Episode 20: Show Notes.
Emotional affairs can be hard to identify because there is often a fine line between friendship and deeper feelings. How can you be sure when you are going outside of the boundaries of your relationship? In today’s episode, Kelly and Megan dive into these complexities. We hear about the importance of communication and expressing your needs. When you and your partner are compatible, you have a friendship, and there is a safe space for you to express yourself. If not, you will turn elsewhere. This is why it’s important to actually look at why you want to turn outside of your relationship for support. We find out some of the signs to look out for if you think you might be having an emotional affair. Of course, it’s ok to have good friends, but you have to have boundaries and respect your partner. Our conversation also touches on how you know when you’re having an emotional affair, why you should work on your insecurities, and the power of a deeper, long-term commitment. Tune in to hear it all!
Read The Full Article Here:
Key Points From This Episode:
It’s much easier to know when you are in a physical affair than it is to know when you’re in an emotional one.
Questioning when it’s ok to have a best friend of the opposite sex.
When you and your partner are genuinely friends, you get a lot of your needs met.
Megan’s experience of having an affair and how she and her now-husband moved past it.
Emotional affairs are incredibly complex and tied to many things.
When you meet “a person of interest”, they only see one aspect of you.
Think about the pain that you are causing your partner by having an emotional affair.
Many of us fear having difficult conversations with our partners.
Kelly’s experience of her first marriage and how she knew she had to leave.
You cannot make your partner jump through hoops for nothing.
Some of the signs that you are having an emotional affair.
The importance of working on your insecurities rather than taking them out on your partner.
You can find other people attractive, but that doesn’t mean you have to act on it.
A major red flag is if you are taking care of yourself to get someone else’s attention.
As you get older, there is a real level of commitment that is present.
The importance of knowing that your actions have a ripple effect.
It’s easy to idealize relationships that are confined to a certain space and not part of real life.
What to do if you find yourself in this kind of situation.
There are so many resources you can use if you think you might be having an emotional affair.
You have to give your partner a chance to improve.
“It comes down to communication. If you have really good communication with your partner, and you guys have that trust bond, and a genuine friend type feeling for each other, where you can share all of your most intimate thoughts and concerns and fears and all of that, it doesn’t leave a lot of space for someone else to come in and be that for you.” — Kelly Castillo [0:05:59]
“A lot of times, we go to other sources to meet our needs, because we don’t want to face or confront the fact that our relationship isn’t working. We don’t want to actually have to deal with the fact that we are with a partner who isn’t a good match for us.” — Kelly Castillo [0:17:19]
“Here’s the thing. The most important relationship we all have is one with ourselves.” — Megan Block [0:56:09]
“You can’t outrun yourself. You can’t hide from yourself. It all comes out in the end.” — Kelly Castillo [0:58:40]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to She’s a Full On Monet, a digital lifestyle magazine for women. Every week, our Editor-In-Chief, Kelly Castillo, along with Megan Black and special guests, participate in a deep-dive discussion about recent articles and topics we have covered. We invite you to become part of our community, where everyone’s welcome.
[00:00:27] KC: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to She’s a Full On Monet. I’m your host, Kelly and I have with me as always, Megan.
[00:00:32] MB: Hi. Hi, Kelly. Hi, everybody.
[00:00:34] KC: First, we just want to thank you guys, for your patients over the last few weeks. We’ve both been having like a lot of stuff going on in our personal lives. Megan was moving with two kids staying in temporary. I’m sure that wasn’t easy.
[00:00:48] MB: Oh, it’s been weird. And now I’m in my actual place. But everything is in boxes and stacked up on top of each other. So, it’ll get there.
[00:00:57] KC: Yeah, exactly. It takes time. My life is always crazy. So, I don’t really have a good excuse for it, but it’s just the way things are.
But we are back with you guys today. Today is Episode 20, which is kind of a nice little milestone. I can’t believe we’ve been doing this long. But here we are, Episode 20. Last week, we talked about outdated beauty roles. So, we thought we’d dive into something a little deeper this time and we’re talking about emotional affairs, how to know if you’re in one, how to recognize the kind of pitfalls and dangers of that, and what exactly an emotional affair is, all of the whole topic. So, we’re going to do a deep dive this week. Here we go.
[00:01:38] MB: Yes, yes.
[00:01:40] KC: I think this is a very tricky thing for a lot of people and a lot of couples in general, because, I mean, it’s easy to classify what a physical affair is. I mean, it’s very easy to know when you’ve crossed the line physically with someone and done something that would be disrespectful to your relationship or your partner in a physical way. But when it’s an emotional thing, it’s a much grayer area. I think it’s a lot harder for people to recognize when they’re in it, that that’s what this is still infidelity. It’s harder for a partner to recognize how they’re supposed to feel, or I don’t want to say allowed to feel, but the emotions that come with feeling betrayed in a way, but it wasn’t actually a physical crossing of the line, if that makes sense. I think this is a very hard topic.
[00:02:23] MB: It’s hard. And to some people, depending on who you speak to, this topic can be worse than the physical affair because things happen. But when you’ve crossed that emotional line, then there’s a real connection that is harder to break off of and it feels more of a betrayal to some people, I mean, not to everyone, but I noticed that that’s the part that hurts the most when it hits like a full-blown emotional level.
[00:02:47] KC: I think that’s very true. I mean, I know for myself, and I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me, I would rather my partner have a onetime emotionally insignificant physical betrayal than have serious emotional feelings for another person and to help feel like love feelings for another person. That would be worse to me. But I mean, everyone is different and we all need to define our own boundaries, for sure. But this also calls into question like, when is it okay for people who are physically attracted to each other? Or if you’re heterosexual, opposite genders, to be friends? And where’s that line?
I know, people who their best friend is a member of the opposite sex and they’re heterosexual and they’re married and everything. It is such an unusual situation. I think it becomes really kind of questionable, like, when is this a friendship? And when is this a crossing of the line?
[00:03:44] MB: I think it also requires a partner to be very understanding of that dynamic to be trusting of that, because, honestly, I mean, when I see that I go, “Wow, like your husband or wife is super cool to let you be friends with so and so.” “Well, I’ve known them for 20 years, and like they’ve been my best friend before I was even with that person and so they just know.” I’m like, still though, it takes really trusting and understanding individual. But again, every person is different. But it does bring up some questions when you run into those people for the first time and you’re meeting that dynamic, you’re like, “Oh, so you’re not married, but you hang out all the time. Okay.” You don’t want to pass judgment, but it’s very unique situation. So, when does that when that line becomes crossed for one person and they start to see that other person differently, is that when that begins? Because it might not be, like you might have a friend who – you might be in a relationship, and you might have a friend who you’re attracted to, but that friend is not attracted to you in that way. So that emotional affair might be one sided. Does that make sense?
[00:04:53] KC: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:04:54] MB: I feel like that’s where it begins, when you start that shift in how you see that person changes, you start to be aware of those feelings. That’s when it starts to shift. It may not be mutual, but that’s still the start of what feels to me like an emotional affair.
[00:05:12] KC: Right. I think that is a big part of it is one sided. I’ve had a lot of friendships with men who made it clear to me they were attracted to me or that if it was up to them, their relationship would be something different. But on my end, it wasn’t reciprocated. So that was something – I mean, thankfully, all of those – because they were my friends, and I try to choose my friends wisely. They respected my boundaries. That’s not something that they would ever cross.
[00:05:37] MB: Will they be able to continue those friendships, though? It didn’t make it weird after that when you know that they have those other feelings for you? And you’re like, “Yeah, well, let’s go.”
[00:05:47] KC: Yeah, I mean, I think it is, to some extent weird, and you start to read into things that they say, and what’s their actual meaning trying to read between the lines, which I think is – I think that all of this, honestly, all of it comes down to communication. If you have really good communication with your partner, and you guys have that trust bond, and a genuine friend type feeling for each other, where you can share all of your most intimate thoughts and concerns and fears and all of that, it doesn’t leave a lot of space for someone else to come in and be that for you. Because what I found, I have a lot of friends who have had relationships outside of their marriages or partnerships, that sometimes they’ve recovered, and they’re stronger, and sometimes their relationship is falling apart. And sometimes the other party never finds out and they just move on.
But I think that it only becomes even an option when there’s some needs that aren’t being met and that comes down to communications. Because when I say that, when I say, “Okay, someone’s needs are not being met so they go elsewhere.” It sounds like you’re blaming their partner, and absolutely I’m not. I’m saying it comes down to communication. Because if you’re having physical or emotional needs, and your partner is not meeting them, that’s your responsibility to talk to your partner and say, “Hey, look, I need this from you.” Or “I really wish I could talk to you about this, I’m struggling here.” Or “I need you to be more affectionate with me. I need for us to be more intimate.” Those are conversations that you have a responsibility to have, rather than looking elsewhere to get your needs met, for sure.
[00:07:15] MB: I agree. Yeah, I agree.
[00:07:18] KC: But that takes a healthy relationship with trust, right?
[00:07:21] MB: It really does. I can speak completely openly, because my partner and I have been – or my husband I’ve been through a long journey since then, that I had a relationship outside of my – when I was engaged, I had a relationship outside of that relationship. It all stemmed from what you said, needs not being met. I feel like, I mean, because it was so long ago, I feel like I did a somewhat good job of explaining that I wasn’t getting these needs met. The other person it started very – it was an emotion – I mean, this person I’ve known since I was 10 years, 12 years old. We had been best friends, friends forever, and then that shifted for us. So, it was very much an emotional and physical. That was really –
[00:08:06] KC: It’s really challenging. I think it’s really challenging for any relationship that deals with that, and goes through that, and how they come out of it in the end.
[00:08:14] MB: But it took a lot of it not being heard, my needs weren’t being met. But I don’t know, if I did a very good job of explaining those before I went elsewhere. That’s the other thing. It’s easy – it sounds like you’re blaming, but also, it’s easy to look at those things and go, “These are reasons for me to be able to do this.” I can speak from a personal standpoint that that’s true. I was looking at both options and going, “Well, he’s not doing this and I feel like I’m telling him, I need it and he’s not listening to me. This person is willing to.” Of course, because everything’s perfect on that side, right? Because they don’t have any of the other baggage that comes with.
So, I felt like maybe I was talking myself into pursuing that or exploring that. And so yeah, I mean, you have to be open and honest. But you also have to understand that just because those things are coming up and this other option isn’t an open invitation to explore that. I thank God every day –every relationship, you must work at it every day in order for it to work long term. But I thank God every day I found the person I’m with and he was so forgiving, and understanding and loves me so much that he was willing to give me the chance to show that we can work through this. Not everyone gets that chance. And then you’re on the other side of it going, “Wow, I made a huge mistake with that. That was not worth it a lot.” A lot of times, the person is on the other side after they’ve explored this emotional affair and they’re going, “Wow, that was not worth it at all. I destroyed what I had. And all I have to do is do this, this and this and work at it a little.” It’s like that grass isn’t always greener on the other side all the time.
[00:09:50] KC: I think I think for a lot of people that I know who have been open about the fact that they’ve dealt with this and have repaired their relationship, I see them so much closer and I’m stronger than they were before, because they weathered something like this, and they got through it. And then I’ve seen couples break up over this. I do hear regret from one or either or both parties. But I mean, those are only people who have been open and shared that with me. I’m sure that there’s a ton of other people that I’m friends with who have dealt with this, who either they don’t know that their partner did this, or they never told anybody that they did it. I think it’s much more prevalent than then people talk about because it is something that’s attached to a lot of shame, and it’s attached to a lot of emotion.
[00:10:31] MB: It is. I mean, a little backstory with me, I’m not placing any blame on anyone. I’m just saying, when I got married, I was 20 and I met my now husband, right out of high school. I never went on one weird first date in my whole life, never did. Never dated, never was single throughout my high school. I was always with a boyfriend. I was always with someone in a relationship. When I had met my now husband, I didn’t know that that was going to be the forever type thing. I was like, “Oh, cool. Now I’m single and I’m in college. I’m now engaged.”
So, I felt like for some people like me who meet their partner very young in life, there’s this weird feeling of, “Oh, I missed out on all this.” Or “Maybe I jumped into it too soon.” Or things become too routine. And so, you feel like, “Oh, somebody else is holding the door for me.” Do you know what I mean?
[00:11:24] KC: Yeah.
[00:11:25] MB: A lot of people contemplate it, have gone through it and don’t share about it. I mean, it’s common, especially when you meet person very young in life, and you don’t experience certain things, you feel like maybe that that’s something that your brain just is like, “Oh, maybe that’s something I should pursue. So, a lot of people feel shamed, because there is a lot of shame around it, understandably so but it’s so complex, the reasons for people, especially an emotional affair. An emotional affair, like you said, is so more complex than just the physical because what starts that? What stems that? What is that person doing to make you think about that person in a certain way? What is your partner not doing? Or what’s lacking in that relationship that’s causing these other relationships, or potential relationships looks so good? It’s not always just about – it’s not about the physical part. It’s about what am I lacking in my life that this other person is giving to me or showcasing to me or highlighting that I’m missing? It’s crazy.
[00:12:25] KC: Like you said, relationships take a lot of work. Day to day living is messy and chaotic. We all have a lot of responsibilities, whether we have young children at home, and like, that’s what we talk about with our spouse and what we’re doing, just keeping our heads above water for all those years that your kids are small. Or maybe there’s something that you are going through personally, whether it’s your kids, you being an empty nester, your kids are gone. And that’s a lot of emotion to that, or you’re dealing with an illness, or a big change in your work or something like that, that you feel more vulnerable than you have been in the past. That I see a lot where we reach out to somebody who listens to what you’re going through with open mind and has no preconceived notions about any of it because they weren’t there to process it along the way, either.
So, when you’re talking to somebody outside of the situation, they’re going to give you different feedback than your partner who is in the mess with you. It boosts your confidence. It’s very flattering. It feels really nice. This person understands me better than my partner does. This person gets it and they’re listening. Well, it’s a lot easier to do from being outside of the situation. It’s a lot easier to do that, and just listen and be supportive when you’re also not in the middle of it.
[00:13:37] MB: Yeah, exactly. It all looks pretty on the other side, right? Because they’re not having to deal with the mess. And that’s the part that I feel is where it really gets that engine going with the emotional affair because you’ve mistaken someone giving you this attention that like, “Oh, maybe this is what I’m missing”.
[00:13:59] KC: Yeah, I think it’s –
[00:14:00] MB: It’s signs that you need to just openly look in your relationship a bit more work on your communication.
[00:14:03] KC: When you’ve been with the same person too, for a long time, and you’ve seen each other kind of grow and change as time goes by, you still have a tendency to see them as the person they were when you met them whether that was young, or less accomplished than they are now. It’s not that you don’t see the accomplishments, like when you look at your child, you see them at every age they’ve ever been, right? So, when you look at your partner, my partner and I’ve been together for nearly 20 years, I can see him at every stage of that. So, when there’s someone that you’re attracted to at the office or at your gym or something like that, all they see is the finished product version of you from today. So, they’re going to react differently and I think especially for men that can be really flattering. I mean, they get unsolicited attention and there’s not any of the other baggage that comes with it like having to pick up their laundry off the floor or ask them to please take the trash out or, “Hey, the payment for the orthodontics is due.” Or whatever the nonsense of life is, it’s not getting in the way, which makes it easier for that kind of affair to start.
[00:15:06] MB: The less glamorous – you’re not there.
[00:15:09] KC: Right. Exactly.
[00:15:09] MB: Of course. Of course, it’s going to look more appealing. Is that real life though?
[00:15:14] KC: No.
[00:15:14] MB: No. That’s the thing is when that other person, that person of interest, we’ll call it, is like in the picture, are they going to pick up your laundry? Are they going to listen to you, like your partner currently listens to you? I mean, yeah, if you make a list, like like the Sex in the City thing with her and her husband made a list of all the good and the bad. If they met on the bridge, they’re going to just forgive and move forward. Yeah, if you make a list of all of the good things, will they still be there for the bad things? That’s a real relationship. Maybe, maybe this emotional affair is now showcasing the person that maybe you’re better off suited for. I don’t know. I’m not here to say all emotional affairs are bad, and you should stick with what you have.
But I’m just saying like, it is easy to make one look glamorous, more glamorous than the other. You’re only looking through that lens, then you’re going to talk yourself into what could go down a road that’s going to destroy something you don’t really want to destroy. You just really just want someone to take you out on more dates, or give you more affection, or hear you about your problems with your mom. Whatever it is, it’s not really you trying to replace this partner, it’s really there’s just something truly lacking. Maybe it’s a partner, maybe you’ve been partnered up with the wrong person, maybe. But most of the time, it’s a seasonal thing that you need to look inward, like, “Why am I now looking at so and so in this way? Is it really because I’ve always been attracted to them? Or is it because so and so isn’t listening about my problems with my mom?” Or whatever it is.
[00:16:49] KC: I think for everyone, if you are in a relationship that isn’t meeting your needs, for whatever reason, and you are starting to feel attraction towards other people or temptations or any of that, you really need to ask yourself, A, if there’s a communication issue, which we talked about. And if you’re are actually telling your partner what you need from them. And B, if you happen, open and told them exactly what they need, and they’re not meeting it, they’re not willing to meet it, there are bigger issues there that you have to unpack.
A lot of times, we go to other sources to meet our needs, because we don’t want to face or confront the fact that our relationship isn’t working. We don’t want to actually have to deal with the fact that we are with a partner who isn’t a good match for us. So, if that’s the case, then I mean, I would encourage you and I think everyone would probably say the same that you need to end the relationship you’re in if it isn’t working for you and focus on yourself and figure out why you chose someone who wasn’t capable of meeting your needs, what maybe issues within yourself that you need to unpack and make a better choice next time. Because it’s like Tarzan, you want to grab for the next branch before you let go of the one, you’re holding. But that’s not a great way to – it’s great for Tarzan, it’s not for relationships.
[00:18:02] MB: Coming from personal experience and being open about what I did, if there was a way for me to take away the pain that I know, the pain that I saw on my husband’s face when he found out will be with me forever. Because here’s the thing is like, yeah, you’re on this self-discovery journey, but somewhere down the line, that partner of yours is going to find out and it’s going to absolutely destroy that person. It’s not only going to maybe destroy that person in your relationship, it’s going to cause them to not trust their future partners. It’s going to cause all these now silly, silly things that they have to worry about in their next relationship or the one with you in the future, the trust is gone. The trust is gone for your relationship and that trust is gone for future relationships.
So, before that other person that you love, finds out about what you’re doing, stop it and figure it out. End it with that partner you’re with or the person you’re currently having that emotional, physical combo affair with, because destroying that person is not worth figuring out what really makes you happy. Yeah, I have a right to figure out what made me happy, of course. I did it at a time where I was just about to get married. Because we’re all products of our parents and our past, right? I came from parents who I don’t feel were very well suited for each other. They’ve never really showed any love or affection. So, there was this really big worry that I was going to marry and partner with the wrong person. My brain just started spiraling. I wanted to make sure that I was with the right person. So, before you go and destroy whatever relationship you’re currently in, make sure that you are honest with yourself, that you look inward, and that you figure out what’s best suited for you, long term. Maybe it’s with nobody. Maybe being in an emotional relationship is going to realize you’re not ready for any relationship.
[00:19:57] KC: Maybe you haven’t worked out your own shit and you’re not ready.
[00:19:59] MB: Yeah. You’re not ready. I’m so happy and we’ve evolved. We have two kids now. I’m so happy that we worked through it. I’m so happy that we’re together. We’re happier than we’ve ever been. More solid than we’ve ever been. We can communicate better because we’ve been through like crazy stuff. But maybe I was too young to get married. Maybe that was that – maybe that was like telling me to like, chill, you know?
[00:20:22] KC: Yeah. I think everyone who gets married really young goes through that. I got married, I said, I was still like, literal teenager, I was 19. I realized it took me a few years of really trying to make this thing work that wasn’t working. I realized that I just was not suited for my partner. We were not suited for each other. We didn’t have the same goals. We didn’t have the same values. We didn’t want the same things out of life. We were butting heads constantly. But I also don’t think he’s a bad person. I think he just wasn’t well suited for me.
So, I recognized even that young that – we got divorced when I was 26. I recognized even then that he deserved somebody who appreciated him for what he could bring to the table. I just didn’t. It didn’t line up with what I needed.
[00:21:05] MB: That takes some emotional maturity, though. Not a lot of people do. They’ll stick with it and then do this emotional –
[00:21:13] KC: Yeah, you know what it was, I was struggling with it because the relationship wasn’t so bad that it was obvious, I needed to leave. But it wasn’t good enough to make me happy and what I wanted. So, I struggled with it. I found myself leaning on other people for emotional support, that I should have been leaning – if I had a partner that was well matched to me, I would have been able to lean on my partner, which I couldn’t do. So, someone actually recommended a book to me and it was called too good to leave too bad stay. I read that book and it was so eye opening for me because it was exactly my situation. I was raised, my dad has been divorced a lot.
[00:21:50] MB: I laughed, because I know you. I’m like, “Yes, we know.”
[00:21:54] KC: Yeah, he’s been married and divorced a lot. So, I had always told myself I would not get divorced unless it was an abuse situation.
[00:21:58] MB: See. Products of our parents.
[00:22:02] KC: I wanted to prove that I was not just like how I grew up. So, I was not going to leave my husband unless he was abusive, or there was an addiction issue or affair.
[00:22:11] MB: Have something just really bad, right?
[00:22:13] KC: Right. So, what I saw myself doing, as I realized, if I stay on the path that I’m on, I’m going to implode this relationship. I’m going to end up in an affair, I’m going to end up –
[00:22:23] MB: You’re going to destroy it yourself.
[00:22:26] KC: I knew I was trying to burn my bridge down, was what I was doing, and give myself a reason why I could leave. So, I realized like, this is not right. No one’s going to win from this situation. Even though you know, he didn’t want to get divorced, I was adamant that we needed to because the result was going to be very bad if we did it.
[00:22:42] MB: Because that’s the thing, is I think people fear that conversation. They fear that conversation with their partner that, “Hey, I’m unhappy. I don’t want to do this.” So, it’s almost like a cop out to do something to go find make yourself happy. And “Hey, if they find out, maybe they’ll leave me.” And then I don’t have to be the bad guy.
[00:22:57] KC: That’s what I was doing. I was trying to be destructive, so that I could cut it off, and then I would –
[00:23:05] MB: Without hurting your partner.
[00:23:05] KC: I would throw my hands up and be like, “Well, I tried.”
[00:23:09] MB: But you had that conversation with him instead of going down that self-destructive path which takes a lot of –
[00:23:17] KC: To be honest, I did not have that conversation.
[00:23:18] MB: Well, you didn’t go down the self-destructive path, I’m assuming, right?
[00:23:22] KC: Right. Because we had a routine. Every so often, we would get in a huge blowout fight and he would leave and go stay with his family or whatever, and then come back a few days later, and we would act like nothing happened. We would go another week or so and another big old fight. So, what I did –
[00:23:36] MB: My parents did the same thing. Cool.
[00:23:39] KC: It was super – I think I’ve mentioned this on here before, but when I realized that it was a situation that needed to be resolved immediately was, we were having a big blowout fight and I looked over at my sons who were playing a video game in the living room, and they didn’t even look up. They didn’t notice anymore.
[00:23:54] MB: Yeah. You mentioned that and that’s a big eye opener for sure.
[00:23:56] KC: I realized I was normalizing this. I didn’t grow up with people – even though my dad’s been divorced a lot, there was never big blowout fights.
[00:24:02] MB: Really? I saw my parents fight every other minute and it was bad. It was bad. Cops were called. It was bad. That’s why I was like, “I didn’t want to marry the wrong person. Because I didn’t want my kids to grow up like that.” Not like, that’s why I had an affair, but I was like, “Well, shoot. I’m about to make this big decision.” It’s tough. You don’t want to normalize fighting. You don’t want to normalize an unhealthy relationship for the sake of staying in a relationship ever.
[00:24:31] KC: Exactly. So, we had another big blowout fight. And he left as he always did, and then I just didn’t let him back in the house.
[00:24:39] MB: You knew what was coming and you knew how you’re going to handle this next scenario. It wasn’t going to be the same way.
[00:24:45] KC: So, I mean, I still feel bad about that to this day, because he was very caught off guard. If I had been older, if I had been where I am now, I would have sat him down and I would say, “Look, this isn’t working for me. This is what I’m going to do. Here’s the plan. This is how we’re going to work out custody.” I didn’t do that.
[00:24:59] MB: People fear that. But honestly, if you pick any other method, but that it’s not as good as just straight up telling someone. Even when people have an affair, they’re just like, “I just wish you had been honest with me.” People just want honesty.
[00:25:13] KC: What I’ve learned over the years and I’ve shared this with my kids and other people come to me for advice is if you are very certain that a relationship isn’t working for you anymore, and it’s not salvageable. Now, that’s a different conversation than sitting down with your partner and saying, “My needs aren’t being met. This is what I need. What about you, are your needs being met? What do you need for me?” That’s a different conversation. That’s an, “I can still salvage this, let’s work this out conversation.”
If you know that isn’t going to happen, that the relationship is not fixable, the best thing you can do for your partner, the most respectful thing is to just sit down and tell them, this relationship no longer works for me. So, this is my plan, I’m going to leave. If you start giving reasons why it doesn’t work for you, they will start promising to change those things, offering solutions. If you know you’re past that and I really suggest everybody gets professional help to make sure that that’s the case before they decide that. But if you know it’s past that, don’t give them all this false hope by saying, “Okay, well, let’s try this. Okay, well, if you do this, then I’ll do that.” If you know, you have no intention of making it work, the best thing you can say is, “It doesn’t work for me anymore, we’re going to go our separate ways.” Because it just draws it out. You’re just creating false hope for that person, drawing it out longer, having to have the conversation again, you’ll end up having this conversation six or seven times before the other person –
[00:26:31] MB: Guess what that other partner is always going to probably worry that you’re going to shift back to that thought again. They’re always going to be trying to make sure that you’re pleased in the relationship and who wants that? Who wants to just like be not the dominant? It’s not like it’s a dominant thing really, but it just feels like you’re constantly living to please the relationship in order to save it from – it just feels inevitable.
[00:26:53] KC: Yeah, exactly. It could be seasonal. I mean, when my husband found out what I was doing, immediately, we were over. Immediately we were over. But if you know that it’s just not going to work and you know in your gut. It’s either you’re talking emotionally from being angry, upset, or you’re talking calmly, because you’ve thought about this, it’s been in your head for a while. You know in your gut, it’s just not going to work, do not – and that’s, I think, why people fear that conversation, because they fear they’re going to get sucked back into the relationship because they’re going to feel bad and they don’t want to see their person upset on their behalf.
[00:27:31] KC: You will hurt the person more if you give them reasons why they might be able to change your mind, or let them think that they maybe they can. Because then, like you’re saying, a dynamic where they’re trying to win your approval and love, and you’re already checked out, you’re ready to move on.
[00:27:47] MB: By the way, they’re trying to win your love, but they’re also building up small resentment that they have to try to win your love. Because no one wants to try to win anyone’s love when they’ve been in a relationship with someone.
[00:27:57] KC: Also, if it’s a problem that you know isn’t fixable, then keeping, trying, that’s not sustainable for them. You’re setting them up to fail. You know they’re not going to meet your requirements or whatever you need. So, all you’re doing is making them jump through hoops when you have no intention at all of making it work.
[00:28:13] MB: Just delaying the inevitable. It’s cruel.
[00:28:15] KC: It’s cruel. So, let’s talk about how you know if your friendship or whatever it is, is becoming an emotional affair? How do you determine what the difference is? Because a lot of people have friendships that are very close, work relationships that are very close, and they talk a lot about their personal lives, and they share things with these people. As a rule of thumb, and I think this is true for anything, if you have something in your life that you cannot share with your partner, meaning that you have to actively hide it, or shield it from them, then it’s probably wrong. If there’s something you’re doing in your life, in general, whether it’s your work relationship, your personal relationship that you have to lie about or hide, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing.
So, if you have to hide your phone when they text you or if you go out of the room to make a phone call to that person –
[00:29:10] MB: Yeah, if you can’t comfortably introduce the two people to each other, then that’s your body’s signals to telling you that this isn’t just like your buddy from work. You know, we have enough people in our life to where I’m not going to – I don’t feel like I need to go sleep with them. I’m not animal. I have a lot – everyone like that. But when it shifts, that’s when – yeah, that’s a big one.
[00:29:34] KC: You purposely – when you’re talking about work situations or things that haven’t worked, you purposely leave this person out of the conversation. You don’t mention they were there. You don’t mention they were helping you or you’re not –
[00:29:46] MB: You’re not in a relationship because if you’re in a relationship where they’re just with someone who’s naturally jealous and if they hear of a heterosexual work buddy, mutual friend, and then they start to – sometimes people feel like they need to hide it because they’re worried the person’s going to assume something’s going on. That’s not what we’re talking about.
[00:30:03] KC: We’re not talking about that. That’s a whole another thing to talk about.
[00:30:06] MB: That’s a whole another thing.
[00:30:08] KC: But if you find yourself twisting the work stories a little bit so that this person isn’t as prominent as they are on your story, or again, like if they are texting you outside of work on the evenings, on the weekends, and you are telling your partner, “Oh, it’s just my sister”, or “Let me text that person back. It’s work”, whatever. and it’s not work. That might be something that gives you a little hint that you’re going down the wrong path.
I think if you’re sharing something with someone else that you should be sharing with your partner, that’s another big red flag. So, I make it a habit not to share personal details about my relationship with my partner, and anything from our intimate relationship, to our deep conversations that we have with each other. Those are between the two of us, I don’t share them even with my closest friends, because I don’t feel that’s respectful to my husband. Because he might tell me things in competence, we might talk about fears, insecurities, we have things like that, that I would never share with a close friend of mine, because those are private in our relationship.
[00:31:11] MB: A close friend can filter information into your ear that may not helpful to you, because they’re only hearing these bad things about your partner. If you’re in this transition of like, “Oh, this other person’s giving me attention”, you only tell your friends about the bad stuff your partner does, then they’re going to be like, “Dude, leave that loser for this person.”
[00:31:31] KC: A lot of girlfriends who use our girlfriend time to complain about their partner, and to tell us things that I think are inappropriate like that the partner’s having sexual difficulties, or that they are having – going through a depression or that they’re dealing with something, and I’m talking about something that they would probably not want you to share. I think to myself, if I shared something with my husband that was very intimate to me, I was insecure about like, I don’t know, I’m having plastic surgery and I don’t want anyone to know.
[00:32:01] MB: You don’t want having that conversation with his buddies.
[00:32:05] KC: No. I don’t why don’t want him discussing our sex life with his buddies. I don’t want any of our personal intimate relationships, issues to be passed on. So, I give him the same respect that I would expect. I think if you’re sharing really intimate details about your life with someone else, and you don’t feel comfortable talking to your husband or partner about that, then this is a huge red flag. So, if I have something I’m struggling with in my life, and my first thought is not to go to my partner, and say, “Hey, you know, I’ve been having these feelings. I’m struggling. I’m not talking about an attraction to someone else, I’m talking about something personal.” If my go to is someone else, that would be of concern to me.
I have friends who have more experience with certain things so that I share stuff with them, because I know, they’ll give me really great advice and they’ve maybe been through something. That’s different. I’m talking about if you’re having a really hard time, and you need to talk to someone, ideally, that person should be your partner. You should have a best friend type relationship with your partner where you can tell them your innermost thoughts. If you find that you’re sharing that with someone else, what you’re going to do is create a closeness and create an intimacy with another person that should be with your partner.
[00:33:16] MB: Agree.
[00:33:17] KC: It’s hard.
[00:33:19] MB: It is hard. I mean, a lot of people might also look outward, because their partner just doesn’t listen, doesn’t communicate. They don’t feel like they have a good outlet to talk to, and so they reach out to someone else and then boundaries are crossed, because that person is – now, you’ve created, like you said, a whole another intimate relationship. Well, again, like we said in the beginning and that, now we’ve realized that there is a communication issue in your current relationship and that’s something you need to truly explore.
It doesn’t mean that you need to go find a replacement while you’re still in a relationship. You don’t just collect boyfriends or girlfriends or whatever, you have to be honest with yourself.
[00:34:02] KC: Yeah. I think as women, a lot of times, we do have a close relationship with our girlfriends where we can talk about our deepest thoughts and our struggles and fears and all of that stuff in a way that maybe they respond a little differently than our partners do. I know my partner tends to be a problem solver. If I tell him something, he wants to jump in and solve my problems, and sometimes I don’t want that. Sometimes I just want to talk. That’s my job to communicate that to him.
But also, there’s nothing wrong with having close friendships that you can share stuff with, as long as it’s not something that you should be sharing with your partner.
[00:34:34] MB: You shouldn’t be going to your coworker who may be in this category of that other person and telling them intimate details about your marriage, because you’re upset. That’s not appropriate, because then it causes this new relationship with this person.
[00:34:50] KC: It creates a deeper sense of intimacy with someone who you shouldn’t have that level of intimacy with because we can have any type of relationship we want to have with people if you’re heterosexual of the opposite sex, but there has to be boundaries. I’m good friends with some of my husband’s friends and we socialize together. I talk to them about a lot of issues and stuff like that. But I do have boundaries with those relationships I have. I mean, obviously, we all know the physical boundaries or we should.
[00:35:20] MB: We all generally know what those are. But the emotional ones can sometimes be depending on who you are, and how you were raised, and how you see your – they can be very different. You may not know that they’re different until those things come up, and you and your partner arguing over what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. Because some people may feel like that boundary has been crossed when the person who’s in question feels like they haven’t done anything wrong. Is that something you talk about a relationship? Because it’s like –
[00:35:51] KC: Well, again, I think it comes back to if I had a conversation with another man, and I wasn’t comfortable repeating that conversation to my spouse, then I probably had a bad – I probably shouldn’t have had that conversation. If I had a conversation where – and I’ve had friends of my husband or friends of both of ours, or just random people come up to me and start conversation saying things like, for one, I’ll give an example. We were at an event, and my husband is much more social than I am. I’m an introvert by nature. I’m always like, park me in a corner with snacks and go do your thing.
So, I was sitting in a chair by myself and sipping a cocktail and my husband was mingling because these were all people he knew, he wanted to mingle. I think I was wearing like a super complicated dress that was hard to walk into. So, I just sat where.
[00:36:39] MB: Let me park here.
[00:36:41] KC: Yeah. A man came up to me who knew my husband socially and made a comment to me of, “Oh, he shouldn’t leave you sitting here like this. You shouldn’t be sitting alone, a beautiful girl like you.” Something like that. That was an opening, right? That was clearly an opening. If I had continued with that conversation being flirtatious or, because it was definitely said to me in a flirtatious –
[00:37:03] MB: There was very much a way in which he was coming towards to you.
[00:37:07] KC: Yeah. That was asking if the door was open at all. If I hadn’t immediately kind of shut that down and said, “Oh, actually, I like sitting here. I’m happy here. He wants to mingle and I don’t.” If I had gone along with the little flirtatious joking thing this guy was doing, I could very well have found myself in a conversation that I wouldn’t have been comfortable repeating to my partner.
[00:37:30] MB: Do we tell our partner a comment that has been said like that? Or if we omit that information, are you withholding information?
[00:37:39] KC: I think that depends on your partner, because my partner, I told him immediately when he walked over there and it’s the funniest thing, we cracked up about it. He gets approached all the time by women, he drives the very high-end car, he dresses very nicely. Women approach him all the time and make little comments to him.
[00:37:55] MB: You both have a good sense humor about it, because it’s something you’ve dealt with before.
[00:37:59] KC: He always comes home and tells me this funny story of this girl who came up to him in the mall and asked him, do you know this or that? So, I think we’re open with each other about stuff like that. If either one of us was a naturally jealous personality, or didn’t feel secure in our relationship, or if either one of us had given the other cause not to feel secure, then I think it’s a different dynamic. I trust him completely, because he does tell me everything. We don’t have those kinds of secrets from each other, which just tells me if someone called me today, and they said, “I saw your husband in the car with another girl driving on Pacific Coast Highway”, how would I feel about that? Well, immediately, I would not have suspicions that there was something going on, because he tells me everything, we have no secrets. When he got home, I’d probably laugh and I’d say, “Hey, so and so called me and they said you were driving down the road with some girl in your car today.” He would either have an explanation, or he would say they’re out of their mind.
But I think, every relationship has a different dynamic. He’s never given me cause to be concerned about that, because he has been so open with me. He tells me when people flirt with him or send him unsolicited messages or any of it. I think you don’t have that type of relationship or your partner, for their own reasons, or for reasons based on events that have happened feel less than secure, then we need to kind of temper that and be kind to them. There’s no reason to tell them things that will hurt them and not benefit anything. So, if one of my husband’s really close friends behaved inappropriately with me, I don’t know that I would share it immediately. First of all, I’d shut the guy down, right away.
[00:39:35] MB: Yeah. You will eventually have to share it because if they’re around you all the time, there’s no way you could avoid that situation coming up. But you know that you’re about to walk into a territory that could destroy a friendship.
[00:39:46] KC: Yeah. So, I would probably, knowing myself, I would probably still tell him, but I would preface it. I would give him an out. I would preface it by saying, “It’s possible I misunderstood the situation, but this is how it came across is, how I felt. So, I’d rather not like be alone with this person.” But I would give him a little bit of an out by saying it’s possible I misunderstood it just because I don’t want to ruin a three-decade old friendship for a onetime event that maybe would never be repeated because I shut it down, obviously right away.
[00:40:11] MB: Yeah. Or the person was like inebriated and not in the right mind or whatever. There’s always something that’s kind of you, by the way to do. I wouldn’t even think to give them an out. It’s tough in it. Like you said, it comes down to the person and the relationship. I was unfaithful and there’s not been one time that my husband has asked to look through my phone. He never asked where I’m at. He never questions what I’m up to. It’s almost weird. I’m like, “Hey, I’ve been gone all day, you haven’t even checked?” He’s very secure with himself. But I also don’t – we’re very good with communication and I tell him everything. I also never put myself in positions to where he would have to go down and have this like PTSD feeling. I don’t have attractive heterosexual close friends that I hang out with just because like, I don’t want him – not because I feel like, “Oh, I’d do something wrong, or there would be some distrust”, but why would I put the person I love most in a situation where he may feel that way again, or we may cause problems.
I have people in my life that are heterosexual and attractive. But like I said, I’m not an animal. I’m not going to just go start relationships with people because they fit in those categories. I’m happy in my relationship, I think that’s a big one. If you’re happy in your relationship, all those other options, they don’t really appear because your needs are being met, and you’re happy. Who cares what else is out there? It’s when your needs aren’t being met, or the communication is not there, then other options start to show up and that’s when it’s really still about you and the relationship that you’re in.
I’m lucky to not worry about this distrust continually happening, because – but of course, I’m sure if there was like a new friend of mine that was attractive, he would probably be a little insecure himself. But we don’t have insecurities in our relationship, because A, our communication is great. And B, we’re both relatively secure people in ourselves. But if you pair yourself with an insecure person, then you’re always going to feel like you need to prove that you’re not being unfaithful. It’s just a really complicated thing.
[00:42:22] KC: It’s really complicated. I feel like before I share something that maybe doesn’t need to be shared, I would ask myself, is it helpful? Is it going to help the situation to share this? Is it kind to share it and is it truthful? If it answers these three questions, and they’re all yes, then I would share it.
But let’s say for example, you’re attracted to someone that you work with and it’s gone to a flirtatious kind of level, and you recognize that this is dangerous, and that you need to put a stop to this right away, because you don’t want to lose your – you’re happy in your relationship, or you’re committed to your relationship and this isn’t going anywhere. To go home and tell your spouse, “Hey, I’m attracted to someone at work.” It’s true, maybe it’s helpful, but it isn’t kind. You could easily have the same conversation and leave that kind of out and just say, “You know what, I’m having some issues within myself, I feel like I need to work on. I’m going to talk to somebody, and I want to make sure that we strengthen our relationship, whether it’s a need not being met, or maybe you’re just feeling” – I know a lot of people, they’re most vulnerable to these kinds of situations, when they start to feel like they’re aging a little bit and they’re not as secure in the way that they look or feel, and then someone comes along and tells them how great they look and how awesome they are and how attractive they are. It’s such an ego boost that it can lead you really fast into temptation.
[00:43:41] MB: Honestly, any first however, months of any relationship that, you know, honeymoon phase or whatever. It is always attractive, versus the thing you’ve been doing forever, and it’s gotten that routine phase. But it’s not realistic. Because everybody gets past that honeymoon. But the relationship you were in was in that phase at one point, and it can come back. It’s tough. It’s really tough when – and you may be attracted to that person, and it may – you can still find people attractive and not cross a line.
[00:44:13] KC: No need to act on it
[00:44:17] MB: There’s a bunch of attractive people out there and we as humans are not like – we are monogamous, but we also can understand beauty out in the world. So, for anyone, I wouldn’t want my husband to come home and be like, “Oh my gosh, we just have this new hire and she’s so beautiful.” He doesn’t need to tell me every thought in his brain, even the most secured woman in the world would be like, “Well, that sucks.” But at the same time if he was starting to feel feelings like, I don’t know. It doesn’t feel good to hear those things. But you got to do some self-discovery before you pull in the action of any sort.
[00:44:52] KC: This is a, use your best judgment situation, if you’ve gotten to the point that you’ve already gone to a flirtatious type relationship with someone, where it’s on the edge of being an emotional or physical affair –
[00:45:04] MB: You start to take a look nicer at work for that person and not for yourself or for the job. Your habits and your daily routines start to adjust, and it’s not for your partner.
[00:45:16] KC: Yeah, if you find yourself suddenly wanting to work out, suddenly getting your hair cut a different way or dressing different, and it’s not for you, and it’s not for your partner, and your mind is on someone else and what they will think of the new look. That is a serious red flag. You don’t need to necessarily tell your partner that you have this attraction to another person, because I don’t know that it would benefit them to know that. But you can talk to them that maybe it’s time – you guys maybe want to go to a relationship counseling, figure out if maybe there’s a way to get the spark back between the two of you, or maybe you just need to go on some date nights.
[00:45:56] MB: Maybe just the person you want isn’t looking at you that way and you are looking for someone to notice you.
[00:46:01] KC: Yeah, you might need to be drastic about it, if it’s gone that far. You may need to change jobs. You may need to get yourself out of a situation that you’ve started because now it’s gone beyond a reasonable place.
[00:46:15] MB: Yeah. I mean, the office, remember, when Jim and Pam, he relocated to another office when she didn’t like him like that. It’s straight up because you can’t just assume it’s just going to like go away, and everyone deserves it. You don’t need that distraction in your life. You don’t need that daily thought process in your life. Because it’s going to slow like hacking away the tree. It’s going to knock it down, whether it’s going out with that person or not. If you’re always being faced with these feelings everyday by seeing that person, that’s a big red flag. If you start to just kind of shift your physical appearance slightly to just look a little better for not your partner, or yourself, that’s a sign that it’s starting.
[00:46:54] KC: Yeah, exactly. That’s a good time to kind of cut things off and curtail them because you’re on a slippery slope.
[00:47:03] MB: It’s just a startup, right? You’re just starting this. It’s just self-discovery.
[00:47:09] KC: There’s still time to turn around. There’s still time to make a course correction and change the behavior before it becomes something that you have to confess and have a whole conversation about. So, if it’s just flirtation, whether it’s another couple that you are attracted to the spouse of that person or something at work, or at the gym, or whatever, change your routines, start paying the same amount of attention to your partner that you were planning to pay to that other person. Because if you’re with someone for a long period of time, especially as we all start to get older, there are commitments and foundations of the relationship that assuming that there isn’t anything seriously wrong in the relationship that you need to either address or if you’re really unhappy in your relationship, that’s another conversation. That’s a different conversation. If your relationship is fine, and you’re just bored, or you’re just like dealing with your own insecurities, or whatever the reasons are, if it’s not a foundational problem in your relationship, just understand that as we get older – I’m sure people listening to this are younger than me and my husband.
As you get older, there’s a different sort of chaos and mess that you encounter when you start to have health issues and you start to really need to rely on your partner for things that are – no, they’re not sexy, and they’re not exciting. But it’s a deeper level of connection that you have with someone when you’ve been with them for a long time and and they have seen you through some really hard things. Because love and relationships, it’s not all boxes of chocolate and roses, right? Sometimes it’s holding someone’s hand while they’re in the hospital. Sometimes it’s doing things for people that we never imagined that we’d be called to do. I can say that from personal experience that everybody always tells the people in their lives like. “I love you. I’d do anything for you. I’ll always be here for you.” But when that is challenged by serious health issues, and we’re talking about, “Okay, I didn’t mean I’ll always be here for you. I didn’t mean that if you’re bedridden, or you have cancer or you get Alzheimer’s or whatever.” There’s a deeper level there of commitment that you can’t build off of just like a momentary physical relationship, because you’re attracted to someone and you go for it. It’s a different level of closeness. Does that make sense?
[00:49:24] MB: It totally does. That’s the real thing that we all really want. We all just really want someone who will be there to change like our bedpan and talk about the prices, whatever it is. We just want that real love. Yes, the other part looks really pretty, and that’s what we think is going to, but long term, that’s what we’re all aiming for. Because it shifts from when you’re 20 versus when you’re 30 to 40 to 50. I mean, my mom and dad weren’t together before she died, but my I was no longer around. But my in-laws have been married for a very long time. Like watching their dynamic and just how they live their life and seeing them so incredibly in love and incredibly happy, just to garden together and remember to take your vitamins together. It’s like what I’m aiming for. That’s the greatest thing.
So, there are going to be moments where you may find yourself seeing other options and thinking that that’s going to be worth it, because I mean – but it’s really about us, right? It’s really about like, I’m feeling insecure, I’m bored, I’m feeling not seen, the communication is bad. So, I need to go find it elsewhere. It’s rarely about the person we’re actually attracted to. They’re just the physical mirror of what we kind of already know. But we don’t really want to talk about with our partner.
[00:50:52] KC: I think when I met my current partner, I had just gone through a divorce, which was not fun and messy. I had over the years, because I had four young children at home, very young, and I had lost my identity of who is Kelly outside of being a mom, with the peanut butter fingermarks all over her and wearing her ex-husband’s old sweats and her hair in a bun. I went back into the professional environment because I was suddenly a single mom.
So, being in an office environment where I got to dress up a little bit and do my hair and makeup and not have children hanging off of my physical body, I was suddenly seen as my own person instead of being a mom so much. So, when I met my current partner in that situation, it was such a whirlwind and so romantic and so physical and all of that because I wasn’t doing my day to day mom activities in the middle of it. I can totally see how this happens. Because I had felt really lost at the time. My identity was messed up. I was no longer someone’s wife. I was just a mom to all these kids whose needs were so overwhelming to me. I mean, I would get out – you know, right? I had four. I never had –
[00:52:08] MB: No matter how much you prepare for those needs, it doesn’t matter. Before we started recording, I asked my four-year-old all the questions. I made sure she had her snack, she already went potty. I see her 10 minutes later needing something. I get you and it’s so – it is not even your choice. It overwhelms you 24/7 for so many years and you don’t get a choice because they’re just at you. You don’t have an identity anymore.
[00:52:31] KC: I was so tired and I was so overwhelmed with the soul sucking need for little tiny people –
[00:52:37] MB: It’s physical. You’re physically drained, like it sucks the life out of you.
[00:52:42] KC: Right. So, when my partner and I met each other in the office environment, and our relationship just existed with inside that office –
[00:52:48] MB: And you had heels and like mascara.
[00:52:51] KC: On our heels. My my hair wasn’t in a bun.
[00:52:52] MB: And no one was asking you if you were so and so’s mom. That must have been great.
[00:52:57] KC: For the first time I did not have a baby on my hips. I was suddenly being seen as like this attractive individual woman like without – not just a mom.
[00:53:08] MB: It was just Kelly.
[00:53:08] KC: It was just Kelly. It was so attractive to be seen that way and our relationship started that like that, and just was so isolated from my meeting with the kids. Just to have something that was just for me and that wasn’t part of my day to day slog through life, was really exhilarating. I think expand our relationship up to an intensity that maybe would have not happened if we had met outside of the office and an environment –
[00:53:36] MB: Sprouts or something in your mom jeans. Like, “Hey, what’s up?” I get it.
[00:53:43] KC: We kept that relationship isolated for a while because I wasn’t ready to introduce anyone to my kids and we lived in two different counties. It was not an everyday type of relationship. So, I can see how this happens.
[00:53:57] MB: You can see the appeal, and you can see how it happens, yet it just ends up – when does it ever work out for everybody involved, ever? Does this ever go, “Oh, you’re happier with this person emotionally? Well, let me just step on down and walk away. I’m not hurt at all.” It never –
[00:54:17] KC: It’s always messy.
[00:54:18] MB: The 0.000001%, that emotional relationship ends up being your soulmate you were truly meant to be with and you’re happier than ever and you’re so happy you did it. But probably not. It never works out.
[00:54:29] KC: Even when that happens because like my partner and I, now, I think we are true soulmates. We’re very happy together. It’s been a long time now and we’re super invested in each other. Even when that happens, and the person that you are attracted to and start a relationship with that, it turns out to be that positive. A lot of infrastructure has to explode before you get to be together and and it’s messy. It starts the relationship off on a very negative note with everyone involved and everyone they know.
[00:55:03] MB: Sometimes that can’t weather that storm, and then you’re left with nobody, which maybe should have been the original situation. But sometimes the drama of the situation can’t withstand this new relationship.
[00:55:19] KC: It happens more often than not. So, the best best thing you can do is to end one thing, and get yourself right and then start to the next thing. Because you have to have space, you have to be respectful of the people in your life and how your behavior affects other people. I mean, that’s not something I understood fully in my 20s. I don’t think most people do. But now that I’m in my mid-40s, I definitely understand that. Our actions affect not only us, they affect everyone in our lives and everyone in those people’s lives. So, there’s no urgency to anything. If not happy in your relationship, deal with that. Deal with that on its own first, either end the relationship, or figure out what you need to do to get it back on track. I can’t stress that enough.
[00:56:09] MB: Here’s the thing. The most important relationship we all have is one with ourselves. If you consciously know you’re out there, making this big change of what could be a couple people’s lives, like you have to – I did what I did, and I felt justified doing it. But I still made some decisions that hurt people. I don’t know what that hurt did to the other person, the other person. I don’t know what that did to that person’s trust issues and relationships in the future long term and I have to live with that. I have to live with knowing that I did that. And yes, we’re human and we make mistakes. But at the same time, I wouldn’t – that’s not in my character to do. I never put my selfish needs ahead of thoughts of others like that.
So, you have to have a good relationship with yourself. If you realize you’re doing this, then maybe you need to work on yourself and maybe you should just be with yourself. Sometimes the best answer is to not pick one, but pick just yourself, and that’s tough, because then you’re hurting to people. But they deserve the best version of you and they deserve to be with the best version of you.
[00:57:19] KC: And you deserve the best version of you.
[00:57:22] MB: You can work through it together. But sometimes, maybe it’s just a one-person project, sometimes.
[00:57:28] KC: I think we have a tendency to idealize relationships that exist only within four walls. It’s easy to idealize relationships that exist only within the four walls of an office or the four walls of a hotel room or any of that situation, because real life does not intrude. They don’t live within reality. When it’s real life and a bill collector is calling and you got to get dinner on the table in 15 minutes and someone has soccer practice, that is different than a relationship that is idealized because it exists only in a confined space.
[00:58:03] MB: Yes.
[00:58:03] KC: And it’s compartmentalized.
[00:58:03] MB: Even if it’s convenient for you and you probably look really cute, and you’re only going out on like lunch dates and stuff. It’s hard to compare both and decide which one is better, because one will always look better. But when the other option is gone, and now you’re in that routine part of your relationship with your new partner, are you going to go look for another new partner? Because it’s just like, “Oh, you’re a cat. I need a new kitten now.”
[00:58:29] KC: If you’re just distracting yourself from your real-life problems that aren’t going to go anywhere, or you’re distracting yourself from self-esteem issues that you don’t want to deal with, or family issues that you don’t want to deal with. You can’t outrun yourself. You can’t hide from yourself. It all comes out in the end. So, if you think that this is – okay, this is a temporary thing. I’m just doing this right now. It just makes me feel good. But I’m not going to do – I’m not going to go any further with it. That’s unfair to the person that you’re dealing with. It’s unfair to the person who’s at home, and it’s unfair to yourself, honestly.
[00:58:59] MB: It’s also unrealistic. “Oh, I’m just going to do meth for five days.” Okay. Yeah, sure. Portion control. Let’s see how that works out for you. No, you’re just lying to yourself, because, you’re just delaying it. And then now it’s becoming more of an intimate relationship, because it’s longer, and then it’s going to be harder to exit.
[00:59:22] KC: Yeah. If you catch these things really early, you resolve them really early, you may not need to say anything to anybody. Or if it’s already crossed a little bit of a line, and it’s much easier to say, “Hey, this is happening outside of our relationship and it hasn’t gone any further than this.” I’m talking to you about it –
[00:59:38] MB: The other person’s not even aware of it. I’m aware of it.
[00:59:41] KC: I’m talking to my partner about this because I want to be respectful to my partner and I want to tell them this kind of gone over the line. These are the steps I’m going to take to reel it back in and to stop this behavior. That’s a much happier conversation than, “Oh, hey, sorry that you found out that I’ve been talking to this person in an intimate way for the last two and a half years.” Because you had all this opportunity to tell them and you didn’t, and then they feel so betrayed. They feel so betrayed. Rather than if you came to them and you said, “For summary, I’m feeling this dynamic with this person and I know it’s not right. So, let’s work together as a couple to get through this and resolve this and make me figure out why I’m doing this.” That is a conversation where the other person feels involved, and they feel that they’re partners with you and you’re working through it together. Not, I found a text message on your phone or iPad, and now we need to talk about it. That’s a horrible betrayal. So yes, if you are in this kind of situation, stop it. A, stop. Just stop.
[01:00:44] MB: It’s like secretly eating really bad food late at night and just saying like, “Okay, I’m not going to do this the next day. Okay. I’m going to stop next week.” But you’re like still shoving it in –
[01:00:54] KC: If you and your partner have decided to go keto together, and you’re all meal planning everything. And then at night, you’re scarfing down Snickers in the closet or something. This is worse than that.
[01:01:03] MB: Replace keto with monogamy and it’s the same thing. If you know in your heart of hearts, in your gut, that what you’re doing or feeling or experiencing is entering the pool of wrong, like we all know, right from wrong.
[01:01:18] KC: Flip it around. Flip it around. Say, if my partner was having the same conversation that I’m having, how would I feel? And if your answer is, I’d feel hurt and betrayed, then knock it off. Because then you know what you’re doing is wrong. So yeah, this is a big topic. I think we could probably talk about this all day.
[01:01:34] MB: It’s super relatable, because we all love attention. We all love that feeling of it, that first part of the relationship. We all love to feel wanted or lusted after. Like, hello, wake up. That’s everybody, okay. So, don’t use that as an excuse to like, pursue it because that’s a universal feeling. But we have to be like stronger than that. We have to realize, “Okay, maybe there’s something else truly going on. I need to just explore.” Whatever that is. There are a billion things that could be. But just simply ignore it and make excuses is leading you down a path that won’t work out.
[01:02:06] KC: Yeah. Like I said, there’s a lot of really good material out there about this. A lot of good books and stuff out there about this. The one I recommended, I’m sure it’s still around. I’ll link it in the the show notes. There are a lot of counselors and people who are available to talk about these kinds of things. If you feel like you need professional help, you can do it virtually. I mean, it doesn’t even need to be something that you have to go into an office and do anymore. Now they have text message there.
[01:02:34] MB: I mean, we’re on a podcast currently, right now. A big thing that’s helped me when I have issues is there’s so many amazing podcasts out there that are just specifically designed for relationships and the topics. What to do when your spouse has an emotional affair? What to do when you’ve – and I will listen to them, because I feel like I don’t have – I would do this by a therapist. But then, I feel like I’m getting good advice from someone who’s licensed to give that advice, because it’s normally a doctor running this podcast or whatever. And I’m getting good advice on how to do something in the relationship that my partner might not be aware of yet. I do it in a way where it’s not going to be disruptive.
Because a lot of times we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re not experts in relationships. So, we just think what we’re doing is right, and then we look back at it afterwards, and like, “Well, that was not the right move.” So, you may want to tell your partner about things, but maybe telling your partner might be more destructive than productive. Podcasts, those things help if you –
[01:03:28] KC: If you’re already in this situation, and you really don’t understand why you looked outside of your relationship, what you’re saying podcasts, books.
[01:03:37] MB: They’re helpful. Ask yourself questions.
[01:03:41] KC: Yeah. Dig down to the root of it and figure out, is there a need you’re not having met? Or you just feeling like you need a little attention and flattery. That’s okay, too. I mean, that’s okay, too. We all go through times where we are feeling a little less competent in ourselves, and we’re a little more vulnerable to flattery or praise. So, I think –
[01:04:01] MB: So, I tell you this, my partner was very open to trying again, because he also realized there were things in the relationship that needed improving on his end too. A lot of times your partner will understand that no one’s perfect, and maybe your needs aren’t getting met and you deserve your needs to be met. Simply telling them, that might be – they need to know that information in order to try and improve. If you don’t give them the option or opportunity to improve then you’re taking that opportunity away. So, it’s okay to feel that way. But to go and use that as a reason to go hurt someone is not okay.
[01:04:37] KC: No, it’s not. So yeah, we would encourage you to listen to relationship podcasts, read books, get audio books, whatever works for you, talk to someone about it, not a friend.
[01:04:48] MB: No, because even if they’ve been through the exact same situation, we’re all different people and we all handle our relationships differently. If they give you advice that just because they’ve been through it, you’re going to think is the way to do it, it might not work out.
[01:05:01] KC: Even if they’ve been through the exact same situation, nobody’s situations are exactly the same.
[01:05:05] MB: That’s the thing, is that you might take their advice that worked for their situation and utilize it for yours, and it might not give you the same result.
[01:05:13] KC: Even if you have been close friends with someone for a long time, what happens behind closed doors in a relationship is never anything we can understand unless we’re in that relationship.
[01:05:24] MB: If someone asked for your advice, I would also offer to not solicit it. Because that’s a heavy piece of advice you want to give out.
[01:05:33] KC: Yeah. I, as a –
[01:05:32] MB: People that are licensed because they went to school to learn – they’re licensed, they’re doctors, they’re therapist. Yes, very good advice. Your friend, who isn’t those things who also went through it or had a cousin who went through it, not the same.
[01:05:46] KC: I understand too, if a friend comes to you asking for advice on this subject, because I have been in this situation before, before you tell them how you really feel, “Oh, yeah, I never liked your husband anyway. You should leave him. He’s a jerk.” If they stay with him, they will always remember that you said that. So just understand that that’s a very big deal. It’s very awkward.
[01:06:09] MB: You don’t want to ever have to worry that your words might come back. I mean, in that situation, you should be the listener and not the advice giver. Sometimes people just – I mean, they might leave their relationship, this is a big life decision, and they just simply can’t just listen to their therapist or hear a podcast, they need to bounce it off someone, just listen. Because once you start to give advice, and whatever you say, man, like you just said, “Oh, yeah, leave them.” And then they work it out. You’re like, “Oh, I’m really glad you worked it out. I’ve always liked the person.” It’s like, how do you bounce back from that?
[01:06:39] KC: Exactly. If you do feel like you want to listen to them, just ask them leading questions so that they can find their own answers. Ask them how they feel about things, and help them make like those pro and con lists and things like that without influencing what they write down. Because again, behind closed doors, we never know. We never really know what other people’s relationships are.
So, this has been a really good topic. I feel like we could talk about this all day. But if you guys do want to talk about this on the Facebook discussion board, I encourage you guys to go there. It’s a good place for you all to continue that conversation. The article for this is out. I suggest you read that because Megan and I tend to have a different spin on whatever we’re talking about, then the writer of the article necessarily does. So, I would encourage even if you listen to the podcast that you still go and read the article.
As always, we appreciate each and every one of you that come out every week to listen to us and our audience is growing and we couldn’t be more thankful. So, we really appreciate everyone’s support.
All right, we’ll see you guys next week.
[01:07:40] MB: See you next week.
[01:07:42] KC: Bye.
[01:07:46] ANNOUNCER: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to bookmark our site, shesafullonmonet.com. Subscribe to our newsletter. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. If you’re enjoying this podcast, it helps us a lot if you can follow, rate and review. See you all next week.