The 9 Year Affair: Lessons in Infidelity

I ended my 9 year relationship in December after finding out on Christmas Eve that my partner at the time had been unfaithful to me and involved with someone else on/off for our entire nine years together.

I spent months grieving the loss of trust, the partner I had built a life with for nearly a third of my lifetime, and the pieces of myself that I had allowed to be lost in the name of maintaining the relationship. 

Most importantly I recognized that I had a LOT of work to do on myself. 

This process has torn me apart and forced me to look at my own issues head on. 

Within days of walking away from the relationship, I realized that my stomach was no longer in knots, and my anxiety which had become increasingly crippling over the previous few months had lifted entirely for the first time in years. 

I had been ignoring the warning signs my body had been sending me and invalidating my own intuition for YEARS when certain situations didn’t feel *quite* right. 

My perception of my own reality had been manipulated, and the realization that my life had been built on a foundation of lies along with the fact that I had allowed the delusion in which I’d apparently been living to get to this point was eye opening. 

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I’m coming forward because we as a society hold a deep amount of shame around infidelity, yet it touches the majority of us in one way or another.  The weight of shame is heavy, dark, all consuming, but as Brene Brown says, shame cannot survive being spoken.

My intention is to start a conversation around a topic that affects so many of us deeply. 

To ask the hard questions, to take a look inward and see what I was choosing to believe, and to bring integrity to the table rather than dancing around an issue that we often prefer to keep tucked away in the darkest shadows of our lives for fear of judgement, pain and discomfort.

I’ve felt compelled to share my story because it is my truth and a pivotal part of my journey, and this isn’t an effort to bring anyone else down.

By speaking my own personal truth, my sincere wish is to extend hope to anyone moving through their own process that with the darkness comes, eventually, the light. 

A reminder you might need to hear right now: 

You are worthy of honesty. 

You are worthy of love. 

You are worthy, and YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

I’m beyond excited as I move into this next chapter of my life and have so many incredible opportunities on the horizon, including travelling to some amazing places for awhile.

There aren’t enough words to thank all of the people in my life who have been such a source of love, support and have shown me more grace this year as I’ve moved through this process than I would have believed possible.  Your generosity and kindness have completely overwhelmed me and held up an example of what true friendship looks like. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. ❤️

On today’s episode 117 of the Room to Grow Podcast, I’m sharing my story.

Please keep scrolling if you would like to read the full transcription, and references.

You’re listening to Episode 117 of the Room to Grow podcast. I’m Emily Gough, a podcasting coach, lifestyle entrepreneur and a Canadian with this sense of curiosity and adventure, always asking more questions and using stories to connect with and positively impact others. Here in the Room to Grow podcast, we’re going deep into big topics like relationships, mental health, business, confidence, lifestyle, personal development, and entrepreneurship and being open, honest and real, about how to learn from tough lessons along the way. when life throws you into the unexpected. I bring you thoughts and guests with stories that will change the way you look at the world and yourself so that we can learn from each other and grow with lots of self love and compassion every step of the way. There’s always more room to grow. Are you ready? Let’s do this.

 

Hey, Hey, welcome back to the Room to Grow up podcast. I am Emily and this is definitely the scariest episode I’ve ever released and to ever release my personal opinion. So today, I’m gonna be talking about some pretty heavy stuff. For anyone who hasn’t been following this podcast, for very long, you may not know that I was in a long term relationship. And I ended my nine year relationship back in December of this past year, December of 2018, when I found out about infidelity that had been happening on and off for our entire nine years together. And it was a shock, to say the least. And I’m coming forward about it. Because I really, really need to speak my truth, like the lies have been choking life from me. And it’s lies that my life was apparently built upon. Totally unbeknownst to me, lies that others have been fed about me behind my back, lies that have continued to be told to me, even as I discovered more and more truth. And I’m coming forward about this for a lot of reasons. But one of them is that I’m a really genuine person. And everything in my life has just felt so stunted and inauthentic this year. Because with all this going down at Christmas, my creativity and motivation have just been completely stagnant. I’ve kept almost 100% of what’s gone on in my life hidden away as a form of self protection. There have been entire weeks at a time when I would completely isolate myself and let myself fall off the grid entirely, even with close friends. Not to mention on social media. So if any of you have  ever reached out to me, but sometimes you’d be like, Oh, are you okay? Which I really appreciate, by the way. It was honestly the only way that I could cope with the magnitude of what has happened and what was happening without my knowledge. And you’ll hear me laugh. Probably a fair amount in this episode. Not because it’s funny, but because sometimes you just laugh with what life hands you. And trust me, I wasn’t laughing for a very long time. So this is relatively new that I can now look back on these circumstances, and laugh. But overall, I mean, the entire process has just torn me apart. And it’s made me take a really hard look at myself, my own beliefs and what I’ve been ignoring. But ultimately, I knew that I really needed to create and build a safe space for conversation around infidelity, and all of the shit that comes with it. Because it’s a lot, it’s a lot to unpack. And I actually, I feel this enormous sense of relief in even releasing this into the world, as terrifying as it is. It feels like a weight is lifted. 

And in the interest of full transparency. Before I go into the rest of this episode, I had a different intro recorded. This is my second time recording the intro, which is very unusual for me. Generally, I record things once and I’m like one and done. If it’s not perfect, just throw it out into the world. I talked about that a lot in this podcast too. But, it just didn’t feel right. To me it felt it felt like I was almost being apologetic about coming forward. And I’m not apologetic about coming forward at all. And that was not the tone that I wanted to set for this podcast. The other thing that I want to be totally transparent about is that I broke down this episode into several different sections. And I had like, I had more notes for this episode than I typically do. Just because it’s such a big, it’s been such a big topic and such. It’s just been so much to deal with that I needed to keep myself on task. So normally when I record these episodes, I do have like a handful of notes here and there, but this episode I definitely had more notes from just to make sure that I was staying on topic and giving you the gist of the story while also really pulling the the major lessons out of the experience for you to hopefully learn from as well. Yeah, I just want to be really open about that. Because typically I don’t have very many notes. But this one I needed to, to keep myself on a single track. So this is intro number two, and let’s dive in. 

The night it happened was Christmas Eve. Oh, you might notice that I break into laughter a few times here. None of this situation was funny at the time. And frankly, it still isn’t. But living it sometimes you just have to laugh at life sometimes. And sometimes you’re just going to get dealt a hand, that looking back is just so almost unbelievable that you have to laugh, that like laughter is there’s a huge healing quality to laughter. So, yes, I received an Instagram DM on Instagram under a fake account. And I received it actually a couple like two or three days before Christmas Eve. But I had taken myself off social media for the weekend to spend it with family and with my former partner, so I didn’t actually see the DM until like a couple hours before Christmas Eve. And contained in that DM was information about things that had been going on for a long time. The account was created by my ex’s former girlfriend, and she came banging down our door at 8pm on Christmas Eve, because I didn’t respond to the DM. Because I was busy dealing with the fallout of this and trying to sort through what was truth and what was fiction. She had sent me a huge number of screenshots of text messages between them that were damning, to say the least. So she ended up showing up at our door at 8pm on Christmas Eve, and gave all kinds of information that I had never heard before. At that point I was just agreeing for the sake of agreeing just to get her out of my house as quickly as possible. In and around all of this. We got engaged. We had planned for months actually to be engaged by Christmas and to celebrate with our families. And I actually shocked myself with how calm I was almost the entire time that this was happening. Other than when the woman actually came to our door, which is when I felt most threatened. I was shockingly calm. And I think it was because I was actually in shock. But I was so calm at one point I thought to myself, am I maturing?

 Yes, so I was just almost deadly calm for at least two or three days when all of this came out. The day after Christmas, she sent even more screenshots of more text messages, I ended up seeing emails between them. From his side, I saw phone records and there was no denying it. But parts of it were still trying to be denied to me. Overall, though, when this came out, there was total and complete shock and surprise, not only on my end, but as well from virtually every single person in both of our lives, about his infidelity. A very small handful of exceptions to this, a couple of friends of his that apparently had known that this was going on. But other than that, virtually everyone was absolutely flabbergasted. This was not a situation where a lot of people knew what was happening behind the scenes and it was just me who didn’t know, it wasn’t like that. Everyone has been shocked, continues to be shocked actually, And honestly in many ways that actually made me feel better to some small degree because I wasn’t the only one who missed the signs. On the other hand, there were signs that only I was privy to as his partner that I chose to ignore, because none of them ever added up to infidelity to me, mostly just sort of a handful of loose ends or puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit for a few specific situations. So for example, there were various text messages that I saw over the years, between them. And from her, seen both accidentally, when I would be, you know, like, we would both be pouring over his I think one time, we were both pouring over his phone, looking at some real estate thing in our neighbourhood. And a text message came in. There were other times, maybe four to five times earlier, in the earlier years of our relationship, when I purposely looked at his phone, because I just felt that something was a little bit off. And there had been some late nights, especially in the previous six months, like in the last six months of our nine year relationship, but he also regularly played house league sports, he worked late sometimes at weird hours. So most times, those late hours usually made perfect sense. So I didn’t question them. It didn’t seem like anything, particularly out of the ordinary. 

Last fall, though, so again, this is like in the last few months of our relationship last year, there were major plans that kept falling through for very mysterious reasons. There were multiple vacations that we had booked in the fall. And it was literally like the moment that we were supposed to leave, that they would be called off for reasons that seemed logical, but not always, entirely. It’s difficult to explain, on top of that, our engagement that kept sort of being pushed back, I would literally get told, I’m proposing this week, and nothing would happen. That happened at least four separate specific times. Plus, other times when it was implied a little bit more indirectly. And I genuinely did not understand what was happening. There was pure confusion on my end, because we would discuss it, we would communicate about it, we would have these discussions and very openly, I thought, and then it wouldn’t happen. And I didn’t understand because I was being told that that was what he wanted as well. And then nothing was happening. 

I’m going to cover two sides of this. Why I stayed in it and why I ended it or sorry, why I almost stayed in it. And why I ended it for a very brief window, I would say about 48 hours, maybe after she came to our door on Christmas Eve, I was on the fence. Initially, my gut reaction was no, of course, we’re done. And then I was a little bit on the fence. Because first and foremost, just love, pure and simple love. I loved him so deeply that I thought, how can we end this? You know, there’s so many beautiful qualities to this relationship, how can I end this? How can I walk away from this? Even with the text messages that I’ve been sent as well. And the evidence that I had seen and been told by both sides at this point more so one than the other. But I had been told things they went so against a decade of knowing and loving and living with what I believed to be this amazing man, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I could not wrap my head around how he could have done these things. There was just this complete and total dichotomy like this cognitive dissonance or I believe my therapist actually referred to it as splitting. Because in front of me, he would be talking and behaving like the man that I had always known the man that I had fallen in love with. But then there would be all this evidence of all of these other things that he had done. And I couldn’t come to terms with the difference. I was also really worried that I was going to make a rash decision to end things out of shock and regret it later as well. And then there was you know, the time invested, I mean nine years of my life like that’s not a small thing. Nearly a decade of this. And when you have that much time invested in a relationship, it does make a difference because you’ve poured yourself into it you have done everything you can for that relationship. So it’s pretty difficult to accept that it’s just done and especially in as dramatic a fashion as this. And marriage was imminent, or so I believed after I ended things I quickly started to suspect that things would have fallen apart beforehand anyway. And briefly, this is kind of embarrassing. I can’t even believe I’m saying this on a podcast episode, I briefly felt like I couldn’t live without him in the immediate aftermath. That is not how I expected to feel. And it’s really kind of embarrassing to even admit that, but I want to say it because I want to normalize this for you if that’s what you’re experiencing. I messaged a girlfriend about that at the time that I felt like I couldn’t live without him. And I in the same breath, I said she’d probably have to revoke my feminist card. But it’s indicative of a much greater issue at play. I’m not going to go into more of this because I am not an expert. And I am not a mental health professional. But if you google something along the lines of trauma bonding, there was a lot of evidence of that, and it made it more difficult than your average relationship to part ways. Let’s put it that way. 

Ultimately, why I ended it was, how could I ever trust him again? The betrayals were far, far too great, every insecurity I’d ever had was ripped open. And many were even discussed at great length in the text messages that I saw with the other woman in the screenshots that I was sent. And those were only the handful that I saw, compared to, on and off nine years worth. The secrecy, the going behind my back, the derogatory name calling used by both of them to refer to me in the text messages. And the fact that this had been going on for so many years, essentially, from day one. Our entire foundation was built on lies. I immediately was able to start pinpointing specific situations over the course of our entire relationship where things hadn’t felt quite right to me. And it was now revealed that many of those situations where I felt that way, were the absolute worst case scenario. There were just so many things that made so much more sense now. All of the pieces started falling into place. One of the many, many things other, than the increasingly regular late nights, especially in the last few months of our relationship, was that I was being given a very hard time for posting virtually anything about our life together on social media, even though I never actually showed his face or even mentioned much of anything about him. It’s funny, I remember going to a business conference last November, and one of my girlfriends made a comment about if this man of yours actually exist because we never see him on social media? I’m like, Yeah, he’s there. He’s definitely there. But it really struck me. There were so many examples of these issues around social media. But one example was last summer, we went to visit a donkey sanctuary. And he became very angry with me afterwards for posting a video of me by myself with a donkey. I didn’t mention him. I didn’t mention we went together, nothing. But I now realized that at least part of the reasoning for him being upset about it was potentially because those types of photos were contradicting him with what he was telling her about the quality of our relationship, or even where he supposedly was or what he was doing that day. That happened countless times, especially in our last year together. I saw texts between them when she would even question if he was with me taking a photo of me and in our backyard reading because she had just seen it on Instagram stories. And he would tell her that it was my mom who had taken the photo rather than him and that she’d taken it days ago. 

Other reasons that were given by him about not being okay with me posting virtually any detail of our life together on social media were things like maintaining the intimacy between us, having things just for us, all of which I completely appreciate, by the way, because I’m an incredibly private person. And there’s a lot of my life that I never share, nor will ever share publicly, which is also what makes an episode like this fairly terrifying for me to be this vulnerable, by the way. I just felt completely unsafe in every way, every single way, particularly emotionally, but things I had told him and only him had been shared with this other woman and used against me behind my back. And he knew for years that she had been tracking me under multiple fake social media accounts, listening to every one of my podcast episodes with the intention of finding any tiny mention of my personal life or life together, or any mention of him, driving by our home regularly for many months to the point where sometimes he would watch her drive by from our window or from the driveway while in our home spending time with me. While we would be doing yard work or cooking dinner together, and texting her an explanation as to what he was doing at the house that he was claiming to not live in, or not want to live in, depending on the dates. I just felt so incredibly unprotected in every single way. I did not recognize the man that I loved compared to the man who was capable of doing all of these things. And once you see a side of someone like that you cannot unsee it. 

The entire situation hit me so hard, because I truly, 100% never believed he was actually or would ever be unfaithful to me. I felt deep down that I wasn’t getting the full story at times, or that there were stories that didn’t quite add up. And I would question it. Sometimes I would actually say to him there, there were a couple specific situations that stuck with me over the years. And I would actually say to him, I feel like I’m not getting the full story. And he would just assure me that I was. But at the end of the day, at the end of the day, I would recognize that even if he wasn’t giving me the full truth, I did not believe him capable of actually stepping outside the relationship. There were a couple specific situations where I reminded myself you either trust him or you don’t. Because you cannot have a healthy relationship without trust. And I always chose trust, because it’s a core value in my relationships and my life and always has been even more so now if you can believe it. I would ask myself who I wanted to be in my relationship. And it wasn’t someone who was insecure all the time, or distrustful of their partners spying on them suspicious. That’s not who I am. And that wasn’t and isn’t who I would ever want to become. 

Gut instincts. I mentioned earlier that gut instinct had me look at his phone maybe four or five times in the earlier years of our relationship. And each time there was something about her, though all but one instance, seemed to have a relatively reasonable explanation. That was explained to me thoroughly and very calmly. And each time I looked at his phone, I hadn’t for several years, by the way, this is all earlier in a relationship. But each time I did look, I felt sick to my stomach that I had invaded his privacy. Far more than I felt ill about anything regarding the text that I found. Anytime I betrayed that trust and invaded his privacy like that, I felt completely ill, because it went so far against who I was and who I wanted to be. And I hated it. I hated the discomfort of not fully trusting my partner and having that caused me to look in the first place. And to me, the worst case, so called reasonable scenario in my head was that he was spending time with her occasionally and just not telling me, but not in the form of cheating exactly. I think I almost compartmentalised it because again, actual infidelity did not line up with the man that I thought I knew. 

The other woman was painted to me as, for years, was painted to me as crazy, obsessed with him, unable to move on. Which, after diving into this topic I’ve come to understand can be a very common excuse or reasoning in similar situations. And I was, I have seen evidence of and I’m sure that I was very likely painted the same way to her. What’s interesting is that he did not behave like someone who was lying in my experience, extremely calm, not ruffled, not angry with me, maintaining eye contact. However, I have an upcoming episode about lie spotting and associated behaviors. Because for obvious reasons, I have done a deep dive into this topic in the past few months, and I have found some really fascinating information on lie spotting that I was then able to watch unfold before me In real time, and I can now pick out the lies in ways that I never could before and find the patterns that I never would have recognized before, that I didn’t recognize before. But there will be more in that upcoming episode. But I believed him because why wouldn’t I? He gave me far more reasons to believe him than not to. I realized this goes against the stereotype of the kinds of relationships we think are likely to have infidelity. But we had a beautiful relationship. We made each other laugh, we built a life together, we spent lots of time with both of our respective families and friends, as a couple, we had a great relationship from so many different perspectives. And we genuinely enjoyed each other. He was my best friend. Other couples would regularly tell us how much they admired our relationship and our easy, natural dynamic with each other. So many people told one or both of us how obvious it was, what a beautiful connection we had. We always felt like such a great balance to one another. And he and I agreed how much stronger each of us was with the other one. There was nothing fake about any of it, it wasn’t some front. All of it was completely real, as far as I knew. And we had multiple conversations from the very beginning of our relationship nine years ago, that we were both in the relationship because we wanted to be and because we believed we were better together. And that if that ever changed, we needed to communicate that to the other one, and go our separate ways and move on. So even when things didn’t feel quite right, I would tell myself that I was being paranoid and would again, choose trust. And for that, I have no regrets. None. I don’t really have regrets for much of any of this, but I have no regrets for trusting him. Because I would always rather be someone who trusts than someone who doesn’t trust at all. Because that’s a really fucking sad way to live, in my opinion, and not a healthy way to function. That said, ignoring gut instinct, and intuition isn’t healthy either. So there has to be some balance there. But I could not have dreamed up the truth of what was going on, in my worst nightmares. When all of this came out, I was just so stunned, I went into complete shock. I didn’t even cry for a couple of days. And then everything slowly started coming bubbling to the surface. The anger, the shame, the wanting to understand why I wasn’t enough, what had I done wrong, trying to understand why this had happened. And being unable to find any of the stereotypical reasons that are usually given when infidelity happens in a relationship. None of them were there. 

I really want to underscore how extremely fortunate and privileged I am for so many reasons. But especially in this situation, the biggest of which include, we did not have children yet. We had planned on starting a family within months. But we did not yet have children and we were not yet married. So we did not need to go through legal divorce proceedings. I mean, I was able to remain in our house with a place to live and healthy food in the fridge. Having a flexible job. Honestly, that probably saved me more than anything else. There were multiple times when I would be emailing clients at 2am because I had insomnia and was only sleeping a couple hours a day. Other days, if I could push up some work that wasn’t as pressing, I would just collapse in front of the TV with no energy to even move. Or I would nap at odd hours to try and catch an hour or so of sleep. Initially, I barely left the house for weeks, I was rarely going on walks, which never happens for me. I went to the gym to work out maybe twice in as many months, I would have had a much, much harder time if I had still had a corporate job. Instead, I sometimes hid from the work that I did have. But I think that it was also exactly what I needed to try and keep it together and heal. I have just been so fortunate with the incredible support system with my family and friends. Even with just telling a very small handful of people homes, homes immediately started opening up to me all over Canada, the US and Western Europe. And there was just this massive outpouring of support and generosity that I didn’t even think was possible. Two friends in particular, one of them absolutely brought me back to life when she invited me to her home to stay for the weekend at her insistence. And I arrived at her house completely shell shocked and basically not having seen daylight, slept or eaten anything for the previous two weeks right before this all went down. And by the time I left her house, she had brought me back from the dead. The other friend flew internationally to be by my side and was and continues to be my constant support system and has been every single day for months. Another reason out of many that I am fortunate, I give credit where it’s due. And I was extremely fortunate that my former partner was very insistent that I remain in our home, I offered to move out and said if he preferred, and that he could be the one, but he was insistent that he would be the one to move out while we prepared our house for sale. But he fulfilled all of his financial responsibilities, and was very generous with our arrangement. Very, very generous. I have more to say on this in future episodes about the shame we hold around money and how it impacts our lives and relationships. But I will always be grateful to him for a huge number of things, despite everything else that has gone on. And the fact that he kept his word financially is one of the really positive parts to all of this, that will never be forgotten. Because honestly, I was expecting the worst on that front, given the circumstances. And I was very pleasantly surprised. I’m also incredibly grateful to the other woman for telling me or my life could have taken a very, very different turn. I mean, since we weren’t yet married or with children, it left me with significantly more freedom and options than I might have otherwise had to make the decision that I did to end things. And in her shoes. Perhaps I would have gone knocking on the door after having had things go on for this long as well, who knows? 

In terms of things I found out later. So about, I would say around three weeks after I had ended things I worked very hard to make sure like we were very amicable for our time afterwards, because we also still had a house to do work on and things to do. So one day, he stood me up. Because we were supposed to go to Home Depot or something to get materials for the first of a couple different renovations we were doing. He stood me up, he didn’t answer my messages. And we had discussed this date and time, multiple times in the days leading up to it. So I knew that he was fully aware that this was happening at this specific time. And there was this gut instinct in me that he was at her house. And I happened to know her address. It literally fell into my lap years ago by total accident, complete accident. I never went looking for it. I wasn’t looking for it. And I happened to come across this. And it basically burned itself into my brain for some reason. Well, I guess we know why. Because of all these, intuition hits me that I was getting ignored. So it seemed to have burned itself into my brain. I didn’t write it down anywhere or anything like that. But I remembered where she lived. And this gut instinct was telling me that he was at her house. So I made a promise to myself that I would only go one time. And if he was there, then I would confirm what I basically already knew was happening. If he wasn’t there, then I would accept it and look and move on. So I went to the house, and he was there. And he’d been there overnight. Thanks to snow drifts that were giving it away. And there’s more on this on an upcoming episode as well. Kind of the details of this. But long story short, he ended up I turned to leave again right away, I had already seen what I wanted to see. And he ended up coming out as I was about to pull out. So I waited. He drove past me and didn’t even see me. And then a couple minutes later, I got a text message with an excuse about where he had been. And that was really kind of the nail in the coffin. For me at that point, it just became so obvious to me how easily the lies would come and that I was just being deceived at every corner. But I’m still happy that I went because I think I needed to see that first of all, but I knew that I was never going to make it a situation where I went back repeatedly or anything like that I was only going to go one time and I stuck to that promise to myself and frankly, going was also a practice in re-learning to listen to my gut instinct and not ignore it. And that was very important. That was a really, really important step for me.

The other, this one is sort of a, this one struck me the hardest. I get I’m laughing because it’s funny, but it’s so not funny. So I’m just going to put that out there, I ended up finding out, there had been great discussion from the other woman of a house on a street that intersected with our street. And he wouldn’t cop to it. He would not admit to it, he wouldn’t give me any information. She didn’t give me any other information. So I dug. And I finally ended up realizing that he had been spending time in a house 170 meters from our driveway, to clarify, that’s 1-7-0 meters from our driveway. And that it was owned by someone in his family, very close to him. And it had been purchased four years earlier. He was now living there and basically had been almost since right after we broke up and had just been hiding his vehicle and stuff like that. We had walked past this house probably 1000s of times, because we walked by it every single day for the six years that we lived in our home. And we noticed when someone purchased it a few years prior, because we started having entire conversations about the house, and about some of the renovations that were being done to it and stuff like that. And it turned out that he was the one who had been doing the renovations. He had taken her there on more than one occasion, I don’t know how often. So I can only say that it was more than once. I don’t know the details, I will never know the details. He did finally end up admitting to it. And then he stopped hiding his vehicle because there was no point in hiding that he was living there anymore since I knew. 

But there were just so many lies. There were more lies that were uncovered in the six months following me ending the relationship than I ever could have comprehended. And there were moments when I would lie in bed staring at the ceiling, and wonder when and how this had become my life. It felt like I was living in a movie that had gone horribly wrong with no happy ending in sight. And more than once I said to a couple close friends, I will look back on this time of my life and wonder how I managed to deal with the trauma of living in and through these circumstances and still come out on the other side. To be clear, I will never know the full truth of what has gone on in the last nine years of my life. I will never know the full truth. I will probably hear snippets from people here and there. And as more tidbits will come out of the woodwork for the next few years, there’s only one person in the world who knows the full truth of what’s happened in the past nine years. And he’s unlikely to ever tell me or anyone else. I’ve been told that what we had was all completely real. That there simply happened to be someone else on the side as though that was a completely separate and compartmentalised side of his life. And that didn’t change his love for me. I would like to believe this to be true, because I can’t fathom building an entire life with someone for almost a decade, and not actually want any of those things. And when he was with me, he certainly behaved like someone who absolutely wanted to be there. But it’s pretty hard to believe that sometimes when you look at the extent of their relationship and the length of time that it dragged on and on for I was also continuously lied to over and over again in the months following after I ended things and I hit a point a few months into dealing with all this where I decided I simply didn’t want to know anymore. I dug for as much truth as I could for a while and then I made the simple decision that I was done looking because the only way to move forward was to learn Let it go and accept that I needed to live with the reality that had been created for me and manipulated around me because it was my truth at the time. It was all I had known and looking for more lies to uncover at that point would only serve to hurt me. And it wouldn’t change the outcome anyway. So what difference didn’t make, I was already done with the relationship and moving on with my life regardless, and staying stuck in that cycle of constantly trying to separate truth from fiction was far too exhausting. There were texts between them and comments made to me, and in her messages to me, by her about my so called perfect life, quote, perfect life, and how fake everything was, I was putting up on social media. But that was absolutely not the case. Each one of us can only live in the reality of which we believe and from my perspective and experience at the time, I was being 100%, genuine and authentic. 

I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about why I think this happened. And my role is the only part that I’m going to discuss at this point, because I own my part in getting to this point. That’s the only way to heal and move on is to own your own role in any situation. You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s actions that’s on them, but what choices have you made to get to where you are now? I cannot speak for anyone else’s experience, I can only share my own personal truth. And what I’ve learned while moving through this process, and I know that there’s still so much more I will pull from this over time. First and foremost, I was ignoring my intuition and my gut instinct. They were screaming at me for a long, long time. And I was ignoring them. I allowed pieces of myself to be lost in the interest of maintaining the relationship. 

I felt special being part of what seemed to be such a loving, supportive relationship, enough so to make me ignore small signs of certain stories that didn’t quite add up. 

The time invested as well, I mean, I know I mentioned this earlier, but it was almost as though we’d reached the point of no return. We’d been together for so long we’ve been living together for years and years, we were supposedly so close to marriage and starting a family. Why would I have given that up over seemingly small details like a story here or there that didn’t quite add up. I was more than willing to work through issues almost to a fault. We had just been through so much over the years and worked together through all of it. And we always seem so much stronger for it. And what’s interesting to me too, is that the fact that he hadn’t been home very often was by far our biggest issue in the last six months of our relationship. But it seemed like such a simple problem to fix. Quality time is my biggest love language. So that was really affecting me on a deep level. But there was a constant promise that next week would be different, next month, he would be home more once things calmed down all of those things. And it just kept continuing on. But I just kept hanging on to the hope that it was going to change because it seemed like such a simple thing to shift. 

I was allowing boundaries to be crossed. And as you’ve heard me say on this podcast before boundaries that are not enforced are just suggestions. Additionally, for the first time in my adult life, I felt financially dependent while starting my business. I have never dependent on anyone financially, in my adult life at all. And that was a really terrifying step for me to take earlier in 2018. And it created a huge amount of fear in me and since my independence and freedom are both absolutely sacred to me, that was especially challenging. I have never wanted to feel like I had to stay in any situation because of money. But my partner was so incredibly supportive. He had encouraged me to take the leap many many times over he reassured me that even if it took time for things to get fully off the ground, we would handle it together and that he could handle our bills on his own for a while if he needed to. Just as I had done for him for many months earlier in our relationship when he wasn’t working, while he was in school. We were a team always or so I thought and I but I also have deep seated money issues I am continuing to work through on an ongoing basis. That led me to feel particularly vulnerable when the finances became uneven and left me feeling as though I wasn’t contributing my full half the way I normally always had. 

There’s a quote that I found that really speaks to me about my role in this. And it’s by Raquel Nelson, she’s a sex therapist, I’ll link to her Instagram and to this specific post. But she said, “we all eat lies when our hearts are hungry”. I wanted to believe him. And I’ve heard that before, that we believe what we want to believe. And, you know, we choose not to see things, I thought it was all bullshit. It’s not bullshit. In many ways, though, he did behave exactly as the person I believed him to be. But there were small, and sometimes not so small, indications that I chose to overlook. But hindsight is 2020. I didn’t see it at the time, because I didn’t want to see it. It wasn’t until I started looking for it, that I saw it. That’s also a fine line, though. Because if you look too hard at anything, you can end up finding flaws. So again, it’s a difficult balance. 

Something else that I really started to notice was the complete and utter exhaustion and energy drain, I began to notice when he was around, because keeping walls up to try and protect myself emotionally was exhausting. But if I didn’t make the effort to keep the walls up, simply dealing with the pain of it all when he was around was equally exhausting. It was a lose lose situation. That said, being around him regularly for six months after I ended things at Christmas, while we renovated and sold our house separated our finances all of those things, while torturous at times, and felt incredibly unhealthy. It actually ended up giving me a huge amount of insight that I would not have been able to gain otherwise, and has really helped me to move towards closure. closure comes from the inside, by the way. But there were some things that did help to give me closure. And I was able to see patterns that I never would have recognized without those extra six months, when my eyes were wide open to what was going on. And I can honestly say that because of that this will not happen to me again. I can’t guarantee no one will ever cheat on me. Again, no one ever has that guarantee. But I will see these patterns of lies and deceit happening much more quickly. My bullshit detector has been sharpened significantly, and I already thought it was relatively sharp. But that’s a conversation for another day. 

I had never really identified as an empath until late last year for some reason I knew about the term, but I never really identified with it. But it became glaringly obvious to me in the aftermath of this relationship ending that I was just an empath to my core. And I just didn’t see it before. And I’ve always maintained especially on this podcast that knowing as much about yourself as possible is what will take you the farthest midlife. So I think that that’s a really important quality for me to know about myself. And something that I really want to underscore here. My anxiety which had become increasingly crippling, lifted for the first time in years, when I ended the relationship. I’m talking about how I noticed it within days. So even though I was heartbroken, my anxiety had finally lifted it was like the fog lifting. I had not realized how heavy the weight of the anxiety had been on me until it was gone. Because so much of my anxiety was tied to the relationship and tied to him again, my gut instinct was screaming at me and I was ignoring it. Additionally, my period regulated almost immediately after I ended things for the first time since going off birth control pills three years earlier. So initially, I skipped one entire period at Christmas because it was supposed to come around the time all of this was happening. So I skipped that completely, but ever since my period has been like clockwork and I’ll reference a couple episodes podcast episodes here in the show notes that you can go back and listen to one of them is with Dr. Jolene Brighton, who is a world renowned expert on female hormones and women’s health and all of those things and we have a really honest frank discussion about periods and all of that stuff. I’ve talked more openly before about going off the birth control pill and issues I was having with my periods. And it is fascinating to me that it really was the stress of being in that relationship. And it was causing me actual physical health issues and I just didn’t recognize them for what it was, I also have another entire episode I am, I’ve got coming up exploring our intuition and the connection to the body, which is going to be really, really fascinating. So keep your eyes peeled for that one. 

But all of this said, I worked very hard to keep things amicable between us to make the whole process easier. And it did help. It did. And he did the work to try and keep things relatively amicable as well. So, again, I give credit words and he does some credit for that. 

I want to talk about what I’ve been doing to heal. There’s a lot, there’s a lot involved with this. First and foremost, just a shitload of self care every fucking day. Whatever that has looked like has varied wildly from day to day sometimes. Grief is hard. Grief is so hard, it takes a toll. It looks different for everyone, and it is an absolute roller coaster. So this is why my self care has often varied from day to day, and it depends on my mood, but the most major significant ones are asleep. Sleep has just been so important to include letting myself nap without guilt if I need it, tons of walking and movement after that initial phase where I wasn’t really moving much at all. Being in nature, nutrition, hydration, workouts, time with loved ones and connecting regularly, while also allowing myself space for tons of alone time as well in order to recharge my battery. Time to be still without music screens or distractions of any kind and just be alone with my thoughts. Not holding back emotion, whether it be the tears that would randomly stream down my face completely out of nowhere, or the anger that I can feel bubbling up occasionally. It’s all normal, and it’s all fine. As long as you express it in a healthy way, of course, partly why I’ve been taking some boxing classes Therapy and personal development coaching has been huge, Reiki with a friend. So you can reference the last episode with Kim Schweitzer. She was the one who did Reiki with me. And we had a really fascinating, fascinating experience together. So I definitely recommend checking out that episode. 

I’m really working hard on learning to trust myself. And that that’s been a difficult process. But I’ve been starting with little things like keeping little promises to myself, like, if I tell myself, I’m going to go for a walk, I go for a walk, if I decide I’m gonna drink a ton of water and go for a walk that day, make that happen. You know, I would set myself a task for my business to complete in a day, I got to make sure I help I do that to help rebuild that trust in myself. So that has varied over the last six months. But I’ve been getting a lot better about that. And it’s been really, really helpful. This whole experience shook my trust in myself and my own judgment and intuition to my core. And that’s going to take time to rebuild. I have been journaling and writing way more often and little self intelligence like reading more often too just for the simple sake of reading, because I enjoy it. Patting all the dogs possible. As per usual anyway. Just really getting in touch with listening to my body and practicing giving her what she needs to. 

And ultimately sitting with the fact that grief is okay. That I’m not only grieving the person I thought I knew and the relationship itself. But the person I was in that relationship died with it when I walked away. She no longer exists. I’m someone very different now than the person who lived in that space. I have been grieving the life that I built with him that no longer exists. leaving our beautiful home and the garden that I love so much that we had poured a huge amount of ourselves into for years. Grieving the neighborhood that I adored that was irreparably tarnished for me upon discovery of the other house down the street. Grieving the life we had been rapidly moving towards or so I thought that went up in flames with a knock on the door. There’s been a lot to unpack and the grief has been far heavier and more unpredictable than I ever could have imagined. And sometimes once in a while it still hits me in the face like a pile of bricks when I think I’m completely fine. And not only that, but forgiveness not just of the involved parties who betrayed me but of myself. And forgiving myself for missing the signs for not trusting my instincts for staying in something that wasn’t serving me the way I thought it was and the toll it took on my mental and physical health. 

I’m still working through this, by the way, in the forgiveness factor, particularly, it’s not going to happen overnight. This is big. And yet another topic we’ll be discussing for sometimes forgiving ourselves is so much harder than forgiving other people. I’ve worked really hard to stay open too, trusting the process, having gratitude and seeing it everywhere, allowing myself to have the shit days and knowing that they won’t last forever. And looking forward to the incredibly exciting, cool stuff coming up and recognizing that this is happening. And this has happened for me, not to me, it happened for me, because I can feel the pieces of my life falling into place. There are many things that I want in life that would never have been possible, as long as I remained in that relationship. And I truly believe that this happened to me in particular, because I was meant to discuss this openly and provide a safe space for people to have some tough discussions. This was not an accident. There’s purpose and meaning in what has happened in my life. And I am damn determined to pull every single lesson I can from it, and make the most of it. And simply recognizing that has made things just a shade easier on some very, very dark days. But I do want to underscore something here. 

Everyone has a story that would break your heart. I’m not unique, or some special snowflake, I’m simply choosing to discuss this particular story about my life more openly than some people do. That is the only difference. Something I told my former partner, and I’m telling you, I will make this the best thing to ever happen to me. I already have been. My initial thought virtually as soon as this happened was that I had to make this the best thing to ever happen to me. Because otherwise, I’ve thrown away a decade of my life for nothing, and I will not allow that to happen. When someone does something to you that is hurtful. Thank them for the lessons and move forward. That’s become a bit of a mantra for me and I’ve really been living by it. And it’s made a huge difference. And for me, I have felt for months deep in my soul that sharing my story was going to be 100% necessary to my unique process. Again, absolutely not for everyone, especially on this public platform that I’m choosing to share. But for me, I knew that it was the right choice. I do want to be clear about one thing though. No one deserves to be treated this way. No one. You deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve the truth. And you’re worthy of love. And you are worthy of honesty, and have a committed partnership that doesn’t involve betrayal. 

So briefly, I want to talk about what’s next. I’m traveling for the foreseeable future. I’m coming at you from Bali right now. But beyond that, I’m not yet willing to discuss my further plans in my personal life on a public level much past that, because I’m still deep into self protection mode from some standpoints as I continue to work through the healing process, particularly after the degree to which I have been tracked online. But I will share more on that as I can. And as I feel comfortable enough to do so. And you guys listening will be the first to hear as I share more slowly over the next few months. There are massive changes happening on virtually every single front in my life. And at the moment, I’m keeping my cards somewhat tightly held to my chest as I re-examine my relationship with the online space and who has access to my private life. That said, the floodgates are opening on this podcast. I have so much fucking awesome content planned. I cannot wait to air all these episodes that I’ve got coming. I have incredible guest topics that will blow your mind. Just so many things I’ve been sitting on for a very long time, because I felt that I couldn’t do them justice until I could talk a little bit more openly about what’s been going on in my life.

So this is one of the things I’ve really been hinting at it for a while now on this podcast that more was coming. We’re here, more is coming. I’ve been writing a lot more as well. So you can actually find me as a regular columnist monthly over at Greater Impact Writing. I’ll be doing more blog posts, more guest posts in various places as well. And I’m writing a memoir, probably won’t be published for a couple of years. I’ll let you know when you can hop on a waitlist for it. But I’m already very deep into it. And you’ll be hearing more about that on an ongoing basis as well. There’s going to be a heavier focus on some episodes coming up on the power of podcasting as well, because I’m adding a third episode every week to the podcast. This is actually something I’ve wanted to do for almost a year. But the timing wasn’t right. And then my life changed in such a dramatic way that I wasn’t able to add it onto my plate until now. But adding in an extra podcast episode is going to help to give you a better understanding of the world of podcasting, and how to run an online business. And all of this happening has made me even more passionate about podcasting. And I’m just beyond grateful for this incredible platform to be able to share my story. So if you’re into it, these episodes will be extra bonuses to tune into. And if you’re not into that side of things, there will still be the two main episodes every Tuesday and Thursday with content around mindset, lifestyle, relationships, entrepreneurship, psychology, all of the good things that we discuss on this podcast. So it’ll be kind of an extra one. And you can look for the first extra episode starting on Saturday. So tune in on Saturday, and it will be there. If you hit subscribe, you’ll never miss an episode, they’ll all be downloaded directly to your phone.

Most of all, I just really want to thank you for listening. I want to thank you for being part of this platform. Thank you for showing up for me for giving me your incredibly precious time, energy and space, because I do not take that lightly. And I want to thank you for helping me to build both a podcast and a business that I love. That would not be possible without your support. I do really hope that you share this episode, I know that this is a really heavy topic. So even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing publicly, send this privately to someone who needs to hear it. Because this, this is something that more people need to be hearing. More people need to be discussing and be discussing. And I think that it’s a really important conversation to have. So please share this with someone you love that really needs it. And something that I want you to remember and I want to remind you of is that anytime we’re engaging with people on public platforms, just remember that there is a real human at the other end with real human emotions. Sometimes it can be easy to detach ourselves from people that we see online. And this is an incredibly vulnerable episode for me. This is hopefully one of the most vulnerable episodes I ever have to do there. But I just really want to remind you that there is a real human at the other end of your earbuds. So please, show kindness in your heart. And in your words, when you’re interacting with people about something like this. 

Okay. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I really appreciate it. And yes, stay tuned for all the new episodes every Tuesday, Thursday and now Saturday as well. Talk to you soon. Thank you so much for listening to the Room to Grow podcast today. I’m so incredibly grateful that you took the time because it means the absolute world to me. For any references in the episode and all show notes be sure to jump over to roomtogrowpodcast.com and if this episode touched your heart, it would mean so much if you would take a quick second to hit subscribe, write a review and share on social media or with someone who really needs to hear today’s message. It makes such a difference to keep this podcast going so that I can continue to bring you amazing content and absolutely incredible guests. Be sure to tag me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach so that I can thank you in real time for listening and connecting with you. We’re back every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with brand new episodes and I am looking forward to growing with you.

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Emily Gough Coaching

Room to Grow Podcast

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REFERENCES

“We all eat lies when our hearts are hungry.” – Renelle Nelson, @noirxstherapist

Room to Grow Podcast, episode #62: Post Birth-Control Syndrome, Fertility & PCOS with Dr. Jolene Brighten

Room to Grow Podcast, episode #116: Reiki, the Healing Power of Energy & Protecting Yourself with Kim Schweitzer

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