Episode 085: Overcoming The Pain Of Infidelity
Episode 085: Overcoming The Pain Of Infidelity with special guest Teri Lynn Wilkins
If you’ve been cheated on or if you’ve been the cheater, you know the pain and long-term affects it has on your life. What if you could turn it around and make it a positive? Our guest this week can just do that! Teri Lynn Wilkins is a 15 year veteran Life Coach and her specialty is cheating, infidelity, and betrayal. Teri’s clients are courageous women who transcend betrayal to become the authentic, passionate, and strong women they’ve always wanted to be. Teri Lynn shares her own personal story and how she’s gone from being the villain and the victim to a thriving life coach helping others turn their lives around.
Leanne : 00:07 Welcome to life lafter divorce podcast, episode 85. I am your host, Leanne Linsky. Welcome back to another wonderful week of divorce. Break up!
The Boyrfriend: 00:21 Is a fall week of divorce better than the summer.
Leanne: 00:25 I was trying to rhyme something break up and make up or something. But yeah, I guess it just keeps getting better. You know
The Boyfriend: 00:31 the fall is a beautiful season.
Leanne : 00:32 It is. It is a beautiful season, isn’t it though?
The Boyfriend: 00:35 Yeah. I love it.
Leanne: 00:36 You don’t feel like you have to look nice all the time because you can be more indoorsy,
The Boyfriend: 00:42 more clothes on,
Leanne: 00:43 cover things up, all that kinda good stuff. Big Hats. Mittens of mittens, mittens or gloves, gloves.
The Boyfriend: 00:55 I’m a glove Guy Liked to have all of my digits available,
Leanne: 00:58 not me. I do my best work. Mittens on typing. All of that. Hey, so welcome back in. While you’re out there tuning in, make sure you rate, review, and subscribe. Also check out the
The Boyfriend: 01:13 what’s new on the website?
Leanne : 01:14 I’m so glad you asked because I almost forgot on the website. We now have videos available. That’s right. The last. Yeah, the podcast. Audio
The Boyfriend: 01:23 We don’t have cameras around here. What are you talking about?
Leanne: 01:26 He doesn’t think he’s around here. Know the boyfriend remains A man of mystery, but we have converted all of the audio in the video format so you can get the podcast on our website or youtube in addition to all those other cool places you already listen.
The Boyfriend: 01:45 How’s is this?
Leanne: 01:47 its technology? Wow. Why are you surprised you did have to work?
The Boyfriend: 01:54 I’m just trying to give the listener the idea that it’s actually not a video.
Leanne : 01:59 It’s a video. There’s a graphic.
The Boyfriend: 02:03 There’s a standalone graphic with the audio playing, but it’s hosted
Leanne: 02:07 and a line that moves. So you’re entertained the entire time. It’s like watching. Do you remember those like lava lab looking things where you used to touch it?
The Boyfriend: 02:17 You’re like a cat watching a laser on the ground
Leanne: 02:19 No, those. Those little static balls does electric. What were those called? You probably had one. Okay, so think back way back to. I don’t know, when did the lava lamps come out?
The Boyfriend: 02:34 Before my time.
Leanne: 02:35 Okay. Well, this was after the lava lamp, but it was like an in a version of that where it was like a globe and then you’d plug it in and if you touched it like little static electricity lights would light up. Do you know what I’m talking about? Okay. Anyway, it’s kind of like that. But video format for
The Boyfriend: 02:58 she’s reaching,
Leanne: 03:00 I will post this on social media. So you guys know, I know that there are some people out there that not only are you listening, you know what I’m talking about.
The Boyfriend: 03:10 The whole point of this is to make the podcast more available to you. You guys can find them on Youtube, on Libsyn, on Itunes, and all the other places.
Leanne : 03:19 Yeah, exactly. So go out there and rate, review and subscribe, you know, give us some feedback we want to hear from you. We liked that show us some love on youtube might not. Okay. Moving on, boyfriend, our listeners are faithful listeners and I know they’re not cheating on us with any other podcasts.
The Boyfriend: 03:39 They only listen to us.
Leanne: 03:42 And that’s it. That’s all right. No, that’s just not how the way the world works. If you’ve listened to other podcasts, you do other things, and just like in relationships, people cheat. Not always, but it has been known to happen. And whether you’ve been a cheater or you’ve been cheated on or people around you have been one or the other, it’s affected you in some way. Right?
The Boyfriend: 04:07 Of course. I’ve been cheated on At least twice,
Leanne : 04:12 right? That, you know of. lol No, we are not having that conversation. No, that’s not where I’m going with this at all. But no, no, no. So boyfriend knows better. I know better. So. But yeah, we’ve been there like, I’ve been cheated on. I’ve cheated on people I’ve dated, I’ve done dumb things and I tell you what is bad. Being on both sides,
The Boyfriend: 04:38 it’s terrible. It’s terrible. Being cheated on his test is just a lot of emotion that doesn’t need to be. You don’t need to hurt people, that people don’t need to be hurt, that
Leanne : 04:46 no, it’s a terrible, terrible. If it rips you apart in ways that you just can’t ever put back together again.
The Boyfriend: 04:58 No, it still stinks. You still feel it. You said you’ve learned. You’ve, you hold onto that stock that you hold onto it. It’s hard to let it go.
Leanne : 05:05 Right?
The Boyfriend: 05:06 Did those feelings of hurt from those? So you learn it changes how you approach relationships in the future? It changes, changes a lot of things.
Leanne : 05:14 It certainly does and you know, I always think like, you know, I feel like when these things happen, we all have a tendency to look back and go, what could I have done different? What if I had done this? A lot of what ifs and the regrets
The Boyfriend: 05:28 and that’s always dangerous
Leanne : 05:30 and that’s a very dangerous place to be and I really liked talking to this week’s guest because this is exactly what her specialty is.
The Boyfriend: 05:39 There’s someone who specializes and cheating.
Leanne : 05:41 Yes. You’re probably like, how do you get into this work? How do you go about doing this? But we had this incredible conversation, so I’m super excited for our listeners, you guys too, to hear this conversation with our guests this week because this is really what she’s there to do, is to take away that regret, to take away the what ifs, to turn it around into an opportunity for you to move forward, which who would have thought, right?
The Boyfriend: 06:11 Well, well you always have to move forward, but for some reason a lot of people want to have closure or something for the past and it’s done and over with you. Just gotta move you gotTa. You gotta go. So this, tell us about this week’s guest.
Leanne : 06:25 So our guest this week is Teri Lynn Wilkins and she is a 15 year veteran life coach. And her specialty is cheating, infidelity and betrayal. Her clients are courageous woman who transcend betrayal to become the authentic, passionate, strong woman they’ve always wanted to be. In 2008, Terry Lynn walked away from her standards, suburban life, her 20 year marriage, and every possession she ever had. She spent the next 10 years broke alone, isolated and searching for meaning, burst as the vilified, crucified, cheater, and then as a typical naive and rejected one who gets cheated on it, turns out betrayal was the best thing that ever happened to her. Terry Lynn now works with women all over the world who have been cheated on her. Clients proved that betrayal can be transformed from something that happens to you to something that happens for you. Terri Lynn has been on Hgtv, local TV, news, podcasts, and in magazines and newspapers across the country. So without further ado, I’d like you to meet Terry Lynn,
Leanne: 07:50 Teri Lynn. Welcome to life after divorce podcast.
Teri Lynn: 07:53 Thank you for having me. Leanne,
New Speaker: 07:55 I’m super excited to have you here today because I want to know all about infidelity and cheating as if I haven’t learned enough in my lifetime. It’s such an unknown topic, right? Yeah. Yeah. It’s a big mystery, but it’s one of those things that everybody’s like, yes. Tell me about this. Why? Why is this happening? So I’m kind of curious. You’ve been married and divorced, right? Yeah. Yeah. So you were married for quite a long time.
Teri Lynn: 08:26 Yeah. In that relationship for almost 20 years. So pretty significant.
New Speaker: 08:31 Yeah. So, so now your life coaching in your life coaching specifically on betrayal and cheating and infidelity, how I want to know and you and I have talked a little bit, but I don’t really want to share with our listeners how you ended up on this path.
Teri Lynn: 08:47 Yeah, I told you a little bit. I would came kicking and screaming who wants to be the life coach? Who’s the expert on infidelity, right. so the short version is I’ve been a life coach for 15 years and I had a different specialty and my story is that I left my marriage and I was the cheater initially, which I’m surprised no one more than myself. And then I became the cheated on for a number of years after I left. And after that whole experience I realized that although cheating is common and it happens to, believe it or not, up to 70 percent of people, depending on what survey you subscribe to and what definition of cheating you subscribed to you, we don’t really understand it at all. We don’t know. We don’t really know why people do it. We don’t know if it’s gonna happen again and it’s such a, such a huge topic without a lot of people wanted to talk about it. And so I felt sort of compelled having been through both sides and having a real reluctant, deep, deep understanding of both sides to sort of rip the cover off of it. And I think I have a different perspective than, than most people. you know, having walked that path myself.
New Speaker: 10:08 Yeah. So you had been married for 20 years and you now, you said you’ve been on both sides of the fence. So is that where you are on the cheating side?
Teri Lynn: 10:17 Yeah, so I, I was someone who initially when I was married, I was like, why would someone sheet what a coward, you know, what the Hell is wrong with you, why wouldn’t you just leave your marriage for that upset? I even went so far as to stop watching any Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie movies because it was just so pissed that, you know, so for me to find myself in that, in that place was definitely shocking and almost identity shattering for me because I thought, you know, I, I knew who I was. but it, it turns out that it was, you know, something has happened the way they’re supposed to happen and you have specific lessons that have to be learned a certain way. And you know, if I thought that I could learn those lessons any other way, I would’ve, I would’ve chose a different way. But that happened to be my path. And it was, you know, 10 years of, of just absolute turmoil. I, when I, when I left my marriage, lucky. Luckily for me, I shared this with you earlier that I didn’t leave my marriage for another man. I left my marriage because I realized, oh shit, something’s missing here and I can’t fix this. And that thing that was missing was the genuine attraction to my partner. And so luckily I didn’t leave for another person. Otherwise I would have been absolutely devastated by it because that relationship didn’t work out. Thank goodness. but I, I did still have to go through the turmoil, you know, leaving essentially everything that I had ever known. I was fairly well off at that point and I had a big beautiful house on the golf course and I had two children and I was involved in the community and I was PTA president and I was, you know, that whole, like perfect mom, perfect wife, charitable events, you know, kind of situation. And then to be on the other side of the other woman was shocking and trauma and you know, was crucified to, to the, the deepest levels, you know, internet stocked. And I had to call the police at one point. I mean, it was, it was intense. I went from having sort of this like, you know, a little white picket fence, a life to absolute drama. And I remember one point thinking I’m in a soap opera right now. What happend? Yeah, it was pretty extreme. And then, you know, being on the other side, being cheated on while while also being, you know, the other woman and you can’t even sort of claim that you’re being cheated on in a way, you know, it was, it was a masterclass in infidelity and cheating and why people cheat and what the feelings are and how the other woman feels and how the other wife feels and how the cheated person feels. And I just, it was so deep and, and I realized that, okay, not many people are speaking about this from this perspective. And I kind of, I heard, I was actually listening rob bell one day and I was fighting, you know, changing my specialty. And he said, listen, part of your journey when you walk through a fire is to turn around and extend your hand to the person behind you. And every time I say that I get goosebumps on my body because in that moment and I was like, shit, I have to now do this. And that’s, that’s how it happened.
Leanne: 13:42 Wow. So when you first started cheating, were you looking at it as like, this is just something that happens? Like what was your, what was your mindset on it versus where it is now?
Teri Lynn: 13:52 No, Thank you for asking you that I’m glad you did though, because it really was different. So I had struggled in my marriage with my attraction to my ex, all, all along. And I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought I was broken. I did everything. I read romance novels, I watched videos, I, I took testosterone at one point. I went to therapy. I had done everything, like, what the Hell is wrong with me? Thought I had been molested, you know, I’d gone down every avenue possible. And so when, when I was a, it started online, which I, you know, at the time, like facebook was new. The whole online thing was new. I was very naive, didn’t know that you could form sort of this artificial, intimacy with someone that way and it was someone I knew from high school and so when it first started, I innocently thought, and, and genuinely so I thought, oh, I feel, I feel like attractive. Someone’s attracted to me and I felt good about myself and that actually helped my relationship. This was before I actually cheated this fucking, that actually helped my relationship for a minute because all of a sudden I was happier. And this, this is part of my, the, the knowledge that helps when I work with, with other women is I can explain what their partner was feeling and why they did what they did, you know, but I, I felt attractive and then all of a sudden, I was happier and our relationship was a little bit better. So initially I thought, well, maybe this is going to help my relationship naively, you know, because I hadn’t done anything at that point. And then very rapidly, like I shared with you, I, I started talking to this person online, in October. And I left my marriage by January ninth at 20 years old and walked out of my huge house on the golf course with nothing like it was, it was severe. so it happened pretty, pretty quickly. And so for the first few weeks it was like, well, maybe this is what I needed, you know, maybe I just felt bad about myself, you know, and I hadn’t, you know, it wasn’t inappropriate at that point. but then it, then it progressed and then I did cheat and then I, and then I was at the point where it’s like, okay, well, I’m not somebody who can stay in a relationship and lie, like that is not something that is in my dna. And so I then went into a panic, what am I going to do? How am I going to leave leave? Where am I going to live? What’s going to happen to my kids? I mean, I think a lot of people, one of the things I share is, there’s two wounds. There’s the fact that you’ve been cheated on and there’s the fact that you’ve been lied to. And a lot of women that I work with will say, well, if he would have just been honest about it and I totally get it. Yeah, if you’re just honest about it, then you can make it maybe maintain some level of trust. But what I try to explain this, do you know how hard it is? To be honest, do you know how hard it is to come to someone and say, I just did something that’s going to destroy you, destroy your life, destroy our marriage, potentially caused me to lose everything I’ve ever had harmed my children. I’m going to lose my social circle. I have no idea what’s going to happen in my life. And so to expect someone to tell the truth is almost unreasonable. I mean, ideally that would be fantastic, you know? But what happened to me is a few weeks into me trying to figure out how am I going to tell him and what am I going to do? Because we’re talking weeks, he came to me because he could feel something was up right? And so in that moment he was like, what’s wrong? And this happened to be, I actually have never shared this in an interview before this happened to be on Christmas Day. Oh, it was brutal. And what’s wrong? and I’m not somebody who can tell a lie, you know, and he, he just eventually got to the point where he was like, is there another person? I was like, can we talk about this another time? Is there another person? Yes. Do you want a divorce? And in that moment I had an out of body experience. It was, I literally heard two voices and that was like, I had two little people on each shoulder. One was saying, what are you doing? Are you crazy? What the hell are you doing? Well, and the other one just said no, basically like, you’re going to do this. And I uttered the word yes. And it was sort of like this. I was never going back in that moment. and it was terrifying. And, and then, you know, there was no denying after that that I was leaving and I was honest, he said, is there a chance? And I said, I don’t think so, maybe 10 percent. All I know right now is I need to get out of this relationship and feel who I am and feel what I feel without your influence and pressure and control. There’s a lot of control and manipulation and that’s all I know right now. And never once did I ever questioned my decision or go back. But that was I think a little out of the ordinary, you know, because I had been a life coach and I had a coach and I had some self awareness and I knew I wasn’t leaving for that other man. I knew I was leaving, you know, for me because that relationship didn’t have what I wanted, didn’t, you know, and I couldn’t fix that. So I think that’s what sustained me. But yeah, when it first started, I didn’t. I mean I was, I had no idea what was happening, you know, I didn’t intentionally go looking for that. I mean, obviously something inside of me must have been, but it was shocking to me.
Leanne: 19:28 Yeah, probably a little confusing?
Teri Lynn: 19:30 Oh my gosh. I remember being absolutely tortured crying every night, like, what, what, what are you doing? What are you going to do? What does this mean, what, you know, to try to figure all of that out. And you know, it wasn’t like I had felt unhappy in my marriage, what I felt before that moment wasn’t happy with me. I had spent 20 years thinking that I was broken and that I have this great marriage and if I could just fix myself, my marriage would be okay. So my understanding of what was happening was solely based in shame and guilt and myself. So that’s why when I left it was sort of almost like this weight off of my shoulders of Oh shit. Like I’m not, I’m actually not broken here. This wasn’t all me, you know, there was something missing that I couldn’t fix.
Leanne: 20:18 So when you left and you were still cheating, what happened with that other relationship with the new relationship?
Teri Lynn: 20:26 Yeah. So he was married also and he didn’t leave. And I remember saying, you know, this was a couple months after I left. I was like, I understand it’s scary as hell. I totally get it and I don’t blame you and I’m gonna let you go, I get, I want you to be happy and if you’re happy in your relationship then great. and, and that was fine, you know, there was a little bit of grief about that, but like I said, luckily enough for me, I didn’t leave for him. And then a few months later he contacted me again and he ended up leaving and then we went in and out of our relationship for years on and off. I can’t even count how many breakups there was in that. And that’s really where my growth occurred. It was because of that relationship because of him, because of that dynamic and kind of healing some old childhood wounds within that. And it’s really where I learned so much about cheating and infidelity and really seen from his perspective and seeing from her perspective and seeing from my perspective and seeing from my perspective, you know, I saw all of it. I ironically, nobody ever has any sympathy for me as the other woman. Yes. But during, during that time, I was like, okay, I lost everything. I lost my social circle, even lost my mom. she sided with my ex husband. I lost that relationship. I lost everything I’ve owned. I am now. Scarlet letter on the back. I’m being crucified by his partner. I don’t have him. I’m also being cheated on, so I have that whole side. I have financial difficulty, I have children. They didn’t have children. I was like, I’m the, I’m the bad guy and I get it. I am actually experiencing everything that all of you are experiencing and you only have a piece of it. I like have all of it. What it means, go crying to anyone because, you know, I did what I did, but it was because of that. That was why it was so difficult. And, and just absolute sheer turmoil for so many years.
Leanne: 22:32 Yeah. And I’m curious because, you know, I love that you say you didn’t leave for the other person. You were very self aware and you realize this had a lot to do with just you as a person. I’m curious as as you dealt with all of these emotions, what role does guilt play or shame?
Teri Lynn: 22:48 Oh, huge. I mean, you know, even in a regular divorce situation, if you have children, the level of guilt that you feel now I have a little different perspective about that. I actually don’t think divorce damages children. I don’t believe that at all. I believe that the relationship between the two people afterwards is what damages the children. If you have a good relationship, divorce is just change, you know, and it can be an opportunity to teach your kids a lot of things. But at the time my babies were little, you know, I had a six year old and a 12 year old and two, you know, he, he told me I have to tell them, so to tell your kids and also the infidelity part, how am I supposed to explain to a six year old and a 12 year old, hey, your mom, he cheated. It is not been kind to do that, you know? So it wasn’t until they got a little bit older where they understood relationships and any kind of dynamic where I was able to say, which, which is hard on me because I am someone who likes to be an open book. And so, and to have to explain that and the shame of, of that and to say, yeah, your dad, you know, we don’t have a good relationship and he doesn’t speak to me 10 years later. And so I, you know, I have to say I totally get it. I understand he’s hurt. I, you know, I crushed him and he has every right not to talk to me, you know, so, and then the shame of knowing that I heard, you know, the man that I was going to be in a relationship with, I hurt his wife. That was crushing because I knew how she felt, you know, and ironically enough, her and I have have since mended that and come to a good place, which is really kind of cool. But yeah, and even watching you know, just the, there, there so much. I mean, no, like I said, nobody has any compassion for the cheater and I totally get that, but there’s so much that that person goes through in losing face in front of everyone and then you, you know, you lose your social circle because you know everybody’s going to side with the person who’s been quote unquote victimized and so I would have to show up at my kids’ sporting events and sit there by myself completely alone knowing that I was just like being scorned and shamed and so just based in guilt and shame at the same time. Thank God knowing that I made the right decision for myself. That’s the only thing that that I think saved me, but if I would’ve left for him and then would have been shattered. If that didn’t work out, you know, I would have been absolutely destroyed.
Leanne: 25:44 Right. How did you go and build a relationship with a so, so we’ll make up a name for your husband.
Teri Lynn: 25:57 I get a little nervous about that one thing, sharing my story and only an open book, but when I start talking about others I’m like, I don’t have permission to share their story. So yeah.
Leanne: 26:08 So, so your ex’s name, we’ll give him , like a, a fake name that starts with the letter a and
Teri Lynn: 26:15 how about Aaron, that’s an ex boyfriend. Call him Aaron.
Leanne: 26:21 Aaron. Okay. So Aaron is the ex husband and then the other guy. We’ll start with a b. a,
Teri Lynn: 26:29 let’s call him Brett. That’s another ex boyfriend. We’ll stick with ex-boyfriend names.
Leanne: 26:33 So Brett is the guy that you cheated with and Brett was married, so his wife will give her a name that starts with a c, like Clarissa.
Teri Lynn: 26:45 This is going to get confusing.
Leanne: 26:46 What is it? What are we calling her? Kathy. So Kathy. So Brenton, Kathy were married and then you and Brett got together, but now you and Kathy have made amends in a weird way. Yeah. Yeah. How did that come about?
Teri Lynn: 27:03 We have not actually ever met and I felt a little uncomfortable sharing this because I don’t know if she would be okay with it. Hopefully. so that’s like the whole Internet stal king and all of that was coming. He said that, so Brett cheated with multiple people. There were so many. So he cheated his marriage and he also cheated whenever we would break up and, and, and, you know, this got so murky because what’s cheating is sexting. Sheeting is talking to someone cheating and I have a very clear definition of what in my world cheating is. And I tell people if, if you can have whatever definition of cheating you want, what you, what you need is for your partner’s definition to match yours. No other. So anyway, there was all kinds of stuff going on in between, sandwiched, cheating. Son was not, some was, some was going back to his wife and, and, and being with her with Kathy. And so I’m the other woman. I can’t say I’m being cheated on when he’s going back to his wife. I mean it was just a shit show now. So there was all this internet stuff and social media stalking and that’s where, you know, the drama came in. But, but, I don’t know if it was a year ago, maybe a couple of years ago, maybe a year ago she contacted me on social media again. I thought, Oh shit, here we go. But it was totally different. She, she actually said, and I hope I’m not violating her in any way because I actually, I always had a lot of, compassion and it sounds really strange but love for her because I felt we were very similar and as much as I hurt her, it hurt me that I hurt her. So, what she said was, you know, what, you were the only one who, what will, what she specifically said was you were more woman than any woman. I know. And I think that was because I, I didn’t let her abused me, but I did take my licks from her. I did own what I did. I didn’t let her blame me for her marriage falling apart because it’s obviously broke before I ever got there. But I did take ownership of what I did and I never lied. and, and I just treated her like I would want to be treated and it took a number of years, but I think she finally saw that I wasn’t this horrible. She had all kinds of names for me, but, you know, one of them obviously, but this horrible home wrecking whore with no conscience. So I was just a person who fell in love with somebody and I genuinely did fall in love with him. I still have love for him, you know, he’s not someone I would want to spend my life with now, but not because I think he’s a bad. So I think she, she knew that, you know, we both genuinely loved a broken person and, and that I didn’t set out to do that and so she found me and we were going to meet, but I think it was a little bit, a little bit too hard, a certain number. And so we follow each other on social media now. And she’ll comment on my stuff every now and then I comment on hers. And it felt I didn’t, I didn’t need that, but it felt really good to have that. It felt like, okay, I’ve come full circle with, with all of this and have walked this path as honorable as I possibly can. The Path I chose.
Leanne: 30:24 Yeah. And it sounds like she’s no longer taking it personally because I think as the person being cheated on, we tend to take all of that on as our fault and as a personal assault on our ourselves.
Teri Lynn: 30:43 Yeah. And also, you know, it’s hard not to hate the other women. You’re just like, what the Hell is wrong with you? You do something like that. Why would you do something so wrong? And from my perspective, you know, as a, as a specialist now it’s, I don’t, I mean you’ll come across the rare woman who brags about being a cheater and another woman. That’s bullshit. I just have to be honest that’s not really what’s going on inside that woman. She’s, she’s wounded. No woman wants to be with another woman’s man. They know that if you start a relationship that way, you are second best. You are competing, you are in a bad situation. No woman wants that. So my answer to that, and it’s not the answer for everybody because it’s not always loved, but in my particular case, I put in control who I fell in love with. Now I could have controlled what I did for sure. I didn’t have to actually cheat, but it was, I tell people when you’re there, there’s only a few reasons that people cheat and, and one of them is, when your very insecure and you don’t have self confidence when someone is attracted to you, it’s the best drug on the planet, better than any drug. And so it starts down this rollercoaster of a euphoria, you know, and it takes a very strong person to avoid that stuff. So yeah, it is absolutely personal and in, in another way. It’s not personal and I get it. I get it from all sides, you know? but yeah, it, it’s, it brings out, as I was sharing with you earlier, brings out our deepest wound as a woman that we’re not good enough for our partner. And what I help my clients with is that wound actually existed before that dude ever cheated on you. It was there before it even happened. Now that it’s up for, you know, exposure, you’ve got this open wound, let’s actually dig into it and, and, and see what’s there because they’ll be trail can just be a path towards some self healing if you really have enough courage to look at it.
Leanne: 33:00 Right? I don’t know. I’m, as I’m listening to you and I had a friend a long time ago who’d said, in this popped into my mind, he had always said, I just don’t put myself in those situations where I can take those actions anymore. He goes, I just make a point of saying if I’m there, if I put myself in that situation, then I’m tempted. And if I don’t put myself in that situation, it removes a temptation and I can move on. And that’s okay.
Teri Lynn: 33:29 That’s important. I do think that that’s a strategy like my partner now, I can use his real name, Derek. He has cheated as well when he was married and neither one of us would ever do it again, but not because I’m, there’s judgment. I mean, certainly I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone. We wouldn’t do it again because we have more self awareness. So your friend who said that has a little more self awareness. He, he, he knows what his desires are. He knows what his weaknesses are. He knows, you know, I don’t think that I would ever let my relationship get to the point where it’s so bad that I’m tempted to do something with someone else. I wasn’t aware that my relationship was bad because I was so myered in shame and guilt for me being broken, that I never stopped to consider that something might be broken with this relationship. And so it, it hit me because I didn’t have that self awareness. Now I’m like, listen, if I’m even thinking about someone else or have some attraction in the least to someone else, that is a red flag, red flag that something’s missing out of my relationship and I need to deal with that. Before I was so shut down, I never had attraction to another man. I never looked at another man. I never let another man look at me. I was completely shut down totally. Now it would never happen. One because I would never want to go through that again. Never. I don’t care if I was, if I felt like I was in love with someone, I just wouldn’t. I would have enough awareness to choose something different before I had never felt that kind of attraction and passion and love for someone. I didn’t know how to manage that. And also I, if I felt that way about someone then something’s wrong.
Leanne: 35:23 Exactly. And so when people come to now or is this something that people come to the space like at where they’re at this space and they’re like, I’m attracted to somebody and I don’t know what to do about that because that’s a very confusing time.
Teri Lynn: 35:37 Yeah, I know that a lot on live streaming when I, you know, I do a lot of live streaming. A lot of people are in that situation and I, first of all, like I said before, it’s a red flag, you know, why is that happening? What’s going on in your relationship? And a lot of times once somebody’s in it, there isn’t any pulling out of it, you know, it, there’s really isn’t. And so depending on the person and where they’re at and what their feelings are, if it’s an online situation where they’re just talking, I try to figure out why they’re doing it. is it to get attention, you know, are they feeling lonely? Is it feeding their self esteem for a minute? You know, I try to get to the core of it. Are you genuinely in love with this person? Because as much as some of the experts out there say, it’s never love. I totally disagree. Sometimes it is very rarely, but sometimes it is. and, and, and what does your future look like from here on out? Because now you’ve already done something. And one of the things I think is important for people to know. I get the question a lot. whether they’re in it or whether they did something and they’re now out of it. Should I tell my part? And here’s, here’s what I say. Absolutely not because it’s some moral judgment and you’re a terrible person. If you don’t. When I say is, if you are in a relationship where you’re hiding something, anything, it doesn’t matter if it’s cheating or whatever. The less you show of yourself in that relationship, the less intimacy are going to have, the less connection you’re going to have. The more you are hiding who you are, the less that person sees you, and so you’re never going to have a quality relationship. If you can’t be completely honest. And I get that, well, what if I share that? It may blow up my relationship. Absolutely, but the alternative is that you’re in a relationship that’s never fully the relationship that it could be.
Leanne: 37:41 Yeah, and it’s. Yeah, definitely don’t. It’s almost opens a door for a conversation to say, go to your other half and say, hey, somebody. I’ve actually had this happen to me were my first husband where I went to him and said, somebody else is giving me attention and I like it and I find that to be a problem.
Teri Lynn: 38:01 That’s fantastic. If we have the permission to say, Hey, I’m actually kind of scared about this and I don’t know what’s happening at the beginning. Yeah, for sure.
Leanne: 38:11 His response was, I think that’s normal. And I was like, I don’t think it is a problem.
Teri Lynn: 38:19 Talk about what, what level of attraction we’re talking about firing somebody who’s walking down the street is an attractive person that’s different.
Leanne: 38:27 Exactly. That definitely opens the door as a communication. And then I also think that, you know, that’s such a vital time for people to find someone to really talk to about all of it because that’s like a pivotal moment. Like you have the option of going through door number one or door number two and like you say, once you go through that door number two, that you can’t turn around and go back.
Teri Lynn: 38:56 No and there are Consequences.
Leanne: 38:57 Yeah. You can’t, you can’t unring that bell.
Teri Lynn: 39:00 No. And, and you know, if, if that’s the path that you’re going to take, if your relationship is, you know, not, not what it should be or what have you, I’m fine, but let’s, let’s walk down at wide eyed, you know, let’s, let’s know what’s going to come our way. And the people on the other side of it, I talked to a lot of women who are actually still in their relationship, they’ve been cheated on. They’re trying to, they’re trying to work through it. I try to give them a realistic picture of what that looks like. Number one, you’re talking about a couple year journey for sure. And that is only if the guy ends the relationship and never speaks to that person again. If it’s ongoing, you start over every single time. There’s contact every single time because you have to reno reestablish trust first and then you have to reestablish what’s happening in your relationship and what went wrong and why it happened and sometimes why it happened and nobody wants to hear this, which is also why I became a coach in this specialty. Nobody wants to hear that. Sometimes it happens because your relationship sucks and it has always sucked and if you’re attached to being in it forever, when it sucks, just because you’re afraid of being alone, then probably it’s going to happen again. You know, so you have to be . When I work with, if they’re in the relationship there, they’re only the women who can actually hear that and know that on my I’m, I might have to leave, you know, this might not work out. Maybe cheating happened because it’s just, we’re not supposed to be together. You know,
Leanne: 40:35 what about the, what about the people who really want to stay and make it work because like you said, that’s, you have to rebuild all of that trust and it starting over every time and having a lot of talks.
Teri Lynn: 40:48 It can be the best thing that ever happened to your relationship because this is something that, that I share that people get confused by. I say that you attract who you are. And people will say, well, I’m not sure what does it make any sense? But what I mean by that is we attract someone with our same wounds, but our behavior might be different, so maybe your partner’s cheating where you’re having a bottle of wine every night or your partner’s cheating, where you’re over volunteering and in your kid’s school every week and giving away yourself. You know you don’t have necessarily have the same behavior, but you probably have the same wound. So when that happens, it’s an opportunity to actually build a deeper intimacy with someone and really work through those things together. There absolutely has to be genuine love. They’re not going to get through it without it and there has to be a shit ton of courage because it’s hard work. That is, it’s triggering in every way being cheated on brings up the worst in a woman. You’re either absolutely victimized and broken or you turn into a psycho bitch and become bitter and angry and blaming and you know, and that guy, if it’s the guy who’s cheated, he’s got a scan in the fires of hell to go through that because. And I’ve talked to men about this as well. When you have one good, someone in that way, in order to reestablish trust, the woman almost needs to throw every single thing she can at you to believe that you can handle her. You can handle being in that relationship and it’s hard for a guy. I’d explained this to the women also when you are, when you are vilifying him, when you are telling him he’s a piece of shit, when you are telling him all the horrible things he did, do you know how hard it is to sit in that to see someone so wounded by what you’ve done to feel the shame and guilt and if you’re still, you know, attracted the person. My Gosh, that’s like impossible to deal with to know that you’ve, you’ve hurt your children if you have children to know that every person in your circle. Because a lot of women will tell everyone, which I don’t think is a good strategy, but they’ll tell everyone and then they’re being judged by every. Like even if you love the person, some. Some people can’t handle that pressure cooker and they leave just because of the shame and guilt. So just to understand both people’s perspective, but if you do have the stamina and you really genuinely respect and adore and care for this person and the cheating was something else besides your relationship being broken, you can build a better relationship than you ever thought you had. It’s definitely possible.
Teri Lynn: 43:32 Yeah. How is it? So if it’s possible with your other half to rebuild that relationship, how is it possible to rebuild that with your kids? What does that look like?
Teri Lynn: 43:46 So you know, my kids were little when this happened. I can’t remember I shared with you at the beginning before we talked or did I share this on the podcast already about how I had to tell them?
Leanne: 43:58 Yeah, you told, you said you had to tell them and they were really young so I just kinda had to tell them when they were a little bit older. Right?
Teri Lynn: 44:06 I did. Yeah. And so the oddest thing is, so you know, my oldest is now 21 and he came to me, we went to my brother’s wedding last year in Mexico and he’s like, mom, we had a couple shots of Tequila together for the first time. And he’s like, mom again it, he goes, I understand now. I understand. And Dad are different people. I know, I know why it happened. It was tough. It sucked, you know, it was brutal in my life. He goes, but I appreciate it. And I was stunned. Like I thought this kid was still holding anger about it and bitter and resentful because he’s a boy and he’s a talker a lot despite his mom being a life coach just doesn’t work with your kids. Evidently so. And so. He was like, I, I get why it happened. And he said everything I know emotionally is from you. I love you. And just this whole, just like I was just sitting there spelling as my. Who is he? I told him a few years ago and it came up in conversation. I was talking to my boyfriend, Derek, and he looked at me like, what are you talking about? He actually completely forgot that I told him and I thought he was joking. I was like, well, you know, I’m kind of laughing and he’s like, what are you talking about? And so I really had to go through the whole process again and tell him again, and the first time I told him to answer your question, it was a five minute conversation and it was a. It was a very short conversation with both of them and the reason it was a short conversation, it was because this is what your mom did and I completely own it. One hundred percent and I completely regret everybody. I hurt, but I would not change it for the world. It was my path. It was what I needed for my own self growth. I wish I could’ve done it another way, but this is my life and I am appreciative of how it happened and I would not change it. And because I had no more guilt and shame about it, I have regret that people were hurt. But I do not have guilt and shame about it because I didn’t have that. They were like, oh well shit, you know. So both times I had the conversations with them. It was a five minute conversation. They were just like, wow, that makes sense. Now the third time he was a little more upset because it didn’t come up I think because I thought he was joking, you know, there was like wounding happy. Now I’m like, he can’t be serious right now, you know? And so the, the answer I was like, you know what? You can be as pissed as you want. You can hate me, you can think I did your dad wrong. You get to feel whatever you want to feel about this. I get it. And guess what? I can handle all of it. You bring it, you bring it to me. And, and you know, if you don’t want to talk to me, if you want to go live with your dad, if you think whatever you think is totally fine and understandable and it’s okay for you to feel that way. And it wasn’t that, you know, but I think it was because, when, if you do something and you’re just continually stuck in guilt and shame about it, then you know, it ends up just doing more damage to the people around you if you’re like, this is what I did and that was my choice. You’re standing in strength and it suits the people around you where you have integrity. I mean, you’re not, the integrity isn’t doing something that’s solely right, but it’s owning up to it. And. Right. So I say that it’s something that was really harmful to the people around me, but who doesn’t ever do that. We all heard the ones we know. And what I tried to do was handle it with as much integrity as I could. Exactly. And do you know, that doesn’t, that doesn’t mean to say that I, judge the people who don’t leave or who don’t know tell because there was a time where I didn’t tell, you know, however short it was. And I did do that and I was going behind closed doors. I was all of that. It was just shorter. You know, I don’t judge because I know how hard it is, you know, in a perfect world, whenever we do something wrong we would admit it. It would make amends and, and you know, we would move on, but how many of us are, are able to do that? We’re doing things because we have our own wounds and I think from a broader perspective, my work in the actual topic of cheating is really more about that. It’s like, listen, we all understand that people who have alcohol problems, you have drug problems, who you know, rate people who murder people, they all have issues and there’s are. The bottom line is hurt people hurt people. Not very many cheaters set out to purposely hurt someone yet we for some reason cheating is this like it’s this, it’s this taboo topic that we don’t ever we don’t ever dig into and we will forgive a murderer before we ever forgive a cheater because it’s so. It’s so such a deep wound and it’s a deep wound because it touches that wound inside of us that I talked about, but at the same time it’s not as personal as we think it is, you know, it does sometimes reflect the quality of your relationship. Sure. But that doesn’t, that doesn’t mean you’re timberlane. That just means like, why were you both in this relationship? What were you getting out of it? What were you not wanting to see? You know, let’s unpack this and really look at it. And I often, when I’m explaining the perspective of the cheater, it’s not to, you know, forgive the cheater. Although obviously you eventually need to get there if you really want to be whole year, but it’s more that when you take your own personal, you know, stuff out of it, it makes a lot more sense. Oh yeah. Well she’s, of course he’s gonna lie about it. Of course he’s gonna, you know, have a hard time and I shouldn’t just say he, she, you know, obviously I’m, I’m that. But it just makes it a lot more common sense and less charged that way. To understand that side, I think that’s what I, what I bring to, you know, the coaching is that I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done both. I’ve been on both and it is just kind of tamps down the trigger. Well, I think it’s,
Leanne: 50:27 it’s really remarkable work to do you because I think that so many people, once they get kind of through the grieving process of it, then they just, let’s put that all behind and move on and hope it doesn’t happen again. Rather than really stepping into where does this leave me now, boy, do I need to do with myself, you know, how I, how do I need to reframe my story? How do I need to, well, how do I need to change my perspective? Do I need to, you know, all of that. You know,
Teri Lynn: 51:03 ultimately that was the biggest reason that finally got me to change my specialty. I saw so many women who decades later are still broken. You know, there had been divorced for 20 years and they’re still broken and I’m just like, there’s no reason for that, you know? Or they’re either, you know, kind of crumpled and victimized or there they claim to be survivors and really what they are is the walking wounded. They’ve just put on a coat of armor, you’re not going to hurt me again. I’m not going to be cheated on again. And when you walk around with armor, it keeps stuff out. But it also keeps good stuff from coming in. And so the, you know, my, what I tell people is hopefully through this process you come out of it more compassionate, more loving, more trusting, more able to be vulnerable. And really the, the big, the big thing that women don’t understand is the person you’re actually the person you hurt most. His Dad is you. The person you trust, the least is view. The person you are most ashamed of is you. You feel stupid, you feel me. You feel like you should have known. You don’t trust yourself to not know. Again, you don’t trust yourself to pick the wrong dude again. You know, so it really, it, although it looks like it’s the other woman and, and, and your partner really has less to do with them than it does to do with you. How do you get to the place where you have uncovered your wounds enough to know, well, why was I in that relationship? Well, what was it at that I didn’t want to see? So that you are aware of that stuff so you know where your weaknesses are. You know where you’re not seeing something, you know that you’re probably not ever going to be in that situation again. And if you are, as you know, not everything is predictable. If you are, you’re strong enough to actually go through it and get a gift from it in the end. That’s trying to get with.
Leanne: 53:04 Yeah. This is fascinating. I wish I would’ve known you a long time ago.
Teri Lynn: 53:09 Oh, I wish I’d have known me a long time ago
Leanne: 53:16 It’s funny because you hear people say, would you like to go back and do it all over? No, not really.
Teri Lynn: 53:26 Yeah, right. Oh my gosh. That was. Yeah, that was part of it. It was just like, who, who out there has this perspective from, from both sides. It’s more just like a lot of marriage counseling, you know, let’s fix it and get rid of the other person and I’m just really believed that, you know, from my core, I’ve always felt that all the difficulties in life are just potential doors to open you up to be more of who you are. And this is no different. It just happens to be one of the more difficult ones. One of the, one of the hotter, and scarier ones. I mean, it touches every fear that you have. It really does. You know, when your partner cheats, it means, you know, what’s gonna happen to me?It’s your survival. It affects your finances, it affects your family, it affects your social circle. It affects everything. It’s terrible.
Leanne: 54:19 It’s like getting the rug pulled out from underneath you
Teri Lynn: 54:21 in every way in every way and also be the best thing that ever happened.
Leanne: 54:27 Yes, it certainly can. It certainly can and will. And I think you’re a testament to that.
Teri Lynn: 54:34 I hope so.
Leanne: 54:38 there’s, there’s a silver lining in every cloud and if we look forward and we do the work to find it and what you’re doing I think is really helpful to people because, you know, like why I said when we first talked is there’s who doesn’t understand or hasn’t had the experience of betrayal or cheating or infidelity at some point in their life. Like it’s affected everybody, so many different levels. So I appreciate you having you on and getting your perspective because it makes so much sense. It just does. It’s like, oh yeah, I mean, my boy, I wish I would’ve had Terry Lynn in my life about 25 years ago.
Teri Lynn: 55:18 Well, I certainly didn’t think I would follow that path and become the expert right here I am and I’m in, I’m embracing it and I hope, you know, not just working with women on an individual level but just like opening up the topic. Like, let’s talk about it. And there’s, you know, there’s so many of us that are walking around wounded from it. Let’s, let’s talk about it and let’s get some real wisdom and understanding within this and I’ll make it not as taboo and actually I think in so doing, that’s the way that you learn something, you don’t lessen cheating by continuing to guilt and shame and crucify people, you know, that you just shove it more in the closet and let’s talk about why it happens and you know, the more depth in a and a, it’s scary for me for sure. Absolutely. But I’m, I’m walking it, it, there was a calling and, and I, I’m just grabbing the bull by the horns and doing what I feel like I, I was obviously put through it for a reason and chose it for a reason. So I’m going to squeeze every last bit of meaning out of it and purpose.
Leanne: 56:28 Love it. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing with all of us today and this is enlightening and helpful and I hope that, if anyone out there is in need or feels totally resonates with this space that you talked about and shared with us, that they reach out to you because I think that would be a ideal conversation to have.
Teri Lynn: 56:52 Yeah, I’m here. I would love to talk to them.
Leanne: 56:55 Excellent. Well thank you so much.
Teri Lynn: 56:57 Thank you. This was deep.
Leanne: 56:58 Yes!