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How do you get past "I don't remember"

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Hrtbrkn2 posted 8/14/2014 07:37 AM

Any advice? My WH had a LTA that lasted 7 years, he admits that it was mostly internet and phone with 4 PA. It is hard for me to accept that he doesn't remember specifics. How do I get past it?

Me 52
WH 53
Married 29 years
3 amazing kids
D-Day 5-10-14
Working hard to R

veronique12 posted 8/14/2014 08:06 AM

What sort of specifics? 7 years is a long time and some things probably can't be recalled, but if you're asking about things like did they say they loved each other, when/where did they meet, did they exchange gifts, etc, then WH needs to cough that info up.

You can't get past it without that information and you should let him know that. Sadly, you cannot force him to tell you, but you can tell him what you will and will not accept from him--are you willing to stay married if he "can't remember" these things? It's unfair and crazy making and cruel of him to do that to you. I know how hard it is to be firm when you feel like you are pushing them into the arms of OW, but you'll probably have the most success if you tell him what you need and the consequences of not admitting and then follow up.

Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/14/2014 08:24 AM

It really bothered me that my WH couldn't remember the exact dates of their first PA. His A was long distance and involved a lot of planning so, obviously, the dates were discussed heavily. I get that it was over almost 4 years but geesh. Surely you can remember the first time you make the biggest decision of our marriage?? Another thing he "forgot" was how many times they saw each other. For a few weeks, it was 4. During a coversation he was describing things and I was like, wait...that doesn't add up to 4. Turns out it was 6. Maybe that's not a "huge" difference to some but it was huge to me. It meant two more escapades and thousands more lies.

Finally we sat down and made a time- line. I also dug swap, searching the house, bank records, phone records, and ask a million questions. He's still not 100% on the dates.

[This message edited by Hurtbuthopeful35 at 8:35 AM, August 14th (Thursday)]

confused615 posted 8/14/2014 08:40 AM

It depends on what you're wanting him to remember..but I believe they do remember most things.

"I don't know/remember" is usually equal to, "I remember, but if I tell you, it might get worse for me, so Im keeping it to myself(and OW/OM)."

So..what do you do? You pull out old calendars, journals, old credit card bills, appointment books, pics, etc. Anything that will help them "remember" what they were doing during that time.

And if that still doesn't work? Then you tell them to give your question some serious thought..to think about it for a few days, then set a date to return to that question.

If he still doesn't remember? Well..again..it depends on what you want to know. If you absolutely NEED that answer...then tell him that. If he does absolutely nothing to help find that answer...then IMO..that tells you how dedicated they are to healing the damage they have caused. A remorseful WS who wants to R will do everything they can to help you heal..and that includes helping find the answers to the questions you have.

craig2001 posted 8/14/2014 08:53 AM

7 years is not really a long time, I can clearly remember the things I did 7 years ago.

It does depend on what things he cannot remember. The date with actual sex, that actually might not be easy to remember the exact date unless there is something else associated with it.

Like was it St patricks day and they drank green beer, or the day of the huge storm or the day you won the lottery.

Have him write out a complete timeline. Writing helps the memory.

And then there is the threat of a polygraph, sometimes that helps jog the memory.

craig2001 posted 8/14/2014 09:44 AM

To answer your question, you cannot ever get over the I dont remember answers if there are too many of them.

If there are a few, and they are things you might not remember either, you can get over them.

But if most answers are I dont know and I dont remember, those will always remain unanswered questions, and they are very hard to get over.

BtraydWife posted 8/14/2014 11:29 AM

This bothered me to because it's a common cop out. I bought a book on lying and it had a chapter about not remembering.

It said you forget things for two reasons.

1-Because it was a long time ago. A long time ago is relative and differs for each person. They pointed out if the person can remember details from the time you are asking about but just not the details you want, odds are they are lying. But you also have to consider the second reason.

2-Because the information wasn't important to you. Again, this is relative so not something you can definitively pin down. If you ask me what color was the car opposite me at the light when I stopped to get milk this am, I wouldn't remember because it didn't matter to me. The comment above that someone made about knowing the date they made the biggest decision of their marriage doesn't work because of this second reason. Cheaters aren't honest with themselves about what they are really doing. It almost certain he didn't feel like he was making the biggest decision of his marriage that day so that reason for remembering won't work. What he might remember is their first time together. Just reframing the question sometimes works.

You have to take both reasons and carefully mix them with your gut feelings. Sometimes it's obvious, like this time with my wh.

I asked about what he did at a strip club. He claimed he was too drunk and it was too long ago (approx 12years) to remember. I asked for every detail he could recall.

He started spouting off with very detailed info regarding what the bus driver did in the club. I'll just say it was detailed info. Anyway, he was proud of himself and said in a snarky manner that I wanted Allthe details. At first I was ticked off because who cares about the bus driver but then I realized he gave himself away. It wasn't too long ago and he wasn't too drunk to remember very detailed information. So I called him on it and after several more arguments, after he realized I wasn't going to drop it, he told me what he had done at the strip club.

It's possible he didn't tell me everything or he made some things up. But he knew I knew he was lying when he said he couldn't remember at all. He had to provide some details.

Sometimes clinging to the lie is more important than hiding the details.

So consider those two things when you get the I don't remember answer. Keep in mind they have to be important for the cheater to note, and not what's important to you. Find a way to ask the question from all different angles. If pieces don't fit in from other versions, then push for more clarification.

Ask leading questions. Let them do the talking. Make note, of everything they say. It's ok to come back after a discussion and say, hey this doesn't make sense to me, please clarify it again.

BlueBlueEyes posted 8/14/2014 11:35 AM

I'm a little different. I can't remember what I did yesterday but I expected him to remember exact dates etc. Someone asked me why details were important and suggested maybe a better question was what my wh felt. That really hit the nail on the head as far as what I really wanted. It was probably more difficult for him to answer but was there was no good excuse for him to use to avoid those types of questions. I've appreciated that advice.

TheBestMe posted 8/14/2014 11:53 AM

My H does not remember anything about his 7 years LTA. It can be frustrating not to get specific questions about the A relationship. But, I put into practice the advice to form my questions around his feelings. For example, "What were you feeling when you felt the need to discuss your problems with another woman?" His answer that he felt that I did not love him anymore led to "What was I doing and not doing that made you feel that way?"

Using this approach has opened up some deep discussions. After 26 years together, my H has divulged much about himself that he had been hiding.

All the best to you.

Hrtbrkn2 posted 8/14/2014 12:08 PM

Thank you all for the comments. My WH is a good man I know but why he made its awful mistake I can't figure out. Can a person have an affair that lasts 7years and do 95% on the phone and 5% contact. He says there were only 4 physical encounters and just touching, no intercourse. My biggest hang up is why would you risk our marriage for that? His phone contact was frequent and I am just having a hard time first that there were just 4 times and why so much phone contact. I'll try asking him how he was feeling at the time they first met.

BlueBlueEyes posted 8/15/2014 12:04 PM

I don't know but I doubt it. I really suspect you will receive more information a little at a time (TT) for a while. He's used to hiding things, so he won't just give you a lot of answers over night. While this would be best for the bw, I don't think I've seen that actually ever happen. I'm ordering recommended reading like a madwoman and trying to get through one thing at a time and not take it all on at once. I've made a list if of my questions and we've agreed on a set time to talk so we can both relax some.

[This message edited by BlueBlueEyes at 12:06 PM, August 15th (Friday)]

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