In this podcast episode, I talk with Andrea Giles. Andrea helps women heal from infidelity in her coaching program. We talked about how to build trust with yourself again after finding out you’ve been lied to. We talked about how to decide if you should stay or go in your marriage. This is an impactful conversation that I know will help so many of you.
Andrea Giles is a Certified Life Coach who is dedicated to helping women use the trial of marital infidelity to change their lives for the better. She is host of the podcast, “Heal from Infidelity” and encourages listeners from all over the globe to get up from off the floor and get moving toward the life they most desire.
She coaches from personal experience and is driven to show her clients that infidelity can be a springboard for massive internal growth and a marriage of peace and joy.
When Andrea’s not coaching, you’ll find her enjoying the simple things in life. She loves to read, kayak on the river in her backyard in Montana, play games with her husband and kids, and snuggle her three grandchildren. Andrea is now married to a widower, and they have 12 children between them. Her journey from “there” to here is an inspiring one. She has created powerful healing for herself and wants the same for her clients.
You can find Andrea at:
Her website – www.andreagiles.com
Instagram – @andrea.giles.coaching
Facebook – Andrea Giles Coaching
Welcome back to the podcast, everyone. I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Andrea Giles. She is an amazing coach talking about women who have experienced infidelity in their marriages and what to do after that.
Amanda: So, Andrea, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much.
Andrea Giles: Thank you for having me.
Amanda: So why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit and tell my audience about you.
Andrea: Okay. Sure. So a short version or long version? Which would you like?
Amanda: Whatever! Long is great.
Andrea: Okay. I’m Andrea Giles. I came to the work that I do through some hard earned experience in my life. And I was married for 16 years and ended up, we had six kids, ended up getting divorced and then seven months after we got divorced, my first husband died. He was 39. We had six kids that were 15 and under, I was single for a few years. And then I met and married a widower who had five kids. So we had 11.
Amanda: Bless you.
Andrea: Thank you. I know you understand the whole blended family dynamic. Fine little side note is we had decided not to have kids and taken medical procedures to ensure that we would not be having children and lo and behold last year I got pregnant and at 44 had number 12, baby number 12.
Amanda: And she is the cutest thing ever.
Andrea: She’s so sweet. She’s just the sweetest little thing. She’s six months old now and just an absolute joy. But, we have a wide range of kids, but right when I was like, really in the thick of things when it was really hard, I just knew that I had people coming and asking for help with, around infidelity, things like that.
And I’m like, I don’t know how to help you. I’m in it myself and would try to offer what I could. But I made the decision that I was going to get through it and that I was going to be able to answer some of those questions that I was still trying to solve and know how to help people. And so fast forward, I went to school, went back to school, thinking I was going to become a therapist and was in that, going to school. You too?
Amanda: That’s very similar to me too.
Andrea: Really? I didn’t know that.
Amanda: I didn’t actually go to school, but I was considering it, but I was thinking there’s no way I can do this with five kids. And so I was just going to keep putting it off. And that’s exactly the path, but mine was more on the divorce end. Rather than the infidelity end.
Andrea: So I started going back to school. I was taking like two classes at a time because that’s all I could do at the time. And then I was introduced to life coaching and it just cracked me wide open. Just cracked me open and was like everything that answered so many things that I just, like made sense of so many things that I have been looking for my whole life, like, oh, that’s why this, and that’s how I do that. And anyway, to make a long story short, I knew that that was the direction I needed to go. And so I jumped in with both feet and did a certification. I’ve since done multiple more certifications, and I own my own coaching practice, where I help women who are navigating infidelity. That’s how I got here.
Amanda: And so I’m assuming there was some infidelity in your first marriage.
Andrea: Yes. Yeah.
Amanda: And that’s what led you there down that path.
Andrea: Mm-hmm yep. That’s right. The thing with infidelity that I wanna just speak to is that it shows up in lots of different ways and sometimes people negate their own experience, water it down like, oh, well it’s not as bad as this. It’s not as bad as that. Some people have this happen. Some people have that happen. And in my own experience, there were many betrayals over many years. In lots of different scenarios, it was not a situation where there was just one woman, it was a lot of different things that were ongoing.
Infidelity is where you are willfully deceiving your spouse, doing things that you know that they would not be okay with and hiding it. And it shows up, I think most people think of relationships like with sexual relationships, things like that. But also there’s financial infidelity. There’s all kinds of different infidelity in my own marriage. There are numerous things. There are numerous forms of infidelity and it rocked my world and I didn’t know how to deal with it. Took it very personally, thought that I must be the worst. I must not be enough. If I were this, if I were that, then maybe this wouldn’t have happened. And I’ve learned a lot in the years of what actually goes on and how to heal from it and how to move forward.
Amanda: Awesome. And you have an amazing group coaching program, Know in 90, of walking women through this process of healing and figuring out what they want to do in their life and in their marriage from that point.
Andrea: Yep. I do. I have a 90 day program, Know in 90. And the women that come are really navigating next steps and they’re just really torn. Do I stay, do I go? If I do stay, what should it look like? Like how do I support myself? What am I looking for to feel safe? And if I leave, what am I looking for to help myself heal and grow in my own self trust? Something that is pretty universal for most of the people I work with is their own self trust has taken a hit. That this thing was happening that they didn’t know about.
And it’s hard for my clients not to make it mean things about themselves. And can I trust myself if this was going on right under my nose and all kinds of questions like that. And so it really is about reestablishing yourself as your own authority. And getting your feedback under you and clearing out some of the stories that you’re making it mean so that you can make a decision from your clearest strongest place instead of from a, like a hurt wounded place.
Amanda: Yeah. Well, and you’ve hit on a couple of topics that I think are really similar between the two different kinds of work that we do is that safety because in order to be sexual, you have to feel safe in your own body and safe in the relationship and self trust, right? Not only trusting your spouse, but also trusting yourself and having that firm foundation. So walk me through a little bit about how do we regain that self trust once the world has been blown apart?
Andrea: So at first I’m guessing that we have overlap in a lot of things that we teach, but starting at square one a lot of what I teach my clients is that there’s two pieces that have to be present. One is grounding back into your body. Getting back into being able to feel your body, being able to feel what you’re feeling and name it and identify it. And knowing the difference between when you are highly activated and your lower brain has kicked in and you’re not coming from your best self, right?
And knowing what to do with that and how to get yourself back online and the other piece is just huge is tapping into desire and tapping into who you want to be. And I help my clients set a really clear standard for themselves of where they’re going, who they wanna be, there, who they want in their space.
And we do that from their highest self, like the best of themselves, and really when they tap into that and tap into desire as like their roadmap of where they’re going, self-trust begins. Self trust is something that is a byproduct of that because desire in nature is from our highest selves. It’s from the best in us, showing us what we’re capable of, showing us where our growth is. And so when I help my clients see their desire, that many of them have buried deep, deep for a really long time. I’m sure you see out all the time, with all the conditioning of what women should be, what a good woman should be. All of those stories. For many of them it’s been so buried.
And so when we start to unbury it and let it see sunshine, they take off and go, oh my gosh, I forgot about this thing. I forgot about that. I forgot that I want to be this person.
And so when they start to uncover that again, it helps them remember who they are first of all, remember what they already brought to the game that they forgot about, that they’ve buried. And then when they see what is possible for them and remember that they are able, and that it’s encouraged to dream and to want and tap into that, it pulls them out of right where they are. It gives them something that they’re moving towards and desire is such an important piece in this because if they can trust that just because they want, it means that they’re meant to have it.
If they can lean into that, that is building self trust. Leaning into that and saying, “I don’t know what’s going to happen here. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in my marriage. I don’t know if I’m staying. I don’t know if I’m going, but I know this. This is where I’m going. Either he’s coming with me or he’s not, but I will be here, and the rest I’m not sure of right now.” But it helps them get their feet back under them and solidly back on the ground and knowing what to do when they feel shaky. Which happens. They’re going to start feeling shaky again here and there, and knowing how to get the ground back under them and get traction again is important.
Amanda: Yeah, I think an important piece you said earlier was like betrayal. And that infidelity can happen in lots of different areas. It’s not just sex, right? My clients tend to focus on their sex life. And even without there being maybe another person involved, a lot of them feel very betrayed by their spouse. He is more sexual than she is. And they think that there’s something wrong with that. Right? So there’s so many different nuances to it that I think we could go a million different directions.
Andrea: For sure. Yes.
Amanda: But I think there’s so much overlap, but what I’d really like to get to is, with your clients, how do you get them to a place where they feel safe to be sexual with their partner again, if they choose to. Because I’m guessing, some of your clients choose to stay and some choose to leave. And they, the ones that are leaving probably don’t want to be sexual with them. And sometimes they do. Sometimes they’re making that choice, then they’re like, “Wait, now I’m having all these feelings that are coming up that I haven’t had in a long time.”
Andrea: So something really, really common after infidelity is having your sexuality amped up and people are so confused by it. Like, what the heck is going on or completely repulsed. And don’t touch me and sometimes both, right? Like one day, give me all of it and the next day, don’t touch me. Don’t come near me. And so knowing that that’s normal and that you’re trying to find equilibrium. And even from this primal space of claiming your man going, “He’s mine”, right? This is mine. And somebody else violated that.
And so it can be like a very primal thing. So there’s nothing wrong with that, but the kind of education that you give your clients and your listeners about coming from a really healthy place, what I teach my clients around this is that it’s really about owning it and owning why? If they’re coming into it feeling like they need to be a certain way to win their man back or to prove something or to ‘if I don’t do this, he’s gonna leave’ or those kinds of narratives, it won’t be the experience that’s going to be enriching or healing to them. At all.
It won’t be healing to them. It will likely backfire because it becomes like this moving target of, well, I need to do this and I need to do this and all over the map, not just sexually, but with all kinds of things. Feeling a lot of pressure. And so what I teach my clients is that there is no right or wrong here as far, sometimes they feel shame for wanting to have sex with their spouses right after they found out that they had affair an affair. Right. And they feel shame about it. And I, I teach them that there’s no right or wrong to this. It’s more awareness of where your brain was, what you were thinking.
And getting clear about that moving forward and like what kind of experience you want to create with your spouse and why, but to feel safe there, there’s a lot of inner work to do, of knowing that you’re not doing it because you’re trying to prove something like, pick me, pick me. It’s not coming from this space. That will backfire and leave you feeling depleted. Knowing that wasn’t for me. Right? It’s coming from scarcity. It’s coming from wanting this person to mirror back to you what you want them to say and do.
And instead, growing in this capacity is really knowing that this is how I want to show up. It’s really being so honest with yourself. Holding space for two tough things like on the one hand is, this person totally betrayed my trust and saying it and knowing it and really owning it. And I choose to be with this person in this way now. I can change my mind tomorrow. There’s no pressure. There’s no checking the box off. If I don’t want to tomorrow, I don’t have to, but creating the safety around holding space for both of those things at the same time going, yes, this is true. And this is also true.
Amanda: Well, and what you’re saying here is you’re not teaching these women to look for safety outside of themselves. We’re teaching these women how to learn, how to be safe within themselves, despite what’s going on outside of them, which is so, so key.
Andrea: That’s exactly right. It’s totally something my people hear me say all the time is that healing is an inside job. No one can do it for you and other people can help facilitate an environment that helps you feel more calm to do this work, right? They can be helpers in that, but no one can do it for you. And so part of that is holding space for all of the things. Like I’m really mad at this person, I’m really hurt by this person. I don’t even know if I want to stay with this person, but I also want this experience now and it’s okay. And removing the judgment and being present to both truths at the same time. And being okay with it.
Amanda: Yeah. So I’m guessing, like learning to trust. I mean, we talk about trusting ourselves, right? But they probably come to you and go, well, how do I trust this person again? Talk to me a little bit about that.
Andrea: So they lead with that, right? I don’t know that I’ve ever had a client come and say, “I don’t know how to trust myself. I need help learning to trust myself”. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone say that first.
Amanda: No, cuz we usually don’t have enough awareness around ourselves to know that that’s where it comes from.
Andrea: Yes, exactly. Yes. I hear, how do I know if I trust them again? And really a lot of what we’re looking for in these things are 1) am I showing up in a way that I am happy with? So this is the way I frame it. Okay. We are never, ever responsible for somebody being unfaithful period. Right? They made some choices. The thing is they always have multiple choices. That’s the one choice they made. That’s the particular choice they made.
Sometimes it’s lots of choices leading up to things, right? But in relationships, there is an environment that is set up that like 99% of the time both people contribute to, right? That both people have created an environment where there are holes, sometimes there are cracks and that sometimes make them more susceptible to things like infidelity. It is never “I drove him to it.” Or “If I were more, this, if I were more that,” because there are always other options, right?
So part of this trusting is first of all, taking a look at the system and looking at what the structure of your marriage is, what it looks like, kind of getting like the bird’s eye view of, if I could name what this is, what’s going on here, what kind of climate have I helped contribute to, really looking at it from standing back, and then when we can clean those things up and really be honest and see them, we get to see what’s left.
What else is there? And that’s where it gets interesting to really look at and see who you are with. And we can’t see it clearly until we see ourselves clearly.
Amanda: Yeah. Oh, that’s such a good point. Such a good point.
Andrea: Our vision is cloudy. We can’t quite see it until we see ourselves. And so when we start to look at like, okay, so I can see how I helped contribute to this climate by this and this and this. This is stuff I brought in with me. These are things that I have never really confronted. These are things that I wanted him to fix for me, whatever it is, right?
But when we can see those things and really own them and clean them up, we get to see what’s left and we really get to see who we are married to, and if it’s somebody we want to choose to still be married to. And a lot of doing our own work and really looking at ourselves, we start to show up to the marriage in a different way. We start to speak differently. We are more direct, we use less words, more direct language, like just different things, different behaviors, different ways of showing and that gives us an opportunity to see if the person that we are with wants to become a more trustworthy person or not. Right? Is this something that they’re interested in right now? Do they want to be a more trustworthy person? Are they willing to look at how they have co-created the environment in which an affair happened.
Amanda: Or did they want to just blame it all on their spouse?
Andrea: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Are you gonna die on that hill of trying to blame me for it? And if it’s not blaming me for it, a lot of what I see that’s so frustrating for my clients is just complete avoidance of it.
I’m not gonna blame you for it, but I never wanna talk about it. Don’t bring it up. It’s over and done. I won’t do it again. I’m sorry, but don’t ever talk to me about it. Don’t bring it up. I don’t know why I did it. Don’t want to know why. Let’s just leave it there. Good enough.
And it’s not good enough for my clients because they’re feeling like, unless I have more understanding of what actually happened and how this happened, I can’t safely lean back in and move forward. And so even if they’re not actively being blamed, this avoidance is not good enough for them. And so developing trust again is really cleaning up the things within ourselves.
And even like some of that cleaning up, I want to be clear, a lot of what my clients bring is if they have faulty ideas about, if they think of themselves as a little bit lesser in the marriage, if they think of themselves as less important, if they think of themselves as whatever. That their opinion doesn’t matter as much, or that their job is to serve their husband, or their job is to be available all the time for all the people, that will help create the environment.
Amanda: Yeah. I think in Esther Perel’s book, The State of Affairs, she says that affairs happen because, either the relationship is broken or the person is broken. That doesn’t in any way say the spouse who was cheated on is broken and that’s why they cheated. We contribute to the climate of the marriage, but there’s always a choice.
So I have a client who she was cheated on and he’s continuing to cheat and she continues to stay and she tries to give him as much sex as she can to make it better and you know, that’s not working. And so we’re working on this relationship with self and developing self and stuff like that, but it’s just interesting to see the dynamic that she doesn’t see herself as worthy of not being cheated on. And if she had given him more sex to begin with than he wouldn’t have cheated, which is totally not true. Sex can contribute to it, for sure. And it can definitely be a problem afterwards, as well. But there’s so much to it with dynamics and the climate and trust and safety and rebuilding all that. And I love that you’re focusing on helping them build a better relationship with themselves to see what they want for themselves going forward.
Andrea: I think that it has to start there because otherwise, we’re giving away so much power to what they do, what they don’t do, all of those things. And if we are constantly saying, this is something I see all the time, is like constant monitoring, checking, tracking. And it’s exhausting and they hate it. And they don’t like who they are being that person. If I control this, if I check in this many times a day, if I do this and this, then he won’t do it again, but that’s not true. And it’s so much work on them. And it robs them.
It’s very disempowering to them because the shift there is instead of going, if I check all the time and if I’m monitoring all the time, then surely, I’m seeing that he’s not gonna do it again. He’ll know that I’m paying attention, so he won’t do it. But really it’s like from the inside out, it’s the shift of I’m becoming a person that if he chooses me fully it won’t happen again. It just won’t happen again.
And it comes from our own growth and our own recognition of who we are and showing up in that way and becoming the person that commands the, not attention, but that set such a high standard, that there’s no question of where she lands with certain things and giving the people around them the opportunity to become that person as well. And so, as they are leaning into growing into becoming the best version of themselves, of who they really wanna be, what they’re doing is they’re extending an invitation to their spouse to do the same and either they want to, or they don’t, but it becomes clear, and then not without grief, not without loss, but they’re able to let it go knowing that that person no longer aligns with the standard that they hold for themselves. It’s free standing. It’s not contingent on him.
Amanda: I’m sure you get a lot of women who think they maybe want to go the divorce route but are so scared about what the future holds for them in all aspects. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Andrea: So interesting because right after this call, I’m doing a training in my group about this very subject and yes, like so many people they know this is not going to fix. This is not something that my spouse has no interest in changing either. He’s still with her. He’s still with the affair partner, whatever it is, he is not interested in fixing this.
And they’re so gripped with fear that they put it off or they keep looking for some little nugget of I’ll just keep hanging on for another, whatever. I’ll just keep hanging on. And really like the truth is that until both sides, until the “yes” is fully explored of staying, like fully explored, we can’t say no. And until the “no” is fully explored, we can’t fully say yes. And so that is the work in my group that we do.
We dive in really deeply, very uncomfortably to the “no”, so that they know, if I leave, because so many are like, well, what about this? What about this? What about money? What about kids? What about all these things? And when we can really actually take our brain there. What actually would I do? And I make my clients go make a plan, like an actual plan on paper of this is what I would do. This is what I’d do for money. This is how I would support myself if it all went away, this is how I would support my children. This is how I would show them the kind of person, instead of holding onto this, we have to stay married at all costs, taking them beyond, “why”? What do you actually want for your kids? What do you actually want to teach them? What do you want them to know? And, going past that and when they can see that, the fear kind of melts away. “Oh my gosh, I could actually do that.”
Amanda: I mean, you probably experienced that. I know I did. When I was going through it, we had a pretty comfortable life and if I’m gonna walk away from this I’ve got to have a plan here. I have to know what’s going on.
Andrea: My first husband, I had always been a stay at home mom. And when that all went down, he was a lawyer for Google and made a lot of money. Did really well. And I had nothing and I knew that I could lose it all. I knew that I could, I knew that and I still knew that I needed to, that it was no longer a safe place for me or for my kids. And I’ll go work at Walmart if I need to work at Walmart.
Amanda: But that’s part of getting that solid in yourself. I can do this no matter what it takes.
Andrea: And so exploring that, even if it’s really uncomfortable, it’s very empowering because instead of focusing on why you can’t do it and why it’s so scary and all the fear, you’re giving your brain a different job of problem solving and so it feels way more proactive. And when we give our brains a job, they’re pretty good at finding solutions, right?
Amanda: So good, Andrea. Well, I just love the work that you do. I think you’re so amazing. Will you tell my audience where they can find you?
I have a podcast, it’s called Heal from Infidelity with Andrea Giles and that’s just everywhere that podcasts are.
I’ve got a new group coming up here pretty soon. It’s great.
Amanda: So they can find information about the group and how to sign up on your website. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for joining me today.
Andrea: Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.