Broken
I'm working on forgiving. In order to forgive I want to know exactly what I'm forgiving. My husband has continued to provide watered down truths to his affair. He feels there's no need to re-visit the past let's move forward towards the future. My feeling is this as long as he has secrets with the ow how can we have an open honest relationship? My husband feels there's no need for me to know every little detail. I disagree I should know what I want to know. Is there such a thing knowing too much of the truth?
Quote 0 0
TimT
I definitely believe that you can know TOO MUCH about an affair. I have seen the consequences of the demand to know everything to many times. Does a betrayed spouse have the right to know everything? Sure. Will it help them to know everything? Usually not.

Some in this forum will argue otherwise. For them, having full knowledge felt necessary. But it is definitely a risk. More often than not, the clients I've worked with end up paying a price for all the information that ended up in their heads. So please be careful.

Here's a quote from chapter 8 of my Affair Healing manual:

Quote:
You need to know enough, and only enough, to determine whether or not you will forgive the affair. Even though curiosity or outrage may be motivating you to uncover every single fact, it is not necessary to do so. There are many details you will eventually regret knowing, despite the immediate urge to learn everything.

If the affair is a picture, you need to see its frame (the boundaries of the affair: when it started, when it ended, how far it went) along with enough detail to identify it in a quick glance. You do not need a level of detail gained by examining every specific aspect of the affair. Do not be consumed by the need to see it all. You need information that is adequate, not exhaustive. You need enough detail to allow you to move toward forgiveness and healing, while avoiding specifics that could become unnecessary reminders of the affair in the future.

Remember, you cannot unhear an answer once it is given. I usually discourage questions that link the affair memory to specific places, events, behaviors, or dates since these tend to become constant reminders in years ahead. Avoid details that will allow the affair to sink its hooks any deeper into your consciousness, especially specific details about sexual behaviors. Don't give the affair that kind of power. You can always choose to ask more questions later on, if you need to.

I have never had a spouse come to me after recovery and say, "I sure wish I'd asked for more details" but I've had quite a few express regret over prying too deeply.

In addition to the caution regarding detailed inquiry, you should exercise patience in asking the WHY questions. Even though you may feel a strong need to understand all the reasons for the affair, you are unlikely to get any satisfactory answers to “Why did you do this?” if the affair was recently uncovered. There are a couple reasons for this:

Your spouse/partner has very limited self-insight into all the motives that have been at work. Since insights are limited, they are not able to give adequate responses to “why” questions even if they want to.

Issues in your marriage may have contributed to affair vulnerability. This does not mean you are to blame or that your spouse had an excuse, but these issues may be significant in explaining some of the “why” questions. However, it is difficult to have this conversations, especially early in the healing process, without feeling like you are being blamed. Aware of that risk, your partner may not be ready to discuss these things now, and you may not be ready to hear them.

Turn your attention to other types of questions (who, when, what, etc.) early in the recovery process and wait until your spouse has had time for deeper reflection, preferably with the help of a counselor, before asking why.

Quote 0 0
Courage
TimT wrote:
I definitely believe that you can know TOO MUCH about an affair. I have seen the consequences of the demand to know everything to many times. Does a betrayed spouse have the right to know everything? Sure. Will it help them to know everything? Usually not.

Some in this forum will argue otherwise. For them, having full knowledge felt necessary. But it is definitely a risk. More often than not, the clients I've worked with end up paying a price for all the information that ended up in their heads. So please be careful.

Here's a quote from chapter 8 of my Affair Healing manual:

Quote:
You need to know enough, and only enough, to determine whether or not you will forgive the affair. Even though curiosity or outrage may be motivating you to uncover every single fact, it is not necessary to do so. There are many details you will eventually regret knowing, despite the immediate urge to learn everything.

If the affair is a picture, you need to see its frame (the boundaries of the affair: when it started, when it ended, how far it went) along with enough detail to identify it in a quick glance. You do not need a level of detail gained by examining every specific aspect of the affair. Do not be consumed by the need to see it all. You need information that is adequate, not exhaustive. You need enough detail to allow you to move toward forgiveness and healing, while avoiding specifics that could become unnecessary reminders of the affair in the future.

Remember, you cannot unhear an answer once it is given. I usually discourage questions that link the affair memory to specific places, events, behaviors, or dates since these tend to become constant reminders in years ahead. Avoid details that will allow the affair to sink its hooks any deeper into your consciousness, especially specific details about sexual behaviors. Don't give the affair that kind of power. You can always choose to ask more questions later on, if you need to.

I have never had a spouse come to me after recovery and say, "I sure wish I'd asked for more details" but I've had quite a few express regret over prying too deeply.

In addition to the caution regarding detailed inquiry, you should exercise patience in asking the WHY questions. Even though you may feel a strong need to understand all the reasons for the affair, you are unlikely to get any satisfactory answers to “Why did you do this?” if the affair was recently uncovered. There are a couple reasons for this:

Your spouse/partner has very limited self-insight into all the motives that have been at work. Since insights are limited, they are not able to give adequate responses to “why” questions even if they want to.

Issues in your marriage may have contributed to affair vulnerability. This does not mean you are to blame or that your spouse had an excuse, but these issues may be significant in explaining some of the “why” questions. However, it is difficult to have this conversations, especially early in the healing process, without feeling like you are being blamed. Aware of that risk, your partner may not be ready to discuss these things now, and you may not be ready to hear them.

Turn your attention to other types of questions (who, when, what, etc.) early in the recovery process and wait until your spouse has had time for deeper reflection, preferably with the help of a counselor, before asking why.



So here's a question Tim- how do you let things go that don't add up in your head? Do you accept the things they tell you and leave it at that. I've done that over and over. I want to save my marriage. I go for days or weeks feeling that we are building a great marriage, better than ev er... But out of no where- his stories resurface in my head. I think about what he's told me.. I want with my whole soul to believe him.. But, my intuition won't let my soul rest. I awake in the night feeling anxiety. I ask myself what could be waking me up- why am I so unsettled. Eventually I figure out its his 'truths''that don't add up. I tell him what I'm thinking and feeling. He acts loving and understands my questions but assures me I'm wrong. It still doesn't sit with me, so I do a little detective work and find things that don't match with his story. Continual pattern- I confront him with my proof, he denies it- I keep pushing and eventually wear him down where he admits to my findings. He cries, he's sorry. His reasons for lying about the details of the affair are to prevent me from hurting further and he just wants to rebuild our marriage. He tells me for days that's it- no more lies. I believe him... Then my unrest in my soul surfaces again. I ask, he denies, I dig and find, he admits, he's sorry- no more lies... The cycle continues. I don't ask for the details, it's always the big things- like did you have sex, did you ever go away together, was there contact after discovery. These are things I feel I have a right to know. These are things that haunt me. Am I wrong to do this? Should I just surpress my instincts and let it go?? I don't know how to do that!! I don't know how to let an affair go when every time things don't sit right in my soul and I dig a bit- I'm always right. how am I supposed to accept that he will always lie about the things that I think are 'big' about his affair. Is that how the BS gets over an affair, by suppressing their intuition. For me, I can't heal this way... And I can't give myself fully to a man who I think is withholding truths. Am I digging too much? Confused about how to move past an affair.
Quote 0 0
TimT
Courage wrote:
...how do you let things go that don't add up in your head? Do you accept the things they tell you and leave it at that... Eventually I figure out it's his 'truths''that don't add up. I tell him what I'm thinking and feeling. He acts loving and understands my questions but assures me I'm wrong. It still doesn't sit with me, so I do a little detective work and find things that don't match with his story. Continual pattern- I confront him with my proof, he denies it- I keep pushing and eventually wear him down where he admits to my findings. He cries, he's sorry...

We are all pretty good at justifying our choices. I don't know your husband well enough to know whether his lies originate from a desire to protect the affair, or the affair partner, or himself, or you. But I have worked with clients that continue to cover past truths because they are afraid it will hurt their spouse and just stir up more problems. Well, both of those are true, but they are still bad reasons to hide the truth.

Your husband would probably benefit from a qualified counselor in this area to help him gain a healthier perspective. He may be already getting plenty of well-meaning advice from people who tell him "Don't tell her what she doesn't already know. What good will that do?" but I believe they are wrong.

Two good resources you may want to pass on to him:
  1. A Need for Answers: One man's post about why he needs to hear the truth about his spouse's affair.
  2. Book: How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair. It's a straight-forward book by a counselor who specializes in this area and she makes it very clear why she encourages complete honesty.
I hope those help, if he's willing to consider them.

If not... if the truth continues to "trickle" out only when you uncover something new, it will be nearly impossible for you to trust him. That's not how trust works.

If you are not able to get to counseling, then you may want to suggest that you both have a new conversation in which you both come at this topic fresh. You prepare to ask ANY question (new or old) that seems unresolved to you and he agrees to absolute honesty regarding anything you ask. If you are willing to work toward forgiving an honest confession, let him know. Tell him that you are willing to let the past be the past but that you can only let that happen IF he gives you the honest story about it. Present the opportunity for you both to start moving past all this, but insist that he take the risk of being completely honest with you. You both need some time (a few days, a week) to thoughtfully prepare or this conversation.

A counselor can help tremendously with this. If that simply is not an option, send me a private message and I can help you a bit more with this.
Quote 0 0
Broken
I'm thinking about my last session with our counselor. We talked about my childhood and past relationships. I suddenly realized all of my long term relationships ended in cheating. What am I doing to attract cheaters? Do I cause them to cheat? Is this ever going to end? My head is telling me it's not my fault I did not make the choice to cheat he did it. So why are we focusing on my past and flaws? What about him? He made the choice not me? We have not touched that. This is so frustrating I feel like we are going no where fast and the likelihood of this happening again is very high. He is at a low place right now and he needs my support for his recovery from back surgery. What will happen when he feels good ready to go back to work? I don't think I can get through another episode of cheating it will destroy me. I am terrified of that.
Quote 0 0
Kalmarjan
Broken,

It's not your fault. If your councillor is even suggesting it, get you a new one.

You don't attract a cheater. They choose to cheat for whatever reason.
Quote 0 0
surviving
Broken - when my husband was caught in his affair, the pastor that counseled us started in on me.  He asked all kinds of personal questions and I wouldn't answer him.  He then went on to another question.  Finally, I said, "Why are you questioning me, I didn't have an affair, he did."  That shut him up and we were done with him.  If I had the sense at the time, I would have kicked him out of our house.  But, I was in shock and couldn't believe this was happening.  When someone cheats for 34+ years, you just can't believe you were so stupid that you didn't know it.  What a waste of 34+ years.
Quote 1 0
Courage
TimT wrote:
Courage wrote:
...how do you let things go that don't add up in your head? Do you accept the things they tell you and leave it at that... Eventually I figure out it's his 'truths''that don't add up. I tell him what I'm thinking and feeling. He acts loving and understands my questions but assures me I'm wrong. It still doesn't sit with me, so I do a little detective work and find things that don't match with his story. Continual pattern- I confront him with my proof, he denies it- I keep pushing and eventually wear him down where he admits to my findings. He cries, he's sorry...

We are all pretty good at justifying our choices. I don't know your husband well enough to know whether his lies originate from a desire to protect the affair, or the affair partner, or himself, or you. But I have worked with clients that continue to cover past truths because they are afraid it will hurt their spouse and just stir up more problems. Well, both of those are true, but they are still bad reasons to hide the truth.

Your husband would probably benefit from a qualified counselor in this area to help him gain a healthier perspective. He may be already getting plenty of well-meaning advice from people who tell him "Don't tell her what she doesn't already know. What good will that do?" but I believe they are wrong.

Two good resources you may want to pass on to him:
  1. A Need for Answers: One man's post about why he needs to hear the truth about his spouse's affair.
  2. Book: How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair. It's a straight-forward book by a counselor who specializes in this area and she makes it very clear why she encourages complete honesty.
I hope those help, if he's willing to consider them.

If not... if the truth continues to "trickle" out only when you uncover something new, it will be nearly impossible for you to trust him. That's not how trust works.

If you are not able to get to counseling, then you may want to suggest that you both have a new conversation in which you both come at this topic fresh. You prepare to ask ANY question (new or old) that seems unresolved to you and he agrees to absolute honesty regarding anything you ask. If you are willing to work toward forgiving an honest confession, let him know. Tell him that you are willing to let the past be the past but that you can only let that happen IF he gives you the honest story about it. Present the opportunity for you both to start moving past all this, but insist that he take the risk of being completely honest with you. You both need some time (a few days, a week) to thoughtfully prepare or this conversation.

A counselor can help tremendously with this. If that simply is not an option, send me a private message and I can help you a bit more with this.


Thank you Tim. I ordered the book you suggested and my h has said he will read. He also says he is willing to answer any questions as long as my goal is towards healing our marriage. I'm thinking- " so you're willing to now! All I've been trying to do is heal my marriage for the last 14 months and that is why I challenged you with your stories bc they didn't add up. " I've asked him to move out... And for the first time since this hell started, I truly feel this is what I need. I need time to process a whole bunch of new lies that have been uncovered and to decide if I can ever trust this man again!! He hasagreedand is once again professing his love for me and swearing that any lies he told was to protect me.
We did go to marriage counselling for quite a few sessions but we both found him to be long winded. Much of our time spent was listening to his stories - we didn't feel we were getting anywhere. I feel totallydevestated by new lies and for the first time- I feel done! I never thought I would feel this way, but I need to heal from this. I just don't think I can heal with him in my life. I need time to figure out if I can trust this person, who has seen me beg, watched me writhing in pain while I over and over again tried to get through to him how important the truth was. He swore time and time again I was getting the whole truth..and then more lies were uncovered. I am terrified of a future as a divorcee, but I feel nothing can be worse than this. I'm sick of the pain, sick of the lies and feel I deserve to heal from this. He has proven time and time again that he is a liar- regardless of his intent. He really has put himself first by constantly denying my feelings for the need for the truth!
Quote 0 0
TimT
Broken wrote:
I'm thinking about my last session with our counselor. We talked about my childhood and past relationships. I suddenly realized all of my long term relationships ended in cheating. What am I doing to attract cheaters? Do I cause them to cheat? Is this ever going to end? My head is telling me it's not my fault I did not make the choice to cheat he did it. So why are we focusing on my past and flaws?...

This can be a very valuable focus in counseling, but it should be secondary to the focus placed on the unfaithful spouse, assuming they are willing to engage in the counseling process. If there is a pattern in your relationship history, you should examine who you love and how you love. It's not a question about whether or not you make men cheat because YOU DON'T, but it may be a question about why you become attached to men who have the propensity to cheat. 

I would eventually explore this with any betrayed partner I was counseling as well, not to place any responsibility on them for the affair, but to help them gain whatever insight & change is necessary to be less vulnerable to this in the future.
Quote 0 0
Anna26
Courage wrote:
TimT wrote:
Courage wrote:
...how do you let things go that don't add up in your head? Do you accept the things they tell you and leave it at that... Eventually I figure out it's his 'truths''that don't add up. I tell him what I'm thinking and feeling. He acts loving and understands my questions but assures me I'm wrong. It still doesn't sit with me, so I do a little detective work and find things that don't match with his story. Continual pattern- I confront him with my proof, he denies it- I keep pushing and eventually wear him down where he admits to my findings. He cries, he's sorry...

We are all pretty good at justifying our choices. I don't know your husband well enough to know whether his lies originate from a desire to protect the affair, or the affair partner, or himself, or you. But I have worked with clients that continue to cover past truths because they are afraid it will hurt their spouse and just stir up more problems. Well, both of those are true, but they are still bad reasons to hide the truth.

Your husband would probably benefit from a qualified counselor in this area to help him gain a healthier perspective. He may be already getting plenty of well-meaning advice from people who tell him "Don't tell her what she doesn't already know. What good will that do?" but I believe they are wrong.

Two good resources you may want to pass on to him:
  1. A Need for Answers: One man's post about why he needs to hear the truth about his spouse's affair.
  2. Book: How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair. It's a straight-forward book by a counselor who specializes in this area and she makes it very clear why she encourages complete honesty.
I hope those help, if he's willing to consider them.

If not... if the truth continues to "trickle" out only when you uncover something new, it will be nearly impossible for you to trust him. That's not how trust works.

If you are not able to get to counseling, then you may want to suggest that you both have a new conversation in which you both come at this topic fresh. You prepare to ask ANY question (new or old) that seems unresolved to you and he agrees to absolute honesty regarding anything you ask. If you are willing to work toward forgiving an honest confession, let him know. Tell him that you are willing to let the past be the past but that you can only let that happen IF he gives you the honest story about it. Present the opportunity for you both to start moving past all this, but insist that he take the risk of being completely honest with you. You both need some time (a few days, a week) to thoughtfully prepare or this conversation.

A counselor can help tremendously with this. If that simply is not an option, send me a private message and I can help you a bit more with this.
Thank you Tim. I ordered the book you suggested and my h has said he will read. He also says he is willing to answer any questions as long as my goal is towards healing our marriage. I'm thinking- " so you're willing to now! All I've been trying to do is heal my marriage for the last 14 months and that is why I challenged you with your stories bc they didn't add up. " I've asked him to move out... And for the first time since this hell started, I truly feel this is what I need. I need time to process a whole bunch of new lies that have been uncovered and to decide if I can ever trust this man again!! He hasagreedand is once again professing his love for me and swearing that any lies he told was to protect me. We did go to marriage counselling for quite a few sessions but we both found him to be long winded. Much of our time spent was listening to his stories - we didn't feel we were getting anywhere. I feel totallydevestated by new lies and for the first time- I feel done! I never thought I would feel this way, but I need to heal from this. I just don't think I can heal with him in my life. I need time to figure out if I can trust this person, who has seen me beg, watched me writhing in pain while I over and over again tried to get through to him how important the truth was. He swore time and time again I was getting the whole truth..and then more lies were uncovered. I am terrified of a future as a divorcee, but I feel nothing can be worse than this. I'm sick of the pain, sick of the lies and feel I deserve to heal from this. He has proven time and time again that he is a liar- regardless of his intent. He really has put himself first by constantly denying my feelings for the need for the truth!


Courage:

Well, I'm right behind you here because I'm still in a similar situation.  I'm about 14 months in too, and back in March, 2015, my husband moved out.  I honestly don't know whether he sees her or not outside of work, but I can only assume that he does because there is nothing in the way of commitment forthcoming.  To a certain degree, things are easier when you are apart, You tend to put things to the back of your mind, all the questions and the nagging doubts. There is nothing I can check up on any more as regard to phone calls/texts etc, but to be honest with you, it's like I don't care.  I really don't know what he wants anymore, we rarely talk about it as it all seems so pointless, I just get the same stock, 'I don't know what to do' answer. It's like he is just so bothered about feeling like he to eat humble pie, although he has admitted to me that a couple of times he'd considered coming home, but thought it would be too difficult.  I understand him there as I've kind of got used to him not being around.  I find it really difficult though as I'm there doing my own thing, and then he appears, 'to see us and make sure we are okay' and all I find it does is remind me of all the annoying and irritating things he does.  That's when I think I could  do better than this!
Some time ago I'd posted about how I was done, and I just wanted to forget  and move on, now I'm totally confused again because it seems like he is kind of muddling along, making an effort in his own way (which isn't enough). 
I just cant believe that this person I married doesn't value me enough to know where his priorities should have been in the first place.  And when he did step over the line, he should have realised the worth of everything he stood to lose, but it's like he still doesn't get it. 
I don't think he trusts me to help him through it, and without that trust, I can't trust him enough to try.
Quote 0 0