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hopeful18 posted 9/17/2013 18:32 PM

In mc today I brought up something that I have been struggling with. Unfortunately we only had five minutes left so we will start with the topic next week and I would love to have your input.

On the advice of our mc I have not asked a lot of questions of my wh. I know the basics and some details but not a lot. Mc feels that I am entitled to know if I choose to but does not think it is in my best interest. I know I have read a lot on here that many of you feel you need to know many details.

The few details I know have been good and bad. For example, I know where the hotel was so now when I pass by I trigger. But if I did not know I may wonder about every hotel. I did of course look up the rooms on line. That was painful. I did not share that with wh or mc. I also know he wore his ring. Obviously hard to take that in. The point is I do not know if the details will make things better or worse.

I do feel like if I do not know, wh has a secret from me. It feels like a wall. We were childhood sweethearts so this seems very strange to not know about.

I asked mc if I follow his advise, how do I deal with this sense of secrecy.

I think our mc is very good. I am at a crossroads.

Please let me know what you all think. Does knowing help? Hurt? What have you done? Are you happy you did it ?

[This message edited by hopeful18 at 6:38 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

Rebreather posted 9/17/2013 18:43 PM

I was advised the same and I fought against many questions for the first few years. Eventually I had to know. I was always careful though to ask what I NEEDED to know, and what might be morbid curiosity. ie, I asked if they had sex in her pool, but not other creative locales. I asked if they brought in third parties or toys, but not what her sheets looked like.

For me, I ended up needing more details. And I stand by my belief that telling you the details is GOOD for the wayward spouse. I couldn't handle secrets and I don't think it is healthy for them to have them either. I think full disclosure is healthy.

BUT, don't just pain shop. I know that is probably a difficult distinction.

[This message edited by Rebreather at 6:43 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

Dallas2 posted 9/17/2013 19:05 PM

Each BS is different in what we need to know. I asked a lot of questions about certain things. I did not ask much about the sexual side of my H A. It is hard enough to deal with knowing he had sex with his AP.

There is a post about WS's wearing their rings or not and how the BS dealt with it. Many BS's take off their rings, get new one or never wear one again. It is up to the BS what is done. My WH wore his ring. I now wear it as a thumb ring. IMO he doesn't deserve what the ring stood for.

My MC also said not to ask many questions. I only asked what I felt was important at that time. I also had to accept the answers and deal with my feelings about them. I have asked more since then but if I had asked to many at first I believe I would have had a major breakdown.

Do what helps you. If you need to know all details to heal then ask. Someone here once said you can't unlearn what you know. Just be sure you can handle the answers.

lucy17 posted 9/17/2013 19:48 PM

You can't unlearn what you know.

But if you find yourself wondering the same thing over and over and over again and coming up with your own descriptions or ideas (like wondering about all hotels) then I would say it is best to ask. At first I wanted to know everything. Now I wait a day and if I am still mulling it over (and over and over) I write it down and wait one more day and if I still NEED to know- I ask. I hate the secrecy and my WH is minimizing parts of the affair that I personally feel like he should deal with (the thousands of texts a month) so we can move on together. I have wanted to know a lot of details.

Girlietoo posted 9/17/2013 19:48 PM

My MC said the same and at first I was pissed. He likened it to me asking my WS to stab me over and over again. And to be honest, he was right. He agreed that I needed to have a time line and know what happened sexually but not the nitty gritty details. As I said, I was quite annoyed at the time but knowing how painful the details I do have are, I don't really need to pain shop for some more. I know what happened and when it happened. That's enough for a lifetime.

SorrowBhindSmile posted 9/17/2013 20:01 PM

Agreed, every BS is different....and what one needs to know might be TMI for another.

Me personally, i think i was a middle of the road-er. I needed some of the sex details, and some of the rest.

When i did come up with a question i wasnt sure i wanted the answer to, i wrote it down and sat on it for a few days. Pondered it. decided if it was important for me to know. Perhaps you can do something similar and bring them to MC with you.....ask the question in your MC session and work thru the answer together. Especially if its something you think might be devastating. (ok, yeah, i know, its all painful, but brutally off the charts devastating)

I found many things that were very terrible to hear. But not knowing was worse. Making up stuff in my mind was worse. Most of the time...while the answer was painful to hear...what i had imagined was way i was able to process and wrap my head around.

My WH also made the very grave mistake of offering up a sexual detail i DID NOT need to know and did not ask for. Now it is burned into my mind and i just can NOT get rid of be weary of this as well.....tell your WS to answer specifically what you ask and dont elaborate.

Also may i suggest one question at a time. Don't bombard yourself....especially if you get an answer you don't like. I used to just pound question after question, i got overwhelmed and it was just too much information...sent me into a tailspin. Ask one question at a time. give yourself a couple days to process, grieve, accept, ponder, absorb. then ask another question later.

hugs to you!

womaninflux posted 9/17/2013 20:08 PM

There are samples of real disclosures on line if you want to see what one is like. Some of them are pretty graphic even though they stick to very clinical terms such as oral sex (vs. blow job) and masturbated (vs. hand job) and so forth.

Personally, I just saw a few text exchanges on an old phone of SAWH's that I powered up. Umm...I did not need to know that he told her he masturbated in the shower while thinking of her. Obviously, it was safe to assume this anyway. But GROSS nonetheless. However, seeing their exchange, I realize that it was 90% sexual and NOT the relationship between two healthy mature adults (SAWH is not healthy right now for sure). And SAWH says the POA definitely has issues.

hathnofury posted 9/17/2013 20:24 PM

Here's my two cents: If you have some burning questions you NEED answered, then ask them. IN MC, where it can be mediated so it can be kept civil and fair. I wouldn't do it at home.

However, I would think very hard about what it is you want to know, and why you need to know it. You don't want fodder for mind movies. You need to know what you need to know to feel safe. Take the time you have between appointments to make a list, and think about why you need to know. Then go over the list with the MC and see if they have any input about what you want to ask.

I also am in the camp of learned more than I needed to know, and it was absolutely devastating. I stumbled on evidence that gave way more details that any BS should know (performance reviews written by WH of hookers, explicit pix I wasn't looking for). I wouldn't wish that on anybody. So when I got my timeline, I worked with my IC to make sure I got what I needed to know but nothing that would be detrimental to my healing.

The only other warning I give is I was very direct with my questions, and he lied and TT'd many of them the first go round. To me that is as great a betrayal as the infidelity itself. The more questions you ask, the greater the chance there might not be the full truth. Because even if they *think* they are telling the truth, they honestly may not remember everything, or have mentally already rewritten history, etc. You have to walk that fine line between what you NEED to know and what you think you WANT to know.

SoAngryAndHurt posted 9/17/2013 21:43 PM

I had to know every little detail. I still ask questions. It is very painful. Some times I wonder why I asked but when the question pops into my head.... I just have to know. My imagination is much worse. I feel like he shouldn't be allowed to have memories or experiences I don't know about. Even if they aren't fond memories for him - they are soley between him and her and I can't stand that!!! Just be ready for the worst possible answer when you ask the question.

[This message edited by SoAngryAndHurt at 9:49 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

StillStanding1 posted 9/17/2013 22:16 PM

This is a great thread as I have been struggling mightily with what questions to ask. My MC has likewise cautioned me against anything that doesn't help in the healing process.

I don't want to rugsweep either, so I am trying to find that balance.

I am writing a list and reviewing it and will eventually give it to my WH when I am sure of the content.

So far, I want a more specific timeline, I need to know how it all got started (I believe this will help me understand any future warning signs or things we need to address), I need to understand the financial cost, I need to know if any gifts were exchanged and if any mementos were kept. I don't want to know everywhere they went, but I want to know if they went any place that we frequent ourselves. I want to avoid those places.

The details of their sexual encounters I absolutely do not need. I can imagine it all and do daily. That's torture enough without a visual image seared into my brain of him recounting it to me. I know my H well enough that if the sex wasn't great, he wouldn't have stuck around for 2 years and considered leaving his kids and whole life behind for her. That is already abundantly clear. The damage is already more than I may be able to bear for a lifetime. I certainly can't take one more bit of hurt in that area.

But that's me. I totally get that it's different for everyone. I just want to make sure I get it right when I do ask.

I wish none of us were here or had to even think about which questions to ask. What a complete hell we have been forced to endure... Sorry, feeling pretty angry tonight....

kansas1968 posted 9/18/2013 00:52 AM

I think everyone feels differently about this, to one degree or another.

Personally, I am in the less detail the better camp. As far as sex, I think we all know what goes on during sex, especially a new relationship. I don't need to hear specifics. It would only be painful.

I knew from the start I didn't want intimate details. The few details that I do know have been really hard to deal with and have caused a lot of triggers.

I more wanted to know why, and most importantly, how he feels about me now, post affair. Just be careful what you ask. You can never unlearn something. Once something is in your head, it is there forever.

broken0912 posted 9/18/2013 02:04 AM

My MC told us at one point about 6 months in that I already knew everything I needed to know. I was not happy with that & decided to process it. However, my WH could not remember anything and at the time the only thing he could remember was each place they had sex & even remembered twice at one place - for a total of 7 times in what I deduced & he admitted to was at least 3 yrs. cough..BULLSHIT..cough

Well a few months later, I started re-asking some questions & asking new ones. That is when shit hit the fan. He told me my facts were all screwed up - didn't know where I got them, and/or he must have just said that "to shut you up"!

Back at mc FWH brought up that I was asking questions again, so I had to let them know that everything thus far had evidently been a lie, since now none of what he told me made sense to him or he didn't remember it & told him about the shut me up remark. MC just sat there speechless, kind of stunned. So we left with no answer as to where to go from there.

He has since "remembered" some things with the help of a timeline I made of our & our friends & family timeline, so the start & end date are there more or less, but nothing much in between. My biggest issue is what they said to each other about us, and what private songs, jokes, etc did they have and How the A progressed in that 3+ yr timeline. I am still waiting...

[This message edited by broken0912 at 2:05 AM, September 18th (Wednesday)]

standinghere posted 9/18/2013 02:55 AM

I wanted to know everything, at least the general details.

I didn't want to wonder or imagine what might have gone on, already had done to much of that.

It was awful....just fucking awful.

And, never start a sentence with and, it was all a fucking pile of lies.

When that came out, I blew up, I'd been betrayed, lied to, taken advantage of, exploited. I wanted every single thing then, every word, every place they met, everything that happened at each place. Every nitty gritty detail that could be drug out. Leaving no stone unturned so to speak. It was Hell, but after so many lies there was no other way but divorce and to never speak to each other again.

The real Hell was being lied to and not knowing what to believe.

[This message edited by standinghere at 2:57 AM, September 18th (Wednesday)]

morethantrying posted 9/18/2013 03:39 AM

I decided NOT to know any specific details. Only the time duration and a few things like did he give her presents? He has offered a few details that are uncomplimentary about them (two) and I will take that info. gladly, but I am dealing with enough without more images in my head...personally, I do not want to further touture myself and make myself only feel worse...details does not change what happened, but having the details COULD change what happens next especially in terms of how YOU feel and that is the most important...For me not having is best...have enough stories in my head as it is!

soconfusednow posted 9/18/2013 04:41 AM

I found many things that were very terrible to hear. But not knowing was worse. Making up stuff in my mind was worse. Most of the time...while the answer was painful to hear...what i had imagined was way i was able to process and wrap my head around.

I also have to stop myself from making stuff up and just ask and get it over with. It's usually not as bad as I had thought.

[This message edited by soconfusednow at 4:44 AM, September 18th (Wednesday)]

soconfusednow posted 9/18/2013 05:07 AM

Also may i suggest one question at a time. Don't bombard yourself....especially if you get an answer you don't like. I used to just pound question after question, i got overwhelmed and it was just too much information...sent me into a tailspin. Ask one question at a time. give yourself a couple days to process, grieve, accept, ponder, absorb. then ask another question later.

This depends on what you need. For me asking questions everyday wore me down. I made a list of questions(about 50), everything I thought I might want to know. Then one day I asked if my WH had anything he needed to do. When he said no I pulled it out & said let's talk. Now some days I have questions, and on better days I don't

The one question I thought was important that I wish I didn't ask? What is the make, model & color of her car. I thought it would be reassuring to be able to drive by where WH was & not see it. But in reality, it sucks because every time I see one I'm looking to see if it's the OW. Since I've seen a picture of her at least I know instead of wondering.

sisoon posted 9/18/2013 05:52 AM

I asked for everything except the blow-by-blow of the sex, and I could not have committed to R without doing so.

First, I thought knowledge would lead to understanding. It didn't. I do understand intellectually, but in my gut, I still just can't fathom why she did it.

Second, as my W answered Q after Q, I realized she was being honest. The same and similar Qs got the same and similar answers time after time - that's evidence she was truthful, and truth builds trust. Also, her answers often cast a bad light on her. Those answers also built trust.

My intense questioning accelerated the trust-building process - many answers in so little time (it still took months) just kept me aware that she was being honest.

Third, I was desperately afraid that she was still hiding something that would be a deal-killer. I emphasized and re-emphasized that something bad revealed now might make me leave, but something bad revealed 6 months down line would make me leave.

I wanted the total load of painful info out on the table as soon as possible so I could know what had to deal with. Like virtually every other BS, I was in excruciating pain, and I didn't want to drag it out. (Little did I know....)

Fourth, answering questions is, as you note, probably good for the WS and for the M. Secrets aren't good for Ms, and answering questions honestly help a WS take responsibility for what she's done.

About a year out I started being able to moderate my questions. When something occurred to me, I asked myself if I might already know the answer, for example, and often I did.

I started questioning my motivation for asking each question. If I wanted to get her to feel bad, I expressed my anger directly, rather than through Socratic questioning. If I wanted to evoke sympathy, I expressed my pain directly and asked for support. If I didn't have some gut level understanding of why I wanted to ask a Q, I told W that something was going on with me, but I didn't understand it yet.

I still ask questions now, but I know why I'm asking. That wasn't true at first - I just asked any question I wanted to ask.

It's especially important to your healing to ask the questions that most scare you - if the answer you fear is true, then the earlier you know it, the better for you.

But that's JMO. You can't unring a bell, but you can always circle back and ask unasked questions in 1, 6, 24 months.... YMMV.

[This message edited by sisoon at 6:30 AM, September 18th (Wednesday)]

hopeful18 posted 9/18/2013 10:08 AM

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I really appreciate it! I think I will make a list for myself and look at the categories. This whole thing is so hard!

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