Who Should I Tell? | Ep #142

A question I get asked a lot is, “Who should I tell?”

After infidelity discovery, you may want to shout it to the rooftops, or tell absolutely no one.

Tune in to this episode to get some ideas of who it might we wise to tell, and what to watch out for.

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 142, Who Should I Tell?

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. Beautiful friends and listeners. So glad that you’re
here. Today, I have decided to spend this entire episode talking about a
question that I get a lot about who to tell. It’s a good question, right?
It’s probably one that many of you have had. Many of you maybe have told
people and wish that you could rein it back in. Take it back. Some of you
might be at the beginning of your journey and really wonder who do I tell
so I decided to spend this episode talking about that.

Before I dive into this episode, I want to let you know something super,
super exciting. My doors are open, as they have been for a while, to my
group program, Get Your Life Back After Infidelity. But I am making some
changes to it this month that are going to be open, ready to go next month,
that are really, really amazing. Like really amazing. Whereas I’m creating,
as I’m putting it together, I’m going, this is my best work. This is the
best. It’s so good.

We’re doing things like quarterly virtual retreats where everybody in the
group will get together and we will spend a longer day together than just
our regular call times with specific trainings and coaching and deep dives
into different topics. That’s just going to be part of the program. There’s
coaching that you can get inside the program as bonuses, as add-ons with
personal one-on-one coaching. You also get so much group coaching, so much,
and the group coaching, I’m telling you that’s where it’s at. You just got
to trust me on this.

If you have not experienced group coaching, it is powerful. In many ways, I
think it’s more powerful than individual. You hear from other people and it
puts words to things that you are thinking, that you are feeling, and helps
you to feel more normal and you can learn from other people and get
coaching yourself.

I’m restructuring the program inside the portal so it’s so much easier for
people to navigate. It’s a whole year. It’s a whole year program. I’ve gone
back and forth on that time. Is it too long? Is it too short? What I’ve
decided is I like it because you are going through probably one of the
hardest times of your life, and even if you start the program wanting to
make a decision, wanting to feel more confident in your decision, you are
then learning how to live into the decision and there are things that come
up with that. There are bumps in the road. There are things that happen.
Where you’ll want to get back on calls and get help to help you navigate
it.

Anyway, if you have not looked into my program, go check out my sales page.
Andreagiles.com, you can look at the Work with Me section. You can book a
call with me to ask me questions about it. It is an amazing program. It’s
my best work. The people in it are changing their lives, transforming their
lives. Anyway, moving on. Let’s get into today’s episode.

Okay, so my guess is that in looking at who you should tell, you are likely
in one of two camps. Camp number one is, I am pissed. I’m going to shout it
to the rooftops. I don’t really care if he’s mad. He does not deserve to be
protected. He didn’t protect me. He certainly wasn’t thinking about me, so
why should I think about him. People should know and they should know about
her too.

All right, while I think every listener on here could probably understand
why you might feel that way, let’s break it down a little bit. A question
to ask yourself is what do you hope to gain by others knowing? What do you
hope to gain? What do you hope that might come from other people knowing?
You answering that question honestly will give you a lot of information. If
you just want people to be mad at him with you, you’ll find people. You’ll
have friends that will readily be mad at him with you.

You can find people who are all over you leaving, who are all over you
saying mean things about him, all of that. Sometimes at the beginning, we
do need to feel that anger and it comes up throughout. It can come up a
year in. It can come up two years in where just you can feel some anger.
But in regards of who to tell, if that is driving you, it may not work out
the way you want it to. Why?

Because when you are in the state, you are in a highly emotional state,
rightly so. You’re mad, you’re hurt, you feel betrayed. You want others to
be on your side, to understand, to feel what you’re feeling. But you’re in
a highly reactionary state, highly reactive. You’re highly reactive to this
intense pain that you’re feeling.

Here’s the problem. We can’t control how others react. Let’s say that down
the road you’re not reactionary anymore. You very calmly and methodically
look at things and see some shifts and see that your marriage is worth
fighting for after all. That you really, really care about this person.
That there’s way more good, that outweighs the hurt that you’re
experiencing and that you want to give it a shot.

If you’ve told people who are going to judge him forever, and more
importantly judge you and make you wrong for staying, this can totally bite
you in the butt. Relationships can change and never come back. They can
never be the same again when the wrong people are told.

I know this from experience. I am speaking from experience here. I have
shared things with people that I regret. People who couldn’t handle it,
made them too uncomfortable, and so they just disappeared on me. Like, oh,
okay, I’m out. Disappeared. Friendships lost. Friendships that will never
be the same. I think that it requires a lot of discernment and you are
capable of it, even when you are in a highly emotional place. The immediate
relief or validation that you might receive by telling someone is just not a
good trade for long-term wondering what that person thinks, knowing that
they judge him, knowing that they might judge you. It can have a very big
backlash at the back end. That initial relief can come at a high cost to
you.

I am all about preserving our emotional energy. We only have so much of it.
This work that you’re doing requires so much energy, intention,
resourcefulness, growing your ability to hold discomfort. I don’t want you
spending one single ounce of energy trying to babysit other people’s
feelings and emotions about you or your spouse. Sometimes when we tell the
wrong people, we energetically give up some of our own valuable precious
energy. So what is it going to cost you to share with the different people
that you’re thinking of sharing?

Okay, now, number two. Second camp that you might be in. You’re too
embarrassed to tell anyone so you go it alone with zero support. How many
of you are in that camp? I hear this a lot. No one knows. I haven’t told
anybody. You may be really afraid of the ramifications from your spouse if
you tell someone else. You might feel that. If I tell someone else, it’s
the nail on the coffin. He’s ashamed, he says he’s sorry, and it would mean
to him that I am now betraying him.

I find this interesting because even though your trust was betrayed, you
are now carrying this burden of not sharing your hurt with somebody else
because you have this notion that it will betray him. Like I said before,
this needs to be about you and what is truly best for you. I’m not talking
in that initial stage when you are really, really raw, I’m talking over
time. What is actually best for you? What kind of support do you actually
need? We are not meant to do this alone. Everyone needs some kind of
support here. Everyone. We aren’t meant to suffer in silence because we’re
afraid to rock the boat. All right?

Here’s something that I see that’s a problem. If we are colluding with our
spouse in going, okay, I’ll keep your secret. It’s killing me. This secret
is killing me, and I go to my work and I’m with the kids and I’m around
family and act like nothing is wrong and it’s killing me, but I’ll do that
because I don’t want you to be mad at me or feel like I betrayed you.

Part of the problem I see in this is that it’s not pushing the development
or growth of your partner. There need to be consequences. There needs to be
discomfort. There needs to be accountability. Sometimes when we are very
honestly sharing with somebody else because we need the support and it
makes them uncomfortable, it’s not a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s
just that they’re uncomfortable with people knowing because now they know
something about them that’s not super favorable.

The other question I have for you is that where does this end? If you are
in this pattern of just, I’m going to keep this secret and not tell
anybody, or I might tell one or two people, but he’ll never know because he
would be so mad if he knew. Where does this end?

Are you just jumping back into a pattern that was already there before the
infidelity of not standing up? Really honestly, for where you’re at and
telling the truth and letting him be uncomfortable. In a healthy, strong
relationship, there is discomfort like crazy. There are a lot of things
that are uncomfortable. The difference though is that we learn to respect
it. We learn to metabolize our own discomfort so that we can keep moving
without making our partner completely responsible for our comfort.

If you are placing your spouse’s comfort over your own, this can set you up
for a whole lot of resentment over time. That when I really needed support,
I denied it myself because I was trying to protect him even though he did
not protect me. Can you see where that might go?

A good question to ask is, will me telling somebody, the right person, and
we’ll get into that, will me telling somebody offer support to me that I
really need right now and is there a way that I can tell certain people
that’s not going to cost me down the road? Have a really negative
consequence down the road to me, to us, regardless of if I stay or go? Okay,
that’s a good question to ask.

Now, another topic that often comes up is around should we tell the kids? I
think that there is no perfect answer here. All of you who have this
question have different ages of children, and even at those ages, they have
different maturity levels. They have different things that they can handle,
different things that they want to know to make sense of their world. You
get to be the one that discerns that, that feels that out. I personally am
in the camp that kids can handle a lot more honesty than what we think they
can.

The biggest piece here that becomes dangerous is when we place a burden at
their feet of needing them to see it in a certain way, or think about it in
a certain way, or manage our feelings around it in a certain way, or
validate us in our decision making.

That’s the burden we place on them that can really cause problems when we
create enmeshment, when we create a lack of differentiation. You can go
back to that episode about differentiation. Where we are making other
people responsible for our feelings. Then what happens is these are
children that grow up to be adults who have a really hard time standing on
their own. They’re so afraid of rocking the boat.

I think that, again, some of the same questions as above are what am I
hoping to solve here? What am I hoping for here in telling the kids? I can
tell you that for me at different times, I’ve wanted children to know
things because I felt that it was fair to them to know. I felt like it was
me honoring them and their humanness to know different details.

To this day, none of my children know every detail because I don’t think it
serves them well. I don’t think they need to. I think that if they have a
time in their life where they want to know different things, they can come
ask me and I will readily give it to them. But some of the details I think
are more of a burden to them than a help.

When I was contemplating divorce, things like that, yeah, I did feel I’m
not just going to pretend like, oh, I just decided I don’t want to be
married anymore. It was way more complicated than that and because I did
talk with them some about it. Very, very high level. By high level, I mean
not getting down in the weeds of it, sharing some things, but because I did
share some, when things went south, which in my situation, he ended up
losing custody. He lost custody in a court and then he died.

When those things happened, my children were not completely shocked because
I had already shared with them a little bit about what was going on. From a
loving place, I love your dad, I care very much about your dad and this is
not a great place for us to be, for me to be. I wish him well. I want good
things for him, but it’s no longer a safe place to be. Being able to have
those conversations has allowed me to continue to have those conversations
with my children as we’ve navigated other things since then. They know they
can come to me with the hard things and that I will be here for them, that
I can handle their emotions. I’m not making them responsible for my
emotions and I’m not trying to manage theirs. They get to feel what they’re
going to feel.

Again, if you are being backed into a corner of don’t tell because I don’t
want their judgment, or if it’s pressure that you’re feeling, I invite you
to look at that and who is that actually for? Is that for your spouse
because they’re embarrassed? Is it for you because you are embarrassed? If
you are really looking at things that what in the long term is in the
highest service of your children, what would you tell them? Not what’s most
comfortable now.

With this comes a mindset around trusting that our kids are resilient,
trusting that our kids can handle hard things. They’re way more resilient
than you think they are.

All right, so who to tell. Back to that question. A couple thoughts here.
You can come together. If there’s a shot that you two are going to work
things out, you can come together and decide who are your safe people. You
can say I know that I need to share, so let’s talk about who we both think
are safe people to tell.

Another thing that I have seen is I’ve had friends come to me and say, my
spouse knows that I talk to you. He knows that you’re my person that I
share with and their spouse knows me and that I believe in people and that
I believe that no one person’s answer is the same for every marriage. I
think that we want to find people who we know can see nuance, can see that
it’s not black and white. It’s not as easy as just decide and go. My gosh,
what are you doing? Just leave. You can come together and discuss and come
up with people that work well for both of you.

Some other ideas are a coach such as myself or another coach, a therapist.
People you know who have worked through hard things in marriage and have an
open view to staying or going. People you know who have held safe space for
you in the past. That no matter what you have told them, they don’t freak
out. They can love you and see you and see your goodness and see that in
everyone.

Another great place, there are infidelity groups specifically where there
are people that are trying to stay and make it work and there might be
people leaving too. Little shout out to my own group. This is what is in my
group. I have a lot of people that have already decided to stay and they’re
looking for support of how to strengthen themselves, to stay in a healthy
way and to really drive forward creating a very strong marriage. And there
are people in my group who know they have to leave and are navigating all
of that. But in my group, there’s no judgment. I believe everybody in the
end really gets to a place where they’re making the decision that is best
for them and there’s so much mutual respect inside my group.

Use caution. Scan out to possible ramifications of telling people and ask
yourself, do I want to energetically deal with this person’s thoughts,
their judgment, their whatever, whatever it is that they’re bringing? Look
at what you are hoping to achieve by telling this person. Is there possibly
a negative side to that that might come back to bite me in the butt and
what might that be?

I hope you have found this episode helpful, thought-provoking, giving you
some things to think about. At the end of the day, you’re probably going to
do things later on that you’re like, maybe I shouldn’t have told that
person, or I wish I would’ve gotten myself more support. But hopefully this
will help you to make less of those errors or mistakes or things that
you’re like, I wish I would’ve done this a little bit differently. I will
tell you this. That as I wrote this episode out and got prepared, I’m like,
yep, I’ve made plenty of these mistakes myself and I’m still okay and so
are you. Just some things to think about. All right, take care, my
beautiful friends. I’ll talk to 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.