Why the Betrayed Spouse Wants Details

Samuel discusses a difficult and common topic in recovery from infidelity during this video: Why the betrayed ask questions and want details.

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Can you please explain what you mean by "shaming?" Any mention of what happened, could be considered shaming. Saying what he did, out loud, could be considered shaming. Crying over what he did could be considered shaming.
Also, I understand the intent behind promising not to berate or throw what he did in his face, but if he told you he had a few happy ending massages and then you find out he was actually with over 50 prostitutes, what type of super human powers do you expect the betrayed spouse to have in order to "make things safe" for him?


good and fair question lindam. ++++++here is collins online dictionary's definitiion: ""causing one to feel a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonourable, unworthy, degrading, etc here is dictionary.com as another example: to cause to feel shame; make ashamed." And another......."to publicly humiliate degrade or shame for being or doing something specified (usually used in combination): kids who've been fat-shamed and bullied; to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going".++++++++++++any mention of what happened is not shaming. nor is saying what he did, nor is saying it out loud etc. nor is crying. it's the intent of the heart... is it to make them suffer for what you have suffered? is it to bring vengeance and retribution upon them for your pain? perhaps that will help in terms of shaming. after reading your story, i'm sure you're suffering from incredible pain and trauma... it hurts. it's gut wrenching. creating a safe place is creating a safe atmosphere, even if a third party expert is needed, to dialogue and make sure you are getting to the truth, in order to move forward in the pain and ultimately know whether you want to save the marriage or end it. it's often that disclosure comes in moments of 30 or 40 minutes at a time, while taking breaks as the emotions can be off the chart, as you very well know. you do have to have freedom to feel and emote and absorb it all. it's normal. this is traumatic info and it can feel like ptsd to some extent when you finally get all the info. making things safe is creating an atmosphere to not make any decisions at that moment, in order to get all the info out. it's about not making any decisions, making it safe, so he will then come clean. after it's all out, it's about processing it and working through the collateral damage you're being faced with. it's a process. i hope that helps.

Every word of this blog is TRUE and it is very hard on sides

Thank you so much for putting such a difficult topic in to practical palatable words of understanding. We have just passed the 2 year mark and this issue is as strong, alive and painful as it was on D-day. My husband is "more than done" talking about it. He is just waiting for me to be healed so he won't have to talk about it. He doesn't realize that he needs healing as much as I do. I think we should listen to this every day for a while.

So So Helpful!

A.M.E.N! Until they can talk about it, there is still so much work. It took my husband almost 2 years until I could ask questions and he was strong enough and selfless enough to answer them. Another thing I realized was that my husband was on some level trying to control my healing process by withholding information he deemed "unhelpful". I think each betrayed spouse needs to know what they need to know. For me I had to have MOST of the details. Some of he specific sexual acts were TMI, but I knew what I needed.

Finally his counselor laid it out for him. If he wanted reconciliation, he would need to be honest and open regardless of how it made HIM feel.

Great info!

you're exactly right...

a spouse needs to know 'what they need to know..' well put and agreed wholeheartedly. thank you for commenting and watching.

it's unfortunate....

it's unfortunate he doesn't understand, but it's normal. i only bought into the process when i heard Rick lay it out for me and when i understood the reasoning behind it AND when i realized what it tapped into in ME...when I realized it tapped into selfishness, self absorption and insecurity in me, I understood my hesitancy and reaction. it has to be done to go deep into the healing of the unfaithful as well as until they are willing to talk about the dark places it's tough to do the deep work needed. i'm sorry for the pain you're walking through, but hopeful for what you're walking into slowly but surely

What if their answer is "I don't know."


Thanks your for these vlogs. They have been some of the most helpful things I have experienced throughout this "recovery" time. I truly understand what you are saying because I am the betrayed. My husband has, in his mind, answered all of my questions. The problem is that the majority of his answers are, "I don't know." or "I don't remember." Both comments are followed by, "I was out of my mind at that time." or "I had some kind of breakdown." And, since there has been limited disclosure, can healing still occur with proper disclosure a long time after D-day? We are a few years out and I am not triggering as often... but there are still times and things that bring it all sweeping back. I still have dreams (nightmares) periodically. And, I still experience flooding. My husband just shuts down! He "goes away" and all he has to say are two words... "I'm sorry." I generally ask him what he is sorry for and the response is that he did what he did. Am I being too picky in desiring that his sorrow be because of the pain I am dealing with? Some empathy? Where I sit, I still don't believe he "gets it". He is sorry... but has little to no compassion for what I am going through and has refused to do the work... he has read no books, listens to a few vlogs (yours) that I send him, and that is about the extent of the "work" that he has done. We have entertained the idea of an EMS weekend - but between the financial toll it would take on us and the fact that he is away from home for work 90% of the time, we have not been able to attend it or any other seminar-type help. We cannot afford a counselor either... we (as a couple and individually) tried for a while and $100 a week just is not doable. I don't spend a lot of time on our recovery... I just don't know how to get passed where we have been for quite some time now... this may have something to do with it.

his alone...

there are times when a spouse may not remember. it may come back to them later down the road though. it's often times a spouse says I don't know or remember simply as a cop out to not answer. more times than not, it's a cop out is what i've learned. they simply don't want to answer the questions or give up information that will hurt you. they want to not hurt you any more, but they end up hurting you even more. why don't you consider filing for a scholarship on the site to the weekend: https://www.affairrecovery.com/scholarship-application-request it sounds like you need the weekend and you may get a scholi up to 95% of the weekend. to me, it sounds like your best and only alternative to get help you need. i agree he doesn't get it at all right now, but it doesn't mean with the right help, he' can't get it. he can, but without the right helpl he won't. many only get it after obtaining the right help from the right people. that's the way it was for me for sure my friend. i'd encourage you to take a stand, drive a stake in the ground and get the help you need from the ems weekend on a scholarship.

Detail Disclosure

Hi Samuel

I am an infidel living in Australia. I have disclose my infidelity to my wife early this year. The disclosure took 4 and a half month with different versions all the time. My wife and I are listening to all your blogs. After listening to your blog this morning about disclosure and the betrayed not getting healing because of the detail and change of details Ive asked my wife what to do for her to get closure on the details. She could not tell me what she wanted from me. Ive propose to write the detail down to help her but she recon it is not enough. My wive do agree that I do more than enough on my sex addiction but when it comes to the process for us to go ahead I am not doing enough.

I am really struggling and would like some advice from you how to address this.

great questions....

fred thanks for posting. for starters, i would give up hope on 'closure' of the affair process. it's about helping her get clarity, but she may need to ask questions time and time again due to the long process disclosure took initially with different versions. since the start was a bit rocky, i would expect that she is going to need more from you sooner rather than later, to help her regain momentum and get a healthy fresh start to the process. i would do the bootcamp with her to start over fresh and new and see what she thinks about that. you can find it here: https://www.affairrecovery.com/surviving-infidelity/first-steps-bootcamp i would also do a written disclosure and find a trusted source to walk through the process with you. someone who won't shame or attack but mediate and help you both heal. i would then answer any and every question she has as well as set times every day if she needs to answer questions and reiterate. so glad you're on the site and interacting here.

Why the betrayed wants details

My husband has consistently withheld details from me and what I do know has many versions of the same story. He is defensive and explodes when I ask even basic questions and he does all of his SA worksheets on his work computer. He keeps his journal at work too. We have not been able to have a reasonable conversation about his acting out and he is highly offended when I don't believe what he tells me. He has never been honest about his addiction or acting out since the day we met and his first response to even benign situations would be to lie. Yet, his behaviour tells me that he doesn't trust me or that he is still hiding details from me. He just does not seem to grasp that the reason for my distrust of him is his track record and his continuous lying and telling of half-truths. Am I wasting my time here?

wasting time????

Nix....hi there. thanks for posting. i'm not sure you're wasting time, but you may be tolerating behavior that shouldn't be tolerated. he is probably showing anger as he's dealing with his own shame. he's uncomfortable with what he feels when he talks about it so you want to talk about it and need to talk about it and it taps into his own emotions, shame, pain and anger and he then takes it out on you or projects it on to you. he obviously isn't grasping what you need but also isn't grasping the process and what needs to happen if there is going to be any healing at all or any future quite frankly. if you're not going to increase your recovery process with more help, then yes, i'd tell you to consider moving on. i would suggest the ems weekend for sure. if he won't, then you'll need to let him know you can't live like this anymore and lay out the fact that you're not living this way anymore. here are two articles to help with that: https://www.affairrecovery.com/dealing-infidelity-how-get-your-mate-cooperate-without-being-controlling and this one https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/healing-infidelity-alone this video blog will help as well: https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/they-get-say-no-life-going-change I wouldn't let this go on any longer. he probably bullies you knowing that he shows anger and you shut down and stop the process etc. but you'll need to stand your ground and decide no longer will you tolerate this behavior. if you tolerate it, it's not going to change my friend. you may also consider a lie detector one day soon too. just my thoughts. happy to keep talking.

Why the betrayed spouse wants details

Thanks for your reply Samuel. My husband is Fred, from Australia...he also commented and you recommended we do the boot camp. We did, only a few weeks into recovery. He still withheld information and dragged out disclosure and yes, I do feel bullied. The EMS weekend would have been amazing, but it's impossible for us. There is nothing similar available in Australia that I could find online. Ian feeling very helpless and alone right now


Nicky, thank you for posting. It's interesting that Fred left out his explosive anger when asking for advice. I'm sorry he explodes on you and I'm sorry that he is using anger to bully you. I also hope he reads this comment for perspective. fact is, his anger is coming off at you but he's really angry at himself as he's projecting on to you the anger he feels at himself. he may not admit it, but he is bullying you so he doesn't feel as bad about his own actions and about his own choices. he's in shame. here are two articles you should read and then show to fred for his own health as well: https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-recovery-understanding-the-paralysis-of-shame and another https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-pain-ways-to-stay-in-shame FRED, exploding on your spouse won't help the situation. it will only make it worse and do more damage to your wife. the last thing she wants, and i'm sure the last thing you want, is to do more damage to your spouse. i'm sorry you feel so helpless Nicky, but maybe Fred will own this and get help for his anger. there are a ton of resources online for anger management and for shame.

The anger and shame

HI Nicki. After almost 2 years of my husband blame-shifting, and becoming angry at me for asking for details, I had had enough. At that point of time in my stand, I was ready to leave. Withholding details was a bully move that was manipulative and selfish. He was trying to control MY healing process and that was just not going to work.

In the beginning I put up with it because I was doing whatever I could to keep our marriage together for the sake of our children. My heart was in the right place, but I was beginning to wonder if I even loved him anymore due to the inability to talk or share information. Geez, first you knock me clear into the Nadir experience (the lowest point of ones life), and then you bully me into submission? This isn't love, this is craziness.

It took my husband a long time to get to where he is today, almost 5 1/2 years post Bomb Drop. This Fathers Day weekend I had a trigger and my husband got a B- on his response. Clearly still not perfect, but at least willing to work on it. The natural inclination to "put it in the past" and "not talk about it" is very compelling for the infidel. It takes a strong and loving spouse to turn towards your pain and give YOU what you need to heal.

Keep asking for what you need. Ask in a clam and composed manner, hopefully he will mirror your body language. It is ultimately his responsibilty to do some soul searching and reconcile the shame and anger he has towards himself. But you can keep learning, growing, and putting your undeniable strength and passion into making the best "You" there can be.

You're not alone. It's a long slow process.

Familiar story - 4 years out for us

I can really relate to the bullying and temper being used as ways to control and manipulate my behavior to keep him comfortable. He tried to make me align with his lack of comfort with the process required to heal. He said all of the things he should never have said such as "it's time you were over this." Also his favorite is the "I am done talking about this / I am not going to put up with this for the rest of my life." That is all a very selfish stage and only delays any real healing. I discovered lies into the first year which infuriated him and set me back to D-day every time. He never recognized how those discoveries of dishonesty set me back while he kept the calendar of time served by him during my allowed healing period.
Now 4 years later he is better and of course great as long as I don't have a break down. Whenever I react to a trigger he still has a tendency to say he thought it was going so good until now. Somehow reacting feels like a failure on my part. He has finally gotten to where he can react in a suportive manner when I trigger. I don't ask any more questions about what happened. If he "didn't remember then" he sure won't disclose any sudden remembrance today. Is it simply avoidance or genuine - I don't know. It doesn't matter now.
The reality is I made a choice to make this work as did he post-affair. We are imperfect individually and we have made the commitment to take care of our marriage and each other everyday. We are both careful not to be complacent and we are mindful of how we treat each other.
We are both different people after this experience. I recognize that I developed PTSD like reactions and still deal with the physical and emotional results of a trigger. Thank goodness it lessens with time.
We did work with a counselor for a while and it was less than productive. We have done this the hard way by some standards of what you should do. My husband travels 85% of the time. His job creates a special challenge and limits some of the options. I am able to join him frequently while he is away.
We will always be affected by the affair. It has made permanent changes to our marriage and to each of us as individuals, We have done our best to recognize the whole event as an opportunity to purposely create a much better and more satisfying relationship than we had before. Nothing is perfect and all we can do is make everyday the happiest we can for each other and not let ourselves lose sight of what is really important and keep our priorities focused on our marriage and life together.

Thank you so much for saying

Thank you so much for saying that reacting feels like a failure on your part !!! I feel exactly the same way.
We will have a couple amazing days and be very close, and then I go off the deep end trying to absorb that this is really my life.
He doesn't try to makes me feel like a failure, but I do. As long as I'm good, we're good.

Its been 10 years and I'm still feeling...

Im not sure what to do right now. I want the flooding and memories to stop. and im seeing a few therapists. my D-day is also linked to PTSD from the army. its gotten so deeply entrentched into me im seemingly getting worse. and my wife has amnesia about the affair. feel like im losing my mind.

i'm sorry...

that is a lot Lost Pariah.  are you doing any work for the ptsd?  are you doing EMDR?  Or ETT is another form of therapy to try that works very well.  what other help that's infidelity specific are you utilizing? 

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