Hello AwakenYou listeners, at the time of this episode release I will just be getting home from a wonderful four-day getaway in Colorado with eleven incredible women, next week I will share all of the things about that trip. To those of you in the US who were able to enjoy a three-day weekend, please share what wonderful happiness you created for yourself and what you did to create that happiness. Maybe you followed through on my prompting last week to download my Abundant Love Mini-Course and you started working on doing the work of excavating those thoughts about your marriage and started your new love list. Maybe you were able to implement the coursework this past weekend to re-direct old thoughts, noticing the extra bit of freedom you felt from doing this work. If you haven’t downloaded the course click on the link in the show notes and get yourself on the journey! This week I want to talk about what happens when we have thoughts that lead us to believe that our spouse might have an interest in the liking of someone other than you. It might be a vibe you get when they talk about that person or when you’re around that person with your spouse. Maybe it’s as “simple” as this or maybe it extends into other out-of-the-norm behaviors like “working late” or spending less time at home than usual. My goal in this episode is to notice what is happening to you and help you decide if what you are experiencing is your intuition speaking to you or something else, like maybe fear, and then take a look at who is cheating who in this situation that you’re trying to navigate through.
Today let’s start with looking at an example scenario to help you settle into what I am leaning towards and to help you find a similar situation in your own life to use as a parallel so that you can use this episode to work through where you find yourself stuck. I’m going to help you take a look at the thoughts and feelings that might be swimming around inside of your body and brain while then helping you decide if this is your intuition or a mixture of fear-based emotions, or a combination of them all. After we sift through what you might be going through I will help you decide how you want to move forward from cheating yourself and creating disconnection in your marriage to creating more of what you want, which is connection.
Let’s set up a possible scenario. Imagine there is a certain person, let’s go with this person being a co-worker, that your spouse has mentioned in conversation, to you it seems like they’ve been brought up often and at awkward times. You’ve noticed that when you are around the two of them they have what you would call “a connectedness” that feels a bit uncomfortable to you. Let’s pretend that you have done work on letting go of distrust of others and have gotten to a comfortable place when it comes to “worrying” about your spouse cheating on you, but this time feels different, even if you haven’t gotten to this place of self-trust, you don’t like what you are imagining about your spouse and this person. Maybe the old you would have been rude to the co-worker and accusatory towards your spouse, maybe you would have stalked them, stalked their social profiles, their messages, and email. Maybe you’ve grown beyond the magnetic mental pull of this suspicion and you’re not allowing yourself to go down those rabbit holes, but your brain keeps setting off the warning sirens. For those of you who’ve done self-trust work, maybe you’ve noticed that there have been other times when you witnessed your spouse “flirting” but you looked at it as “cute” and it didn’t feel threatening. This time feels different and you don’t know what to do with the mental load these circumstances are bringing to you.
So what exactly is going on here? Why can’t we let it go as we have with others? Is this our intuition telling us that something is wrong and to pay attention? What do you do with all of the things that are coming up for you with this new challenge? Is it just your old fear – self-preservation coping mechanisms kicking into gear and you just need to squash them?
When we do the work of recognizing and letting go of our old coping techniques a whole new set of circumstances come up for us to deal with: ourselves and all of the things that come up when we are being alerted that something might be wrong, something might be out of the normal. Our brain goes on high alert. Now we are in the position to do the work of looking at what is happening to us, listening to the emotions that we are feeling and seeing what information they have for us, then deciding how we want to move forward with this obstacle we are bumping up against; while always remembering that self-growth work doesn’t mean that we will never deal with an uncomfortable situation or that we’ll automatically be able to brush them off as no big deal. I don’t believe that we want to brush them off as no big deal, what self-growth does is it helps us to see the warning sign as information that we need to process and make decisions about. Let’s look at how to do that.
What happens inside of us
Before you start reacting to the emotional whirlwind going on inside of you, it’s so important to take a look at those emotions and evaluate why they are there. I think the very first place to start when we are feeling overwhelmed with emotions and ruminating thoughts is to book a session with a coach to help sort through what might be happening to us. Of course, you know that you can do that by going to the show notes and scheduling that for yourself. Until that time we don’t want to ignore the warning signals because they won’t disappear, they will just get louder until we look at what is going on.
The first place to start is becoming aware of what is happening inside of you instead of relying on old responses like withdrawal/ignoring, smothering them, or fighting with them. Then I suggest you start writing. Get out a notebook and write down anything and everything that is coming up for you. This is the cleaning out the junk drawer exercise that I have talked about so often, it will help you to see those thoughts swirling around in your mind so that you can evaluate them, and decide if you want to believe them or if they are just causing you undue pain. My Abundant Love Mini-Course does a great job explaining what a thought download is, how to do it, and the next steps.
From here you are going to look at how those thoughts are making you feel. What emotions are coming up for you and why are they there? You don’t even need to look at each thought in your downloads to determine the emotions, you can do a brainstorm of emotions to start seeing what is going on inside of you. As you relax into this exercise you might see lots of different emotions showing up for you, which will help you see why you are experiencing an emotional storm. Take some time by yourself to close your eyes and think about how some of these emotions articulate themselves in your body. What are some of the emotions you might be feeling? Anger, distrust, jealousy, envy, sadness, betrayal, fear, or unworthiness?
I highly suggest you do the practice I share in Ep 23: How To Process Emotions to discover what emotions you might be experiencing. Once you have an idea of what emotions are swirling around inside of you then you can start asking yourself questions about why you are feeling the way you are. You can start asking yourself how you want to show up in this situation so that you can serve your highest self instead of tearing yourself and your partner down. Take some time to process what is happening for you and trust that answers will come to you in the process.
Through this process you might start questioning your intuition, “Is this my intuition or is it old fear-based feelings that are coming up to protect me?” If you have been on the journey of building self-trust then I would encourage you to consider that your observation could be valid and that yes, your intuition is on to something, but that doesn’t mean you need to go into fear-based actions of fight, flight, freeze or fawn. You have the steps to start processing this on your own so you can create awareness in order to move forward from a place of love and compassion instead of self-preservation. Inspiration, wisdom, and insight come when we are feeling love and compassion for ourselves, not when we are instinctually protecting ourselves. Pause and do the work of asking yourself questions, watching how you tend to want to fall into old coping mechanisms, and constantly reminding yourself that you are safe, you are loved, that you are listening while asking yourself what it is you need right now. Breathe and let your intuition bring you answers.
In last month’s Marriage Masterclass one of the three action steps I shared was to start paying attention to the emotions you experience on a daily basis. This exercise created awareness of what our go-to emotions tend to be; in next month’s Marriage Masterclass where we will discuss conflict I will share what I want you to start doing with those emotions, so make sure you get yourself registered for that class, it is June 9th, 5 pm CT where I will show you How To Change Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse: Working Through Conflict.
Who is cheating who?
Back to why we are here. What I have discovered as I help clients through these sort of situations and looking at my own lived experience is that what we are actually doing while fighting all of these thoughts and emotions that crop up is cheating ourselves. We let our minds run wild with scenarios of what might be happening, we withdraw, lash out, or smother our spouse while telling ourselves awful stories about who we are. We cheat ourselves of being able to learn something about ourselves during the experience because we’re so focused on whether they are cheating on us. We’re so concerned about what they are doing and what it means about our own lovability that we forget to look inside and learn how to love ourselves harder. Instead, we suck ourselves dry spinning in our thoughts and emotions, and never learn how to move forward from this situation. We create more disconnection in our marriage than the connection we are working so hard at achieving.
This emotional experience that is in front of you is an opportunity to notice the tendency to want to spend all of your energy focusing on them, thus avoiding what is happening inside of yourself, which I am calling cheating yourself. Instead, turn your focus towards yourself, honor what it is that you are struggling with inside and when you do that you will discover how you want to handle the situation you find yourself arguing with.
So how do you move forward from this emotional spiral that comes when we’re worried about our spouse having desires for someone else? Aside from the steps I shared above, the first place I want you to start is by discovering a loving self-compassion for yourself and what you are experiencing. When you can tell yourself that you’re here for yourself, that you love yourself, and that you are listening, you will find that your mind and heart open up to a better understanding of what you are experiencing, and from this place, you create power for what you want to do moving forward. From this place you will generate more loving self-compassion and understanding.
Next, you can start taking a look at how you might want to show up and why you aren’t able to show up in the way you want. Last week’s episode Ep 67: Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be Doing What You Want To Be Doing In Your Marriage will be helpful for recognizing why you’re stuck and helping you take those baby steps forward towards showing up the way you want to show up. Showing up in a way that honors you instead of self-betraying.
From here you also might decide that you want to share an open-vulnerable conversation about how you are feeling. If you’re ready to take this step it will be important that you have gotten yourself to a place where you’re not blaming them for how you are feeling but instead are able to share honestly how you are feeling because of what is going on inside of you. Being able to share about what you are experiencing, why you are feeling this way, and feeling confident ask hard questions. Always remember that you are sharing what is going on inside of YOU, not how their actions are creating this feeling for you. You are always creating your own feelings, whether they are old, learned emotions, or ones you are conjuring up on your own. Share your fears and insecurities from a loving place and always remember that how they react has nothing to do with you, but that you can ask for your space and time and for them to hear your reality experience. Being able to share that you want time to share and that when you feel ready there will be time for them to share as well.
Sometimes we feel a bit insecure in our marriages, especially when things don’t seem to be going as well as we want. When we start doing this work of changing our marriage without changing our spouse these insecurities bring in a whole new dynamic because we are putting a lot of energy into building up the marriage. The hope and promise I want to leave you with today is this: the work you are doing will NEVER serve you poorly, it will ALWAYS make you stronger and more powerful which will ALWAYS serve you in your life. You are building a stronger, more trusting relationship with yourself which gives you distance from the things other people are doing in their own lives and builds confidence in your decisions to move forward.
Remember that as you do this work that I suggested here today, you will start to separate out the facts from the stories you are telling yourself about what is going on. As you sort those things out you will see what is under all of those stories and from that open space you will be able to clearly hear what your intuition is sharing with you and trust in the steps you choose to move forward for you.
I hope that this helped at least one of you out there who might be struggling with trusting your partner right now and if you have any questions or want to get help with what you are working through then please schedule a free mini-session where I will help you plan your next steps towards inner peace.
I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.