How much do you really need to know?

When my wife found out about my affair, I was quick to repent and do what was necessary to reconcile and make amends. One of the principles I learned from Affair Recovery was that I needed to be totally honest. That means every time my wife asked a question, I was to answer it truthfully.

Now this was new behavior since I had been lying for over a year. It was very hard to tell her some of the details of my deception. And yet, I understood that if I was going to rebuild trust, I needed to do so. And so I answered her every question – no matter what it was.

It seemed like all the questions were difficult since every answer revealed what a self-centered, self-involved, low-life scumbag I had been. But the truth was the truth and now I was choosing a different path. And so I answered. I didn’t like what I was saying (because it was pretty horrible stuff), but I did like that I was being honest.

The kind of questions my wife asked were:

  • Did you love her?
  • How long was the affair?
  • How often did you have sex?
  • Where did you have sex?
  • Did she initiate or did you?
  • Were there others? Was this the first and only?

This was the general sense of what she asked. She did NOT ask detailed or graphic questions about sex. Our counselor asked her if she wanted me to give her more details and her response was simply to say, “I know what they did – they had sex. Details don’t change anything except make my own recovery more difficult.”

Now, this was my wife’s response. This was what she felt she needed in her recovery. I know not every hurt spouse would be satisfied with that. Many want and feel like they need more. So, I would never assume that I know what a person needs in their recovery.

However, my wife and I have talked to many hurt spouses who did ask the fine details – and got them. And often they say afterwards that they regret knowing so much. It does not seem to aid them in their recovery and just gives them more data for triggers.

As the unfaithful spouse, it is my responsibility to respond to my wife’s questions with total honesty - no matter what she asks. If you are the unfaithful spouse – that is your responsibility as well.

If you are the hurt spouse, before asking a question you might want to consider if the answer is something you really need to know? Is the answer something that will help you in your recovery? Is this part of getting your head around what happened (which is necessary)? Or is this question something that won’t be helpful? Will it only be fuel for intrusive thoughts and triggers?

Taking time to determine what you really need to know can be a very helpful in your recovery.

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Need to Know

Yes, those questions keep coming but I think it is because I am still trying to figure out just "how involved" it was. See since D day, the majority of the information has been pushed, pulled, or drug out of his mouth. So, now...I it really all there is to know and is he just telling me what he thinks I want/need to hear but not the truth. That is what continues to drive me....

Need to know. (Betrayed)

For me personally, the need to know what happened all the way up to DDay is so critical because the NOT knowing is torturous.
I need to know what parts of his personality or preferences he kept to himself all this time. Why couldn't he share this?
Is it just INCREDIBLE selfishness? Is he wounded? (Finding out he likely was as a young boy.) Is he psycho? Will I ever share his secret desires? Will I ever be "it" for him. Many good reasons to have every last detail, and once I have them then I GET TO DECIDE how safe I feel in staying.
He had everyone fooled. He comes off as a genuine, perfect, pious, prince. I am going into the 6th month and the shock is still very near the surface!!

Need to know??????

As you well know I am the betrayer and the betrayed.  My husband only wanted to know the number of times and that's it. During a conversation he thought I was asking for details about his AP's performance. I was not asking that. He said do you really want to know what she did, Jana? My reponse was. You don't have to tell me I already know , it went like this......she did... and she said... and you said.......... After  a few seconds and he recovered from the graphic shock of my dramatic recap. He said "Uh...yep that is exactly how it was". I'm not stupid and I know just like his affair nothing about it was real, even sexually. Performance is a good word for what went on with his AP. Nothing more than an acting skill. I could do that too with him , but I won't. We have done many inapropriate sexual things together during our marriage over the years and that conversation had to take place also. This is what will do  and this is what we will not do. It is better, connected and most importantly REAL!


Honesty and details

So, just to give this topic a different perspective. Yes, the details hurt. Specifically the graphic details. I'm 4 weeks in to our d-day and full of so much pain I sometimes can't control the anger it breeds. Here's the thing. When I ask for details, it hurts but I'm one of those who needs every nuance. I exist in nuance, it's how I measure the world. Explain to me the thoughts, impressions, sensations, all of it. While it tears me up inside to hear it, it also makes me better. It's no longer their secret. With each terrible detail, he cedes control of that memory for me to do with as I wish. It's also an exercise in his ability to be honest. If I even think that he's minimizing, even to spare my feeling, then it's a form of lying and I'm gone. I find receiving the details, not the details themselves, therapeutic and even somewhat empowering. weird maybe, but just a different way to think about it.

Honesty and details

I am the same way, I am the person that needs to rationalize everything. This has not been different. And although it breaks me in pieces, I need to hear it. I need to see the complete picture. This is a way to silence my imagination, which it tends to be worse and never ending ! I also need to thrust again, this is a way to start. I respect what other persons say about being bad idea to know the details, but I want to understand. I need to face it raw as it is.

I struggle with this so much

I struggle with this so much every time he gets angry with me asking a question and says he hates to think about it, I feel like he is just wanting to keep an intimate secret...

... the details

I am so just exactly like you! Thanks for helping me see Im ok in my expectations.

How much do I really want to know?

I recently found out about my husbands affair, and it is killing me. I can't get the intrusive thoughts to go away. I can't believe the pain that this has caused. Part of it is I know that he is still not being honest with me. He says it's because he doesn't want to hurt me more, but I fell like everything is a huge secret, and a lie that they get to keep, and I am shoved out of. I can't take any more lies, but how much is good to know? I certainly don't want intimate details..... at least not now I don't. 22 years into our marriage this happened. The affair is over, I know that it is, but there are triggers EVERYWHERE. When does this start to go away, or at least diminish?? This is absolutely horrible.

I understand

I feel the same way. 18years of marriage and never once did I see this coming. Its been 3 months since the affair. I caught them on my couch while I slept in the other room. They were (still are) coworkers and she was supposedly my "friend". My two boys thought of her as an aunt. The more details I get I realize how blind I was. They both say it was just that one time and they were both drunk but how can I believe that? I mean, in my house with me and the boys sleeping in rooms close by. I want to know every detail. Until recently he kept saying it wasnt anything more, but a few days ago he finally admitted it was more of an "inappropriate relationship" (him hiding their texts, phone calls, etc) but still says it was one time for sex. I dont believe him. He is making every effort to make our marriage work, but I keep obsessing over the details. Does the pain ever stop? Ive lost my appetite. I thought I was dealing with it ok but lately I feel out of my mind crazy. I love him so much but hate him too.

35 years later

Everyone is different. We’ve been married 43 years 38 outstanding years. Yet she was unfaithful 35 years ago and I relive it almost daily. The need to know details now drives me crazy. I have NO ISSUES with wife today but the phrase of more than once and less than fifty runs through my head daily. Many years it left me so what was the trigger? At 57 I discovered my mother had an affair and I am the product of that affair. Be careful when doing DNA tests. What was a fun experiment has trigger 6 years of torment all over. Sounds like fiction or a crazy movie but it is not fiction and is my life.

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-D, Texas