Episode 15: He Cheated. I’m Monitoring Everything.

by | Last updated: Aug 28, 2023 | Podcast

So your partner had an affair. What do you do now? Whether an emotional or physical betrayal, any loss of trust is a big deal, and many partners find themselves desperately monitoring their spouse’s every move and venting to their friends and family.

But the question remains – if you want to make the marriage work, how are you going to rebuild that trust?

In this episode, I will explain how micromanaging your partner after they have cheated may make you feel safer but absolutely does not fix the damage done to your relationship in the long run.

Even if your partner is apologizing beautifully and doing all the right things, it is hard to feel safe again after you’ve been betrayed, and you’ll have to learn how to take your power back in order to get there.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • Why you micromanage after a loss of trust
  • How to discover what you really want
  • What not to do after discovering your partner cheated
  • How to understand your spouse’s autonomy
  • How to take your power back in the relationship

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“Welcome to The Loving Truth podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now, your host, relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope.

“Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope, and this is The Loving Truth. Today we are talking about when you find out that your partner has cheated on you, and then you start tracking everything that they're doing.

“Alright, so let's just think about this for a second. You find out that your partner has had an affair or has betrayed you in some big way, right? That can be an emotional affair, it can be a physical affair, but there's some really big betrayal. And so our first, I would say, normal reaction is to freak right out, right? And when we freak out, it's not very pretty, right? Our emotions are all over the place. We're thinking about how we can track every one of their movements so that we can feel safe, so that we can understand what's happening.

“We're thinking about putting tracking devices on their car, on their phone. We're looking at all their accounts, right? We're we are monitoring their text messages, their email. We're looking at their social media accounts and seeing what they're reacting to and responding to, who they're friends with, all of that sort of thing.

“I had a client one time where she put a tracking device on her husband's phone that would, at the end of every day, give her a summary of every single conversation he had had when his phone was nearby. Every single text message that was sent and received, every single email that was sent and received. Right?

“Now, don't ask me in the comments, what is this tracking device? That is not my business. I'm not a security expert. I don't know. And that's not the point of this particular conversation that we're having. The other thing that will often happen is that because we are hurting, we will hurt other people, right? And so we are hurting, and we kind of want our partner to hurt too, cuz they're the ones that hurt us. And so what do we do?

“That's when we will go tell family and friends about what our partner did. Now, I know that we are also seeking support and seeking understanding, and that can be a powerful thing during this time. It's just, the problem is, and I've seen this happen many, many times, when you are in the midst of that struggle and that hurt and that freaking out process, you go to family and friends, and then lo and behold, a few weeks or a few months later, as the two of you might be trying to come back together as a couple and heal the wounds of the betrayal - well now because you've brought your family and friends into it, they've all got opinions. They've got opinions about him; they've got opinions about your marriage. And so now on top of everything else you have to overcome, you now have to also overcome all these other opinions as the two of you try to heal from a deep betrayal.

“The other thing we might do because we're hurting so much, is we wanna hurt other people. So we might reach out to my husband's affair partner, his family, his boss, his kids, right? We want to hurt other people in the midst of that. So that freaking out, it's not terribly graceful, right? And I'm not even suggesting that it should be. But I wanna share with you, let's make this real. Let's put it in the context of a story.

“There's a client that I've been working with for a little while. I'll refer to her as Joanne; that is not her name. But when we started working together, she had found out about her husband's affair about six weeks prior to that. And she was in that freaking out process where she was monitoring every single thing he did. Now, her husband was saying and doing all the right things. He was saying, ‘I love you. I'm sorry I made a mistake. I want our marriage to work.’ And I think they both thought that was supposed to help. And for sure it's not gonna hurt, but it wasn't helping as much as she wanted it to. It wasn't calming her nerves.

“She still wasn't sleeping much. She wasn't eating much. She was on that emotional rollercoaster where one day she's angry as heck. The next day she's sad, then she's worried, then she's doubtful, then she's feeling hopeless. She's just sort of all over the place, and her anxiety is there all the time. She said she's now having panic attacks where she's never even had a panic attack in her entire life prior to this. And so in the midst of all of that, she's monitoring everything he does.

“So her husband's affair was with someone that he worked with, right? So just the act of her husband going to work every single day triggers her insecurity about, is she safe in her marriage? Is he going to align his actions with his words? ‘Am I safe or am I going to continue to be hurt?’ is sort of the underlying question. So he leaves for work early in the morning and she asks that on the way to work, he calls her so that they can talk on the way to work. And before he gets home, the minute he leaves work on his way home, he needs to call her then as well so that they can contact right after he leaves home. And right before he comes home throughout the day, she needs one to two check-ins. That can be through text, that can be through a phone call, whatever. But she needs that check-in response when he comes home every day or on that ride home from work.

“She's asking, ‘Did you see her today? Did you talk to her today? What did you say? What did she say?’ Et cetera, et cetera. She wants all the details, right? Because she doesn't feel secure in their relationship. She's checking his phone, she's check checking every social media account, she's checking all the messaging apps, WhatsApp, all the stuff. She's checking the credit card statements, and she has a tracking device on his car. No, he doesn't know that. That's actually how she found out about the affair to begin with. But what she said is, ‘Sharon, this is not who I want to be. It is driving me mad, and I need your help with that.’

“So when we started working together, you know, I think, I don't know, maybe she thought I was just gonna teach her how to forgive and forget. That's not where we begin with this kind of thing. First of all, it's way too early for forgiveness in this scenario. Six weeks later, we're not talking about forgiveness after six weeks, we're talking about getting you steady.

“And here are some of the things that I wanna share with you in the context of if you are struggling when you find out that your partner had in an affair or has betrayed you in a really significant way - look, your monitoring of everything that they do, all of the things that we've described as the freaking out process, that is not going to prevent someone from doing something that they want to do.

“It's just not, right? Every adult gets to do whatever they want to do. And if your partner actually wants to continue reaching out to their affair partner, don't you think that's some important information for you to know? I'm not suggesting it's not going to hurt, but I am suggesting that all of this monitoring and all of this checking isn't going to prevent him or her from doing what it is they want to do.

“And I think it's really important that you understand right now what it is they really want to do. Because sometimes people's words and their actions don't align. Now, the other thing is that if you are keeping all this pressure on your partner, and they're on very good behavior because they know they're being watched, and they know they're being monitored, and they're only on good behavior because you're being so diligent in your monitoring of their behavior, then what is your option? You're just gonna keep doing this for the rest of your life. You're gonna keep the pressure on in order to control their behavior for the rest of your life. That's never going to make you feel secure.

“So let's get at what it is that you really want to feel. You want to feel safe, you want to have peace of mind, you want to feel chosen. And my friends, you want to feel empowered because when you find out that you're the one that's been cheated on inside of a relationship, most of us don't feel very powerful, do we? We feel very disempowered. We feel not chosen. We feel rejected and hurt and betrayed and all of the other normal feelings that come along with a betrayal.

“So here's the way that you can get back to a place of feeling more secure in yourself and in your relationship and how you can feel more empowered inside your relationship. So first of all, I want you to trust that you found out once. Yes, you used some tools, but there was something that alerted you. So in Joanne's situation, she put a tracker on her husband's car, and that's how she found out. But you don't just have a tracker on your husband's car for the entirety of your marriage. Like there was something that alerted her that something was not right. There's something to pay attention to here that caused her to get that tracker and put it on his car, right?

“So I want you to trust your intuition, that if something is talking to you, that you will follow that instinct, that you will trust that instinct, that when something feels off, it is off. And that's when you can go looking. That's when you start to pay attention a little bit more closely, right? I want you to trust that woman’s intuition that you have. That is a very, very real thing, okay?

“The other thing I want you to realize is that you can make a promise to yourself that ‘I'm going to have my own back’ as it relates to this. Now, what does that mean? That means I'm not going to beg someone to be in relationship with me. If they ultimately want to mess around with someone else, and I'm not willing to share them, then I'm not going to beg you to stay here so that I don't have to face a whole bunch of hurt and fear. I'm willing to face a whole bunch of hurt and fear. I'm not willing to beg someone to stand there alongside me. That's not love, that's prison, right? And I don't wanna be purgatory for someone, right? I want you to be here next to me because there's nowhere else you'd rather be, right?

“That's how you can start to get your power back. The other way in which you can have your own back is that you can say to yourself, ‘If this happens again, there won't be a lot of words, there won't be a lot of turmoil, but I will not remain in this relationship.’ Now, lots of people will say those things, and they will say it to their partner, like putting their partner on notice, like as a threat. Like ‘All right, but if it happens again, I'm outta here.’ But then they don't mean it, and their partner knows they don't mean it, and it happens again, and then they don't leave. I have seen it happen again and again. And I think the reason for that is because they were using it as a threat to their partner as opposed to a commitment to self, right?

“If it is a commitment to yourself that if this happens again, that I am not going to stay because there's an element of trust that just cannot be rebuilt when we keep inflicting more and more wounds on top of the relationship, and so I'm gonna honor myself; that's my work. So trust my intuition, and if it happens again, I'm going to honor myself and I will end this relationship. As difficult as that might be.

“From that place, you start feeling more empowered. You start feeling less frenetic. You stop having this insatiable need to monitor and check somebody else's every move and every action. I want you to trust yourself, and I want you to get back in your power so that you can show up to the relationship knowing that you are deserving of love and trust and all of the things that you want inside your relationship.

“Most marriages actually survive infidelity, but I think most of that is because the person who's been cheated on has to just figure out how to forget. And that is not necessarily the case. But what you don't have to do is drive yourself mad in the process. You can heal the relationship. You can have your own back and not lose your sanity in the process.

“All right? I hope that was helpful for you. I've got another great topic coming just for you next week. So until then, take really good care.

“If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer, it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and me to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage.

“Go to clarityformy marriage.com to fill out an application now. That's clarityformymarriage.com.”


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