Kalmarjan Show full post »
TimT - I'm with Robin - how do we ask the question then? 
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Perhaps you are not wanting to know the answer to that question? I mean, you will not find an answer that will make you happy, by any means?

Perhaps another question could be:

Okay, so if we are to be together, continue, can you help me understand where you are at this relationship right now? I am taking a huge risk continuing with you, and I would like to know what you have done to make sure you don't ever cheat on me again. What have you learned and fixed about this situation that makes it so I can trust you?

Pretty hard for a WS to skate around that question, no?
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Robin1971 wrote:
...So I'm confused as how you would ask the question she was referencing about leaving for work and going to cheat? If you can't ask how could you...

I would encourage avoiding "how could you..." for the same reasons: (1) evokes a defensive response because it sounds more like judging than genuine inquiry and (2) there is rarely a satisfying answer to it. If the questioner cannot imagine an answer that would satisfy the question, it's probably not really a question.

My suggestion would be to pursue information with these kinds of questions instead...
  • Were there days when you told me you loved me, acted like you loved me, and still intended to spend time with her? (yes or no)
  • What did your actions/words toward me mean to you on those days?
  • How did you keep those two things separate in your mind? Or did you? [Notice, a "how did you" questions, not a "how could you" one.]
  • Who did you really want? (Was there any part of you that wanted a real relationship with me, or were you just giving me what you thought I wanted so you could do what you really wanted to do?)
  • Why did you still pursue me if you wanted to be with her?
It may seem like avoiding "how could you" is simply a matter of semantics, and perhaps it is in some cases. But usually when that kind of question is asked it is (1) actually more of an accusation than a question and (2) the unfaithful spouse reacts defensively, which will diminish the chance of any meaningful dialogue.
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Got it Tim. Makes sense
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TimT wrote:

Anna26 wrote:
...when it comes to the 'why' question I like Robin, don't think there will ever be an answer, probably because the reason will partly stem from something broken within him, and it's doubtful that he will ever open up about that...

Or maybe he doesn't even completely understand it...I've never had a betrayed spouse, after we've worked through all of the "why" exercises, respond with, "Oh, NOW it all makes sense. That answers all my questions. Ready to move on..." There is always a sense of unknown left in the mix, sometimes significantly, because it is hard to reconcile betrayal for any reason.

TiT: Can you recommend some "why" exercises?
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SuzieQ wrote:
TimT: Can you recommend some "why" exercises?

A revised form of this exercise will be included in the second volume of the Affair Healing manuals (AffairHealingBook.com), but the attached exercise may be of some help for now...
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