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How To Recover From An Infidelity

Episode #706

Are you struggling with the aftermath of infidelity in your relationship?
Can a relationship truly endure and heal after infidelity?
In this episode of The Powerful Man Show, Doug Holt and Tim Matthews offer invaluable insights into overcoming these obstacles and forging a path toward a renewed and resilient partnership.
Rebuilding trust requires both parties to let go of control and embrace a new beginning in the relationship.
In this episode, you’ll learn about the challenges of rebuilding trust after infidelity and discover practical strategies to navigate this challenging journey.

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Powerful Man Show. I’m your host Doug Holt, with my co-host, Tim The Powerful Man Matthews. It’s a long time since I’ve done an intro like that, buddy, how you doing?

Tim Matthews  00:56

I’m doing well. I’m doing well. Good. It’s good to be back. Like I’ve said on each episode, I appreciate being here with you. It’s great. I’m looking forward to seeing you next week, providing that all goes well and that’ll be a lot of fun.

Doug Holt  01:11

I didn’t even consider the providing all things go well part, but now that you’ve mentioned I do, I get it.

Tim Matthews  01:19


Doug Holt  01:22

Well, anyway, buddy, I hope that operation goes well. So today what I want to talk about is something a little bit different than that. Today, what I want to talk about is rebuilding trust after an infidelity. And the angle I want to take here is predominantly that the infidelity is happening on the woman’s part, not the man’s.

However, most of this, the lion’s share can be brought together for both people, whether it be but the listeners, most of our listeners, probably 80 plus percent, are all going to be men. We have a number of women. Ladies, always nice to have you here. Thanks for joining us. But this one’s really going to be geared towards the men on how to do that.

Tim Matthews  02:07

Let’s do it.

Doug Holt  02:08

So the first thing that needs to happen, guys, and we’re going to tell you where you can get with this. And also, if you stick around to the end, we’ll also talk about when you need to know it’s time to pull the rip cord and get out. So I’ve had this conversation a number of times recently, Tim, with guys that I’ve been working with one on one, or guys that have reached out to me and I’ve just been helping out within the movement.

And the first thing to do is really you got to address the sensitive topic of the affair. It has to be out in the open, and it has to be out where both people can feel that they can talk about it in a manner that feels complete to them.

 So what do I mean? I’m using a lot of coaching jargon there. What I mean is you need to be in a place where both of you can talk about it and feel that you’ve been heard and that you’re complete on the questions that you have now. It doesn’t mean you get to ask every question. Well, you can ask any questions you want, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to find out all the information. The fact is you’ll never know all the details. You got to be okay with that. You got to be okay. But if you’re looking at Rebuilding Trust, you need to have open communication about the subject of the infidelity itself.

Tim Matthews  03:17

Okay. Makes sense. It’s an interesting one. You want to be careful certainly with the questions you ask, I think in some instances, but obviously it’s a personal choice. Just the thing that came to mind at that point because I can think of instances where guys have shared with me either way, right? Where it’s the woman that’s asked the question or the guy that’s asked the question. They’ve asked that question that they really don’t want to know the answer to, but they’ve asked it. And sometimes it can be a little bit tough for some people to forget the answer to that question.

Doug Holt  03:49

That’s a great point, you know, the first thing I usually talk to guys about Tim is, do you want to be in the relationship still? Right? Do you just want to you know, the guys we work with, the answer is usually yes. Okay, great. So we have that established.

So the first step, what I tell them, so I’m going to go back a little bit, is we now get to draw a hard line in the sand. And that hard line in the sand is today. And we’re going to call that Marriage 2.0. And what that means is anything that happened in Marriage 1.0 gets to be forgiven. Just gets to be forgiven and to truly forgive those things, one is you get to be able to talk about the infidelity, but it doesn’t mean you get to know about all the details. That’s why I said you can ask any questions you want. However, you don’t get to know them all.

And if you’re saying, well, no, I need to know this to move on, well, then really you don’t have a line in the sand, right? Now, you’re in a transactional relationship. Again, if you tell me, then I’ll move on with you into the next relationship. Right? You got to decide and draw that hard line. Now, there could be questions, right?

For example, maybe you want to know. Maybe there are certain aspects of things that could have happened which would be game changers for you, right? Is it an emotional affair? Is it physical affair? Was the affair occur in our bedroom? Right? Because I want to burn the bed if it did whatever it is. There are certain things that maybe you want to, but mostly you want to make a decision here on whether you’re going to move forward or not with the information that you have currently.

And if you need more information, if that’s really the crux of it, then you really want to think hard about what questions you’re going to ask, because the answers you find out may not be worth a squeeze.

Tim Matthews  05:32

Big time.

Doug Holt  05:34

So once you’ve established that and let’s just assume, guys, that because this is about rebuilding trust, that you are going to move forward now, how do you rebuild? Well, the first thing is transparency, and that’s when I bring it up, the communication aspect of it. There needs to be a level of transparency there. Right?

And what I mean by transparency, you need to be able to communicate about the affair, but you also need to be transparent about other things that are going on within the marriage. What are your boundaries? I was talking to a guy. He said, well, he used one that my wife and I had. My wife asked me about. She said, hey, look, for our marriage, I don’t want you to do anything that would violate the relationship.

Now, I know what she means, but that can be taken out of context a lot. Right? What does she mean? Does it violate the relationship if I kiss a girl, another woman? Maybe not? I can make up an excuse. So you want to be clear on your boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. And once you’re clear on your boundaries or your rules of engagement or whatever you want to call them, you want to get buy in, does that work for you?

And the reason this is important about building trust is now you can make commitments. Right? You can start making commitments again to each other that are clear and delineated on what’s acceptable and what’s not. And this gives you a foundation from which to move forward in.

Tim Matthews  06:54

Yeah. So often, as you’re saying, these are such great points. If you guys are listening to this and there’s been no infidelity, but you haven’t even put these things in place, I would strongly recommend that you do it. I speak to so many men who don’t know what’s important to them. They don’t know where the line is for them. There’s a lot of unspoken boundaries that they try and put in place, but they’re not boundaries. They’re covert contracts that created, and some guys just haven’t ever taken the time to stop and consider, hey, what actually is important to me? Where is the line for me?

So it’s a common issue. So I’d highly encourage you do that, regardless of whether you’re in this position or not, and then take the steps, like Doug said, to communicate that and form some clear agreements around this, because it’s one of the number one mistakes that I see guys make.

Doug Holt  07:51

Yeah, it’s so true, right? We have these expectations of what other people think a marriage should be, but it’s never talked about or a relationship should be.

Tim Matthews  08:00

[Crosstalk] — Big assumptions.

Doug Holt  08:01

Big assumptions. So you want to get that transparency out there. And then what you would do is this is where it gets a little confounding. So let’s just say you caught your wife having an affair with some guy she met on Facebook, making the story up as we go, right? Does that mean that you get access to her Facebook account so you can check up on her? I say no.

Now you may set that in your relationship, but that’s not rebuilding trust, right? Now maybe you need to know or maybe there’s something else that needs to go on. But rebuilding trust starts with micro commitments, right? Small little things, small little things that are going to allow you over time to start trusting that individual again. Behaviors get to change, languaging gets to get changed, the way you communicate gets to change.

And for most people, when an infidelity is occurring, what’s happened is the partners have come apart, right? They’ve lost that connection between each other. Not saying every time, and I’m certainly not saying it’s your fault, but I am saying that you need to start making those micro commitments to each other, have those firm boundaries so you can start moving forward again. But you need to do that first, first and foremost, draw that line in the sand. Decide if you’re going to go to marriage 2.0 or maybe it’s 3.0, 4.0 for you, but whatever you want to call it that you’re going to move forward in that direction and you’re going to put your head down. And as most guys say, they can just get shit done and I can outwork anybody. I can out hustle. Well, do it in your marriage. Try it there.

Tim Matthews  09:31

Here’s something I want to throw out there to you, Doug. So let’s say the guy is figuring out, or whoever it may be, the woman is figuring out what’s important to them. They’ve communicated it and the other person is like, no, that isn’t something I’m willing or able to do.

Doug Holt  09:48

Are you asking me? What I would say?

Tim Matthews  09:49

Yeah, what would you — what advice would you give to the person who’s in that situation?

Doug Holt  09:53

Well, I actually had a guy do this today, Tim. What I had him do is write down what his boundaries are and to make them boundaries. What happens if somebody crosses that boundary, right? Because if you don’t have the consequence or what the action is going to be when it really truly means to you and you’re willing to take act on it, it’s not a boundary.

Tim Matthews  10:14


Doug Holt  10:15

It’s a wish, right? So let’s just say I’ll use my relationship. Let’s say I told my wife, I don’t want you going out in public with another man by yourself. It’s the best example I can come up with because it’s made up. And let’s say she says no. Well, I need to decide either there in the moment or previously if that’s a deal breaker for me. Right?

So what I would do in that situation, if I knew it wasn’t a deal breaker, I would start saying, well, why is that so important to you? I’m now going to go into inquiry and not inquiry like a prosecutor or solicitor or whatever lawyer. I’m not going to go into it in that way. I’m going to go into it like a reporter.

Just curious, well, why is it so important to you to be able to go out in public with men by yourself? And I’m going to listen to her and what she has to say previous to that, I better be sure of what my boundary is and why it’s important to me. I need to know my side really well. And don’t write your boundaries down when you’re at the height of emotion, guys.

So if, say, you just find out about the affair or infidelity, that’s not the time to write these things down. Give yourself some time, give yourself some grace. Do it from a place of love of yourself and write down what’s acceptable or not. So I’ll back this up.

Let’s say I tell my wife, I have a hard boundary that you can’t have sex with another man while we’re married. And she says, no, I’m not willing to do that. That’s a deal breaker for me. I can’t be in a relationship with you. I want to be in a monogamous marriage right now, and you don’t. We’re not compatible with this. Is there a way that we can reconcile this difference? And if there’s not, that’s a whole another conversation.

Tim Matthews  12:05

Yeah, okay. That’s great advice!

Doug Holt  12:08

Yeah. I’ll give a one caveat here, Tim, is what I think a lot of guys do is they start throwing these boundaries out without really thinking them through. Right? If they’re really boundaries, it’s kind of things they hope, like, well, you have to give me access to all your social media. You have to let me see your phone all the time. And you got to think about the reality of this. Is that really what you want? No.

You want to be able to trust that your partner is going to do the things that uphold the third entity, your marriage. Right? You don’t want to have to check on their phone. You want them checking your phone. That’s controlling. That’s not a relationship. Right? At that point now, I get there’s been infidelity, there’s been trust broken. But to rebuild it, you need to start with a clean slate. You just do.

Tim Matthews  12:51

When you simmer it down to what is really important to you, in my experience at least, it’s usually a handful of things. It’s not that many things. It’s some key things that are really non-negotiables for you, that are very clear, firm boundaries that if they were crossed, that would be an absolute no go for you. Not where it’s kind of like that kind of frustrates me. You don’t want to make those kind of boundaries because you’re not going to enforce them. And it just becomes meaningless because it doesn’t really matter to you. So as you go through this, like I said, less is more in this situation.

Doug Holt  13:30

Yeah, I’m going to go back to the previous. The first thing I said is transparency and having open communication. So for the healing to begin, you need to make a clear delineation about, hey, we’re moving forward, right? Draw the line in the sand, set the boundaries, but also be able to come back and revisit what’s coming up for you.

We as men, we’re going to get angry at times, right? She’s going to leave in the car and she’s going to be an hour late from the grocery store and you’re going to be like, where the hell was she? She’s probably out sleeping with some guy. These stories you’re going to create in your head are going to be crazy. What you get to do is be calm and talk to her and say, hey babe, you’re an hour later than I thought from the grocery store. And what’s coming up for me is the same things that came up for me when I found out that you were cheating on me.

You get to be honest with her about how you’re feeling, not what she’s doing, right? Well, you mean if she’s doing something, you want to let her know but don’t blame her. Don’t keep pointing your finger at her like you did this, you did that. But you need to be open and that goes dovetails right into the whole idea of forgiveness. If you really want to move forward, you need to forgive. You can’t move forward without forgiveness. Now forgiveness can take time or it can be really quick.

And I would propose to you guys, if you’re trying to rebuild trust and infidelity, you make forgiveness move quick. And the healing process can take slow, take a long time, but you can still forgive quickly and allow yourself to heal. The old adage, forgive but don’t forget. Some things you want to forget but have a knowing of what’s there. Set the boundaries and allow the healing process to be slow, not the forgiveness process. I think a lot of guys want to make the healing process fast and the forgiveness slow and it just does not work. Doesn’t work that way.

Tim Matthews  15:20

There’s a ton of emotions that are going to come up at random times. You just can’t control that. You need to be able to give yourself permission to process those. However, they get to be processed, ideally in a healthy way. Definitely in a healthy way. You don’t want it to come out in unhealthy ways where you turn to alcohol or whatever it may be. I was going to say anger but anger could be a really good thing depending on how you allow yourself to process it.

And thinking about the previous episode, surrounding yourself with certain types of men, I think that would be very powerful in helping you to process this and have a slow healing process. I love that. Forgive fast and heal slow. I think it’s awesome.

Doug Holt  16:01

Yeah. Well, you’ve dovetail again. I like the word dovetail for some reason, but you went right into the next thing, which I think is incredibly important, is having someone or a group of people, whether it be a coach, advisor, therapist, a group of men that you trust, that you can talk about this experience because you have to rebuild trust within yourself in order to rebuild trust within the other person. Right?

So you need that transparency, the boundaries, forgiveness, healing, and then you need to be able to let out what is inside of you. All too often as men, we bury shit inside of us. We just bury it down. You don’t want to tell anybody because you’re embarrassed, you’re shamed of what happened because it meant that you’re less of a man, right? That’s what guys say all the time. It’s not the case. It’s not the case infidelities happen a lot, guys.

We work with thousands of men and so we hear the stories both sides, but we hear the stories a lot, unfortunately, and it hurts people. So you’re not alone, first of all, and nobody’s judging you except for maybe you. So have a trusted group that you can talk to about this because that’s going to help expedite the healing process. If you’re looking at rebuilding trust, right, trust goes both ways.

I can’t ask Tim to trust me if I don’t trust him, it just won’t work. Right? So I have to trust him. And if I expect Tim to trust me, it needs to go both ways, otherwise it just doesn’t work. So you have to relinquish trust, relinquish control. The tendency for most men is to try to grab the relationship, the woman and everything and just try to control it so tight. And when you do that, you’re just going to push her further away. You’re not going to get what you want. And that’s not trust, that’s control. Trust is letting go, right? And trusting, so to speak, the process of it.

Tim Matthews  17:59

Yeah. So well said. Some great insights there.

Doug Holt  18:04

And get yourself to an Alpha Reset. I mean, I’ve just never seen a process that’s really going to help people through this process, other than that, I’ve seen it hundreds of times where men come in there’s, been infidelity trust has been broken, and they’re able to heal in such a fast and tremendous way that they come out the other side with a knowing of who they are and ability to forgive.

 Now, whether they choose to move on or not, that’s up to them. But the ability to forgive happens every time at least every time I’ve seen it. And the healing is tremendous. And a lot of that has to do with the processes they’re very specifically driven to allow this to happen. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought that was the best thing that you could do for yourself.

Tim Matthews  18:55

Yeah. Actually happened at the last reset a few weeks ago on the first night. So I met up with the guys for dinner and this was on the Sunday. On the Thursday this guy had flown in from the US to the UK. On the Thursday, he’d found out his wife had had an affair, was absolutely raging, as you would expect. Said he gave his son, I think, $3,000, $4,000. His son knew what had happened, had to calm his son down because his son just wanted to go and find the guy and said to his son hey, when I get back from here, I’m not going to be home. I’m going to be going somewhere. So you’re not going to see me for a few days. And don’t let Mum know where I’m going.

Obviously, he shared with us what his plan was and he was gone as well. He was gone. There was no coming back in his eyes at that point with his wife and with their relationship. When he left the reset and he went back home, the thing that had bugged him was the infidelities that he had had over the years that his wife and nobody else knew anything about, they’d kept from everybody. And he left the reset with an immense amount of love for his wife, understanding why she’d done what she’d done, having processed a lot of the rage and the anger that was inside of him.

And he went back and shared with his son who his dad was, his idol, how he had had infidelities in his life and why he’d done them, because he was hurting and he was wounded and various different things he shared with his mum, who his mum thought it was the golden boy. Shared with his mum the infidelities that he had had as well. So it wasn’t just his wife that was looking bad. Shared them all with his wife and those two began the rebuilding process of their marriage. Just an incredible shift in his energy, perspective and his experience moving out of there.

Doug Holt  20:56

I love it, man. It’s so hard to describe the RESULTS of the Alpha Reset to anybody. I don’t think I would believe them if I didn’t see them so many times. That’s why you go over to https://www.thepowerfulman.com/results and you can see it from the words of the men, men just like you that have been through that experience as well as other experiences that we offer at the powerful man. Absolutely phenomenal!

Tim Matthews  21:17

It is. And we get to do one next week.

Doug Holt  21:19

Yes. The first time we are together for an Alpha Reset since 2020.

Tim Matthews  21:27

Yeah, just after COVID.

Doug Holt  21:28

It’s going to be phenomenal.

Tim Matthews  21:29

That was when Chief and a lot of other people in [inaudible 0:21:33] in Wales.

Doug Holt  21:34

Yes. Well, gentlemen, if you find yourself in this situation where an infidelity has happened and the idea of rebuilding trust, you want to move forward. But the idea of rebuilding trust is so tough. What we want to do here is build the foundation first.

The hardest thing it’s going to be, guys, and I get it. The hardest thing is letting go of control. You’re going to want to grab around everything tightly. You’re going to have access to everything. You want to know everything because your mind’s going to wander when you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle. You’re going to put the puzzle together and it’s not going to be pretty right in your head. Your wife’s going to be an hour late from the hair salon and you’re going to assume she’s having an affair.

If your wife’s online on her phone chatting with somebody, you’re going to assume it’s another guy. You’re going to assume the worst. You want to have transparency so you can talk about what happened and how you’re feeling. You want to set firm boundaries.  In those firm boundaries, you move on to marriage 2.0, which has to do with forgiveness and trusting.

Tim Matthews  21:32


Doug Holt  22:33

Gentlemen. As we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Write those points down. Where in your life are you doing this? Right? Infidelity happens both ways. Where are you doing this? Take action. Build the trust, guys. You deserve this and so much more. We’ll see you next time on The Powerful Man Show.

All right, guys, that’s a wrap for this episode. But as I always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. You see, there are two types of men that listen to a podcast like this, those that go on from one podcast or show to another just hoping things are going to change and realizing that they’re going to be in the same place month after month, year after year.

You see, I was this guy so I completely get it. You may just not be ready. But there’s also a second man, a second man that listens to a show just like this. And this is a guy who takes massive action so they can shorten the learning curve, compress time, and get RESULTS to be the WOLF. See, WOLF is an acronym for Wise, Open, Loving, and Fierce.

Now ask yourself, which one am I? And just be honest with yourself there. And there’s no judgment on my end. But if you’re ready to move from deactivated DEER mode, which is Defend, Excuse, Explain, and React to activated WOLF, Wise, Open, Loving and Fierce, then go over to thepowerfulman.com/grow. And go there now. In fact, I’ll make it super easy for you. I will even put the link right in the description here so you can just click it and go over there now to learn more. Guys, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Go from deactivated to activated, because like I said, life is too short for average and I’ll see you on the next episode!