Rebuilding your marriage after Infidelity

Transforming the remnants of a marriage into a renewed partnership is a journey I've walked, and I'm here to share the profound steps that can lead to a 'happily even after.' Drawing from Esther Perel's wisdom on post-affair relationships, our discussion tackles the delicate process of fostering a 'second marriage' with the same partner, while underscoring the pivotal role of personal growth and communication. We invite you into an intimate conversation about the intricacies of rebuilding trust and creating a home environment that reflects shared values, solid security, and the harmony that nurtures a family's well-being.

Embarking on the path to healing after infidelity is not a road walked alone; I've found solace and strength through coaching and offer the same empowering guidance. This episode is a candid exploration of the emotional landscape post-betrayal and the resilience required to either rekindle a marriage or gracefully move forward. For those seeking a beacon in the fog of heartache and uncertainty, I extend my experiences and professional insights, promising a supportive hand to hold as you navigate towards your own version of a fulfilling future.

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Speaker 1: 0:10
Hi friends, welcome to Happily. Even After I’m Life Coach Jen, a certified life coach that specializes in relationships. I’m a mom of four awesome kids and one amazing senora. A home decorator, a remodeler, a shopper, a scrabler and a snuggler. I want to help you with your relationships, mainly the relationship you have with yourself and your family and God. Thanks for listening and letting me share the tools I have learned that can help you live happily even after some of life’s greatest challenges. Hey friends, welcome to today’s podcast episode.

Speaker 1: 0:44
This past weekend I’m going to call it was my I renamed my anniversary my when I got married a long time ago to my family’s anniversary, because I wanted something important to me. Like, I think dates are important and March 9th has always been an important day for me for a long time, and so when I got divorced, I was like, how am I going to celebrate this? And last year I took my kids to Belize, which was amazing all my family and I just decided it’s going to be my family anniversary because the greatest thing that I got out of my marriage were my four children. I am so grateful that I have them, and now I have a son-in-law, and so it’s my time to celebrate them this year. Unfortunately, we’re not going to all be together, but for me, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I’m going to celebrate that and I’m just so grateful that I was able to create a family, even though my family looks different than I thought it would 28 years ago. That’s okay, because now I get to create my new life, which is really exciting. Like I’m loving my new life. Me post-divorce is amazing. I am so grateful that I finally chose divorce and that it wasn’t so terrible. But I do believe in marriage and there’s a person that I love.

Speaker 1: 2:19
I’ve read one of her books. That’s called the State of Affairs and her name is Esther Perrell and she’s, I think, from Belgium, so she has an accent and she has a podcast. But she always talks about this concept recreating your marriage after an affair. And during the time of when I was trying to repair my marriage, I really felt like I was doing this, but I think I was doing it alone. I thought I was doing it with my former spouse, but clearly I was not, but anyways. So Esther Perrell is a psychotherapist and a writer who has dedicated her career in helping couples who have had an affair, so her podcast is quite interesting, as well as her books, and she shares lots of people’s stories, which I find fascinating, because if you’ve experienced betrayal in a affair and then talk to other people, all of our stories are different, except for they have a thread that is similar, and the thread of betrayal runs deep and is painful, but you can relate on another level.

Speaker 1: 3:28
So, even if other people are divorced, when it’s a divorce from an affair, it’s just a different. There’s a difference, and you can disagree with me on that and that’s okay. But I have felt that and meeting other women in my similar experiences has really shown me that to be true. So I really feel strongly about that. And it doesn’t mean that you know there’s lots of reasons why someone gets a divorce. And if you don’t get divorced, if you are the person that you were able to recreate your marriage after an affair, that’s a whole other thing too. And actually most marriages that experience an affair don’t necessarily end in divorce, at least not in the beginning, right? And there’s lots of reasons for that, right, the why of the affair, all the things, the person having the affair. So we’re not going to talk about that today, but I just want to give you some tools.

Speaker 1: 4:26
If you’re just found out your husband has been cheating on you and you’re like thinking, oh my gosh, is it possible to save our marriage? The answer, in my opinion, is yes, and she talks about like how, in the West which is American culture, right, most of us are going to have two or three relationships or marriages and some of us are going to do it with the same person, and I just love this thought like, yeah, I had boyfriends in high school and college and then I had my husband, who I was faithful to for 26 years, but now I might have the opportunity to have more relationships and maybe get remarried again. I don’t know, but what I was hoping for was, yeah, staying married to my husband, just reinventing that right after the affair. But my situation is different than others. So if in your situation, you’re like, is this possible 100%? And you could create a second marriage with the person you already married to because you’ve already something has ruptured in your marriage with the affair, so I think it’s just nice to know that’s a possibility, to think it is possible to repair your marriage and have that hope if you want it right.

Speaker 1: 5:59
And from my perspective in 2018, when I was getting divorced from my former spouse the first time and then we reconciled and came back together. I really felt like we were rebuilding. But I now I can look back at it, thinking I think for sure he just came back, not for me, not for the marriage, but for the kids, and that’s okay. He wasn’t ready to do that and maybe the money, I’m not sure but ultimately it just never worked, because I think I was changing and growing and doing all these things and he was not, at least not in a way that would be helpful in a marriage. Right, when you’re having an affair, you cannot have a monogamous marriage. Those two things don’t go together, and so it didn’t work. But I totally believe it is possible.

Speaker 1: 7:02
You have to have a lot of communication and you have to work on yourself just as much as you work together, and I think a lot of people really just want to focus on how is my spouse changing and pointing fingers, what are they doing? And instead, looking inward, focus on you and then focus on your relationship together. For me, I think I focused only on me and kind of maybe I’m not going to say too much like I’m so grateful I did, but it just didn’t work out for me and that’s okay, like I am great where I am. But make sure you don’t just spend all your time in marriage counseling and thinking your marriage needs to be fixed. Yes, there are things that need to change, for sure, but what insight of you needs to also change and be different? You guys have to decide what you want and don’t want in your marriage.

Speaker 1: 8:05
And it’s interesting because, at least when I got married, there are many things that I wish I would have talked about or discussed, but honestly, I don’t even think I would have known to ask the question or known known that I would have needed to even ask the question. And so now that you’ve been married for so many years, you know a lot more about the other person, about things you like and hate about them, that they do or don’t do, and you can kind of start deconstructing your marriage of how it was and rebuilding it to the one you want, because we just aren’t taught like we’re, just so happy it’s like we’re. We can’t even see anything negative about our spouse when we get married, until we get married and then we have kids. And I think it’s interesting because it’s like we get married and then we have kids and that’s kind of a difference in our marriage, right. And then as our kids get older and in high school, it’s another change in our marriage. So there’s lots of shifts. Even if your marriage there’s not infidelity involved, even then when you become empty nesters, it’s almost like you need to recreate what your marriage looks like. And that is a way you can do that is have these conversations, have these talks with your spouse and Kind of redesigning. I like the idea of a marriage redesign. If you guys have ever redesigned a room in your house like we’re gonna redesign the entire house, we might need to even bulldoze the house down and just have the land and then rebuild from the ground up. It just depends on what the the issues are and really start over and I love the question. I’ve talked about John DeLoni before but I and I love him, but he talks about this concept a lot from Esther Prell and Sharing like talking about what do you want your home to feel like?

Speaker 1: 10:04
Now that I have my own home and I have some of my kids that live with me, I always think like, how do I want it to feel? I want to walk into my home and feel peaceful, and I wanted to smell good. I want it to just have a feeling of calm and Beauty. I like beautiful things and I feel like I’ve been able to create that Now. If you’re in the stage of life you have little kids, don’t compare and that may not be what you want your house to feel like. I like my house to have lots of light at night. I do not like a dark house. I don’t want to drive home if I’m coming home late and my house is dark. That doesn’t make me feel safe, and so I have lots of outdoor lighting. I have things that Inside my house, I like to have my house, my door locked and I like to have cameras outside of my house so I can check in.

Speaker 1: 11:09
So really like ask yourself all those questions like how you want it to feel when you walk in, how does your spouse want it to feel? What do you want your bedroom to look like? Do you want your bedroom to be the place where you have all the dirty laundry and you do all the folding, or is there another space that would be better to have? So really get like nitty gritty, asking these questions and when your spouse has a different opinion than you. Listen to them, right, take it in and maybe have a list of things we don’t agree on, things we agree on, and then you can work through each of the things that you don’t agree on. What are we going to keep doing and stop doing with our financial life? What do we both want?

Speaker 1: 11:58
A lot of times in fidelity, there’s lots of financial infidelity too. With spending money on this other woman, there could be insecurities with the money because, especially if you’re getting divorced or you thought you were getting divorced, like all those insecurities came out and so bringing those up, being able to talk about them, hey, I realize, like I’m not on the house, why am I not attached to our house? Or help me understand what a 401K is, because when I went and met with the attorney, they asked me this and I didn’t know what that was. Or who is our accountant. I’ve never even done taxes before. Maybe I would like to start learning how to do those. Or, hey, you’ve never paid any bills. Maybe we should start doing those together. You can decide to do things different and it might be overwhelming, like all the things right, but really you’re rebuilding your marriage and to make it better and stronger than it was before.

Speaker 1: 13:05
Talking about guardrails, I like to think some things are boundaries, some things are guardrails that you might wanna have with money or other women or accountability. What are you willing to do and not do as a spouse who has been cheated on? What are some things that you need to build trust again in your marriage and is your spouse willing to do those things? That’s a telltale sign. If they’re willing, great. If they’re not willing, then maybe we need to rethink the staying married, because that is so critical to rebuild the trust, but also rebuilding the trust with you that you are gonna know the right thing to do. If you need to change your mind about this, during even mid-construction, you can change your mind. You could change your mind anytime.

Speaker 1: 13:53
What is your spiritual life? Look and feel like Are you still gonna go to church? Have you burnt the bridge? Do you wanna believe in God? Are you okay if one of us goes to church? The other one doesn’t? Like you might have a faith I don’t like to call it a faith awakening is what I like to call it. Like things might have changed, especially in something as heavy as infidelity. Like your faith may have shifted. If you go to a church where there’s disciplinary action that might have occurred, and so having the conversation about what is your spiritual life gonna be? Are we gonna still pray together? Are we gonna start praying together as a couple, because we haven’t done it for years? But I really think that’s important. So asking yourself those questions how do you want to contribute in the household?

Speaker 1: 14:42
I think, making a list, you might have been the woman that did everything and the husband worked and you just have a lots of resentment in your life. So taking a list of every little job that needs to be done in the home, inside and outside, dividing those things up, saying you know what, I don’t wanna grocery shop anymore. That is one thing that I changed when my former spouse moved back in. I was like I don’t wanna do it, I get stressed out, I don’t enjoy it, I feel criticized every time I come home and make a meal Like I just am done doing it. And he kind of took that over. He probably thinks he did more than he didn’t. But you know, at least I was able to let go of that and let him do that and make more of the meals. And I would still make the meals, but I just didn’t like the grocery store. I still don’t like the grocery store. Thank goodness for online grocery shopping and I don’t even use that, but I’m glad that. I’m glad it exists, I’m glad it is an option, if I want it to be.

Speaker 1: 15:46
But talk about those things and decide what do you wanna still do and what do you hate, and is your spouse willing to do it? And if not, is there someone you can hire? Can you have one of your kids start doing it? Get creative, because when we think like we feel stuck, we’re gonna be blocked in any other options. Talk about your hopes and dreams. What do you want your future to look like? Dream about something. Have a hope and a dream that you can work on together as well as separate. I think that’s really important.

Speaker 1: 16:21
Ask them how can I love you better? Like what was I doing or not doing? And consider like, do you want to do that? Is that something that you are willing to try doing? And I think, if you’re the person asking and you might have to remind, remind them. Hey, babe, remember, I really love this. And it’s not that the person that you’ve asked doesn’t want to, it’s just not maybe in their wheelhouse, so they’re having to learn it. It’s a new thing that they’re trying to do in their life, but we have to have that open communication, so finding ways to love each other better. What did you love about our marriage before and what felt hard? And really sit down and have this conversation Because you could be like oh, I thought you loved that. I’ve been doing that for 20 years and it’s like no, actually I didn’t like it at all. You’re gonna have to be really honest and really vulnerable. But if you just burnt down your house and wanna rebuild, then I think this is the perfect opportunity and I would suggest, if you have kids, or even if you don’t have kids, going away for the weekend with the sole purpose in creating a new plan for your marriage. And maybe once a week, once a month, especially in the first years you’re doing this do a check-in and see how things are going. Keep a journal, write things down and don’t come from a critical space. Come from a loving space, like I want this marriage to work, because apparently you did, because this is what you chose.

Speaker 1: 18:01
Okay, talk about parenting issues. Are there things that you wish your spouse would do different? Or, but also accept them for their differences. I think the beautiful thing about kids is we had them for a reason and they were meant to have a dad like they have and a mom like they have, and sometimes that’s hard to understand and to grasp, but think of all the lessons that they’re learning through both of you, and so not necessarily changing how someone parents, but just say, hey, I could use help with bedtime twice a week or whatever if your kids are little, and then if they’re older, hey, can you stay up every other weekend for them to get home? I would really just like to go in my bed and chill and watch Netflix or whatever, and make those agreements, create the agreements together.

Speaker 1: 18:58
Change takes time, so you have to be patient. You spent however many years up until the moment of either you discovered the affair or whatever else happened to damage your marriage, to get you to like completely burn down the house and recreate your marriage, redesign it, and so you’re gonna have to be patient and it’s gonna take time. What are the deal breakers? Are there deal breakers? Get curious about it and think about it and be honest about it. You have to be willing to know there isn’t a right or wrong way to be married and to be a spouse. So I would caution you to be like well, I want a marriage like the Joneses or the Harrises, because we don’t know what their marriage is really like. Right, we just know the outside, what the public view of their marriage is, and so really, it doesn’t matter what anyone else’s marriage looks like, it just matters what you are comfortable with and what you want your marriage to be. You get to decide what works for your family. So I just think this is such a great tool and I love the idea that she presents to a lot of these couples that have had their marriage, have a huge awakening from an affair, from infidelity. It’s the idea that it is possible to stay married to the same person but recreate and create a totally new marriage with the same person, and I think that’s such a beautiful thought if that is going to be what works for you and your spouse and it might not be, and that’s okay too. I just loved this idea and wanted to share it with you.

Speaker 1: 20:52
In case you’ve never thought about, instead of getting divorced, what if we tried recreating our marriage and recreating it to your dream and realize, of course, life is 50-50. There’s going to be good things and bad things. You’re going to think like, oh, I want my husband to do X, y and Z. And then he starts doing it and you’re like, oh, never mind, I can’t handle you loading the dishwasher like that. It’s going to drive me crazy, so I’m just going to take over dishes again, and so it could be some of that. Or you could be like, oh my gosh, like you, going to the grocery store has freed up all this negative energy in my body and in my mind and I feel like a different person. I feel like I can get through my day because I obviously was spending a lot of mental energy on going to the grocery store and now I don’t have that anymore. I got to take that off my plate. So just be curious and be very thoughtful and ask, I think, some of these questions that I thought of. But you can think of your own questions to have the conversation and get it going.

Speaker 1: 21:59
But really pick a time so you’re not like dragging this out. Pick it a weekend, a week to really be thoughtful. If you’ve ever built a house, you’re going to go to the architect a lot. He’s going to draw a picture and you’re going to be like, oh, I don’t really like where that window is, that’s not really working for me. And you’re going to go home and you’re going to be thinking about your house plans and you’re going to be like, oh, that’s, that’s not going to work, let’s you’re. And you’re going to do lots of iterations of building a house and I think that’s what you can do when you want to redesign and reinvent your marriage. So I hope this was helpful.

Speaker 1: 22:39
If you need help and if you’ve experienced infidelity, I can totally help you in your healing journey and wherever you’re at. I have been through all of it and I know that having a coach can really help expedite you through this journey and help you understand and feel all your feelings and get to a place where you can be thinking and feeling like you’re not in bed and devastated anymore, that you can thrive in your life and in your marriage, or, if it marriage isn’t going to work out through divorce and on. So if you know of anyone or if you are that person, I offer a free consult that I love to meet with you and chat and you can find me and email me or find me on Instagram, so I will hopefully hear from you soon. Have a beautiful day. If you want to learn how to live happily even after, sign up for my email at hello at life coach Jen with one end dot com. 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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