard. It
pushed me and challenged me in ways that I did not expect. And I had people
with their many opinions of saying, “Well, now you can really move forward.
You don’t have to do any of this anymore. You can just move forward.”

And it just did not feel that way to me. I was really, really sad. I was
really sad that this person that I loved and cared about was gone and that
I would never see him again in this lifetime. I was sad that my children
would forever carry this loss that their dad died when they’re children, I
hated it for them. My kids, within a year’s time, their parents got
divorced and their dad died in one year’s time. So much for them to process.
And so at that time, it was really hard for me to imagine a day when it
wouldn’t hurt, where I wouldn’t just feel sad about how things went down and
all of the trauma, all of the really hard things that happened. And over
time, what I have learned is this truth and the truth that I want to pass
on to you.

When you are courageous and really facing the pain of a situation, really
turning around and facing it and allowing yourself to feel it and address
it and look at it and tell the truth of it, really tell the truth of what
that pain is meaning for you. Really acknowledging it. I’m really, really
sad about this. I’m just going to throw out some examples, take it or leave
it depending on your situation. I’m really sad that we grew so far apart
that the only way for me to wake up and see what our marriage is was for
this disastrous thing to happen. I’m really sad that he chose to do this.
I’m really sad. I’m mad, all the things. But part of our ability to do
something beyond pain is first facing it head on, looking at it, feeling
it, acknowledging it, looking at the story it has to tell us.

What are we sad about? What are we angry about? Really acknowledging our
pain. And after we do that, we can grow in our capacity to contain it, to
put limits on it, to go, you know, I’ve already felt that so much. I’ve
already processed that so much. I think I’m going to do something a little
bit different today. I’m going to acknowledge it and I’m going to practice
something else. I’m going to let it pass through, pass by and we can learn
to contain it. We can put limits on it. We can put limits on the stories
that we are allowing ourselves to believe in the places our brain is wanting
to go. And when we learn to do this, what we’re doing is we are allowing
other parts of us to grow. We are allowing other parts of us that want to
learn how to reframe a story into a way that is useful instead of painful
can grow.

We are learning how to develop relationships that feel healthy and strong
often with the person that did the betraying. And we’re learning how to
manage and metabolize the pain of what that person did when it rears its
head so that it doesn’t sabotage the good things that are happening. And I
can tell you from my own relationship with my current husband, we’ve had
some really rough patches in our marriage. We’ve had some times that have
been really, really challenging and part of our healing has been learning
some new ways of coping with our own emotions instead of the old patterns
that we engaged in, bailing out or keeping it quiet and not talking, just
avoiding things like that. And part of our really growing into safety and
to really learning how to be there for each other and really learning how
to hear each other and to create a safe space where he can say things to me
that are hard to hear, and when I can do the same to him and know that he
is still there, that he’s not going to bail, that we are committed to each
other.

Part of that has been this process of learning how to contain certain
stories, how to tell them in a way that’s useful, how to work with our
intense emotions when they come up, how to stay connected to somebody even
when we’re mad at them, even when they’ve hurt us. How to prioritize a
relationship over protecting ourselves at all costs. Now at first after
infidelity, there is a time where we really are so deeply wounded and we do
need to protect ourselves. We do need to see is this a person that is wise
for me to continue in a relationship with? This is really, really
important. I’m talking more when you’re past that kind of triage raw,
really, really painful part where you are more settled into a decision or
leaning into a decision and you are looking at these patterns and going,
okay, if we don’t learn new ways of doing this, where are we going to wind
up?

And I can tell you again from my experience in moving into a new
relationship, those patterns, they come right along with you. The way you
think, the way that you deal with stress, the way that you protect yourself
when you feel attacked, those come right along with you. And often this is
why we unwittingly create the same cycles for ourselves over and over and
over again. It’s because our brains are going to create the scenarios that
they’re familiar with. We have to learn a new way. We have to in order to
create a new relationship that is thriving and joyful and secure. So those
are the three myths. Those are the three truths. Myth number one, if you
decide, you should be good, right? That’s myth number one. Truth to that is
that it’s not about deciding. It’s about how you came to that decision, how
you back it up, how you contain it, and take full responsibility for it.

Myth number two once a cheater, always a cheater. The truth is that people
are far more nuanced than that and that our growth is in really looking at
all of those pieces and making a decision from there. Myth number three, it
will always hurt. And the truth to number three is that we can face the
pain and then learn how to work with it so that we can continue moving
forward and have many moments when we are not hurting, when we’re allowing
all kinds of other emotions, where we are not letting shame sabotage us,
where we can notice these things that hurt and work with them so that we
can continue to create more of what we want. Okay. I hope that was helpful
to you. Now, I’ve got to tell you, my program doors are open and it’s a
great program. It’s a wonderful program, and what I can tell you is it’s
about to get even better.

The people in my program get amazing, amazing results. They are changing
their lives. They are changing their relationships. They’re changing the
way they show up in the world, the way they react and respond to things.
They’re changing their relationships with themselves, and I am about to
beef it up some more. There’s some changes that I’m going to be making based
on some needs that I see in areas that I want to go deeper on inside the
program. And it’s all about these things that there’s no shortcut. There’s
no shortcut to learning how to be in a healthy relationship. There’s no
shortcut to that. Unless you want to go live in a cave for the rest of your
life and just be isolated, there’s no shortcut. We tend to be me against
you, and a lot of the stuff out there is all about this toxic independence
that you’ve heard me talk about, about I’ll look out for me number one, and
good luck to you, but I can take care of myself.

This is so problematic. It’s wreaking havoc in relationships. There is no
room for two people in that framework. And what I teach, it’s about first
working with the individual. It’s working with the individual to help them
to really see themselves and see the meaning that they’ve attached to the
infidelity, what they’ve made it mean about themselves, areas that they
want to look at their patterns, look at their cycles and learn a new way,
and then bring that into the relationship, whether they stay or go to bring
the strength and power into relationships, bringing the best of themselves.
So that whether they stay with the person they’re with or are with somebody
else, they can bring their best selves to the game. This is what healing
looks like. This is healing. There’s no shortcut to this. I can tell you
firsthand. There is no shortcut. We have to learn how to be in healthy
relationships, how to slow down our responses, how to see the patterns that
we’re engaging in, what are the patterns our partners engaging in, and how
to break that, how to change it.

There’s no shortcut. Okay? I invite you to come join us. You can come join
us. If you’re interested in talking with me, you can see my consult link on
my website. You can find out lots of information about my program on my
website. You can come to my free class that’s coming up where at the end of
it I’ll be talking a little bit more about my program. You can register for
that also on my website, the link will be in the show notes,
andreagiles.com is the website. You can go to the work with me tab and go
register for that. But the doors are open. It’s an amazingly powerful group
and this is where we do this work. It’s not just about healing, it’s not
just about making that decision to stay or go. It requires more. It
requires more. And I want that for you and I am prepared to deliver that.
All right, take care. So good to be here with all of you and I’ll see you
next time. 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
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.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.