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Autumn22 posted 2/15/2014 17:28 PM

Help me here.

W/SAH and I are at a bit of an impasse right now regarding transparency. I've read about transparency being necessary for the BS to reconcile, and that a WS that does not embrace transparency is probably not truly ready for R...or recovery in the case of SA.

My questions for the masses are these:

What does transparency mean? Specifically, what level of "surveillance" or "access to information" is acceptable?

At the beginning of R, where there has been an extensive history of lying, what limits on transparency are reasonable for the WS to request?

Does transparency inappropriately violate the privacy of others?

TIA for any info, guidance, or experiences you can share. I am truly surprised this has emerged as the issue that could be our deal breaker.

rachelc posted 2/15/2014 17:43 PM

After my husband's first affair he fought transparency kicking and screaming. He soon had another affair. After I caught him at that he just handed me his phone and every password. I'll not accept anything less. Or I will leave.
After an affair the right to privacy no longer exists.

SpotlessMind posted 2/15/2014 17:47 PM

Hi Autumn--

I'm sorry you and WH are having a hard time agreeing on this.

It's a little bit of a flag for me.

On the one hand--my husband was raised to fiercely prize and protect privacy and complete independence, so when he struggles a bit with feeling micro-managed, I can understand. FOO issues at work. Perhaps your WH had a similar upbringing?

HOWEVER--when my hubby fought transparency tooth and nail originally, it was bc he was hiding stuff and we were in false R. That EA he'd admitted to was actually 3 PAs.

Transparency can be a little uncomfortable and weird for some at first--I get that. But people with nothing to hide have nothing to worry about.

Once we were out of false R, hubby installed spyware on his phone, handed over all passwords, etc. If he did act odd about anything, it usually meant trickle truth.

Would it help if you offered up transparency too, so he feels less singled out?

Also, if he's an SA, is he in a program or getting therapy from an SA expert? I'd think transparency would be a pretty basic and standard suggestion/requirement.

Good luck to you!

Morhurt posted 2/15/2014 17:47 PM

For me it needs to be complete, absolutely nothing is off limits. This includes access to his iphone, app store, all email accounts (including his work one), texts, social media (though he doesn't have any now), cell records, CC statements and anything else I want.

He has offered to put tracking apps on his phone, keyloggers on computers, VAR in the car... whatever I need.

I would feel terrible and very un-trusting if there was anything he "needed" privacy on.

mainlyinpain posted 2/15/2014 17:50 PM

I think whatever you need to heal and feel safe.

Violate privacy of others? If they were involved in A or coverup then anything goes.

I can't think of a situation where tangentially an innocent's privacy is violated but if your WS has info then you should too and he should trust you with it. For me this is one way to start establishing trust again---the WS has to put trust in the BS--they have to risk themselves or maybe struggle with tranparency issues but relent in what the BS needs.

Prioritize. What is more important--a debated privacy violation or your marriage, safety and healing?

Lionne posted 2/15/2014 18:02 PM

For an SA, one who truly embraces recovery, there should be no real limits to transparency. Passwords, finances, GPS monitoring should all be accessible to the BS, without hesitation. Until that happens, it's impossible for the traumatized spouse to regain footing.
That said, the BS must learn to give up the outcome of the SAs behavior. He or she CANNOT control whether or not the acting out continues. The purpose of the transparency is twofold, to provide a way for the SA to help the partner heal and a way to prevent further trauma. Clear consequences are set for boundary violations.
In the early days, my SAFWH gave up his ATM card, let me know if he withdrew any cash and showed me receipts for all purchases. I could see any credit card transactions. He installed a passive GPS monitoring program on our phones so I didn't even have to look, I was notified when he arrived and left POI. He gave me his passwords and handed me the computer to check. Our phones didn't include texting, but I already had access to the account to check call activity.
I did check a lot in the early days. And he was resentful initially. I made certain that he knew the I appreciated these actions, made certain he always had some cash, (I didn't hand it to him like a child, I'd leave cash in a "household" envelope for he or I to tap when needed) As trust was re established, I checked less, he now has an ATM card again.
Infidelity, ESPECIALLY that involving SA IMHO, requires a lot of effort to rebuild trust. Partners need to go the extra mile. If they do, the spouse CAN heal. But each time the BS has to doubt, even a little bit, that trust is eroded once again.
The money issue was HUGE for us and very hard for SAFWH to give up. But once he did, he realized that in the long run, it was worth it. I knew if he didn't have money, he wouldn't be at a strip club. He knew if he helped me build trust, I would feel safe. It is working. One day at a time.

sisoon posted 2/16/2014 04:20 AM

The only limit I'd accept is on stuff that is legally required to keep confidential, and I might (or might not) break confidentiality on company email.

eachdayisvictory posted 2/16/2014 16:45 PM

There should be absolutely no limit on transparency. What helped my H manage the shame of some transparency issues was us agreeing to it together - it goes both ways.

We BOTH have the right to ask about ANYTHING and look at ANYTHING. At times it feels kind of strange to me, and I'm tempted to be defensive about it, but I keep that in check and let it happen. Just this Thursday I was not where I said I was and this came up. I had left work early to go to the book store to get us "Wired for Love" for valentine's day. He had texted and let me know he was heading to the car after work and casually asked where I was. I said I was also on the way home and I would meet him there. He said 'work late?' and I said yes. It felt terrible, and like a violation of our agreement, so I texted him that I had run to the book store after work and was leaving from there. When we returned home, he was a little sad. I asked if it was about the texts and he said yes, and sheepishly asked if he could see the time on the receipt without looking at what I got. I did it, but not with an openness. We talked about it that night, and I said that it made me sad because I had never done anything to betray his trust and it kind of ruined a surprise. We noted that surprises are not a priority now. And we both need to trust and be open in our new marriage (that's how I feel about my M now). In the end it was great, and I am more than willing to be transparent with him if that's what I expect.

Also, it's kind of nice to know that he's worried about me finding someone else. I know that's not the best way to see things, but it is what it is.

Rebreather posted 2/16/2014 18:29 PM

Limit. Transparency. Two words that don't belong in the same sentence.

RealityBlows posted 2/16/2014 22:38 PM

For me, and now for us, absolute. My wife is now worried I'll have a revenge affair. So absolute two-way transparency is working for us both. Transparency and emotional intimacy, which means she doesn't get to share things with her close friends that she would not share with me, or not want me to know about. It sounds extreme, but it works. I must do the same. It comforts me to know she is watching me, and cares and worries for this beautiful, precious, fragile thing we have.

morethantrying posted 2/17/2014 03:07 AM

I think in any true loving marriage, or one that hopes to get there, there is no reason to even WANT get married to share, otherwise why bother?

Two become one and that one is so much better for it...share it all, privacy is not a word for a marriage.

For me at the time, I also offered all my Passwd. as well...both sides and it does not feel so "threatening" to either party...that helps in the beginning until the marriage is on a bit stabler ground...

(though it is ok to close the bathroom door at times... )

StillGoing posted 2/17/2014 07:19 AM

Unless it is government org high level compartmented clearance required, I don't think a spouse should be holding anything back.

Things like tracking apps, VAR, keyloggers and so on are stuff that varies between individuals and is a personal judgement.

Privacy is about consideration. The privacy of a friend should not come at the cost of spousal integrity. A spouse comes first. All there is to it. If a friend doesn't want a friends spouse to know something, they shouldn't share it in the first place then. It should pretty much be a given that any information that goes to the wife should also go to the husband, vice versa, and if someone thinks that is unfair then they're trying to be in a place where they get access to trust and privacy at a magnitude above the spouse.

In the end, transparency is really about attitude. If your WS is willing to share anything and everything at any time, that is transparency.

rachelc posted 2/17/2014 07:35 AM

a few months ago one of my best friends approached one of my husband's employees for a loan for a new exciting business. I was in the dark about this. I realize its confidential. I was asked about what I thought of this type of business by my husband and if I thought it would work, several times. I wondered what was going on.

After my friend told me about this opportunity I ran home excited to tell hubby. He already knew of course. I felt completely betrayed. By both of them.

After all the lying during the affairs, even though it was confidential I felt I should have known about this. It was like there was another secret going on with him and it effing sucked. And being I was used for information without knowing it that felt scummy to me.

I had an affair too. I tell hubby what is going on at work and I really don't care what code I'm breaking - they can fire me. The marriage code comes first. JMHO

Autumn22 posted 2/17/2014 12:00 PM

Thanks to everyone for weighing in.

SAH said he was concerned with violating the privacy of others. "What if Bob sends me an email with private thoughts about his wife? He'd be really mad if he ever found out you could see that. I know I would be." Sigh - such a disconnect for me here.

After more (WAY too much) discussion about transparency this weekend, he seems to have changed his tune. He is concerned I will use access to his accounts, phone, etc to reach out to people I think seem suspect, thus embarrassing him and potentially harming his work reputation. Also, he signed a confidentiality agreement with his SA therapy group and feels like he would be violating that if I had access to their contact info or email addresses, etc.

This whole topic has flared up b/c several times in the past few weeks, when I've asked to see his phone, he has resisted or at the very least, rolled his eyes and very begrudgingly handed it over. This was not ok with me, so I let him know how I defined transparency and that without it, I would move forward with separation and divorce proceedings. It's that critical to me after 14 years of lying. He actually shocked me by not snapping out of his resentment over handing over his phone and by going into a sermon on privacy rights of others. (Maybe work on not violating your marriage first dude before lecturing me on how to be a good friend.)

When I brought up my transparency requirement, I specifically stated I would not listen in on calls to his group members nor read his recovery journals. When he started recovery, I very openly admitted if his journals were left out, I would read them and that he should lock them up. Our agreement is that he keeps recovery materials in a lockbox in our office. I do not have access to that box but at any time, he will unlock the box in front of me and show me that it only contains what it should.

I did reach out via email to one woman he told me he kissed on a business trip. This was before disclosure and I thought he had to be lying. So, I contacted her to see if her story matched his. She and I wound up having as nice a conversation as one can have with a woman who kissed your husband, and b/c of it, I was able to accept H's version of events.

He said he felt really good about this weekend's talks and that we would be able to find some middle ground on this - around some promise on my part to go to him if something seemed off, not to reach out to third-parties. I think I would have done this anyway, but...

I've been left feeling really cold and disheartened by all this great communication and "middle ground". I just feel like I had to work WAY too hard to be treated the way I should be right off the bat.

rachelc posted 2/17/2014 12:09 PM

rolled his eyes and very begrudgingly handed it over.

Autumn, according to one of the leading experts on marriage, John Gottman, the eye roll is one of the "four horsemen" - the show of contempt and continued use of it is almost always fatal in a marriage. Google this or look for some of the books Gottman has authored. More importantly, see if your HUSBAND would read them....

steadfast1973 posted 2/17/2014 12:19 PM

After an affair the right to privacy no longer exists.

True Story. However, I gave up all rights to privacy, when I said I do. The privacy is OURS... the minute he needs privacy from me, again... is the day I am done. the refusal of ANY password or access to ANYTHING I need to look at, is a deal breaker. EVERYTHING in his life affects me, and therefore I am privy to it. Or, I am out.

Autumn22 posted 2/17/2014 12:40 PM

@rachelc I will check it out. And if I suggest it, I think he will too. He is very open about resenting me, recognizes it's absolutely not justified, and it's a topic he's trying to work through via IC, journaling, etc.

I'm glad you brought this up. During this transparency marathon, he mentioned that he resented this boundary and was trying to figure out how to embrace it without feeling resentful. I told him instead of trying to chip away at my security to cure his resentment, he needed to focus on why he resented perfectly reasonable and relatively accepted boundaries after betrayal. Think I need to say that to him a few more times...

jstbreathe posted 2/17/2014 12:50 PM

People with nothing to hide, hide nothing. -Dr . Phil
So true!

Morhurt posted 2/17/2014 13:02 PM

As far as friends and keeping what they say private... nope. I have always told my friends that my H doesn't count in a "don't tell anyone" request. I assume the same with their spouses. If the friend is saying something he really doesn't want you to hear.. he better think twice about saying it to your H.

One "self talk" that seems to have helped my H with defensiveness is to remind himself that I am in pain and he caused that pain, that I am not trying to hurt or punish him but actually just trying to feel safe. Not sure if that would resonate with your H.

steadfast1973 posted 2/17/2014 13:09 PM

my H doesn't count in a "don't tell anyone" request


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