From Fantasy to Reality: Navigating Betrayal and Divorce

Can fairy tales and Hollywood romances be causing more harm than good in our real-life relationships? Join us on this enlightening journey as we unravel how societal expectations and media portrayals can create unrealistic ideals that often lead to disappointment and resentment in marriages. We’ll shed light on the importance of open communication, emotional safety, and setting achievable goals to foster a truly understanding partnership. Learn why comparing your relationship to others, especially through social media, can be detrimental, and why the allure of affairs is nothing more than a mirage. 

Moving beyond the fantasy, we confront the stark realities of divorce, particularly when betrayal is involved. Affairs may seem like an escape but rarely provide a solution; we’ll explore why they complicate rather than end marriages. Discover the often-painful truths behind maintaining family traditions post-divorce, and the complexities when an ex-spouse continues their relationship with an affair partner. Finally, we share powerful insights on embracing reality to create a fulfilling life after divorce. My personal journey reveals how facing the truth can lead to unexpected relief and a deeper understanding of personal needs, ultimately allowing you to live happily, even after. Listen in for practical advice and heartfelt reflections to support you on your path to a more grounded and rewarding life.

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Welcome to my podcast Happily, even After. I’m life coach, jen, I’m passionate about helping people recover from betrayal. I rode the intense emotional roller coaster and felt stuck and traumatized for years. It’s the reason I became a trauma-informed certified life coach who helps people like you navigate their post-betrayal world. I have the tools, processes and knowledge to help you not only heal from the betrayal but create a healthy future. Today we begin to help you live happily even after. Hey friends, welcome to today’s podcast episode. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’re having a beautiful day.

The topic I have been thinking about and I think I just looked at a post or something and it really got my brain thinking about reality versus fantasy, and especially if you’ve been betrayed, but really all marriages, all relationships, I think, have a component of reality and a component of fantasy or what we wish they were. And so I’m just going to talk about a few of those relationships. Relationships, and I think I’ve talked before. We all we have a story of what we think marriage is. We have an idea of it in our minds when we get married and especially, I think Disney, and really Hollywood, has done us a disservice many times because we always think it’s supposed to be so romantic and amazing and you know kind of how I got my podcast name, you know happily ever after, but sometimes it’s not that and then that can throw us for a loop. And so the reality of marriage is that a lot of people we have these expectations that we have for our husbands and really for our wives, and so I think anytime expectations are in the picture, we’re setting ourselves up for failure, because instead we need to have that conversation about you know, what do you want in our marriage? And kind of creating that together, as opposed to I expect my wife or my husband to do X, y and Z and then, if they don’t, you’re disappointed, you’re angry, you’re resentful, can become lots of problems, resentful can become lots of problems.

And so, really paying attention, because we really want to live in reality, what’s the reality of the situation? Not that you can’t change it, but when you deal with what is the reality, you know, if you’re living like you make a million dollars a year, that’s your fantasy, but your reality is you’re making $100,000 a year, there’s going to be a big problem, right? You’re going to have a lot of credit card debt, probably a lot of stress. You’re living in a house you can’t afford, you drive cars you can’t afford. I mean to me that equals miserable, right.

And so really coming together and deciding the ideal which we could call our fantasy what do we want and then figure out what we can both agree on and I think it’s really important and realize it’s natural for marriages to go through rough patches. It’s natural for marriages to grow and expand and then shrink a little bit, especially like when we have our first baby, when we have our second baby, however many babies you have, or a job change, or you’re in school there’s lots of things that can create change and a shift when you move. So give yourself more grace and compassion when those things are happening and that’s going to help you live more grounded in reality of your situation. Be careful when you’re looking at social media, because when we compare our marriages to someone else’s marriage that we don’t even know but we’re looking like, oh my gosh, they’re like the perfect couple, and you know, then we set ourselves up for disappointment, like why can’t my husband bring me flowers or do whatever you know you think that he should be doing? And so anytime you start comparing your marriage with someone else, remember you’re comparing your worst to their best, and so that’s always going to be problematic. Pay attention to if there are expectations, because that’s always going to be a recipe for disaster. In a marriage, honesty is going to be your best friend and open communication of what you need.

I think it’s hard Sometimes we aren’t taught to have needs. We don’t even know what our needs are. So really getting clear with yourself so you know what you need and you can be able to express that to your spouse in a safe environment, creating emotional safety is important. So in your marriage, I think just paying attention to be like is this a realistic thing that I’m wanting, and because when you’re living in the fantasy world of a marriage, you’re going to have a lot of disconnection and a lot of resentment, and so if you find you have those feelings, just take a step back, look at it and decide what you want to do from there.

But it’s really important, I think, to recognize what you’re experiencing and then maybe, why I think an affair if you’re the person that has been cheated on or the cheater really an affair lives in fantasy land, right? I love to call the affair partner the unicorn, because for me that was always really helpful because there’s no such thing as unicorns. But when your spouse is having the affair, that person can do no wrong. They only see all the sparkle and all the perfect things that she does, how loving she is or whatever qualities that she has. They can only see the good qualities, whatever qualities that she has. They can only see the good qualities. And then they turn and look at you, their wife, and they can only see your bad qualities. So it’s a very distorted view and the ironic thing is is that the unicorn, their horn always falls off Because a person, when reality sets in, of that relationship, whether if you get divorced and they end up being with that person we all know nobody’s perfect, nobody’s on all the time, no one.

We all have moments, and so I think that is why it is really hard when that person is in the affair, because they are very short-sighted and really there’s a lot of chemicals also that are produced in our brain when we are having an affair. If someone is having an affair, like oxytocin, it’s like a drug. So if your spouse is cheating, they’re really using a drug and their drug of choice is a woman or a man and our brain is releasing these hormones if you’re the person having the affair, and so it can help you, the person, if you’re betrayed, understand why it’s so hard for them to let that person go. It’s because they’re basically addicted to the drug oxytocin and so it’s really hard. It can. You know it’s like a withdrawal when trying to come off of it. And why an affair is so enticing is because you know that person has all the qualities that they perceive that their spouse doesn’t have. It’s really an interesting world, the fantasy world.

When reality happens is when the spouse finds out that the affair is going on, and then it doesn’t usually go well from there, right. And so you know, usually most people don’t have an affair to leave their marriage. Most people use it as a distraction from whatever they’re feeling. I mean, there’s many reasons and I’ve talked about why men and women have affairs, but just for this episode, just know like then that’s’s when reality happens and the reality for you feels so much different than the reality for them. It’s very devastating because in your mind you didn’t know that your spouse, you might have felt that there was problems and you probably felt something was off, but we never think that our spouse is going to do something so hurtful to us because they’re telling us they love us. And we think we believe, like when someone tells us they love us, they’re not going to hurt us so badly, and so that’s when reality sets in. The most is when the affair is discovered, and then it’s not so enticing anymore. It still may go on and it still might be, but usually that’s when a lot of things come crashing down in the affair is when the spouse finds out about it.

The next relationship or thing I wanted to talk about for reality versus fantasy is divorce. I think for me, my fantasy of divorce was very negative. It was very. It was the worst thing you could do. It wasn’t like a good fantasy, it was almost like a nightmare, right, but it was just my idea of it. I didn’t have. I wasn’t like fantasizing divorcing my husband. Now some people might think like, okay, if I was married to someone different, my life would be better, and so that way you could think about the fantasy. But we have all these ideas of what we think it’s going to be and usually it’s never like that and the reality of it can be both good and bad.

And also, as I was getting divorced, my fantasy was like oh, I’m still going to have my spouse over for Sunday dinner. We’re going to still sit together as a family on Sunday. We’re going to go Christmas morning he’s going to be there. We’re going to open gifts. That was how I made the divorce not feel so terrible that I thought, okay, we could still.

I literally my son was having a birthday a few weeks after we got divorced and he wanted to go to New York City, and so I was literally like thinking that my ex-husband could come on the trip with us. And then I realized very quickly no way could that happen. What was I thinking? But I think that was part of my fantasy, that, and for some people that’s going to work out right. But I think when you’ve experienced betrayal, it’s just another layer of divorce. There’s lots of reasons why people get divorced, but when it has the added betrayal on top of it, it just makes things more complicated, and especially if your ex-spouse chooses to still have a relationship with the affair partner, if they choose to get married, that’s an added layer, right. And so just really pay attention to what your fantasy of divorce is, and the reality is probably going to be a little different and it’s so important to embrace the reality of it. It’s okay that it’s different, it’s okay that it’s not what you thought it was going to be.

And pay attention to all the ways for me, all the ways. I didn’t even know how much better divorce was for me than being married to the person I was married to, and so for me, it’s brought a lot of relief, a lot of peace, a lot of hope and healing to my life, and I never fantasized or thought about it that way. I couldn’t even have space for that. But now, two years after, you know, two years from getting divorced, I can see that like it’s so great, like not necessarily, I just am accountable to me, right, and now I’m learning things like oh, if I had another relationship, these are definite things that I need to have in my relationship, to have that autonomy and to have some other things that I didn’t realize how important they were to me because I really didn’t know my needs. I was just living my life for someone else, and so I just think it’s a good way to like look at your relationships.

Kids, we could add kids to this. What’s your fantasy of how you thought kids were going to be. I guarantee that. You know we all have a story of how our kids are going to grow up and do X, y and Z, but they’re their own person. They get to be who they want to be and it may not look how what we want to be. And are you okay with that reality? Learning to be okay with it and to accept it and not make it mean anything about you, because they’re their own person, the only person you can control is you, and so deciding like okay is what I thought, but this is the reality and you get to actually create the best reality for yourself, and it can be better than what you fantasized or thought it was going to be. It really can.

So, anyways, I hope this was helpful in getting your brain to consider ways that you have allowed a fantasy to overtake your relationships and decide. Owning your reality, decide what you want to be. Your reality I think is so important. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast or any of my other podcasts, I would love for you to share them with your friends and family so that more people can find me and so that I can be able to help those that are struggling with betrayal, if you want to learn how to live happily even after. Sign up for my email at hello at lifecoachjenwith1ncom. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook at Happily Even After Coach, let’s work together to create your happily even after.

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Hi, I’m Jennifer

I love helping women and men heal from betrayal. I originally started this podcast with my husband and since my divorce I have taken it solo. I love sharing and talking about the 50/50 of life and providing tools to help you along your path to healing.

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