Careful What Questions You Ask

During the very first few weeks after disclosure, Samantha and I were dealing with a hellish situation. I can’t go much into it, but there came a time that Samantha was convinced I was lying about a few key details.  I had lived a lie for about two years now, and for the first time, I was in fact coming clean with all the details.  

Somewhere along the way though, it came to critical mass and she was convinced I was not being honest about the truth regarding some pretty far off allegations and rumors.  She devised a bit of a plan to trick me into telling the truth and she set me up.  Yes she was grasping, and yes she was desperate, so looking back I don’t fault her at all.  Back then, that was a different story as I was far from healthy and even farther from thinking clearly and though I told the truth, I didn’t react well at all. 

She created a scenario and I answered truthfully, and even swore on my own life and my kid’s lives (I don’t suggest that by the way unless you are certain its truth) that what I was telling her was the truth.  But it did force me to give up details about sexual situations that she didn’t want to know and probably wished she didn’t come to hear.  They didn’t make a difference in terms of healing and understanding the truth, and to this day she wishes she didn’t know about them. The details that were uncovered haunted her for years quite honestly and took a large amount of time to overcome as they were graphic, sexual and revealing. 

There’s a rule in recovery I think….perhaps an unwritten rule.  A few of them actually. 

One of them is called: never ask a question you’re not prepared to hear the answer to.  Samantha was desperate for details or pieces to the puzzle, but looking back, had we been under someone’s care and gotten the right kind of help early on, we probably wouldn’t have done it that way.  I know Samantha wouldn’t have.

Another rule: the betrayed spouse can’t use the “Gun to their head Approach.”  What this implies is metaphorically holding a gun to his or her head saying “give me the details….give me the details…..trust me to be able to handle it…be honest, make me feel safe, give me the details I need to heal…” Then, once you know the details, you blast them, shame them, minister rejection to them and give them no hope of any understanding, compassion, forgiveness or ultimate safety to be honest and come clean.  When this approach is used, there is little to no redemptive moment to help the unfaithful spouse continue to come clean about more details or about future disclosure of feelings, emotions, or the like.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to do this.  It’s especially hard when you, the betrayed spouse, are just coming to know the details and just finding out pieces to the puzzle.  It’s another degree of difficulty when there has been long term deception, with more and more details coming out, seemingly being what we call “drip fed” by the unfaithful. A drip here of truth, a drip there of truth; almost water torturing the betrayed spouse. 

There is a better way my friends.  Get the help you need now, from the people who are qualified to help:  specialized care from those who are professionals and have gone through this before. 

There is hope.

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Such an important concept

Such an important concept that you have described; I wish we could have Samantha's point of view, too. So many believe that if the betrayer MUST answer such questions, as evidence that they are trustworthy and as a step towards trust. Yet, some questions are unhealthy and don't help with building trust at all.

My husband and I are dealing

My husband and I are dealing with this right now. We both had an affair around the same time. We began asking each other for specific details but learned rather quickly it hurt more than it helped. In fact, it made things worse. I don't want anymore images in my head. It only makes me angry. Tread very, very carefully here. Indeed, there is hope.