Close this search box.

Beyond the Affair: How to Move Forward When She Can’t Forget

Episode #825

Has a mistake from the past come back to haunt you in your marriage, something like an affair or a breaking of trust? Is it overshadowing the love and respect you’re trying to rebuild with your wife?

In this episode, we dive deep into what happens when the ghost of an affair keeps resurfacing, creating a rift between you and your spouse.

We share three powerful strategies you can use today to help mend your relationship and move forward without constantly looking back. Discover why understanding the pain your partner feels is crucial, how establishing transparency can rebuild trust and the importance of creating a safe space for open communication.

Join us as we unpack real-life examples, including a moving story of a man who turned his marriage around after a decade-old affair kept coming back to haunt them. Learn how to truly empathize with your partner’s pain, maintain consistent transparency, and foster an environment where your spouse feels safe to express their emotions without fear of judgment or reaction.

If you’re struggling with past mistakes and want to rebuild a loving, trusting relationship, this episode is for you. Tune in and take the first step towards healing and creating a marriage filled with love, respect, and passion once again.


Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man.

Also listen on:



Doug Holt  0:00  

When you’re the one that committed the affair, and your wife just keeps bringing it up, she doesn’t seem to get over it, things start to get good. And then all of a sudden, the topic or the idea of the affair comes up, and it shatters everything around you, or the reason that it keeps coming up is your wife is still healing from that and certainly doesn’t feel complete around trusting you Who is he talking to? Is he on social media talking to that girl again, or to another woman? Of course, she’s going to assume that you are to have a history of it, so why shouldn’t she right, even if you cleared it up? So key here now is establishing a container of safety. And part of that is transparency. If you really want to repair this marriage transparency is going to be key.

Hey, guys has a mistake from the past come back to haunt you in your marriage, something like an affair or a breaking of trust? Is it something that overshadows the love and trust and respect that you’re trying to build in your marriage and it keeps coming back like Groundhog’s Day, only this time, it’s something that just really buries you and brings more distance between you and your wife. If that’s the case, then today, I’m going to give you three strategies that you can use in your marriage today to help you get back on track so that you guys can look forward without looking in the rearview mirror at the past. So step one, step one is really honestly just understanding what the damage has caused. Now, in TPM, we use a technique called The Hidden Motives Technique. And you can go back through other podcast episodes we’ve done, we give this all away, we actually have a course it’s only 97 bucks just covers our expenses, that you can go through and get through The Hidden Motives Technique and really understand it. But at the deepest level, what you need to do is first understand the pain, it’s causing your partner, your wife. So let’s just describe it as an affair. It’s a common thing that happens to a lot of men. Now, either the affair happens, or the woman does it. But in this case, we’re going to talk about it, when you’re the one that committed the affair, and your wife just keeps bringing it up, she doesn’t seem to get over it. And sometimes this could be a decade ago, and it keeps coming back to haunt you things start to get good. And then all of a sudden, the topic or the idea of the affair comes up, and it shatters everything around you. And you know, it’s just not going away, despite how much you talk about it. Well, the reason that it keeps coming up is your wife is still healing from that she doesn’t feel complete around the conversations of the affair and certainly doesn’t feel complete around trusting you around the affair. That’s why she keeps bringing it up. Anytime somebody brings up a conversation over and over again, is because that conversation isn’t complete for them. Now, if it’s the affair, or if it’s another past trauma, maybe it’s drinking too much drugs, gambling, whatever it may be, if there’s a past trauma, and your wife keeps bringing it up to you, really what she’s saying is, hey, I don’t feel complete with this conversation. Or more likely, when we talk to women, they don’t believe that you understand them at the core level. 

Now it’s one thing to understand somebody at the surface level, right? Where you can repeat back everything I’m saying to you, you can apologize. But if I don’t feel like you’re really sorry, or I don’t feel like you really get the damage you’ve inflicted, I’m probably not really okay at that core level. And it’s still going to haunt me, I’m still gonna think of you and that situation. However, when we clear the slate, right, when we clear it up and really get into like The Hidden Motives Technique, the validation portion of this, then we allow our partner to fully understand or fully get that we understand the damage that we’ve done, to fully understand that we understand the significance of what we’ve done. And once they get it at a core level, and they trust us again, we build that trust in the relationship, then we can move forward. So this happened to one of the guys I was working with recently. So he had an affair in the past over a decade ago. And things will get better in his marriage. He was working really hard at it. He and his wife wouldn’t be intimate. They’re having great sex again, as he was reporting back to me that her family was close. They have a great family vacation. And as soon as things got really good, almost out of nowhere, his wife would bring up the affair, or she’d bring up she’d be sad. And he’d ask, Hey, what’s going on? She was crying again. And then he would bring up she would bring up the affair and the mistrust. And how can I ever trust you again and things of that nature? So when I sat him down, and we were having one of our coaching sessions, and I told him I said, Look, this is just not over for your wife. So we really need to get into her world. And so it looks something like this. I can only imagine what it’d be like loving somebody, and then only to find out that they violate your trust to the greatest level. And the fact that I did this to you really makes me feel like shit inside. And what I really want is for us to move forward. What else do we need to discuss to make this complete for you? And so he did a version of this is not the exact word I gave him, but he gave him a version of this, and his wife broke into tears. And as she broke into tears, he just held space for her. And when she came out, she really saw his face and that he really was trying to figure this out. And he really understood the amount of pain that he had caused her. And then she said, Hey, this is what I want to know, I need to know that this is not going to happen again, I need to know that you really understand it. So again, as I coached him, he went through The Hidden Motives Technique again, and really got into her world, like looking and said something to the effect of, look, you know, if I’m in your shoes, I imagine it’d be really tough to trust again, really to lean forward. And each time you trust and open your heart, again, you’re just scared, you’re gonna get hurt. At least that’s the way I would feel if this was the roles were reversed. 

And it pains me every day to think that I did that to you. And what I want is what I want is for us to always be transparent, and open and move forward into a loving marriage that we both can enjoy. Now, when he said that to his wife, his wife, just visibly as he described this to me, her shoulders went down, she just relaxed at a cellular level. Why? Because she believed him. She believes she wants that too, right? She wouldn’t be in the marriage. Still, if she didn’t want it. She wants to move forward, she wants to trust him. She wants to believe in him, she wants a marriage filled with love and passion. And now she can see a path forward, he led her to that path, hey, I get it. If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way too. He’s telling her, Hey, this is where I would feel he’s not saying you are going to feel this way. Right. And that’s a mistake a lot of guys make. They tell their wives how their wives should feel. No, in this case, you’re just going to get in or shoot in her shoes and empathize with the problem. And when you do that, then you want to lead her as her man to where you want to go. We want to relate, we want a marriage full of passion, love, respect, and all the great things that we all want, right? And when he did this, she visibly just relaxed at a cellular level. And she was able to receive Him and really get the fact that, hey, he was serious, this is not going to happen again, once you have that foundation, and only once you have that foundation of clear communication, can this ghost of Christmas past, if you will, or this ghost of this trauma past, actually have a chance to go away. You see, both people need to fully understand each other. Especially when something’s like this, right? When it’s so traumatic for the other person she needs to understand at a very cellular level, if you will, that you feel sorry, not only do you feel sorry, but you understand the impact of your actions on her. And when she knows that you understand the impact of your actions on her, then and only then can she actually believe that you’re going to stop, stop that pattern. You see for this woman she was carrying on that affair for the last decade or more as if it happened the last week. Do you imagine living that over and over again, the pain, the trauma, because she didn’t get the feeling that her husband fully understood her? And once he was able to do that for her, he was able to also lead her and them as a couple, right as the third entity of the marriage to a place of possibility, a place of a future where you can actually have a marriage filled with love. 

So they’ve been having that right, they’ve been having intimacy, they’ve been having great trips, great adventures and memories. But it was always shattered by this, this past trauma, this past hurt of the affair. And once he could erase that it was almost like taking a magic eraser and erasing those past issues. They then and only then could they reflect on the great trips they took, right the trips to the Caribbean, the trips that they went with the family, the trips that they did by themselves, and the amazing sex that they were having. And as you reported back to me, she was now able to relax. And you know, for the first time in a long time able to have orgasms with him. Right? That was something that obviously affected him as a man and her as a woman for enjoying it. But she was able to fully surrender and trust her. Alright, the second thing we get to do here, the second thing is establish a boundary of trust. And what do I mean by that maybe a container is a better way of describing that a container of trust. And so this is where consistency is going to come in. Right consistency and transparency. So if there’s been a fair, emotional, or otherwise, what we want to do is make sure that our partner feels good, right? They feel like they can trust us. Now, even if they feel that they can trust us, there’s still going to be that little niggling in the back of their mind. Right?

Where is he? What’s he doing now? Where, who is he talking to? Is he on social media talking to that girl again or to another woman? Right? That conversation is going to come across to her again and again. And especially nowadays, with so many people of her girlfriends, other people having affairs, she’s just going to assume that you’re one of them. I mean, heck, you look at most popular TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, or those things, affairs in secrecy or violations of privacy. See, are very common. So we look at this, we’re looking at everybody being scandalous, of course, she’s going to assume that you are too, you have a history of it, why shouldn’t she right? Even if you cleared it up. So key here now is establishing a container of safety. And part of that is transparency. So what you’re going to want to do here is be very transparent, about things are going through. Now, I’m not saying give away your freedoms, I’m not saying, you know, succumb to her every desire here, I’m just saying, be transparent about what you’re up to and what you’re doing. If you really want to repair this marriage transparency is going to be key, right? You want to make sure a Are you really not going to have another affair, then don’t put yourself in that environment, right? That’s step one. But when we come back here, we want to make sure everything is transparent. And so some ways that some of these guys will do it is simply sharing their location with their partner, right? On iPhones, you can share your location, you can do that for safety reasons, like my wife, and I do it for safety, not for transparency as much. We can also do it so she knows where you are simply checking in right checking, Hey, babe, just want to talk to you I’m down at Doug’s house hanging out, just want to see how you’re doing just that constant rebuilding of trust, because now what we’re doing here guys, is recreating a case, a case with evidence that things are clear between you. Obviously, when you’re having an affair or another trauma, you maybe have a gambling problem in the past or something else that caused a trauma or an argument or a violent history, there’s a level of secrecy that goes around those things. And what we want to do is remove the veil of secrecy and add in well, transparency, obviously. And what we want to do is continue to do that. 

Some of that transparency can also be openly talking to your partner about other women that you might be talking to. So if you have coworkers, a secretary, or the barista down at Starbucks, openly talking to her, it may trigger her, it may trigger her, however, you want to be transparent. And honest. Just recently, we had a group of great men here at The Alpha Reset, which is one of our transformational events that we host over the course of three full days that are very, very transformative. And one of the gentlemen there, the reason he was able to reconcile his marriage, he said, My wife and I have no lies, I’ve seen me no secrets. We have no secrets from each other. We are very, very transparent. That’s what’s kept our marriage together. And so that’s interesting, right? So he’s picked up on this trick. Now he had some problems in his marriage is his marriage, excuse me. However, the way he was able to stay through those problems is by being transparent. People will forgive you a lot. If you’re honest and open with them. It’s when they feel their trust is violated. And there’s secrecy involved. That’s when people their spidey senses tingle, right? They come up and they go, Well, geez, you’ve lied to me before. And now things just seem a little bit off. And I’m going to assume that if they seem a little bit off, then I’m going to think the worst thoughts. And once your wife goes down that train, you have to go all the way back to step one and do it again. However, if you keep a level of transparency there, where she knows what’s going on, again, this is not about you losing freedom, this is not about her gaining control. This is simply about saying, hey, look, in our marriage, we have new agreements, in our marriage, we’re going to do things differently. And again, using the affair as an example. And our marriage, we are going to be transparent, we’re going to be open and honest with each other, we’re no longer going to be secret about who we’re talking to, or what we’re doing. Now, in your marriage, you get to create your own boundaries of what that is. And in most marriages, the men that we work with, most of them are monogamous, right, you don’t have sex with anybody else. I want to have sex with hay bales. And when that’s broken, right, it’s but in this case, you need to know out and lift the veil and offer more transparency so the other person can regain trust. 

And as they get these micro trust factors over again, guess, again, evidence that you’re trustworthy, they’re going to relax, they’re going to calm down, their nervous system is going to calm down because they’re not going to be as scared about you violating their trust again, okay, now we’ve got step three. And step three is really communicating openly. Right? So step one is kind of validation. Or if you want to be more advanced, you use The Hidden Motives Technique that we teach through The Activation Method, our flagship program for relationships, step two, transparency. Step three, what we’re going to do right now is have a communication plan. And what I mean but communication plan well, what I mean by that is whenever somebody is feeling your wife, in this case, is feeling something come up, you get to create a safe place for her to come communicate to you. Now, what does that look like? Okay, great question. What that looks like is you create a container that is so safe for your wife that when she’s feeling uneasy, jealous or whatever it is, she can come talk to you about her feelings without you will get this guy’s without you trying to solve them. Okay? So what that can look like is You are calm, you’re grounded. You’re a powerful man. A powerful man means you have your power from the inside out the outside in. Right? It’s a totally different scenario. You’re staying very grounded, you’re staying calm, you have engaged in difference, right? You are engaged with her, but you’re indifferent to the outcome. That way she can’t trigger you to get upset. She comes to you and goes, I saw you talking to Laura the other day, and you were smiling the whole time and just just really gets me upset. So what you want to do here, guys is just remain calm and breathe. Right. And you’re to use The Hidden Motives Technique again, right? Oh, man, I can imagine if you thought something was going on between Laura and I, that would really be upsetting. I just want you to know that there’s nothing going on between Laura and I, right? And so how can we communicate in a way that allows allows you to feel better? 

Right, now you’re going into solution mode. So you can do it that way. But the key here is you’re allowing her to air her grievances. And when she’s done that, or when she shared her, sensitivities. If you are vulnerable, and you don’t react, right, that’s the key, right? Most guys go, oh, well, I’m not doing anything with Laura, how could you possibly believe that I’m doing anything with her I love you know, they start going into that mode, that DEER mode, defend, excuse, explain react, you have to stay at a DEER, if you can maintain the groundedness and just hold space for her polar and closer, and just say grab her by the small bags. Hey, babe, I love you, you’re the only one for me. That is a way you can get over that hump. She does not want you to solve the problem. She wants a safe place where she can come and share what she’s going through her emotions. And for you just to hold space for her. If you can do that you prove that you are safe. If you can prove you’re safe, you can prove you’re trustworthy. This is the way it works for the feminine, right, they need a safe container. First and foremost. Once they have that safety, then trust comes in, it does not work the other way around guys, you can not be trustworthy and erratic. You cannot be safe and erratic. So if you’re going into DEER mode, her alarms go off. And she’s subconsciously like, look, he’s got something to hide, something’s going on. I can’t trust him. If he can’t handle my emotions, how can he trust himself? How can he handle himself, she knows your wife knows that there’s a million beautiful women out there. And there are some women who are just scandalous, or going to try to sleep with a married guy. Some women are hurting inside and are looking for attention, they’re going to try to manipulate your wife also knows how easy guys are. Come on, let’s be real. So her knowing that and then all of a sudden, you can’t handle her emotions? 

How the heck are you going to be able to handle yourself or the company party? Or how the heck are you gonna be able to handle yourself with a female trainer at the gym, or whatever it is for you? Maybe it’s even her best friend. She knows what those chicks are like, right? So you need to have these three things in place. And if you don’t have these three things in place, there is zero chance guys that you’re getting rid of the ghost of the past that goes to the past is going to come out of that closet and haunt you with all the skeletons they can find. And not only that, it’s going to get worse and worse and worse and create a divide between you and your partner. The key is The Hidden Motives Technique. That is the key. The second key do not to go into dear mode have transparency, but and also third, stay grounded. Gentlemen, if you do these three things, you have an opportunity to erase the past and start a new one, I’ve not only seen this once, 10 times 100 times over. I’ve seen men take this back, take a marriage for where their wife just does not trust them is always bringing up the past which is causing pain, hurtful fights, and distance where they question should even be married anymore to this woman. And their wives question the same thing as a marriage that is fulfilled and loving again. We’re both partners who trust, love, and respect each other. And that’s where not only intimacy happens, but that’s where the good sex happens. And it’s not just for you. She wants that too. And I want it for you guys as well. So gentlemen, as always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. What are you going to do here? If you’ve had an affair, maybe it’s because you’ve drank too much. Again, gambling there are so many things that guys can screw up at any given time. That can cause trauma. It could be just stonewalling. You just haven’t shown up as a man. You haven’t shown up completely for her, whatever it is. Use these three here as your foundation for getting started and bringing your marriage back to the way you want it to be.