Why it is Imperative to Reach Full Disclosure

affairrecovery-survivors blog-elizabeth-why it is imperative to reach full disclosure

Today I am going to share the biggest mistake that I made since my last affair, and how it almost cost me everything. It was, in my opinion, even worse than my infidelity. That mistake was my inability to reach full disclosure the first time. For six weeks, I held on to secrets about my behavior and I continued to lie about what I had done.

Our world started crumbling down on our wedding anniversary two years ago. Every single detail of the disclosure process is awful, but it really stinks when your D-Day is also your wedding anniversary. That was the day I admitted to my husband that I had been unfaithful to him and I had developed feelings for someone else. But I omitted any other details. In my delusional mind, I somehow at the time was convinced that an emotional affair sounded "better", so I withheld details about the physical encounter. I also never disclosed that I had another inappropriate relationship years earlier. For six weeks, I sold my "cleaned up" version of my truth, which had glaring omissions. During that time, my husband begged me to let him know if that was everything.

Sadly, I lied. It is really difficult to say this, but I had not told the truth in so long I don't even think I knew what it was.

It wasn't until I signed up for Hope for Healing that I started to realize I needed to share everything with my husband. Even if it meant he would leave me. I was so tired of me. I was slowly beginning to let the articles at Affair Recovery sink in and I kept thinking "what am I doing?". I was really getting weary of living with my lies.

Call it my pride still at work, but I guess God will use whatever we will give him.

I refused to spend money on a class that would promise me I could get my life back while I tried to hold on to any more secrets.

Something in me broke. I could not and would not lie to anyone else. I remember on our very first group call, I blurted out to these women, who were still strangers to me at the time, "I have more to tell my husband about my unfaithfulness. I vow to tell him before this class is over and I am going to need help doing that". The very next week, we would have our second D-Day, and our world came crumbling down.

I can see things so rationally now. When you are in an affair, it is very difficult to identify the grandiosity, fantasy, and illusion of it all. It is like a drunk person convincing a cop on the side of the road that he can walk in a straight line. One cannot reach the clarity that only sobriety can offer if still under the influence, and I would be no exception. I had cut off all contact with my Affair Partner, but I had vowed to keep a secret to him and so my allegiance to that kept me from disclosure to my husband. I definitely couldn't see it then, but I had closed the door, just not locked it.

Anything short of the complete truth about our infidelity to our betrayed spouses will deny them of dignity and shortchange their intelligence.

Telling my husband about my betrayals was already like digging a giant hole and throwing him in the bottom of it. With every question he had to ask (because I was so unwilling to offer the truth) must have felt getting shovels full of dirt, mud, rocks, and trash on top of him. Through his pain and reactions, I started to begin to grasp the enormity of what I had done.

It was a precarious place to be. I saw his pain and so I did the worst possible thing. I began to "manage" the information. I was so deceptive by thinking that if I only sprinkled the dirt on him, it wouldn't hurt us so badly.

What I couldn't see then was how much I damaged him and our marriage by prolonging the suffering.

Far better would it have been for me to have had the courage to stand on top of that hole and look down on him and be able to say "I am about to dump an entire ton of bricks and rocks on you. It is going to hurt you, if not crush you."

But I didn't. Instead I chose the path of cruelty and long suffering. For six weeks, I kept the dirt and debris coming. My husband would think he would have the information and then try to manage his way out of the hole before I would knock him back down again with something new.

This made our recovery almost impossible because quite simply, how can a wound begin to heal when it is vulnerable to more injury? Like trying to save the titanic from sinking by using a teaspoon to take out water, carefully measuring out the truth for betrayed spouses is the most hurtful thing we as unfaithful can do. Reaching full disclosure was the scariest point for us in our recovery. I wish I had been able to do it the first time because it set us back even further than when we started.

If you are new to AR and need help and support in being able to disclose, there are so many resources out there to help you. Your betrayed spouse needs this and will not be able to heal or forgive without this. Please don't be like me. You can do better.

In Him,

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Drip feeding

As a betrayed spouse, I thank you for the honesty. I was fed one lie after another, little by little. I didn't even learn HALF of the truth until the day my spouse--the love of my life--moved out to pursue her AP. One year after D-Day I still don't know the truth. I remember one day when I suddenly figured out the truth and told her, "Okay, I know something. I am tired of begging for answers. What I know is really big. But I want to hear you say it. Tell me." She knew just what I was talking about and confessed. She said, "You almost act relieved." I was. Truth matters. But not to narcissistic liars.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story. No one should have to beg for answers. I hope you find healing and appreciate the reminder of how much pain it causes when we aren’t able to be honest.

Wow! This was such a great

Wow! This was such a great article. Thank you for it. I cannot even tell you how long I waited for truth. It is so painful. I have been robbed of so much for so long.

"measuring out the truth for betrayed spouses is the most hurtful thing we as unfaithful can do."

This quote stuck with me. I see your attempt to help the unfaithful see the pain they are causing. For me, my H truly did not care about the pain he caused. He didn't care when he was in the adultery and at the time he was "measuring out truth," he still genuinely did not care about the pain I was in.

Your words are so well written. They are so true. I suspect few newly discovered unfaithfuls will take your advice -- but I pray for the sake of their betrayed spouses that I am wrong. Newly disclosed, perhaps will -- if they have disclosed they may be in an emotional state where they care.

I could have died when my H was involved in his adultery and he genuinely would not have cared. When he was discovered, no amount of this article would have touched his frozen cold heart.

I appreciate you sharing it and I pray it speaks to many.

Thanks for your kind and

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words. I’m not kidding that when I read stuff like what you wrote, my heart breaks. You help motivate me to keep seeking and to keep writing, and to use all of my awful choices for some kind of common good.

Thank you Elizabeth for

Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this. I am the betrayed spouse and my H only admitted to an emotional affair when I initially caught him on the phone with his AP. It was then about 8 months of me finding things and he still lying and managing what he wanted me to believe all along secretively still being in contact with AP but only “in a friend level.” Just as you mentioned, sometimes all this is what still holds me back in my recovery. Just felt so cruel.

Thank you for writing this and hopefully will help an unfaithful spouse to realize this and do the right thing and do full disclosure and another person doesn’t have to go through the agony and wasted time.

I hate that I own my

I hate that I own my collective part in holding any of you back. You deserve so much more. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s validating for what I have experienced. Every time another disclosure from my UH came to the surface, was another time of being violently thrown back into a pit of craziness. INCOMING! How much can a betrayed person take before they run away for good? Thank you Elizabeth for reaching inside yourself and sharing this incredibly difficult journey with us.

That is a wonderful and

That is a wonderful and incredibly valid question. One any unfaithful spouse like myself should take into question. A person really can only take so much cruelty until they are justified in finding life and love elsewhere. Thanks for sharing.

A Broken Person Can't Be Honest

My husband had an "emotional affair" with a subordinate at work. However, this EA was one more business trip away from becoming a physical affair as well. Long story short, the time came to "blow it up", so I printed out the pictures, emails, texts etc. and my husband had no choice but to at least acknowledge that what I had been saying for a year was true. My husband was about a year away from retirement, so I had to go along to get along insofar as his "girlfriend" still worked under him (Ha! Ha!) really wasn't able to make waves per say. I might need half of that pension ;) Disclosure was absolutely ridiculous. It took 6 months to pry the truth out of him; he was not going to give me anything without a fight. Everyone is different. Some want to know everything, some want to know that it is over and done and that is good enough for them. I had to know exactly what I was dealing with so I could decide if I could stay and try to work things out or if I had to get out of Dodge. My husband is a broken man, so I can understand why disclosure was so hard for him. I get it, doesn't make it any easier though. He is seeing a really great therapist who has helped him immensely. If he had refused to go to therapy I would have left for sure. I went to a therapist for a bit, just to try and get my head on straight and to figure out what was what. Affair Recovery has been a great resource for me. I think the betrayed spouse is entitled to as much as they need/want to know. For me, the hardest part was the type of woman he was truly thinking about leaving me (a loyal and supportive partner of over 30 years) and his family for. Talk about a personal insult. You want to throw me over, ok. Marriages are not always forever. But at least make it for a woman that I could respect. Eh, Rick did say most people "affair down". One day at a time. If it doesn't kill you it really does make you stronger.

Yes, I agree with you. We do

Yes, I agree with you. We do always affair down. You sound very patient and wise. I’m sorry that you’ve been through such pain. I’m also happy to see you seem to still have a sense of humor which I equate to a sense of self. I wish you both the best!

Come clean

Not telling the truth is controlling the other person. The betrayed needs the right to choose, the unfaithful made their choices. To be able to move forward and heal wholly the whole truth needs to be exposed to be able to move forward. Thank you for sharing.

Amen. Well said.

Amen. Well said.


My wife has been keeping secrets about her affair for 36 plus years. She still gets upset when I bring it up! I can’t tell anymore if she’s lying or really can’t remember when I ask a question.

secrets too

I am in a similar situation. D Day was 2.5 years ago. D Day was after 8+ years of accusations about me, drug use on her part and a general downward spiral in our marriage. During those 8 years and years prior I had plenty of reasons to be suspicious of her, girls night out, drinking with friends after work and girl trips out of town. All the girlfriends had already been known to be unfaithful. The accusations were so harshly believed by her and mentally wearing on me. I eventually revealed an indiscretion of mine from before we married, but had been dating. I ended it to be with her. But this revelation was catastrophic in her eyes. I don't know if the pain meds or what was influencing her. I revealed this only to make her feel as if her "intuition" was right and wrong. It was hell for a while. Fast forward its revealed to me (out of the blue) that she had an affair with a co worker 15 years prior. While i was do the little league coaching (oldest kids were 6 and 7 years old), trying to climb the career ladder and finding my/our way she was having an affair. Now I feel like none of my "history" is real. Triggers all the time but are easing up a little, doubts of our youngest child DNA, who else knew...etc. I have gotten very little secret info from her and she seems to like to ignore or move on about it. When I do bring something up about it, my pre marital mistake (I admitted it was wrong and offered to tell whatever she wanted) is made into a much bigger wrong. So now I go through the motions for family reasons 4 grands and youngest is in college living at home. Your statement was brief but inspired me. i think I will follow your lead and write things down, it does release emotions.thank you.

That’s a lot of time and

That’s a lot of time and energy to be spent managing secrets. I hope you continue to find clarity on what to do there and that your wife can find a way to rid herself from what holds her back. I have no more secrets and I have never been so free.

It may be too late

My husband told me NOTHING of his desire to have an affair. She was texting him one night at dinner and when I asked him why she was texting him, he got angry like I'd never seen him. He screamed that I invaded his privacy. I accused him of WANTING to have an affair with her, which was true, but he blameshifted, denied, and gaslit me. He's told me nothing unless I shamed myself by sleuthing and had proof. It took over 15 months of trickle truth (I'd find something else), lying to me, our therapists, both individual and marital. After every time we discussed the situation for that 15 months, there was so much more, he told me I knew everything, that nothing more remains. There was always more. I can honestly say that now, 30 months out, I feel there's still more. My gut tells me. Maybe my gut is wrong, but after so much trickle truth, I simply don't believe him. It may be too late for us, I'm not sure, but I implore every unfaithful out there, please, please, tell all and the sooner the better. Our therapist says I need to trust him implicitly to reconcile. I really don't know if I can.

I am curious if you have done

I am curious if you have done an EMS weekend with your spouse? Or have you all just tried therapy? I’m concerned that you still feel there is more bc that can’t be a helpful feeling. Thanks for sharing your story. Has your spouse done the HFH course? I will pray for you guys.

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