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If you are in R, do you stop talking about A?

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womaninflux posted 5/13/2014 13:35 PM

My question for people who have R, when do you stop wondering things about the A? Does this go on infinitely? Was there a point when it because taboo to keep asking your WS things about the A and AP?

I still have a lot of questions about the A. Some of them are really just random thoughts that pop in my head like "what did they have in common? what did they talk about?" I often wonder how they would keep in touch when they were not seeing each other on the weekends...was he thinking about her all of the time? Some of this stuff is pointless for me to know. Will it ever get to the point for me that I just don't care about the content of the A? Obviously, I will always care that it happened and be haunted by it at some level but will the desire to know about it dissipate?

RipsInMyChest posted 5/13/2014 14:28 PM

In TRUE R, you should be able to ask whatever you want for as long as you need to. When you are healed and have all questions answered (many times if needed), you will naturally move on to other things in your life.

If I want to ask something or make a comment 30 years from now I will. I talk about how we met, getting married, having children, my mothers death....this is our history and unfortunately so is his ONS. We will talk as needed. It happened and is now woven into our story.

Morhurt posted 5/13/2014 14:29 PM

I'm no further along than you but I'll answer with my perspective anyway.

I have found that my questions have lessened but I still have some. Sometimes they're new, sometimes they're ones I've asked before but I feel the need to ask again, sometimes they're ones I've forgotten the answer to.

I ask them when I feel the need to and when my H answers with love and honesty (which he always does) I feel safer. For this reason I don't plan on trying to stop them. I assume that over time they will dwindle even more but we are both clear that this is a lifelong process and if I have questions in 40 years he will still answer lovingly and honestly.

I like the idea of not feeling the need to ask questions but second best is knowing what will happen when I do ask them.

Rebreather posted 5/13/2014 14:33 PM

Quite the contrary. In a healthy ongoing recovery, you'll ask every question you need to ask, and you'll get a satisfactory answer without blameshifting, "I don't know", anger or defensiveness.

I found as time went on, the questions I wanted to ask changed. I wanted to ask questions like you have mentioned, and so I did.

Recovery takes a long time. You have new things to process as they occur to you. It's important to keep the information flowing. It gives your wayward a chance to show you how much they have grown.

LivingLearning posted 5/13/2014 14:46 PM

I definitely do. Whenever they seem fit. I also occasionally ask my Wbf to go over the entire timeline again. I do still occasionally get small added details (I do not consider them trickle truth because they are about how they did something rather than what they did). To me, R is partially about feeling comfortable asking questions, and having your wayward answer honestly without blameshifting, rugsweeping, or hiding information.

Edited - Many questions seem pointless to ask. Sometimes you can't move forward though until they are answered, no matter how minute they are. Once you know the answer (good or bad), then you know. You can accept it and move forward in the direction you want to go. For me, it stops occupying brain space if I ask.

[This message edited by LivingLearning at 2:48 PM, May 13th (Tuesday)]

eachdayisvictory posted 5/13/2014 14:55 PM

I agree with all of the posters above, but want to add something different from my journey.

I am dealing with understanding who I am, how I have managed difficulties in the past (big and small), how I was in relationship with my partner, and who I want to be.

I understood at one point in time (probably about 6-8 months out, but time is irrelevant as we are all different humans) that if we were going to work, I had to make some decisions.

I had to decide if I really wanted it to work, to put all of myself into this marriage, give myself more time to decide, or choose to end the marriage. I took a long time and lots of journaling to make this decision. I decided I wanted to be in this relationship (having watched my spouse, reflected, set boundaries as to what I would accept).

Then, I thought, I am going to choose to empathise with my spouse. To really see our marriage as a partnership, I wanted to see how my questions felt to him. Keeping in mind that it was my NEW partner, not the same man who was in the brainwashed fog of the A. When I saw how much they hurt him, I did a lot of exploring. I even tested out lies a little bit; went to a store secretly, imagining what it would be like to live such lies. It was very dark, I don't know if it was good and I'm not suggesting anyone else do it, just explaining that I had a very long process of discovery.

What I ended up with is this; when I had a question, I would write it down. I would let my H know that I had thought of a question, but I wouldn't ask it right away. I would sit with it, make sure I honoured it by documenting it, then try to let it go and bring myself back to the present day and all the joys I was taking in my family. Then I would re-visit the question in a week or two and decide if I wanted to ask it. I found that most of the time I did not actually want to ask it. And the comfort for me was knowing that I told my H I had the question, the pride we both felt in working through it together, and the relief I felt when I either asked it or decided not to.

So, no, you definitely don't stop talking about the A. I told my H early on that if he expected an 'end' to the pain and work regarding the A, he should let me know sooner rather than later as I was well aware that it would never end, although it would change drastically.

Now, if I have a trigger or question, my H generally knows something's wrong before I have a chance to either bring it up or even realize that it's affecting my behaviour (sad, down, sleepy etc.).

Bottom line, for me, there came a time when I had to consciously and purposefully find ways to, I dunno, 'lessen' the talk about the A? But not swallow or turn inward with pain. It's tough, but holy shit, the rewards are amazing. Freedom, peace. And they will only come when you give up looking for them and just do the work each day of living life, finding joy, noticing the good and releasing control.

sisoon posted 5/13/2014 15:37 PM

I don't think we're all the way to R yet, but we're close, and things about the A still come up for me. Sometimes I'll ask or share a feeling or trigger, sometimes not. The A is by no means anything like a taboo topic for us.

We're partners again. We are pretty much open books to each other. Keeping it that way requires us to tell each other what's on our minds.

I think the way to get over the desire to know as much as you want about the A is to get as many answers as you can. If you've got Qs, ask 'em. Never avoid giving your H an opportunity to participate in R.

Listeningclosely posted 5/13/2014 15:43 PM

We are now almost 7 years out from D-Day, and the topic still comes up. In a recent conversation with friends, the topic of a friend of theirs who seemed clearly to be a BS came up. After dinner, my BW asked me what I thought and I told her I was sad for the BS and that I was glad I made the right choice. This ended up hurting her, because by saying I made a choice I was giving her the indication that I actually had a debate in my mind between the AP (who wasn't a real relationship to begin with) and my BW. I did ultimately explain that I didn't intend it that way - that as WS's we make choices about how to live and conduct our lives, and I was simply glad that I made the decision to pull my head out of my arse and face reality.

That said, it still created a moment of pain for her some 7 years after D-Day and at least 6 years plus from the agreement to reconcile. But that didn't prevent me from aiming to make her Mother's Day weekend the best it could be, and to show her how much she means to me every day. It's hard to explain until you get there. But basically what I see are degrees of pain. If you were to be in a fire and receive 2nd and 3rd degree burns, you would always remember the event. And some things like an unattended open flame might trigger a painful thought process. But over time you would make adjustments and aim to live the best life possible. That's I think where we are now. Living the most awesome lives possible given the experiences we've had.

WeHadItAll posted 5/14/2014 03:18 AM

Agree with everyone that you should always feel ok about talking about the A whenever you need to, and that your WS should always answer honestly and openly. It should never, ever become taboo.

But I also agree with Eachdayisvictory: not every question needs to be asked. Within the first month after DDay, I knew just about everything I was going to know about the A. After that, my questions became weapons used to hurt him, to remind him and myself of his crime, and ultimately to hurt myself because I felt like an idiot and coward for staying with him. Over the course of R and MC, though, trust built slowly. And then I started to see things differently, less me-vs-him or victim-vs-perpetrator.

Then, I thought, I am going to choose to empathise with my spouse. To really see our marriage as a partnership, I wanted to see how my questions felt to him. Keeping in mind that it was my NEW partner, not the same man who was in the brainwashed fog of the A. When I saw how much they hurt him, I did a lot of exploring.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions. Before, these questions plagued me: I needed to know exactly how he betrayed me so I could tell exactly what kind of monster I was dealing with. But now? I know he's not a monster. He is a deeply flawed person who has finally recognized it and is doing what he can to be a better, more conscious partner.

The same goes for me: I recognize my own flaws and challenges and am trying to be a better partner, too. And in that capacity, I am very deliberate now about which questions I ask, and how. But these days, they're pretty rare. Whenever my focus is on the future, I have less desire to revisit the past.

TheBestMe posted 5/14/2014 06:02 AM

"what did they have in common? what did they talk about?" I often wonder how they would keep in touch when they were not seeing each other on the weekends...was he thinking about her all of the time?

I am no longer focused on the afore-mentioned types of questions. The questions that I ask center around our relationship. For instance, we talk about how my H was feeling before he crossed the initial boundary. We discuss my feelings at specific times during the M.

Will it ever get to the point for me that I just don't care about the content of the A? Obviously, I will always care that it happened and be haunted by it at some level but will the desire to know about it dissipate?

At this stage in the process of building a healthier relationship, the details of the LTA are not important to me. It is more important that my H and I work on our individual issues. These FOO and unresolved resentments were the symptoms that created an environment that led to the breakdown of our friendship and then our M. The A is the result of this Dis-Ease and is part of our M history.

rachelc posted 5/14/2014 06:16 AM

I don't ask affair related questions anymore. But I would, if I felt so compelled.

I do ask about the here and now and his ability to be honest with me about difficult things. Because that's how I'll decide if he can be the man I need him to be for a romantic partnership.

I also mention triggers, and don't feel a bit badly about it.

Crushed15Feb13 posted 5/15/2014 09:37 AM

I want to follow this thread because mi IC recently told me to stop talking about he affair with my WW. I haven't, because I can't. It makes my blood boil to think I can't ask a question to gain insight into the affair, what it was about, and why it happened.

I made a card I carry in my wallet with a paraphrased verse by a poster here, it goes like this:

If your goal is to Reconcile and Forgive

Knowing the why's and seeing how a lifetime of hurts made so brittle the soul of your spouse, is your window into Empathy, Forgiveness, Acceptance, and Understanding.

Understanding their struggle through the lens of their why's is the seed that grows again into Love.

So much of what WeHadItAll says resonates strongly with me.
Good stuff there I think.

MoreWould posted 5/15/2014 09:58 AM


I can tell you what happens 30 years later if you DON'T talk about the A until you're fully satisfied.

In our case, when my WW got busted, she wanted to do anything but talk about it. And, Dr. Glass and the other approaches to healing from infidelity had not arrived yet. Rugsweeping was the main technique advocated by all.

So I stuffed it all down deep, stayed married, and had a pretty good life, although I never trusted her again. Just assumed that what I knew was true, and what I didn't know could be anything. Had to find peace with that.

What I ended up with was a simmering case of PTSD that erupted a year or so ago when a couple of co-workers engaged in an obvious A. I'm not the only guy that this has happened to, met some others on SI.

Trust me, it ain't pretty. And you can bet we're talking about it now, to my WW's discomfort. Just about through it, but it was a HARD 18 months that could easily have led to D had we both not loved each other so much and wanted to find a way out of the swamp.

And Crushed. Fire that IC today. You deserve help that helps.

2married2quit posted 5/15/2014 11:03 AM

It's taboo around here. She goes into this whole "I can't forgive myself" mode and it's not healthy.

5454real posted 5/15/2014 11:09 AM

If I have to ask for the next 20 years, FWW has made it absolutely clear that I am to ask. She was brutally honest and said that she might not always react well and apologized in advance for those times she will react poorly. Then backed it up.

Those actions by themselves have lessened the need to ask.

2married, you're right. That's not healthy.

Gotmegood posted 5/15/2014 12:08 PM

There are times, brought on by the news or a tv show, or just about anything that make A questions front and center in my head. I'll look over at WH and sometimes think " ugh, can I really put him on the grill again?" Because, let's face it, it must suck to be reminded over and over again that you made that big of a mistake, with the devastating effects that infidelity brings. But then I think: wait....if I just push this away, which is my first inclination usually because I don't enjoy inflicting pain on another, then I'm basically elevating his needs over mine. Acting as if his comfort trumps mine. And so I ask. And I ask simply hoping that at some point I'll be done asking.

Deanna posted 5/15/2014 12:10 PM

My husband answered all the questions that I had but when we got around the two year mark he said he was done. Although people around here don't agree I think it really helped our recovery to stop talking about it. We are almost five years now and thing are wonderful!

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