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Therapist says don't tell betrayed spouse??

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determined99 posted 6/26/2013 17:07 PM

It has been 3 weeks since D-Day. I have gone through the gammet of emotions, but something is still plaguing my heart. The husband of the other woman who had an affair with my husband for over a year does not know. My therapist says that I should not tell him because I might cause the man to have a heart attack (he is 70), and that I should "back off" trying to get my husband to tell anyone and let him do this in his time. At this point, my husband hasn't told anyone what happened and wants it all to be a secret. He says it is the other woman's place to tell her husband and not his. Please help! This man doesn't have email/facebook and if I wrote a letter, she might find it. I am so scared and want to do the right thing but am dying. My therapist says I should examine my motives for wanting him to know and that it would probaly be better for him to die without knowing this horrible secret. I disagree but need advice!

1Faith posted 6/26/2013 18:24 PM

The general consensus is not only that the BS should contact the OP's H or W, but that the BS MUST do so.

It's a matter of doing for someone else (the OP's BS) what you would have wanted others to do for you. This is not an issue of wanting revenge or to hurt another person, but rather an issue of fairness to the OP's BS.

Additionally, contacting the other BS removes the secrecy from the affair, and since affairs thrive on secrecy and deception, it will damage the affair.

Oftentimes your WS will try to convince you not to contact the OP's H or W. Your WS will tell you that it's wrong to involve others or may even try to tell you that the OP is a battered spouse and is afraid for their safety or they could have a heart attack...come on, this could happen regardless of being told. You can't take ownership of his health.

Again, the general consensus on SI is that the abused spouse/health line is an excuse commonly used by WS's and should not be believed. And the part about not involving other people - of course you realize that the OP's H or W is already involved and that telling him or her is only fair.

My therapist told me to do it if it was what I needed to do to move forward and heal. You can convey the facts without being mean and vicious.

I vote tell him. He deserves to know. Why should she get away with this and you have to deal with the fall out?

Good luck. Hope you are doing okay.


1Faith posted 6/26/2013 18:26 PM

PS - Your motive is to inform a human being that they are being lied and manipulated.

Your motive is to do unto others as you would want to have done to you.

Your motive is to do the right thing for the right reason.

Your motive is knowing that if he knew you would want him to tell you.

solus sto posted 6/26/2013 19:15 PM

I think your therapist is really off the mark (and alarmingly ageist, to boot).

NOT knowing the truth poses a greater risk to the other BS than being told, IMO.

Older or not, the man deserves to have the knowledge required to make informed decisions about his life.

In your shoes, I'd be seeking another IC. The first "Examine your motives" I heard would be enough to tell me that the therapist's motives were off the mark---and wondering whether s/he is a WS.

It is difficult--emotionally and often logistically--to tell the other BS. But there is NOTHING worse than being in the dark about your partner's infidelity, other than being in the dark with suspicions and being gaslighted.

Suggesting that the man be allowed to die without being told? Well, that makes a whole bunch of assumptions, doesn't it? It first assumes that he's too feeble-minded to sense changes in his marriage. And it then assumes he's too physically feeble to survive the news.


There is a very, very good chance that the other BS does have suspicions. Most of us can tell, on some level, when our spouses are diverting attention/love/care from the marriage elsewhere. Most of us DO find out, eventually. And as one who was kept in the dark long-term, I can tell you that it is SOUL-crushing to learn that others have lied to you, over years. Talk about humiliation.

I do agree with one thing your therapist says: it's wise to back off trying to direct your husband's actions. Not because they don't need direction, but because you just can't do it. The only person whose thoughts, feelings, and actions you can control are your own. While many of us wish we could direct our spouses in the aftermath of infidelity, any attempt to do so is an utter waste of time and effort; it has to come from them.

So focus on YOUR thoughts, feelings and actions.

If you believe that telling the other BS is the right thing to do, then do it. You do not require the permission or approval of your IC. You won't get it from your husband.

But the man has the right to know. He has the right to make informed decisions about his life (and if your IC is right about his proximity to death, about his estate and his healthcare proxies, as well---because if I had one foot in the grave like your IC assumes this poor man does, I sure as hell wouldn't want the woman who was lying to me making end-of-life decisions if I was not able, and I would want to change my will).

But really, chances are he's just a nice guy with health as good as the next guy--- who deserves the truth and would be wise to get tested for STDs.

(I sent a registered letter to the OBS's place of business so that it could not be intercepted. You might also talk to him on the phone, or ask to meet him for a cup of coffee. There are many ways to get past interception by the WS.)

[This message edited by solus sto at 6:46 PM, June 29th (Saturday)]

hatefulnow posted 6/26/2013 19:28 PM

Fire your therapist, put on you big girl underpants and tell the poor guy about his situation. He probably knows on some level but needs confirmation. Just go and tell him with compassion.

shudistayorgo posted 6/26/2013 19:40 PM

The OW in our situation is only 25yrs but she does have a boyfriend. Do you think the same advice would apply in contacting him as it would if she was married?
I have been tempted to contact the BF but haven't been sure if I would be doing it out of selfish reasons for myself (ie. exposing OW and hurting her)...

daledge posted 6/26/2013 19:53 PM

You know, I was told the same thing by my therapist (who I ditched).

It is NOT your secret to keep.
The husband of the OW in my case is also 70ish and not in the best of health. I made plans to meet him in person.

Just so you know, he was relieved and very, very grateful!

I was so glad that I did it.
The OW was furious, fine with me!

All the aforementioned reasons are excellent as well. Just thought I would let you know that you should do it!

bufffalo posted 6/26/2013 20:37 PM

Therapist says don't tell betrayed spouse??

Yep....THAT is the general consensus of most therapists...and attorneys...

However....alot BSs are wanting to save their marriages...and unless infidelity is a "dealbreaker" (divorce) are willing to do almost anything to achieve that goal. If a dealbreaker - outing the affair to the other BS is a moot simply doenst matter ...

To those who are wanting to save their marriage....the first thing that must happen is the affair MUST end cannot R is your wife is still banging her will not happen.

One of the best ways to "end" the affair is exposure...end the fantasy...get it out into the light...expose it to all parties (especially the other BS)...affairs are like mushrooms - they thrive if kept in the dark....

Exposure to the other BS will not "drive them together" they are already together.....

Discounting Exit affairs and rekindled affairs (affairs with exes).....affairs are ego stroking relationships based on lies and depict....the APs derive a "high" from a junkie on crack.....these "shits and giggles" affairs are an escape from reality....they are "self medicating" actions that makes the cheating spouses "feel good" to the point that we call their thinking process a "fog"....

Until the "fog" lifts and the APs are pulled/pushed back into "reality" the affair will a BS, the lifting of the fog is a primary have to bring the APs back to reality....I was willing to do "anything" to knock my FWW back to reality....anything!!!

Two things that aid those reality checks are exposure and divorce papers.....allowing the affair to continue without repercussions does not speed up the process of ending the affair....AND....a lot of therapists adhere to "allowing the affair to die a natural death"........die a natural death???? That almost sounds like "permission" to me....I would NEVER give my wife permission for that...

To those BSs who have a WW/WH in a LTA...that "let it die a natural death" is bullshit...had an BH on here years ago who's wife had been in a 20 year affair (hello "die a natural death")....and I feel for those who didn't "expose" as soon as they could...waiting for the A to die...

I have been here on SI since 2008....and I have seen on these boards ...countless affairs what are not over until BOTH BSs are aware of the A....if all parties (both of the BSs included) know of the affair and it does not end is no longer an illicit affair...its an "open marriage"....never seen both BSs agree to one of those....the sooner the affair ends the lower the level of emotional attachment the APs have...time is important...

Yeah....a divorce is an option when dealing with infidelity.....I would rather have one of those than "share the wife".....I would, and did, everything in my power to end her affair...

I am NOT a shrink.....this is JMO....


[This message edited by bufffalo at 9:46 PM, June 26th (Wednesday)]

kansas1968 posted 6/26/2013 20:44 PM

I am always conflicted on this question. I am not sure I would tell the husband, but that is just me. The consensus here is that you should, but of course we all don't agree on everything.
Now as to your husband wanting to keep it a secret, I am not really seeing a problem with that. Of course he should be seeing a counselor, and it is always helpful if he has someone besides you to talk to, but be careful who you share this with. If you have your mind set on reconcilliaton, then be very selective. People who care about you can sometimes make reconcilliation difficult. They are so angry at the person that hurt you that they just want you to kick him to the curb.
Three weeks out is horrible. I would never want to go back there and because of the roil of emotions, I probably made a lot of mistakes.
I was late getting a counselor and I was late finding this site.
Thank God I did get some books and they helped a lot.
Hugs. K

scared&stronger posted 6/26/2013 20:54 PM

My first therapist told me the same thing. She also told me that fWH's affair was my fault. She got a boot up her ass pretty quickly. My current therapist not only told me to tell she asked me if I wanted to met with the other BS and talk?

tushnurse posted 6/26/2013 20:58 PM

Find a new therapist. Perhaps one that has actually dealt with infidelity on a personal level.

What you were told was wrong wrong wrong. You new to drag this shitstorm Ito the light of day. And I wished I could have been able to do that from day 1 unfortunately for me my Hs AP was a D attorney and had promised us financial ruin if we ds anything to ruin. Her name. And her trust fund backed it up.

So he's 70. Big deal. I know several 70 year olds that run marathons. I seriously doubt telling him will kill him.

Btw your h doesn't get to call the shots. You do. He is the one that works to fix things. You get to make the rules and if he chooses not to follow show him the damn door.

Successful R's don't happen because tw bs was afraid to be strong. Rather they happen because the bs was strong

Pull on your Bitch boots and do what you need to to heal. Btw don't warn your spouse tht you are going to tell.

((((and strength ))))

determined99 posted 6/26/2013 21:26 PM

Thanks everyone. Your thoughts help alot. I like the idea of a certified letter, but couldn't she sign off on this?

ReunitePangea posted 6/26/2013 21:32 PM

It is not the consensus on SI that the other BS should always be told. There has always been much debate on this topic on way too many posts than can be counted.

I know I were 70 and in poor health I would not want to be told. Now WS especially in the beginning lie so I would try to verify this information. If your therapist is working for both you and your WS and helping address the issues needed, I don't think this is a big enough issue to go against the advice of your therapist. Especially so early in the process. If you are having other issues with your therapist by all means find a better one.

ReunitePangea posted 6/26/2013 21:42 PM

To those BSs who have a WW/WH in a LTA...that "let it die a natural death" is bullshit...had an BH on here years ago who's wife had been in a 20 year affair (hello "die a natural death")....and I feel for those who didn't "expose" as soon as they could...waiting for the A to die...

Actually it is probably more often the case that it is the LTA that can die a natural death right after Dday. Many LTAs continue for as long as they do because neither the WS or the AP can figure out how to end it. Often they have tried and failed. Dday is the motivating shock, long gone are the feelings of lurve that make shorter affairs difficult to end. I know this from many LTA stories here as well as my own personnel experience.

Nature_Girl posted 6/26/2013 22:33 PM

My STBX's IC was also one of these don't ask, don't tell, limit information, let the past be the past kind of guys. Kept me from getting information I needed. I did NOT like the advice he was doling out.

I now find out that he was screwing two of his clients/cheating on his wife, drinking on the job, addicted to porn, and just got his license to practice in this state permanently revoked. No wonder his advice was so screwed up!

HardenMyHeart posted 6/27/2013 09:00 AM

I agree with buffalo. His answer is spot on.

So sorry you're going through this.

1Faith posted 6/27/2013 09:13 AM

Please note that many stated general consensus.

We all have our own path and journey and in the end, we must ultimately decide for ourselves.

Reading this thread alone, it is clear that the general consensus is to tell the other BS.


noun, plural con·sen·sus·es.
1. majority of opinion:
2. general agreement or concord; harmony.

Determined - we are here for you. Good luck.

[This message edited by 1Faith at 9:14 AM, June 27th (Thursday)]

ButterflyGirl posted 6/27/2013 09:23 AM

Geez, 70 is not that old. My dad is almost 70, and he would definitely want to be told. It's not like he's 130 with Alzheimer's.

My vote is to fire you therapist and absolutely tell the betrayed spouse.

Good luck whatever you decide..

ReunitePangea posted 6/27/2013 09:50 AM

I know what the definition of consensus means. I was merely pointing out the specific consensus that you posted in not the general consensus of many on SI. You posted that they MUST be told - I interpreted this as you meaning that they ALWAYS should be told. If I interpreted that incorrectly I apologize.

I will agree that the general consensus here is that the other BS is often best to be told. However there is a significant number of people here - even possibily a majority here, that believe that there are certain exceptions to that rule. If the other BS is known to be violent (of course WS use this as a common excuse/lie so verification is necessary) they should not be told - protect yourself first. I personnally believe that if it is an old affair that has recently been discovered years later that it may be best not to tell. In my own case it is an old affair that happened while the other BS was just dating the AP and they did not have kids yet. Now they are married and have kids and it is a few years later - I have choose not to tell. Others have other reasons for exceptions that I find sometimes acceptable.

The question here is if the other BS being 70 is a possible exception. By indicating that they are 70 the implication is that if you have information on someone that was cheated on should you tell them if they dont have much more time to live - I think that is a topic that is very much of for debate and I would expect many on SI to have different opinions on that. It is certainly not a general consensus in my opinion. Of course some on SI believe that ALWAYS should be the rule.

1Faith posted 6/27/2013 10:27 AM


Understand completely. There are always exceptions and always never applies to everything...

Determined99 - you need to do what you feel is best for you and your healing.

A lot of great discussion for you to consider.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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