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When to get the details

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MSB74 posted 7/31/2013 20:19 PM

I found out about the affair 2 weeks ago. Since then we seemed to have been moving towards reconciliation. He had initially said he thought he loved her and wanted to move on from our marraige. I think he was temporarily delusional. He is still likely in withdrawal from the feelings he had but I believe he wants to save our marraige. I am not sure if I can handle the details. I know they expressed love to each other, no intercourse but that doesn't really matter. They "fooled around" and she gave him a blow job. That's all I know. I also know generalities about some of the rendezvous. We have started having sex-aka Hysterical Bonding. And it feels like we are connecting again. But I still wonder about what and when they got together. I can't give him a BJ but I am not sure I want to know more because so much has been tainted for me already--i.e. locations of their trysts.
I am starting to feel like I want to know, but am worried that it would set us back. I am leaving with the kids for a week in 1 week and wonder if I should get the details before I leave or when I return. I am thinking before. I want a real new start when we get back. Any suggestions?

ArableSands posted 7/31/2013 20:28 PM

MSB74, I am so sorry you find yourself here, but understand there is a lot of wisdom at SI that can help.

I'm not quite 4 weeks out myself. My advice is you find out now, as much as you can, ask ask ask. Answers will beget more questions. Sit his ass down and lock him in place for an hour or two. Then be prepared to go back the next day for another hour or two. Ask until you're satisfied with the information. Make sure he understands that you can't heal until you know everything. I say do it now because while you're away you might have a million questions and they will TORMENT you until you get back and you can ask. It is better to ask in person, in my opinion.

Have strength. Know that you have not just friends but ALLIES here. We love you because you feel the same pain we do. Be strong, or if you can't, we can be strong for you.

brkn_heartd posted 7/31/2013 22:35 PM

I am going to offer a different perspective. It sounds like you are already thinking along those lines. Once you know something, you cannot unknow it. It is difficult deciding what you really want to know and what you do not want to know.

You have a few options. You could ask him to write everything down, seal it in an envelop and open it one day if you want to. You can prepare a list of questions, keep them until you are ready to ask (revising as needed) then ask. Ask for full disclosure but risk learning more than you want.

One trick I did a little later in the process I wished I had started sooner. The instinct is to start firing questions. I moved to a process in which I decided if I still had the question 3 days later after I thought about it I asked it. That way I had plenty of time to think about it to determine if I really wanted to know the answer. I forgot many questions which told me they really didn't matter. Some I decided I didn't want to know.

I don't "know" what exactly they did....but knowing they did has ruined much of our sex life. For me, if I knew the "exacts" it would probably be over. This way I know it is only my imagination at work and I can push it aside at times. In the end....does it really matter step by step what happened? Personally, for me no...the betrayal is the issue, the lies are the issue...not the blow by blow details of the sexual act.

Decide carefully what you want to know. You are wise in being cautious.

MSB74 posted 7/31/2013 23:00 PM

Thanks for the second perspective. 3 people IRL have suggested I am not ready to know the details. I remember he was still mourning his previous girlfriend when we first met and I was jealous but glad I didn't know too much, and hurt by the info I did know. It took me years, even after we married, to stop being jealous. So I will wait and bring it up this in therapy. I like the idea of him writing it down--he is very forgetful.
I also know we are moving to reconcilation but I do feel like he has to do more reckoning with what he has done. I don't know if he has absorbed how devastated I am. I am gravitating towards some numbing behaviour--drinking more than normal, wanting to hurt myself (which I haven't done). He is sort of resuming normal but not really--I think he is still dealing internally.

m334455 posted 7/31/2013 23:13 PM

Would you believe what she tells you?

Honestly, I was having trouble "getting the details" and I finally decided that if I could dream it up he's probably done it.

Tired05 posted 7/31/2013 23:37 PM

Honestly, I was having trouble "getting the details" and I finally decided that if I could dream it up he's probably done it.

This is the attitude I have. Different people plus last OW he said was a good 25-30 times. I'm sure he has covered a wide range of shit. So this makes it almost a relief when I do ask and he says that it didn't happen. But I start off with "whatever pops in my head, he has already done" and if it bothers me I ask. I asked him how many gave bj's...turned out that 1 OW actually didn't. Well, that's one less than I thought.

[This message edited by Tired05 at 11:38 PM, July 31st (Wednesday)]

SuperDad posted 8/1/2013 06:42 AM

I'll tell you this. The details matter and they don't. I'm only a week in and unfortunately know the details. It has helped me start moving forward, but the mental images have burned in my head.

I think it's better to know than not. At least you know what you have to deal with and work on (yourself). If you don't know the details (doesn't have to be every gory bit), you'll end up obsessing about "what really happened". You can't move on in my opinion if you're obsessed with something related to this.

Given you're leaving with the kids for a week, I think it should wait. You need to spend the time with them and focus on the kids. If you know now the details and they're fresh in your head, you won't be able to get those mental images out of your head enough to give them the attention they need in this time- especially when you're away from him. It's up to you, but I think you should spend the time with the kids and let it all out when you get back. You're never really starting over anyway. You're trying to repair damage to something you started long ago, before all this, and have decided is worth it to repair. Starting over would imply you ended what once was. The whole reason you're trying is you won't give up what you once had.

TxsT posted 8/1/2013 11:02 AM


I am now almost 11 months out from Dday. I am currently healing from a Long Term Affair (LTA). We have been together for 32 years, married almost 25. My husbands 4+ year affair was winding down when Dday occurred. I had suspected for 2 years. Reality was a bitch!

My journey after Dday started off logically if you can believe it. I attributed this to the fact that I had suspected for a long time, I had gone over so many scenarios already in my head as to what I would do. He no longer worked with, or lives close to, the OW. We had moved to a different country, and I did not have to see all the nasty things in our past city that would be instant triggers.I also was 100% sure that snake called the OW had never been in my brand new home. But, slowly, as logic couldn't keep up with the emotions that the triggers brought on, my emotional side won out and the anger started to surface.

We suffered terribly, both of us, in those first weeks. My husband, immediately after DDay (actually during the very first conversation we had when I presented him with the printed emails) asked me to enter counselling with him. He needed to understand how he could do this horrible thing to me and he wanted me to have support and help. He was remorseful from minute one. His A was almost dead in the water....after 4 years the newness and excitement of an A either continues and your WS leaves for the OP or it wanes and you WS is left with the horrible reality that it wasn't what they thought it was and that they are asses. We fell into the second group. My H wanted to forget the finer points of the A. They brought him horrible shame and the knowing pain that he was watching me disintegrate from his actions right in front of his eyes. He had a very hard time remembering actual dates, times, things because his hurt subconscious wanted to put them in a deep dark place. We suffered through stories that changed because he would slowly remember more. Every time a story changed I felt he had lied the first time...I felt like the story would just keep changing. I never knew what was real, the pendulum of emotions swung so hard and so often every single day it became unbearable. our MC, who is also both of our IC told me that some spouses need to know everything about the A before they move on and some don't. In my case though, because we were dealing with a 4 year A, he encouraged me to ask as many questions as I needed personally to heal. He said I would know when enough was enough.

He was right. I am a worrier, I like for things to be completely spelled out so I know ALL of the variables and all of the angles before I move forward. For me personally, I needed to know every last thing he had to tell me because I realized, until I knew it all, the triggers would slowly kill me. so at about 2 months into R I asked for and was given an entire time line of the A, at least as good of one as he could give me at the time. He was honest that he would do his best but he couldn't guarantee that it would be complete by any stretch of the imagination. I valued his honesty about this and together we sat down and poured over a calendar, and searched through his daytimer and cell phone calendar and slowly pieced it together.

At the same time I did something else that proved to be a shocking revelation to my H. Below his A timeline I made a time line that represented what I and, even more importantly, the family was doing during each item on the A time line. Not only was he horrified to see how the two overlapped but he was kicked in the gut to realize just how much of our lives had had to deal with his A.

I agree with others here that this is a very individual topic. Some people do much better not knowing anything. I unfortunately couldn't live with that arrangement.

I hope this has helped you think through this and figure out where you sit on the info time line issue. Just know, that when you do decide, we will support you and help you get through it.


[This message edited by TxsT at 11:04 AM, August 1st (Thursday)]

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