Answering Questions Post D-Day

Hello. My name is Candace. Let's spend some time talking today about answering questions. Post D-Day. I know some of you just broke out into a cold sweat. In this post, I will address both the unfaithful and the betrayed when it comes to answering questions. I'll be discussing a few key rules to follow to keep things constructive versus leading to greater destruction.

First to the unfaithful. Allow me to set the scene. You've either confessed to your partner or your partner has discovered your infidelity immediately after. Here comes the onslaught of rapid fire questions which appear to have no end in sight. And these questions are starting to create a shame storm. You feel like you're drowning. Unfaithful friends, please try to understand.

All of these questions are coming from the betrayed trying to wrap their head around. What the heck happened? You know everything because you're the one who was there. But they're trying to sift through the rubble and put all the pieces together. It's as if your betrayed partner just opened a forensic file, and there's a picture of themselves paper clipped inside.

As gut wrenching as it may be. One of the bravest, most compassionate things you can do is explain to them what's inside that file. Lean in. I know you want the questions to go away. So here's the trick. Answer the questions in the most honest, yet empathetic way possible. Do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances remind your betrayed partner that they've already asked you this same question 17 other times.

Instead. I encourage you to take a deep breath. I don't mean an annoyed “I can't believe we have to talk about this again” kind of a breath. I mean, a quiet, calm breath. And remind yourself that these questions are the betrayed, needing to have a general understanding of what occurred so they can start to process and then begin to heal.

On that note, a marathon is 26.2 miles long, and takes most runners 4 to 6 hours to complete a marathon. What does answering questions about your infidelity have to do with the time it takes most runners to complete a marathon in the most ideal scenario? Absolutely nothing. It's important to note that I'm not referring to the time it might take for initial disclosure conversations that may take a bit of time to explain, depending on the content that there is to cover.

I am talking about all the questions that come up after the Betrayed has been given an explanation of what the infidelity or addiction looks like. We are not looking for these Q&A sessions to take 4 to 6 hours at a time. It's not anyone's best interest for either party to badger or bully the other hour after hour into the middle of the night.

We call that marathoning. And it's not only exhausting, it's also counterproductive. Let's talk about what to do if either partner starts to flood in this Q&A session and needs to take a pause. AR considers flooding to be when someone is so upset that their heart rate goes above 100 beats per minute and the opportunity for healthy, constructive communication has come to a screeching halt.

How can you tell if that's the case if you're not wearing a heart rate monitor? I would say if your conversation ever starts to sound like you're reenacting the famous courtroom scene from “A Few Good Men”. At that point, we suggest that you call a timeout. Please take a moment to read more about the time out protocol on our website.

Pro-tip - Once you've read the logistics of the time out protocol, find a calm moment to discuss it with your partner and come up with an agreed upon plan rather than attempting to explain what it is and make it happen just as you've taken on the roles of Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson for The Betrayed. I would like to speak to you with an enormous amount of empathy on what we call the 24 hour rule.

We believe you have every right to ask and then receive honest answers regarding the who, the where and the when the infidelity occurred. It's the how, that we ask you to please use caution in asking why? Because you can't unhear the answer if you ask, and then you are given such graphic detail that you are able to envision precisely what occurred as if you're watching a movie.

We fear that may be more damaging than beneficial to your recovery. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to please consider using the 24 hour rule. Here's what it looks like. You write down the question. You think or pray about it for 24 hours, and then you ask yourself, Will this information help me move forward in my recovery?

Or is it a gory detail that is not essential to my healing? If 24 hours later you decide you still want to know the answer, then it's your partner's job to go ahead and answer the question. Please note, depending upon your personality, even after 24 hours, you may come back with a yes, I want to know. Be honest with yourself.

Will this really help you move forward in your recovery? Please be sure that it's not just you wanting to know for the sake of knowing or just to have something to use later, because that can cause further damage. Pro-tip number two the most ideal scenario is when the unfaithful relinquishes control of the information and compassionately places that control into the fragile hands of the betrayed.

In my own story, that was not the case for ten months post D-Day. It took ten months and 16 days of chaos, confusion and contentious good cop, bad cop interrogations before the contents of that forensics file became clear. Do questions about infidelity ever come up? Now that we're three years into recovery? Rarely. Maybe once. Twice a month. And those couple questions can usually be asked and answered in less than 3 minutes.

How did we get there? By using the tools that we learned in EMS Online. Hope for Healing and Harboring Hope. Please reach out to us. Let us tell you how we can help you get there too.

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