Intimate Conversations with the Betraying Partner
Part 2 – What Happened During the Affair? Chasing Validation in All the Wrong Places
-with guest Shawn Cheadle, Lora’s husband, and betraying partner
In this particular episode, Lora interviews her husband, Shawn Cheadle, about his experience with infidelity in their marriage. Shawn opens up about seeking emotional validation from someone other than his spouse, the challenges of keeping his affairs secret, and his struggle to understand his own actions. The episode explores various aspects of infidelity, communication, compartmentalization, personal growth, and the importance of addressing difficult topics.
Through their candid conversation, Lora and Shawn aim to provide insight for both those who have been betrayed and those who have betrayed others, guiding listeners towards creating lives they love after betrayal.
1. Compartmentalization and Communication: Shawn discusses how he compartmentalized different aspects of life and how communication is key in addressing emotional needs and desires. He reflects on his own struggles with articulating his feelings and how it led to infidelity in his marriage.
2. Understanding Betrayal: The episode explores the complexities of betrayal and the disconnect that it can cause in relationships. Shawn shares his own experience of seeking validation through other relationships but ultimately realizing that it did not fulfill his needs, and only caused him more pain and shame. He emphasizes the need for open conversation and understanding between both parties involved.
3. Personal Growth and Redemption: Shawn acknowledges his own personal growth journey and the ongoing process of understanding and expressing his needs and emotions. The episode highlights the importance of addressing difficult topics like betrayal, abuse, and mental health, and finding a path towards redemption and healing after making significant mistakes.
Download your Sparkle After Betrayal Recovery Guide at www.BetrayalRecoveryGuide.com, a guide designed to help you take the first steps in feeling better, so you can reclaim your power, own your worth, and start putting yourself, and your life, back together again.
Attorney, speaker and Burnout & Betrayal Recovery Coach, Lora Cheadle believes that betrayal uncovers the truth of what’s possible when we stop focusing on what was done to us and start showing up unapologetically for ourselves. She helps women rebuild their identity and self-worth after infidelity so they can reclaim (or find for the very first time) their confidence, clarity, and connection to source and create their own kind of happily ever after.
emotional connection, spouse, confidant, communication, texts, emails, phone calls, manipulation, friendship, clarity, shame, guilt, memory gaps, counselors, Lora Cheadle, infidelity, cheaters, betrayed partners, logistics, tunnel vision, compartmentalization, work, personal growth, “I statements”, disconnect, counseling, validation, relationships, tools, trauma, frustration, insecurity, appearance, fitness, self-doubt, self-love, bravery, recovery, mistakes, redemption.
- The Complexity of an Emotional Affair: A Betrayal Recovery Discussion
- Compartmentalizing Infidelity: An Unstable Approach to Dealing with Life’s Pressures
- Why People Cheat: A Betrayal Recovery Expert’s Perspective
- Personal Growth After Infidelity: The Long Journey Towards Clarity and Authenticity
- Chasing Validation in All the Wrong Places: A Betrayal Recovery Story
- Overcoming Self-Doubt and Seeking Validation: A Betrayal Recovery Discussion
- The Importance of Vulnerability and Communication in Betrayal Recovery
- Bridging the Gap: Opening Up the Discussion on Difficult Topics in Betrayal Recovery
- The Redemption Process: Finding a Way Forward After Betrayal
- Betrayal and Abuse: A Conversation on the Overlap and How to Address Them
Questions & Answers in this Episode
- Who are the host and guest of the podcast episode?
– The host is Lora Cheadle, a betrayal recovery coach, and the guest is Shawn Cheadle, her husband who has cheated on her in the past.
- What is the podcast episode about?
– The episode is about Shawn’s second interview, where he discusses his infidelity, struggles with communication and self-doubt, and the challenges of recovering from betrayal.
- How did the affair start and how long did it last?
– The affair started with flirtation over text and phone calls and lasted for around 18 months to 2 years and continued for 15 years.
- Did the affair partner live in the same state as Shawn?
– No, the affair partner was out of state, making the logistics of the affair more difficult.
- What is compartmentalization and why is it important?
– Compartmentalization is like having different drawers for different aspects of life, such as work, family, sports, etc. It is important to deal with multiple aspects of life and avoid carrying guilt and stress with you all the time.
- How did Shawn struggle with communication and expressing his emotions?
– Shawn struggled to understand and communicate his feelings and desires, which led to infidelity in his marriage. He also felt angry and frustrated but did not know how to express his feelings authentically.
- Did Shawn seek validation through other relationships?
– Yes, Shawn sought validation through several short-lived flings.
- What is the next podcast episode going to be about?
– The next episode will delve into the redemption process for someone in the aftermath of a significant mistake or fall.
- What is the speaker’s perspective on using “I statements” in communication?
– The speaker emphasizes the importance of using “I statements” to powerfully communicate personal needs and feelings.
Key Topics & Bullets
– Emotional connection with someone who understood and responded to them
– Length of the affair and communication methods
– The challenge of avoiding being caught by their spouse
– Questioning whether the relationship should have just been a friendship
– Difficulty in piecing together gaps in memory of the affair
– Lora Cheadle’s belief that betrayal uncovers the truth
– Shawn’s infidelity with five different women over the years
– Hope that the show will give insight to both those who have been betrayed and those who have betrayed others
– The process of getting to the point of infidelity is often reflected upon in hindsight
– The speaker’s experience with tunnel vision and compartmentalization during the affair
– The importance and challenges of compartmentalizing in daily life
– The speaker’s struggles with communication and expressing emotions, leading to infidelity
– The speaker’s personal disconnect and desire for validation from others
– The importance of addressing difficult topics and bridging the gap between victims and those who caused harm.
– The next episode will delve into the redemption process after a significant mistake or fall.
You’re listening to FLAUNT!, find your sparkle, and create a life you love after infidelity or betrayal. Have you been betrayed by life your body, or someone that you love, you’re not alone. No matter what you’ve been through, naked self worth helps you regain confidence joy and enthusiasm so you can create a life you love and flourish, tune in weekly, and learn how.
Lora Cheadle [00:00:30]:
Hello. Welcome to FLAUNT!. find your sparkle and create a life you love after infidelity or betrayal. I’m Lora Cheadle, attorney and betrayal recovery coach who believes the betrayal uncovers the truth. Betrayal uncovers the truth of what possible for us once we stop focusing on what was done to us and start showing up unapologetically for ourselves. I would really love to connect to see how I could best support you on your betrayal recovery journey so you could understand what really happened and heal faster, skipping the mistakes pain and the obsessive thoughts that plagued me during my own betrayal recovery journey.
Today is the second of three interviews that I am doing with my husband, Shawn, who is the man who betrayed me. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you likely know our story. And for those of you who are new, welcome. And let me give you a very brief rundown of our situation. My husband, Shawn, cheated on me, for 15 years with 5 different women. at the time that I found out we had been married 23 years.
And because his cheating was so extensive and there were so many different reasons for it, this show is going to have a lot of good, juicy nuggets for you, and for the person who betrayed you if they are open and willing to listen. Some of the things that we are going to address today are, why? Why would somebody cheat? We are going to talk about things like How could you not think about me? How could you not think about your kids or your life when you were doing it? We’re going to talk about some things like How can you say you loved me? How can you say you still love me if you did something like this? And you are also going to get some insight on why when you ask your cheating partner about what they were thinking or what was going on,
They don’t know. Why they don’t really remember and why they can’t answer questions. So that’s why this is going to be such a good show, not only for you, but for the person who betrayed you, because it is my hope that this show will give them insight to their own inner workings. it will give them insight to what was going on inside of me, and will also let them to see that what they did and how they responded in a sense was normal. Because it’s only when we feel that sense of psychological safety that we are indeed normal. Even though this isn’t right or good or kind, But when we feel that sense of psychological safety that, yeah, I am normal. That’s when we can open up and start doing the work and not before then. So with that, buckle your seat belts. There’s gonna be a lot here. We are going to talk about the mindset during the affair. and welcome to the show again, Shawn.
Shawn Cheadle [00:04:12]:
Lora Cheadle [00:04:13]:
So the first show that we did, we talked about some of the things that led up to you cheating. Some of the pain, some of your feeling of being vulnerable, some of your desire to be validated, and some of how to how to say this. You’re not knowing what you are feeling, so you your inability to express what you are feeling and what you need Is there anything else that you can think of to recap that first show what led up to the affair before we move into your state of mind during
Shawn Cheadle [00:05:00]:
the affair? I would just reiterate the discussion we had around vulnerabilities because it set the stage for the poor decisions that I made that were based on Promise, I didn’t even know were still sort of in me and causing me to not express my feelings, not see that the ways you probably did validate me. So I started seeking elsewhere. That validation based on this pain, this trauma. I’ve done a lot of work around that now. But frankly, looking back new that, you know, that’s that’s a broken person. We took that route, unfortunately. And it’s not the route I wanted to take, by the way. What I wanted was a perfect marriage. That’s tough to have. We all know. But this during phase is a very long phase, so it’s going to be
Lora Cheadle [00:06:03]:
an interesting conversation to see why did it persist for so long. Yeah. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Okay. So with the stage being set, that you have, in your heart, a desire for a perfect marriage. We all have a desire, I think, for a perfect life, for a perfect marriage, and we also know that life is really freaking hard. relationships are hard. And like you mentioned, you had a lot of trauma growing up that you never dealt with. And all people have a certain amount of trauma. And, sadly, many people have not dealt with that trauma. So like you said, we we have this frame, this background, some broken people, but still Somebody who I think who has a good heart and who really legitimately wants to feel good and wants to feel happy and wants to be in the connected, committed marriage Is that fair? That’s fair.
Okay. So let’s move into this during phase. Let’s start just from the beginning from the first time you had an affair. So many people are the first time you cheated, the first time you took action on that. so many women that I work with say, what were you thinking? What made it okay to do it that first time?
Shawn Cheadle [00:07:22]:
Well, nothing makes it okay to do it that first time or any time thereafter. Nothing makes it okay, and I think many of us are aware of that, and It’s troubling, I’m sure, for the betrayed to understand how it is that we can get to a spot the 3 or get to a spot where we cross the line. And then when the line is crossed, how in the world do we maintain? that whole process. So getting there, though, is something that I’ve thought about in hindsight a lot in reflecting on that time when it actually you know, this person is out of state. It’s a long ways away.
It’s not, you know, around the corner or you know, a local person. It it was hard to make these things happen. And when I was actually in a situation where I could be with her, it was it was a weird, like, tunnel vision for me, the tunnel experience. Like, I the rest of my life stopped. when I was in that moment, and I’m only focused on this they call it compartmentalization for a reason. For me, it was you know, tonal vision in that moment that I was going to see this through and cross the line. And some people would say you crossed the line earlier with flirting, you know, text messages, etcetera, phone calls. Right? because that’s one of the quote, affair partners was never a physical affair. It was all flirtation. over text and such. Right? So these things can happen in different ways, but for me, it was really a A tunnel. I was like in a tunnel where it was just everything in the rest of my life was closed off.
Lora Cheadle [00:09:38]:
So what what was your mindset around? What am I gonna get from this? Why is this good? Because I love that you mentioned smart mentalization. That is something. You know? Sometimes we put something aside. We muscle up. We go to work. We get through the day because we know I need to get through the day. Or we say, like, when you’re in labor and you’re having a child, you’re like, I’m gonna tough it out because I’m gonna get the child at the end of the day, and this is perfect. I’m gonna stick it out because this is what I’m gonna get. What did you think you were accomplishing by doing this? What did you think you were gonna get at the end of the day?
Shawn Cheadle [00:10:14]:
Well, I think at some level, you think you’re gonna get satisfaction. You think that You know, whether it’s physical or emotional, I think that my journey led me there because I wanted to be validated. and I didn’t I wasn’t in terms of of the emotional validation that I was seeking, thinking that this other person provided that, I really thought culminating in some sexual experience was going to sort of button that up and and make it feel right and that the validation would be seated and and grounded now. so that I would be understood. And it just tells you how warped you can get when you start crossing the line and then you actually do. And for me, again, it’s this emotional connection, not the sexual experience that, you know, in every single one of the other persons, that was a situation for me where it was it became really hard to explain. Why in the world? But anybody go do this, if not for the sexual gratification.
Lora Cheadle [00:11:26]:
Right. And and I definitely wanna move into some of the other partners. But just that first instance, because this is something that so many men can’t explain. I asked you this. Other women that I work with ask, So you wanted to leave me, so you wanted to find true love, and so you wanted to leave me. So you’re finding somebody who validates you. You wanna it up with a sexual experience, it’s gonna be amazing. So you wanna leave me? And how would you answer that? Because the way you answer that and the way many men answer it is no, and then there’s this seeming disconnect. So let’s go down that route. So you’re with this person, you’re like, yay. They’re gonna validate me. We’re gonna have sex that’s gonna be amazing. To me, the logical next step is, and now we’re going to be in love, and we’re gonna build this relationship, and we’re gonna be together.
Shawn Cheadle [00:12:18]:
So it’s a major disconnect and it’s a disconnect for the betrayer as well. And for me, Even in in the work I started doing after all the disclosure, one counselor that I didn’t go on with because he couldn’t actually represent me and help me, he said. But he told me he asked me three times inside of 1 hour. Why are you still married? after I told him this whole story. And I cannot answer that question really super clearly in my own mind at the time.
What what I understood though is that I wanted to have a marriage that was full peace and harmony and a partner that, you know, was symbiotic and everything, and I validating each other. And I didn’t feel like that was happening, but yet the income grew I’m incongruity in my mind is, y cross the line, break fouls, all those things, and betray you and really what I want is you. And so I struggled with how that’s even possible. Right? and yet I continue to try to do the work you and I would do is mostly just living our life because I went off and saw a few counselors here and there for various reasons, or we did some parenting classes.
But the the disputes that we had or the lack of validation that I seem to be getting in the marriage I I didn’t think that it was necessary. I thought I could be validated by you. I thought, where’s the the glorious love we had when we met in the first, you know, 7 years. And why did it shift for me? Right? So why am I still married? Why did I stay married for 23 years at the time and and still go with these other persons? Right? It’s a valid question and a tough one to answer, but as as we noted on on the first program, my why was to seek validation. But what did I get when I when I was with the other person? Did I get the validation? You know what? The great reality is not really. So why why would you continue to do those things? Right? Well, it’s not easy to explain the the human psyche that it wasn’t well, and that was me. Yeah.
Lora Cheadle [00:14:54]:
Couple of things that I want to follow-up and go deeper on is you’re seeking something and you’re not getting it. And it was you never put in hindsight, you can use the word validation. At the time, you never said to me, I don’t feel like I’m getting validated. I need more validation. And that’s something that I just wanna talk about for whoever is listening and for whatever reason your partner cheated. It is my guess that, like Shawn, they didn’t know what they wanted. They didn’t ask for what they wanted. They just kind of went out and were seeking this nebulous thing because on some level, they were dissatisfied, but they didn’t know how or why or what it was.
Shawn Cheadle [00:15:43]:
I didn’t know what I wanted at the time. I didn’t call it validation. That’s that’s true. And I’m sure for a lot of for for a lot of betrayers, the why is hard to explain because at the time, they’re not communicating what they’re feeling and what they’re missing. For some, it’s in the bedroom or whatever. Right? It it it it can be A myriad of reasons why, to your point, not expressing the why is really our the the failing that I was experiencing. I see. As a person, not being in touch. Now here’s the thing. You know, big strong dude, you know, supposed to be tough. know, you walk it off, you tough it out, whatever. Right? But you don’t talk about your feelings and you don’t cry.
Oh, you know that I’m an emotional guy I spun. I can cry. I can watch a movie and cry. And I and it’s always inexplicable to me. Right? Why these emotions bubble up? And I have no words. no dialogue to explain what it is that I’m lacking, the feelings that I’m feeling, that maybe my feelings are hurt or I felt disrespected, and instead, I might act out in Hornfoys. And you see some people that are abusive that do bad. Right? That, sadly. I mean, there’s lots of reactions to our inability to communicate our feelings. much less detect what we are feeling. I thought there was 3 emotions. Right? Sadness fear and and rage. I mean, I mean, it’s it’s it’s a lot of work to get to where I’m at today, and I’m still not in any good space in my own personal growth route, I would say. I I feel like I have so much more to do on feelings and identifying and telling you when I felt disrespected or when I didn’t feel validated. but it’s so much better than it ever used to be because I’m also now aware, and I’m trying to find the dialogue and express my needs –
Yeah. — and the i statements that, you know, we we’ve many of us have explored are really helpful and powerful. Plus, I also know that it’s truly over. And the the hard work And fighting for my marriage began, you know, 5 years ago now for you and I. But for me, it was Really important to to start exploring what was going on in my psyche, my experience. when I went put myself back in those those moments, and I can’t remember everything. You brought up a point about what happened here? What are the details? What color was the bra? What is, you know, what is my situation? And it’s really hard sometimes. to identify all of that because I wasn’t aware of all of that. Right? So my experience isn’t this vision that you have, of what must have been happening. Oh, it was all love, and and, you know, I’m gonna run away with somebody.
Now that happens. I know. And those wives may be different or the same, but the point is that was not my experience. And that’s largely why I was still married because I still wanted the marriage that I always wanted with you, and I need to figure out how to do that without going somewhere else. Yeah.
Lora Cheadle [00:19:16]:
And one of the questions that comes up then is, okay. If you, like so many other men, in their so, like, I want this woman. I want this marriage. I want this family. What part of you doesn’t know that having an affair is gonna trash that?
Shawn Cheadle [00:19:33]:
I think you always know that if it’s disclosed, The marriage could be trashed. The relationship could be trashed. It’s not that you don’t know that could happen. you just try for that not to happen. So hence, you know, in the manipulation, the justifying, and all the cover up, of what you’ve done to keep it a secret.
Lora Cheadle [00:20:03]:
Right. Because the hope is then that somebody won’t find out and that somehow this will make my marriage better?
Shawn Cheadle [00:20:13]:
I don’t know if it’s gonna make your marriage better. but it might make you feel better as the betrayer. Right? And that’s what my why was was to go feel better somehow. Some people that might be the sexual part. Some of it’s the emotional part. Right? Others, it might be running from something. But for me, I did wanna feel better, and it’s it’s horrible to think that, you know, you can’t you can’t stand in your place and find your own joy. You know? I used to think that as I said on our wedding day that today I married happiness, It’s a hard lesson that you aren’t here to make me happy. I have to turn inward to find my own happiness, my own joy, and that’s a daily process.
Lora Cheadle [00:21:00]:
Yeah. That’s a lot, isn’t it? And to a point you made earlier, some people gamble to, quote, unquote, find half business. They shop. They drink. They you know, there’s a lot of behaviors. There’s a lot of ways that people act out when they’re not happy, and you’re you nailed it. It’s instead of turning within and figuring out themselves, they seek I mean, they seek external validation. And you and as you’ve been saying all along, why did you do it? I did it for validation, but it’s all external validation. None of it was internal validation. And there is such wisdom in that for anybody that, wow, it took you a lot of years, and you’ve heard a lot of people trying to get them to validate you when all you needed to do is learn how to do it yourself.
Shawn Cheadle [00:21:53]:
Yeah. And you you pick up on something that’s critical. For me, I call a validation. For others, they could easily and they could I I could even see in my situation, use the word happiness. I’m not happy. I’m looking for happiness. And happiness comes with thin, not without. And so many of us that would drink or look at porn or go out constantly with you know, add another softball team. Right? You just gone 5 nights a week. Workaholic. I I’ve had buddies that are in that. Yeah. Workaholic. there’s there’s a great book. I don’t wanna talk about it that that that goes into a lot of isms, you know, alcoholism, workaholism, and and a lot of running from.
And so, really, the I was I was looking for happiness or validation elsewhere and thinking that you’re not making me happy or you’re not validating Right? When, really, that can happen within myself, and I had to go really do the work to figure that part out. Yeah. And fortunate that you saw how broken I was, and then that’s when you had, you know, this realization that you wanted to fight for the marriage too. So were, I think, both fortunate that we’re still here together because that was a a a big disclosure, and and a serious problem that I was experiencing.
Lora Cheadle [00:23:15]:
Yeah. And before I move on to the next question, what I wanna say is you’re 5 years into doing this work. And like you said, it’s not done. We’re scratching the surface here. You’re you’re growing. You’re learning. You’re changing. But for anybody who is listening to this, this is not a short term fix. And I don’t wanna be discouraging. You can do it. You can save your marriage. You can have your partner transform. You can have the marriage of your dreams. And it takes work, you know, therapy, energy work, coaching, counseling, like, You name it. Classes reading, it takes a lot of work, and it takes time. And the realizations and the understandings develop and grow. It’s not like you can have a 1 hour appointment with somebody and bam all the shifts happen, and your partner comes home a different person and says, oh, honey, I’m so sorry. What I understand about myself is, and now we’re fixed.
Shawn Cheadle [00:24:20]:
Yeah. And I think I would add that I’m not sure that you’re ever fixed. Yep. We we are humans. We’re still gonna have loss in our life. Right? There’s gonna be perhaps trauma, sadly. You know, accidents happen to car accident or you lose your job. There’s still gonna be events. Life events, that can be very disruptive. How do you navigate those? That to me is really when you say, you know, I’m I’m 5 years in, but I’m I’m just grasping the surface. I think I’m a little deeper than the surface, but life still continues to happen.
Just lost my dad recently. A lot of lot of pain around that that I didn’t expect. Yeah. because it wasn’t, you know, the greatest relationship, but, you know, I had a connection with him later in life, and so now there’s law. Right? So whatever your your issue is going to be, to me, you gotta use the phrase practice. Are you practicing what you’ve learned about yourself, about your spouse, about the human condition, about feelings, about expression? Right?
Lora Cheadle [00:25:23]:
If you’re not practicing — — yourself happy.
Shawn Cheadle [00:25:25]:
Yeah. If you’re not practicing, whether that’s daily, weekly, whatever it takes to stay in alignment and connected with each other, then you’re gonna struggle. Right. So how do you what are you practicing? Right? Are you practicing nonverbal communication because that’s probably not gonna get you much further than you’d been. Exactly. Are you practicing suppressing your feelings? No. You wanna practice expressing your feelings, knowing what you’re feeling. Where in your body are you feeling it? so many things to say about all of this. Right? Are you practicing personal connection? You can you stand and stare at each other, eye to eye? Right? The the things you and I do today are so much different than we did for 15, 20 years. Right. Right. And to me, that kind of level of practice for partners is really transformative compared to the experience I think I had that led me into affairs. Exactly.
Lora Cheadle [00:26:26]:
Okay. Now what I wanna move into is, again, state of mind during. And what I wanna do is sticking with the 1st affair partner, we will lump some of the other ones in a kind of a different category next. But sticking with the 1st affair partner, that you expressed and explained really well why you were going out. You were seeking validation. You were thinking, well, if my wife can’t make me happy, this person is gonna make me happy. And then I’ll be happy, and then I can stay in my marriage, and my marriage is gonna work, and it’s gonna be fine. So in your mind, it it is a disconnect.
It’s not that I wanna run off and be with this person. It’s I wanna make myself happy. Let’s talk about how that worked for you. How happy were you after each time? What kept it going for 15 years? Because the way you set it up in your mind is I’m just gonna keep this person on the side for the rest of my life, and they’re gonna bring me that happiness, and then I can have this completely compartmented life. my life at home that is now perfect because this person on the side is giving me all the validation that I need. So now law. Marriage is perfect. Your relationship is perfect, and we’re all happy. Did that work out for you?
Shawn Cheadle [00:27:39]:
No. It didn’t work out for me. But, you know, there’s There’s a notion in affairs where sometimes a fair partners really feel stuck after they’ve crossed the line. And we would really like for the affair to end Some do break it up, and that’s what where disclosure comes in perhaps. But for me, I realized that the physical is not what that was about. It was I thought this person was a friend. I thought this person was somebody I could confide in. I thought this person provided good advice to me. I thought this person validated me. All the reasons I I went to this person even in the beginning before it got kinda flirty. And then when I realized that sexual part of it was not why I’ll cross the line and I should not have done that, I really felt stuck. And so it no. It did not work out for me. And, you know, so why did it persist? That’s another question. Yeah. So and let’s start from the beginning because so you were
Lora Cheadle [00:28:52]:
how long were you in the this is awesome? I’m I’m in love. This is awesome. This is working for me. How long were you in that phase of, yeah, this is a good thing, and it’s kind of exciting to plan this time, and it’s kind of exciting to take care of Lora so she won’t be calling me. How describe your mindset in the citing this is working well for me phase.
Shawn Cheadle [00:29:18]:
Well, it was a short phase considering the length. but it was also not I was in love, and it was not Nirvana or any of these things. But it it was truthfully exciting to feel like somebody’s responding to me. And seems to get me. Right? Seems to understand because, you know, if if I had a crystal ball or or hindsight, I could have said, look. this this conversation that we’re having is going too deep into our marriage or kids or whatever. Your marriage. She has was not married. She’s never been married. Right? but the point is, I’m starting to confide in my problem her with her in my problems. And feeling like she gets me, and she’s giving good feedback for me, which wasn’t go talk to your wife, which wasn’t go you know, get this counseling or whatever. Right? Right.
It was See me. See me. Right. It was get get more of her, and I will be more satisfied, more validated. Right? So it was a relatively short period given 15 years. But I would say, you know, it’s 18 months. It’s 2 years max because that’s about when the first two encounters happened and then You know, there’s a big break because, again, this person’s out of state, so I don’t go up there all the time. And so it was It was a when I’m in the moment, my mindset in the moment, when I think back to, you know, those early years, a lot of communication. There’s a text here and there. There’s, you know, once in a while, an email, but a phone call. And we had to work the phone calls around where, you know, I’m alone. No one’s home or I’m on whatever, an errand or whatever.
So there’s manipulation just to make the phone calls. Right? Were you deleting a text thread after a while or whatever it is? And to me, it started to feel like this should have just been a friendship, and it might not have been a fair and good friendship at that. Right? So to me, I mean, had to look at it in hindsight that it’s not working. But at the time, I’m still trying to manipulate it and manage it.
Lora Cheadle [00:31:45]:
Yeah. So where is that turning point where you think because we’ve all been there. We’ve all met whether it’s a friendship or in our dating life, we’ve all met that person where we’re like, this is gonna be great. And then it starts creeping in and you’re like, oh my gosh. oh, this is not gonna work. Where and those are my words, not yours. Where does that turning point start happening where you start realizing? mean, it’s pretty early on even before you acknowledge it to yourself that where do you start really realizing this is not This isn’t what I need. This isn’t what I want. Shoot. I meet at this place now and I can’t get out. When did that happen for you?
Shawn Cheadle [00:32:28]:
Well, it was after the second time we met in person, and I knew then that this is not a physical success. This is not something that I I want to continue to pursue. even though there was a few more encounters after that, it was something again. Like I said, I tried to, you know, manipulate the situation into it’s a friendship that dabbles. It’s a friendship that I could get validation and some
Lora Cheadle [00:33:04]:
I don’t wanna even call it counseling, but it it It’s so much event to who’s gonna give you It’s venting and feedback. menting and feedback. Right? And feedback that’s gonna give you what you wanna hear. Not honest feedback, but she told you everything you wanted to hear.
Shawn Cheadle [00:33:21]:
to bring you back to her. Yes. And you gotta understand that, you know, in the course of a long relationship like that, it’s not all one-sided. Like, You know, Shawn needs to be validated, so Shawn calls other person. It was a whole bunch of phone calls about life about other things, about somebody that we knew growing up that died, something that, you know, is she needed. You know? she wanted advice or whatever it is. Right? And there was an odd time during that whole thing when I was trying to get her to date. And, you know, it’s like, I just I wanted this thing to end.
Lora Cheadle [00:34:02]:
So why didn’t you end it?
Shawn Cheadle [00:34:05]:
Yeah. Well, that’s where I felt stuck, and didn’t know the consequences of ending it, frankly. I don’t think most of us ever do except that, you know, it could be really bad. Mhmm. And so call it fear, call it shame, It’s inexplicable why, you know, you can’t be just stand in your place and be strong enough to end something like that. less less not ever do it. But so, yeah, it it didn’t end it until disclosure came about.
Lora Cheadle [00:34:35]:
Mhmm. So you have this relationship. You seek it out because you wanna feel better. You don’t actually feel better. Before we move on, you you say for about 18 months, you felt better. I wanna talk about that time before we move on because there’s a lot of men that are in that similar situation. Describe feeling better I mean, how how is this working? Why aren’t you feeling guilty? Women will say, what about you didn’t think about me? How can you still love me during that? Talk about feeling better and still being in your family.
Shawn Cheadle [00:35:18]:
This is where you really need a course in compartmentalization and how that actually works. And I like as it was described to me to use the same description of a chest of drawers. Imagine every drawer is a pocket of your life. and and a fair other person is one of those drawers. My family is a whole another drawer, and it might be a big drawer. There’s other drawers. Right? There might be a sports drawer. There might be, you know, a work drawer. And, ironically, work is something that many of us compartmentalize, but we have a hard time closing a drawer.
Right? So the point to your question is, how do you compart get out of the compartment and go to another compartment? That is being within a fair person and then going back to family or going to work or whatever it is, going to church for goodness sakes. Right? if you’re with this affair partner and you literally close the drawer, that is shutting down that compartment. And all these neurons, however that works. Right?
The science is there, but you go and call your wife or you you’re on your flight home or your drive home or whatever it is, you’re opening the family drawer, that compartment, holy. I’m not, you know, 2 feet in each drawer. I am closing and opening drawers all the time, and many of us do this. Some of us don’t do it very well. And so some people, you know, to your point about the guilt, the guilt get closed with the drawer. it’s literally compartmented. So it’s not like, you know, I’m carrying this with me all the time that I feel like I
Lora Cheadle [00:37:06]:
have to, you know, the weight of the guilt, I gotta go disclose it. Right. Right. And yet, I wanna put this in here too because this happened in our relationship this happens to in countless other relationships too. The guilt isn’t there consciously, but then so often when you would come home or more likely when you were about to leave, you would pick a fight with me. So you could be mad at me. So somehow, inside, you’re justifying what it’s okay to do because I really have a bad relationship. And that is so common. Everybody’s like, I could now looking back the years he was having enough favor, he was always picking fights with me.
Shawn Cheadle [00:37:51]:
I think that part of the manipulation process can cause us to I mean, how do you get out of the family drawer and go to the next drawer? Right? So some people would say, yes. They they become hungry or they pick a fight or they become distant or they don’t wanna be present. Right? So they look for reasons to escape the family drawer and close that drawer. And you can then call that justifying Right? The persistence of the affair, because now you wanna get over to the affair drawer and open that that drawer.
You know, for others, it might be just getting into the the pornography drawer. Right? Or whatever. It’s it’s a personal private thing. So compartmentalization happens in all of these. areas. Right. Some people, they they drink alone or they you know, it’s not a social thing. It’s not a family thing. They wanna go and be at the bar. So that’s a compartment, and they do the same kind of thing I was doing in their family drawer.
Lora Cheadle [00:38:53]:
Get away and disconnect from the family. Yeah. And like that, it’s the reason to get away, the justification to get away. I had to get away because yeah. Okay. So jump closing the drawer on that for a while. You have this affair. It’s not working. You can’t get out of it. In your mind, fortunately, she lives far away because I don’t have to deal with her all the time. yet, even though it didn’t work, even though you feel trapped, even though you feel stuck, you choose to have affairs with 4 other women. Talk about that rationale.
Shawn Cheadle [00:39:32]:
This is a whole different phase that Speaking of feeling vulnerable, where and you and I have talked about this, but I really thought you were doing something. and I thought you were doing something with 2 other people. I am realizing that you had begun this sort of dance troop career, not really a career, but a a hobby. Having fun. And but you were in superb shape, and I still have a dad body. and really losing hair. Right?
And I’m really feeling self conscious about where I’m at. So it took charge lost thirty pounds, you know, trying to stay fit, get fit, was thrilled with what you were doing. because the whole dancing thing was really cool to me, but it seemed to have these, you know, 30 side perks that I thought were going further. And I felt like the vulnerability that I had is that I was also a trade person in a prior marriage, and I thought I don’t wanna be stung again. I need to be ready. So this was a very different why, if you will, and purpose for trying to explore if if I was acceptable to other people, and all those are failures. Everything’s a freaking failure about affairs. It’s just horrible. Yeah.
Lora Cheadle [00:41:07]:
And thank you for saying honestly, like, it it is the vulnerability. It’s There’s a lot of pain in that, that you were betrayed before, at the time only you knew that you had been cheating on me, and that amps up the fear That amps up I mean, there’s shame for what you did. There’s fear that it’s gonna happen again, and There’s also that protection instinct that I’m not gonna be hurt again, and if she’s gonna do something, I gotta protect myself. I mean, that’s That’s a horrible position to be in.
Shawn Cheadle [00:41:45]:
Not comfortable at all.
Lora Cheadle [00:41:48]:
And then going back you know, to the logical question with hindsight that we can answer. But at the time, why didn’t you express that to me? Why didn’t you say? I’m concerned. I’m afraid. I’m sad. I’m having all this vulnerability. I mean, I can understand maybe not wanting to reveal the affair at that point, but why no communication
Shawn Cheadle [00:42:10]:
around that? Well, I still had no tools that I was practicing use of. like I do today to express my vulnerabilities. And I did not know that I had vulnerabilities. I’m still being a tough guy. I’m still highly successful at work and have a mask over all of my trauma scars. I am suppressing, oppressing, you know, but then the inability to explain where I’m at and what I’m feeling in an authentic way with you, right, so that I can get feedback on that and make sure that you understand where I’m at. and then get reasonable change in our behavior.
Right? That should have been happening, and it could have been happening to write help back then, but I didn’t know it was a vulnerability. I didn’t know how to express it. I just felt angry. and I’m not getting what I want, so I’m gonna get with somewhere else. And it was really, you know, frustrating to be Like, there’s this there’s this notion that you and I this this story you and I have where I’m not a morning person, but if I, you know, didn’t wanna have to deal with something in the morning, I would get up and head to work super early.
Yep. Right? And you thought I was off having a real big project, working really hard, and I’m just mad as hell. and can’t figure out how to express myself and off to work. Go go. Yeah. And I’m gonna — — just stews. Right. And I’m gonna state of gratitude. and you’re mad, and think about the disconnect there. Yeah. And the happiness line was totally different from both of us during those periods. Mhmm.
Lora Cheadle [00:43:52]:
So did you feel stuck in these other affairs? How did you start and end these?
Shawn Cheadle [00:43:58]:
They were fleeting in a way. It was more experiential, not emotionally connecting. The the one, of course, was never physical, so it’s just, you know, texting and and being naughty on text and not enacting and engaging, and I always thought, well, if that person wasn’t out of state, then that probably would’ve could’ve have been an encounter. But, you know, others were I mean, everyone of them was different. I’m not sure, you know, there’s any value, and explaining the description around those. It’s just that they were fleeting. They were very short, and, you know, I mean, one encounter each. Right? And not I mean, there was 2 that were affording, and it wasn’t this emotional connection flirting. It’s just My vulnerability is, I still have a dad bod.
Right? Or if I really turn a corner here and trying to stay fit and, you know, looking at my forties, you know, and into the fifties. Where am I going with all of this? And what’s it gonna be like? physically for me because I am athletic. I wanna be athletic. I wanna stay fit and lose all that weight and then keep it off. But losing my hair, I’m, you know, this and that. Right? And not seeing that that’s really a vulnerability. I just needed some reaction that, you know, you’re hot. You’re dancing with this troop, and I’m like, holy cow. I’m not. You know, so it would be nice to, I think, go through life and you know a lot of people experience this where you just don’t love yourself. And the more work we do in that area, I think the better we all feel about expressing our needs and what we want because You love yourself.
Lora Cheadle [00:46:01]:
Yeah. So well said because and I do wanna point this out too because a lot of women say this to me too. we were still having sex. It’s we were having a lot of sex. It’s not like we were having years where nothing happened. it’s not it was just your desire to know that you were still attractive to other people. You were attractive to me. but you wanted to be attractive to other people.
Shawn Cheadle [00:46:29]:
I wanted to be attractive in life, and I felt like you were, and I wasn’t. Yeah. And, you know, I didn’t even like myself in sex. I mean, I you know, it’s like, yes. We were still having sex, but I I didn’t like how I look, and so that’s that’s a that’s a huge vulnerability. And, you know, all shapes and sizes. Right? I mean, it does it’s not it’s not about everybody feeling Like, you have to love yourself physically, but in a way, you just have to love yourself. Whatever you are. Whatever you like. Right? Yeah. Whatever shape inside you’re comfortable with is what I think you ought to love. And then where are you in your relationships at that point? Yeah. And are you both in the same spot?
Lora Cheadle [00:47:16]:
Right. And you know what? That brings up something that is a bit of a segue, a bit of a rabbit hole, but I wanna go there. because I’ve had a whole show dedicated to this. There is a myth that the affair partner must be so beautiful, so amazing, so good and bad, so incredible to talk to. that the betrayed partner, and I know I felt this way, I felt so ugly. I felt like I must be the most hideous, stupid, unable to talk, cannot give you advice, cannot find connection. I thought my body, my hair, my face, I thought I must be so horrific that you had to find these other people and that you would find people that were better than me.
And Again, not to be, like, judgy around bodies because there’s beauty and everything. And yet, for the sake of this conversation, we’re just gonna go there. the affair partners were not attractive, were not educated, did not provide good advice, objectively had way less going on than I did. And I have a whole show about the affair partner is usually a reflection of how the cheater feels about themselves inside. So let’s talk about that a little bit. Why you selected way lesser class, lesser quality, lesser everything people.
Shawn Cheadle [00:48:48]:
For me, The choice to cross a line was not because of the physicality of the other person choice to cross the line with a personal vulnerability, a personal flaw. With the long term person, I needed the emotional validation. With the short term people, I wanted physical validation. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of attraction or whatever, you know, The experience could be I wanted to see if I was capable of doing that. and it wasn’t about the physicality of the other person. And I find that I know that it’s tough on you Because it wasn’t.
You are my my queen of being hot. That’s my attraction. It was not a physical attraction with these other persons. I just you know, it’s why? Why would I let myself do that? I don’t know. You know? But it was really hard to figure this out for a long time because physical didn’t work either, man. It was, you know, a big mistake every freaking time, and it was like, you know what? I need to somehow understand that my own self esteem has taken a major hit, and and I need to go work on
Lora Cheadle [00:50:24]:
Yeah. Well said. Thank you. So wrapping back around to the beginning, And just answering I think you’ve answered so much in saying, I didn’t I don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it then. It just seemed like the things to do. 5 years later, how much more clarity do you think you have, and how much more clarity do you think is still yet to come?
Shawn Cheadle [00:50:51]:
Well, I don’t know how you measure how much clarity, you know. I don’t think it’s a percentage, but it’s it’s can I write a book about it, you know? I don’t know. I don’t think I have that clarity. I don’t think I understand at all, but I am way ahead of where I used to be. You wanna call that 70, 80%, something like that. It’s what it feels like on why these things happen and why my situation unraveled like it did and and why I unraveled as a person to allow all that to happen.
Right? it was really challenging to stand in the mirror as a betrayer and face my own shame and guilt around that. for a long time. Well, obviously, coming on a a show like this and talking about it, you know, is is a huge leap. for me, I’ve we’ve talked on a couple other programs, and it’s hard. Right? Every time, there’s still a real difficult ability to or a scary feeling — Yeah. — to to step forward and say, I did this, I own it, and here’s how and why and all those things. And what I don’t know. And what I still don’t know, right, is what I don’t know. because I only, you know, I only know what I don’t know or something. But, anyway, it’s it’s really challenging for me to also piece together gaps because you do delete a lot of text, and you do delete a lot of communication
Right? And phone calls are gone and done and trying to explain the whole love piece or the infatuation piece or the excitement piece, it’s taking a lot of dialogue to to sorta resurrect it. I’m not gonna call it hypnosis, but I sort of felt like I had to journal and discuss these things privately with counselors and And and then with you having safe conversations. Right? And as we always set it up, you know, you have you have a difficult question that you’ll you’ll You’ll set it up for me. So all I know, it’s going to be an affair question or some of the nature. Mhmm. And is now a good time, and know, if I’m ready, I’ll say, yeah.
Otherwise, you know, let’s do this after dinner or whatever and, you know, hit me. Right? Right. And then I try to answer, and it’s funny how little sometimes when you compartment, things get left in a drawer and you haven’t dealt with so you don’t have a good recall. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.
Lora Cheadle D [00:53:32]:
And I am so grateful and so glad that you have found it in you to have these conversations that you have done the work and that you were willing to share with others what it is you are going through because I do recognize that that takes a lot of bravery. And the thing is I also recognize there’s this tension between Okay. You’re the one that caused the problem, and we don’t wanna then celebrate the recovery of the person or the bravery of the person who caused the problem. But until we get comfortable with that tension and recognize, okay.
Yes. Hurt people do hurt people, and it does take bravery to redeem oneself. And until we’re comfortable talking about that and feeling around all of that, more people in your situation will not be comfortable doing the work to take that deep dive inside and to actually start repairing and redeeming and making restitution. And whether it’s alcoholism or mental health or sexual abuse or any of those horrible things in our society that There’s all this stigma and there’s all this shame around. The point is we’ve got to talk about it. We’ve got to talk about what it’s like to be the one who betrays, to be the one who abuses, to to be that one. And until we talk about it, we’re not going to solve the problem because we can’t solve the problem just having just having the victim share their side of the equation. It takes everybody coming together to bridge that gap to get that problem solved.
So thank you for being strong and being brave enough to share what was going on in your mind, in your heart, in your psyche, before enduring. And then the next show after, we’re gonna take a deep dive into some more of that. Like, what kind of a man are you and how do you redeem yourself after such a horrific fall and what has happened within you and your life since d day, since the revelation of all of this both good and bad.
Lora Cheadle [00:55:55]:
I wanna close this show just with the revelation that
Lora Cheadle [00:56:01]:
There’s light and dark within all of us. There’s good and bad within all of us. There’s pain and pleasure with in all of us. we are all a mixture of everything, and it’s only when we deny the bad that it strengthens. and it’s hard to look upon that which shames us or embarrasses us or to say, yeah. I know I hurt other people. but it’s only when we look upon that part that we can really heal, that we can really rise, that we can own our goodness, our strength. And I thank you, as my audience, for holding such beautiful space for Shawn and I to come together and to have these series of conversations because, yeah, it’s painful, and it’s hard.
And there’s a lot here And it’s only in our honesty, we believe that we can really empower others to embrace themselves and their lives and their situations honestly as well. So thank you for holding such beautiful space for us. I look forward to seeing you on the next show And as usual, have an amazing week, and always remember to FLAUNT! exactly who you are because who you are is always more than enough.
Tune in next time to FLAUNT!, find your sparkle, and create a life you love after infidelity or betrayal. With radio host and live choreographer, Lora Cheadle, every Wednesday at 7 AM and 7 PM EST, unsindicated Dreamvision 7 radio network. develop naked self worth and reclaim your confidence, enthusiasm, and joy so you can create a life you love and embrace who you are today. download your free sparkle through betrayal recovery guide at naked self worth.com.