On today’s show …
We’ve combined the Regular and the XTD versions into one show – this week only.
The whole show we are talking about trust and hurt … and how there is a tremendous difference in handling these two aspects of betrayal, lies, and broken promises.
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Transcript of Episode
You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio, smrnation.com. You’ve turned on Sexy Marriage Radio, where the best sex happens in the marriage bed. Here’s your host, Dr. Corey Allan.
Corey Allan: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, Dr. Corey and alongside as always, my wife, Pam.
Pam Allan: Hey everyone.
Corey Allan: Where we are having regular, straightforward conversations about married life and love and sex and everything in between, I guess you could say, where we want to know what’s going on in your world as part of the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation. We love it that you take some time out of your week each and every week to spend it with us. And we love it when you also let us know what’s on your mind with phone calls, questions, thoughts, praises, whichever it is it’s on your mind. 214-702-9565 is the way you can call in and let us know, or email@example.com. We also asked the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation if you guys would jump on iTunes, rate and review the show, leave a comment, do the same via Stitcher, iHeartRadio, tune in overcast. There’s all kinds of different ways you can listen to this show.
Pam Allan: You name it. It’s endless now.
Corey Allan: Google Play. So if you like what’s going on here with Sexy Marriage Radio Nation and our show, please let people know because it helps spread the word that married sex is the hotbed for sex and that marriage could just be better because it is interesting that once again in the last couple of weeks just in our lives, I heard a comment from something I was listening to that was talking about how when sex is good in a marriage, it only accounts to about 15% for the overall happiness. That’s how much of an impact it is. But when it’s not good and it’s a source of frustration, it accounts to about 60 to 65% as the source of unhappiness.
Pam Allan: Interesting.
Corey Allan: And so it’s an interesting dilemma and dynamic that could go on when you’re talking about this aspect of your relationship because it is the one thing that distinguishes your relationship from all the others. But it is an interesting fact that when there is some problems with it, it’s a bigger deal. [crosstalk 00:02:29] It feels dramatically different and bigger. We’re coming up on today’s regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio. We’re going to do a little bit of a pivot today, where the free version of Sexy Marriage Radio and the extended version of Sexy Marriage Radio are all the same show today.
Pam Allan: All right, so we’ve got a longer podcast for everyone.
Corey Allan: We’re going to do a deep dive into the world of trust because we’ve had a slew of emails over the last several months of couples and then even some voicemails of couples and individuals that are dealing with past hurts, past betrayals, past pain surrounding either infidelity, porn usage, lying, shading. I mean, there’s a lot of different things that are breaking the trust cycle.
Pam Allan: Right, and they’re not all past. A lot of them they’re living in right now, right?
Corey Allan: Fair point, yes. And so we think it deserves a great deal of coverage to do it a fair justice with this topic. And so our thought for this one show only is we’re going to combine them, and we’re going to go the full time with the content. And so if you are regularly one that just listens to the regular show, you’re getting the whole thing. If you’re one that’s listening to the extended feed, which you can find the extended feed still at smrnation.com and subscribe and join the Academy and get all the additional content from all the past shows and all the prior shows or all the shows that will be coming. But for this one, whichever feed you’re listening to, they’re the same show. And so we’re going to try this out because we think this topic deserves that much coverage and it needs to be heard by everyone. So all that’s coming up on today’s show.
Corey Allan: As I mentioned in the open, Pam, we’ve had a lot of emails that have come in and voicemails that have come in where we’re talking about… if you boil it all down, it really comes down to its broken trust. Because we go into this relationship… and let’s do a more of a aerial view first of just this whole concept of how it happens, not how does betrayal happen. I think this is important on how we frame our show today. So when you meet and fall in love with somebody, we have rose-colored glasses, we have idealistic distortions, if you will, of our mate. We couldn’t foresee anything that would be egregious happening.
Pam Allan: Right, it’s all going to be good every day.
Corey Allan: For the most part, every day.
Pam Allan: They love me I love them.
Corey Allan: Both sides are trustworthy and acting in trustworthy manners. And so as the relationship goes on, inevitably, there will be some varying degrees of broken trust because it could happen just by, I said I was going to pick up the milk and I didn’t stop and pick up the milk. So therefore, that’s a slight betrayal, if you will, and that’s a harsh word to put with this. But it still fits under the same dynamic of what’s the message being taught? What’s the dynamic that’s going on? Can I count on you or not? Are you with me?
Pam Allan: Yeah, well, I’m backtracking all these things in my head. I’ve got I think of so many friends or peers or whoever that as an outsider, I’m seeing them in their dating relationship and I’m like, “Really, how do you trust that dude?” And they give in, they go into their marriage with what should be giant flags of trust issues.
Corey Allan: But they don’t see them, or they choose to ignore them.
Pam Allan: Choose to ignore them on some of the things I’m thinking about.
Corey Allan: Because we’re all in some degrees come into this with this idealized version of our love will overcome this, or that was in the past, this will not happen now, or we can convince ourselves of almost anything. You give the brain enough time. That rationalization hamster can make it believe almost anything. And sometimes that is too tremendous pain and distraughtness that can happen to a person. So as the relationship goes along and then you hit these moments of betrayal, where something comes out, it’s either in I want to keep this conversation, Pam, in the arena of just betrayal and trust, not realizing fully that there’s nuances within the different types of betrayal. A couple of examples to this because this is what I see in my office. If I have a couple come in and they’re dealing with infidelity, it’s a different journey of dealing with infidelity if it was just a one night stand or it was a year long affair.
Pam Allan: I can see that.
Corey Allan: Those are different levels of betrayal. They’re different nuances that’s tied to it in the different pieces that need to be unpacked because sometimes people can be much faster to forgive on, okay, circumstances, I get it. We were in a really bad spot. Circumstances were just prime for that to happen once. All right, I can almost see that. That’s a little different than you kept that hidden from me for a year or two. And I asked you repeatedly and all of these different things that go with it. So there’s differences in the type of betrayal of trust we’re talking about. But I want to keep it under the realm of a more global view of just the idea of trust because you can still have different things that happen that hurt each person in the relationship.
Pam Allan: Right, because we’re not just talking about affairs here. There’s all kinds of things that could end up betraying trust.
Corey Allan: Right, and so when you’re talking about how do you deal with picking up the pieces after discovery of something, after it’s either been disclosed to you or discovered, and sometimes the path between each of those is different. If you are listening as part of Sexy Marriage Radio Nation and there’s something you are wrestling with on do I disclose it to my spouse or not, you coming forward to disclose it changes the path than if they find out.
Pam Allan: Oh, definitely.
Corey Allan: So it’s recognizing I can start this recovery faster with my own integrity in the way I go about it from this point forward, because one of the markers I want to add is just a truism as a statement. And if you’re driving while you’re listening to this episode of Sexy Marriage Radio, don’t write this down, but write it down at some point. But there’s a great phrase I heard of integrity is defined most by what you do after you’ve violated your integrity.
Pam Allan: Right, yeah.
Corey Allan: Right?
Pam Allan: Absolutely.
Corey Allan: Because we all have times where we do it, and I define it the most and refine it the most by what I do after that. So research shows that when you’re dealing with any kind of betrayal or any kind of broken promises, any kind of lies that are brought into the realm of trust, research shows that to effectively move past this, there’s five sticking points you got to deal with.
Pam Allan: To move past betrayal?
Corey Allan: Past the betrayal, yes. So one is knowing the details. You just need to know what happened. And this isn’t every nuance of detail.
Pam Allan: Okay, that was what I was going to ask because there’s only so much that I would want or recommend knowing…
Corey Allan: Well, and that’s going to vary according to each person because sometimes in my office I’ve had a spouse that wanted to know everything versus something else, I don’t want to know everything. And what research shows on that fact is coming at it from a more investigative stance with a more of a curiosity. And this is some of Esther Pearl’s work of what did that mean to you? What were the factors surrounding it that created the possibility of that happening? Some of those things are good to know, but the where, when, how, what did you do? All of those as a detective, where you’re getting the facts, that doesn’t really provide any extra value.
Pam Allan: That just seems like it opens the door for even more hurt.
Corey Allan: That opens the door for more hurt. And the rougher thing is it opens the door for more comparisons because you’ve already got to have another world of grief you have to deal with anyway. So knowing the details, the second one is releasing the anger. So you have to give the anger a room to exist and deal with it and then release it. Because if I’m constantly dealing with that, it’s just exacerbating the issue. Showing commitment on both sides, showing commitment…
Pam Allan: All right, that’s key.
Corey Allan: … to the relationship. And this is another comment from Esther Pearl on this is the idea that whoever it was that was the betrayer, they benefit and the relationship benefits if they will take and assume more of a role of being a vigilante for the relationship, that they show more care and concern for the overall relationship for the near term because it demonstrates to the betrayed spouse I want this, I’m into this. And that comes across through the lens of being able to say to your spouse, “Hey, if you’ve got questions, I’m available.” The regular kind of check ins of, “Hey, how are you doing? How are things today for us, for you?” Where you’re looking out for the relationship more. And that helps tremendously in the short-term, and that eventually turns into the long run.
Pam Allan: I think that speaks volumes to the other spouse saying, “Yeah, I’m invested, I’m here. I want to make sure that we’re moving forward the way we need to move forward.
Corey Allan: Right, absolutely. And that’s a huge move to make because a lot of times the person… I don’t have any research to back this up. This is just a hunch based on my experience with clients. The person that’s been the vigilante person for the relationship is the betrayed spouse. That’s part of what makes it hurt even more is they are the ones that have always kept the relationship alive.
Pam Allan: They feel like they’ve worked so hard and now for what?
Corey Allan: Right, and it was tossed aside and it it didn’t matter. It didn’t add up to anything for them. So showing commitment then, rebuilding trust, which we’re going to unpack this one to a great deal here in just a little bit. So put a pin in that one. And then the last one is just the rebuilding the relationship. That’s where you’re just rebuilding this thing. And I don’t really like that framework as I’m thinking about this right now as we’re talking, the rebuilding, I get it. But I love the idea of the relationship you’ve had is over.
Pam Allan: [crosstalk 00:13:43] for a new one.
Corey Allan: The question is do you want to create a new one too with each other? Because you don’t go backwards to, well, let’s capture what we once had.
Pam Allan: Yeah, you can’t do that.
Corey Allan: Because that won’t happen.
Pam Allan: It’s all new framework now.
Corey Allan: Right, and so that’s what research shows on a broad brush example or path of these are the things that need to be addressed. And if you are in the midst of or have been dealing with, but it has not gone that well on dealing with the betrayal and trying to rebuild trust and you don’t have anybody alongside you, then get in someone’s office with them. Come see me, hop on Skype with me, or if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, my office is here, or if you’ve got a relationship with somebody that’s in a profession, they can walk alongside you and be an advocate for the relationship, and each of you get there to their office as fast as you can.
Pam Allan: Yeah, get to their offices, find support groups. There’s groups that different churches around that are good for that. And of course, we made this comment. This isn’t just about adultery or are they hiding financial things from you, or it’s a number of different betrayals that you can feel. And maybe you just, at this point, haven’t even pinpoint that that’s what it is, but it is.
Corey Allan: Well, they all can be different paths that make up the larger stream of the journey forward because they’re all components that need to be addressed because… and there will be if you go across the landscape of just taking infidelity for an example, and pornography would fit in this too as I’m thinking through this. If you go across the landscape of what research would show or what popular paths that have been proposed of how you deal with it, show with books and courses and different professionals that have put together things to try to help people, most people land in the arena of the betrayal is a symptom of something. It’s something deeper in there and the relationship of the people, it’s not the thing, it’s a aspect of something.
Pam Allan: Right, so that’s just a result of 10 other things that may have culminated over the course of years or…
Corey Allan: Right, well, that fits into the arena of every relationship is co-created. And so if there’s whatever it is that’s created any kind of a larger scale betrayal, the relationship was co-created to get it to that point. So you both play a part in it. A person choosing to step out of a relationship or lie or hide things, that’s their choice. But the dynamic between the two of them is co-created or allowed, which is the co-creation.
Pam Allan: Are there common themes that you see that build up over time that I know you’re… I’m thinking preventative in the first place, that’s not really where you’re wanting to go today. But are there common themes that you see with a lot of the couples that have that betrayal [crosstalk 00:17:14]?
Corey Allan: Well, yeah, if you put it, so most people… no, most people you could probably fit them to one of two categories. One is the larger 97% of the population and the other is 3% of the population. So the 97% of the population where there has been behaviors and things that have come along that have hurt the co-creation that it makes that happen is you just start to get complacent about your relationship. You start to become more companionate as relationship. You start to be more roommates. It’s the prototypical. You sit on opposite ends of the couch and you’re both on your phones or you’re watching separate shows, or you’re just going alongside each other. You’re not really doing life with each other. And so your focus is turned towards kids or work or social media or Facebook or something other than your spouse. And that sends a message.
Corey Allan: We talked about this on the history of Sexy Marriage Radio, everything we do communicate something. And so if your phone is more important than your spouse, that’s communicating that my phone and whatever else that is a portal too is more important than the person I’m in life with that I said I do too. So most of that is an evolution that evolves to just a coexistence. And then we’re starting to talk about character and integrity of people to where you just settle into life until one person finally could do something egregious. And that’s where if you look at it and you’re honest on both sides, you both recognize, “Yeah, I played a part in this too. I could see this happening if I looked back on it.” I need to own that part because that’s how you get preventative of like I don’t need to take this for granted either.
Corey Allan: Because the people that have gone through something like this and have recovered and rebuilt and actually built something to better and different, they see the value because they know what we’re capable of. That’s been my journey of I know what I’m capable of. I don’t keep the important important. I know I could let things slip and then integrity gets cloudy sometimes, and I don’t want that.
Pam Allan: Uh-uh, don’t want that.
Corey Allan: So you got to be disciplined and proactive to say, “I’m going to make sure my guardrails are in place in every aspect I can possibly do.”
Pam Allan: And life on the other side of that is so much better.
Corey Allan: Absolutely. So you start to recognize the path forward and what you can become. So then the other smaller section of the population, the 3%, this is your sociopaths and your narcissists. And those things aren’t necessarily co-created, they just started that type of people. They think they’re above it. And so the consequences don’t matter. And so you repeatedly or cheated on or neglected or just tossed aside because all that matters is them.
Pam Allan: So is there just zero hope to build something new if there’s someone in that 3%?
Corey Allan: It’s an incredibly difficult road, yes. I don’t know, I’m not going to say zero hope, but you at least need to go into it with a clearer view of what you’re really facing. Because in some regards, it’s allowed because it’s just forgiven too quickly. Oh, that’s just the way they are. And then it’s a self-worth thing, where you don’t stand up to take the moves you need to to be something that’s of value and worth choosing. So you don’t hold their feet to the fire and make them make choices too.
Pam Allan: Got you.
Corey Allan: So when you’re looking at this whole thing, one last little nuance that I wanted for the larger, and then I want to get into a deeper part of this. So when you’re talking about betrayal for the offender, we’ve touched on this a little bit, but I want to go down on two different paths of the offender and then the betrayer, or the betrayed, sorry. Words matter with this one.
Pam Allan: Yeah, they do. They definitely do.
Corey Allan: Definitely matter. So as the person who was the offender or the one that compromised the relationship, so it’s important that you recognize that if you are the one that did the cheating or the lying or broke the trust, then you need to show that that behavior’s gone, not just say it’s gone. You need to act differently.
Pam Allan: So that’s going to be what? What are you seeing in different areas of betrayal that really gets through to the spouse?
Corey Allan: Well, okay, so you all the sudden, let’s go with the example of the couple that’s created the roommate situation. You show that behavior is changed by you ask your partner out on dates. Whether they happen or not is different, but you start showing an interest. When you’re home, you’re engaged. You put the phone away. I’ve had a couple of different husbands that have been on this path with me in my office over the last two years that I can think of, where the phone was a major source of tension. And my response to these guys when I keep hearing from their wives, “Here’s what we keep fighting about on trying to rebuild trust. I’m still in this and I want it to be better. But man, that thing is still password protected and hidden and it’s just an appendage.” And my response to them is, “Dude, if you say you want to be with your wife, take away her ammo, be up front about the stuff then dude. Because if it’s you’re hiding something, we got to talk. But if you’re not hiding anything, why are you fighting over stupid stuff? So just take away the ammo.”
Corey Allan: And when they finally do that, it changes everything. When they’re like the phone sitting out in the open, which that’s a different stance for some people. Like I could see it at any point, okay. That all of a sudden takes away the lure of I want to check, I want to see. So those are some of the demonstrative differences in behaviors that show I’m trying to do different, I’m trying to be in this, I’m trying to live more what I do, not just what I say. I want those two things to align. The other one is to be honest, to be up front about things.
Pam Allan: Yeah, you can be honest all day long. And how long does it take for the other spouse to really trust your honesty as true and not a lie?
Corey Allan: Sometimes it can take a long time. And so you have to realize this does take a long time sometimes. But this is where the power of my honesty and my actions are in complete alignment. That’s what starts to show you a difference.
Pam Allan: And when I get frustrated because I’m being honest with you and you keep giving me a response that makes me think or that says straight out, “You don’t believe what I’m saying, even though I’m totally being honest,” how do you handle that?
Corey Allan: Well, this goes into this whole comment of the tyranny of the lowest common denominator. If I’m having to go all the way down to the lowest level to satisfy an insecurity, I can’t indefinitely do that. So at some point…
Pam Allan: Not indefinitely for sure.
Corey Allan: … it becomes this whole, you know what babe? If you can’t believe what I’m saying, we got a whole different set of problems now?
Pam Allan: How is that?
Corey Allan: So now all of a sudden I get a little more of a powerful move stance on just, look, if you don’t believe what I’m saying, I can’t prove it to you any other way. And I say this to the couples a lot of times, and I’ll say this to the betrayed spouses that are listening to the Sexy Marriage Radio Nation today. One of the things I have found in the almost 18-19 years of my practice that I can always count on the stupidity of humans.
Pam Allan: What does that mean in this regard?
Corey Allan: When you’re living in close proximity with someone else, if something is hidden, it will come out, it will be known. We just cannot keep our stories straight. When you put action and words together in close proximity, you just can’t keep everything straight.
Pam Allan: And I think that’s a great point because then that allows you to come in and do this. I love the phrase, assuming a positive intent. So if there’s other factors within your spouse, obviously that you’re seeing these changes, assume a positive intent on the other things and realize that if a positive intent is not there, that’s going to come out. And you’re going to realize that they are going to realize that it’s going to hit the fan, but the life’s going to be better if you do assume that positive intent, assume honesty until proven wrong.
Corey Allan: I got a pivot just a little bit with this though, Pam, because this is where a lot of people will think that when you’re talking about broken trust and then rebuilding it, it’s the betrayer and they have the lion’s share of the work to do to earn the trust back. That’s kind of a typical societal thought…
Pam Allan: I would agree that that would be the societal thought.
Corey Allan: … because there’s this idea of the betrayed didn’t do anything wrong. Exactly.
Pam Allan: But, how big is your but?
Corey Allan: This is where walking through this with a professional matters because if they’re good, they will be able to point out the betrayed spouses role too. Not in a condemning way, but you start to see it as you’re not innocent in this whole thing too. You play a role in what can create from this, what this can be because you could start to set the scenario of if I’ve got to go to the lowest common denominator all the time to prove it, now we’re talking about an insecurity thing, not a betrayed thing.
Pam Allan: Well, I can attest to that. That was me. That was me in pounding you down all the time.
Corey Allan: And so at some point you’ve got to be able to say, “Look, you need to work on you for this too. Because if I’m bidding life in together and starting to be something that I really am good with, then if you want to keep up with me, let’s go. And so that’s where it’s a simultaneous path together by both people. So it’s recognizing both sides play a role in this. And I also want to add one little caveat to the being honest, because there’s a diff… here’s one of the things that I’ve come across lately, is this idea that being honest it’s different. Well, what do you mean by being honest? Because when you talk about lying, what does that really mean? Well, you didn’t tell me everything. So you lied. You shaded a little bit. So that’s a lie. I mean, all of these kinds of things, or you weren’t forthcoming with this, so you lied about it, rather than, okay, what is it that’s really underneath this? Because, man, we all lie. If you look at yourself…
Pam Allan: Do we?
Corey Allan: … we all skew stuff. I mean, in a political realm, it’s called spin, but it’s a lie. Well, maybe lies a little harsh. We all have an agenda. Let’s go with that.
Pam Allan: Okay, I would agree we have an agenda.
Corey Allan: Okay, and so if you’ve got some tension in your marriage between you and your spouse and one of the cruxes of it is lying, you need to examine what is it really because lying is a real easy blanket to throw over a lot of things that aren’t necessarily applicable. And if I could piece it out a little bit, I might get to a better of, okay, what I’m really wanting is for you to be more forthcoming about stuff, not me have to ask.
Pam Allan: Okay, so I’ve got an issue with something you do and you know I do. You know that if you come home and just say, “Hey, I did X, Y, Z tonight,” I’d be ticked. So you would want to avoid that.
Corey Allan: Right, so I probably would be forthcoming about it? Is that what you’re saying?
Pam Allan: Yeah, so when I say, “Hey, what’d you do tonight?” “Well, I filled the car up with gas. I did something else.”
Corey Allan: True, true.
Pam Allan: And I don’t say that’s it. I just say I did these two things.
Corey Allan: So it’s a lie of omission.
Pam Allan: Is it a lie of omission that you’re trying to avoid me being hacked.
Corey Allan: So this is where you get into…
Pam Allan: That what you’re talking about.
Corey Allan: This is where you get into the weeds where, man, you guys are both set to be furious with each other if you just play that whole thing out on a regular occurrence. So that’s where my thought is start to look at what are the themes of how that pattern and exchange is going on and what’s your role in it because that starts to change the dynamic to at least start to get, maybe you could find simple ways to be a little clearer about here’s what’s really going on, here’s what this is. Because at the end of the day, the goal is how am I living life honestly and in the open? Because not everything I do impacts you as my wife. It ultimately could, but not everything I do does.
Pam Allan: True, true.
Corey Allan: Every thought I have does not impact you, nor do you need to be privy to every thought I have.
Pam Allan: My wheels are spinning here. So this is great radio while my wheels spinning. No, but I can see how people just avoid sharing certain things because of the response that they’ll get. And that’s where the one spouse feels betrayed because they’re not being told everything.
Corey Allan: Because if the response they’ll get and…
Pam Allan: That they stink at responding.
Corey Allan: Well, but even if they don’t stink at responding, this can be convoluted and compounded because I don’t want to cause the hurt even though I’ve done something that causes the hurt. This is where we start getting in our own way so much.
Pam Allan: Well, and that’s where you bring up hurt. So I got to deal with the hurt.
Corey Allan: Yes, and that’s where I want to pivot to. Let’s pin that real quick because I want to go to what’s the role for the betrayed spouse first? There’s a couple of little things to just note, and then we want to end the show talking about the difference between rebuilding trust and dealing with hurt. That’s the crux of most of this message that I want to try to get across with this episode. So for the betrayed, so moving forward it can make it seem like it’s all up on your spouse, it’s their responsibility to prove it to you. I don’t really buy into that. I do think there is an element of, yeah, if there was a tangible something that happened, they need to show you in some regards I’ve shifted, I’ve changed, that behavior is done.I’ve had couples where I’ve worked on, worked with them with betrayal, with infidelity. And while they’re working with me, the infidelity is still going on. And it’s like, “Okay.” That’s one of those things I think now I can pick up the signals where I will ask a little more point blank, you still seeing them?
Pam Allan: Yeah, just straight out.
Corey Allan: Because I would get the clues, but I was like, “Ah, surely not. They say they’re not.” But I’m getting something in me saying, “Nah, there’s something not adding up.” It’s all have the courage usually not to ask that question, but if that’s still going on, then there’s no hope for the relationship [crosstalk 00:34:08] at that point. But for the betrayed, working on understanding why and what went awry in the relationship, that’s your role in it. How did you help co-create it? All right, what’s your role in this? Did you dive into your work too much? Did you dive into the kids too much? Did you dive into Facebook too much? Did you dive, whatever it is.
Pam Allan: Why did you just ignore what the signs that were there and not bring it to the forefront.
Corey Allan: Fair, fair.
Pam Allan: Because that speaks a lot to your spouse too to say, “Hey, I care about this.”
Corey Allan: Yeah, then the other one that’s harder to do when you choose to commit to stay in the relationship and forgive, it’s an active process.
Pam Allan: Forgiving is an act of process.
Corey Allan: Yes, it is. You could say it and now it’s on you to show you’re still in it. You’re in the relationship, not you’re just one foot in, or if you are just one foot in, say it. That might be enough for the spouse to say, “I’m cool waiting for that other foot. This is worth it to me.” Because there’s no real clear, clean way to go through this, each couple’s different. But it is recognizing we each play a role in what’s created next and if we are together or not. This is where I have my phrase when couples call me and ask about betrayal and infidelity, what are my stances? And I tell them, “I don’t have a vote on if you stay together or not.” No therapist in my mind, no pastor in my mind gets the vote and say, “Absolutely, you have to at all costs.” I am very pro-marriage. Hopefully, that comes across from Sexy Marriage Radio and almost eight years of doing this show.
Corey Allan: But I tell them, “I work to try to help two people be better people.” What you choose is what you choose because I do not like it when I hear from clients that another therapist has said, “Yeah, you should have gotten a divorce,” or “Yeah, you got to stay together at all costs.” That’s my values on them. And I don’t want to do that. I value marriage, but I value marriage with two people wanting to be in it that value itself too. So it’s trying to see how does each person be better in their route, and then what you choose to do typically becomes a no brainer when you start to see it because the flip side to keeping something together a little bit longer is, one, the commitment that we made, marriage still carries some weight in our society…
Pam Allan: Definitely.
Corey Allan: … that there is an element of commitment to it. The kids in the story you’ve created together make it just, I can’t just throw it out as easy. So I’m going to see this through a lot of times and that keeps people on a little bit longer. And I’m all for that because that might be enough to turn the corner when now all of a sudden they start creating something they didn’t even know they were able to do. So the last thing I want to deal with that you pointed out is a lot of times what we’ve come across, at least what I’ve seen in what we’ve seen in our inbox a lot is a spouse that’s dealing with hurt from a past betrayal and brokenness of trust. And the actual discovery or disclosure of whatever it was that hurt was years ago, but they’re still dealing with broken trust. They’re still kind of in that…
Pam Allan: Taking years to…
Corey Allan: … I’m betrayed stance. In my mind, and I did a quick little search and I didn’t find anything really clean on this as far as research, but in my mind there is a huge difference between breaking trust and dealing with the hurt from the broken trust.
Pam Allan: A big difference between breaking trust…
Corey Allan: Well, dealing with broken trust. Thank you. That we have to separate trust from the hurt.
Pam Allan: Here’s what I hear in my mind with that. Dealing with broken trust, I forgive her, I don’t. There is this active forgiveness that is very spiritual side of things. But I can be forgiven or I can forgive. That doesn’t mean I forget and that hurt is still there. And so their heart linger.
Corey Allan: Exactly, because here’s where we get it convoluted. Tell me if you’re tracking where I’m going with this. So let’s use us, all right?
Pam Allan: Yeah, we’ve been there.
Corey Allan: So five years in betrayal, my doing, ultimately my choice. Co-created, we’ve talked about that, that we both kind of were parallel lives.
Pam Allan: Yeah, and I was clueless to how I was [crosstalk 00:39:21].
Corey Allan: And I was clueless with my choices. So that then launches us on a path where for the next two years with lots of therapy individually together, lots of just kind of overhauling life, for me, an overhaul of, man, I got to grow up. I am not the man I want to be. I do not like who I am. I need to go through a metamorphosis in some regards. So that started that whole path. Well, we have times every August where there can be a downtime because that’s when the disclosure came out. Well, I still vividly remember five, six years after the disclosure we were in a really good spot. Didn’t have kids yet, kind of building life in a good way, building careers. And you came home for work one day and I could see it on your face. You were hurt. It was a hurt. And so your response to me was, I was like, “You okay?” She’s like, “No, I’m not. I’m still dealing with its anniversary. It’s the bad anniversary.”
Corey Allan: If I take a stance of let’s deal with the broken trust, my response to that would be, “I’m so sorry that happened. I’m sorry I did that again.” I’ve already said that though. And already hopefully had proven I’m different. We’re different right. Now, we’re dealing with your hurt. So that’s a different path to go down. That’s actually a grieving process that has to be done because what you’re heard about is the loss in some regards of what you hope the relationship would be, could be, should have been. So you’ve got to grieve that reality. So that’s where the response to a spouse years after saying, “I can’t believe you did that,” the best response back to that from the betrayer would be, “I can’t either.”
Pam Allan: Just flat out.
Corey Allan: Right, because it’s not about, “Yeah, I know. I’m so sorry.” Because now we’re graveling and we’re back into the hole, let’s just rebuild trust like it just happened. And that’s where we get caught in the past, and we don’t recognize who am I dealing with now? What’s the character and integrity of the person I’ve got in front of me? And what’s the character and integrity of the person I am? And how do I honor room for the hurt that’s going to come along with it because that is a part of the healing process?
Pam Allan: Well, and I think that when I think about that day walking in each August kind of lightened up over time, time heals, time helps. And I think about those grieving times. It’s not just about what happened years prior. It’s also about when that scarcity model gets in my head. It’s that, “Oh, oh, am I going to continue to be the good person that I need to be to not create a negative sense at home like I had done in those early years? Can I be the person I need to be the rest of my life? Am I diving back into something?” And so I think that a lot of that pulls in. It’s hurt over spouse doing something and there was a distrust there, but there’s also this hurt of a realization of, “Wow, I wasn’t the person I wanted to be either.”
Corey Allan: Okay, that’s true. I think that it’s just recognizing when I’m dealing with hurt from the result of anything that happens in life, that’s an entirely different path, then you need to make this up to me.
Pam Allan: That’s a huge point to make.
Corey Allan: You need to earn this back with me. If that hasn’t already been done, you can’t really deal with the hurt then.
Pam Allan: No, I think that’s a huge point to make though. I think it’s a big thing for the person who betrayed to understand too that these things could pop back up. And you may be standing on your own two feet and being really strong in where you are today and got to have some leniency for that hurt to have to be dealt with again.
Corey Allan: Right, and add to this, Pam. This is where it gets even more convoluted, and we don’t think of this as a justifiable dynamic to the betrayer has hurt they have to deal with too. They’ve broken character, they’ve broken self. And if they’re constantly crucified while at the same time trying to crucify themselves, that’s a tremendous amount of extra pain. And so they are simultaneous. You’re not the only one that lost something going on here. Right, that it might have been a different as far as the loss of a relationship ideal. But at the same time, there’s how could I have done that? I cannot believe I’m capable of that. And that’s where I want to flip it with the people that have stepped out on anything. And this is with any situation that we can take our worst. And I think we can use that for our best when we recognize I know what I’m capable of.
Pam Allan: Definitely
Corey Allan: Good and bad. So how do I use that knowledge for… it’s like that whole, how do I use that superpower for good, not evil? So how do I use that for my benefit and those around me because that’s what starts to create this power in this life that allows simultaneous existences because that’s what we need in marriage, is we need the room for both spouses to deal with their side and have the honor and respect to go the routes they need to, to seek help to whatever… to not always do it well, but to not think, “Okay, hold on. This is a… I mean, If you think about this like a graph, like a little table that you gain a little ground, so you’re going up like the stock market. You gain a little ground, so it’s increasing.
Corey Allan: And they’re going to lose a little bit of ground, relationally or individually or both. Then you’re going to gain a little bit more and then you’re going to lose a little bit. And I mean that’s the proverbial three steps forward, one or two steps back. That’s what happens. But over the long haul, usually speaking, it’s an upward trend still. And we just need to make sure we recognize that when you’re dealing with this kind of hurt and you’re dealing with this kind of pain to rebuilding trust, you have to see it as it is a process. Just when things go bad, that doesn’t mean you’re back to where you were. We just don’t do that as humans, we get better.
Pam Allan: Yeah, we do get better. That’s why I love your stock market example, because you know what? There does not have to be a recession or depression with this. This can keep on going up and doing better all the time.
Corey Allan: Yeah, but they still will have times where it is in a depressed state or a repressed state that you’ve got to honor that. That’s where the whole point is. You know what? I’m just hurt. So if you give yourself room to grieve through that and honor that hurt, you are more likely to come out the other side than when you take the stance of I’ve got a real watchful eye on you and you need to earn it back.
Pam Allan: Well, when it goes down a little bit and that when you start investing more, you just put more into it baby, and then it’s just going to get through it.
Corey Allan: Stocked a tip from Pam well.
Pam Allan: By low.
Corey Allan: There you go. But I hope that makes a difference because to me it’s a huge path that it impacts every couple in some way, shape or form.
Pam Allan: Yeah, I can’t imagine a couple out there that doesn’t have some bit of a trust issue at some point in their relationship.
Corey Allan: And so to end this whole episode, I want to land again on the idea of recognizing there’s a difference between dealing with trust and dealing with hurt because those are two dramatically different paths towards healing. And when you can recognize that journey, I think you’re so much then closer to not only healing, but creating something you didn’t even know you were capable of that’s better together. Because largely, what you do through this journey is you’re introduced to somebody that maybe you don’t even know yet, which is a better part of you.
Pam Allan: That’s an exciting process.
Corey Allan: That’s a huge difference because I’m creating a relationship with a better me, and then spouse gets that to reap the benefit of that because I start to evolve into who I’ve wanted to be or the best of me or the best versions of me because I’ve recognized both sides. Well, thank you for hanging with us through this whole thing if you’ve stuck with us. Welcome to the world of the extended content. It’s been Sexy Marriage Radio. We left something undone, you know what to do, 214-702-9565, or firstname.lastname@example.org, wherever you are, whatever you’ve been doing. Thanks again for taking a little bit of time out of your day to spend it with us. We’ll see you next time.