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What do I want or need to know about the affair?

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Brian5428 posted 4/20/2018 11:50 AM

I am new this forum and grateful there is a place to discuss issues and support each other. My wife had an affair a couple years ago and at that time, I wanted to know as little as possible. As Iím sure you can all relate, my mind wonders and creates images of what happened.
Iím wondering if it is better to learn the details or not? What is worse, imagining or knowing?
My heart and prayers go out to all on this forum as I know the significant pain you are all going through.
Thank you for any advice.

Marz posted 4/20/2018 12:00 PM

Not knowing creates anxiety. Knowing you can better deal with it IMO.

gtflng posted 4/20/2018 12:07 PM

There are certain things I wish I didn't know (specific acts, her birthday [why?!], and knowing they exchanged 'pictures'). That being said, the questions were eating at me and that's why I asked.

If there are things you can't let go of, you have two options, in my opinion. 1) Imagine the worst and accept that, 2) Get the likely less harsh reality but KNOW it happened. Neither are great, but that's the reality. I think the anxiety of what ifs is really detrimental to our poor minds, and dealing in reality is the better option.

If you can let go of needing to know the details - great! Do that!! And tell me your secret! But if you can't let it go (which I think is the norm), likely better to ask.

Edit: at minimum you would need to know who, what, when where, and attempt the why.

[This message edited by gtflng at 12:22 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

ToABetter30th posted 4/20/2018 12:27 PM

This is a great place for asking for help and advice. Glad you found us!

So my opinion is that you probably want to know as much as you can handle and as much as is necessary to quiet the mind demons. In my case, my imagination was far more graphic than the truth and that is what I told my wayward. If she did not tell me the truth then I would assume the worse and assume that she did everything physically and anatomically possible. That whatever she told me would be better that what I imagined or assumed. It took many tearful and painful talks but eventually it all came out and I was able to accept and deal with it.

However this is totally up to you. If you are currently bothered by not knowing...then you should ask as your mind won't let it go. If your wife loves you then she will tell you so that your imagination can stop filling in the details that you never heard. However you also have to be prepared to hear unpleasant answers that may resurface the demons of D-Day and possibly trigger your insecurities. In my case, the OM was better looking, more fit, and a different ethnicity (the OM did not have a job so spent a lot of time in the gym)...it was not pleasant to know that but I wanted and needed all the truth.

newparadigm posted 4/20/2018 12:32 PM

I went a year without asking for specifics. We basically rugswept for the first 14 months or so.
I was constantly angry and didn't know why. I imagined all kinds of pornographic sex that my fWW and her AP must have had. I was done. I was ready to just end the marriage.
I finally found SI and found out I was not alone, and what I was feeling was because I never addressed her affair and never got what I needed to heal.

So one day in late April of 2017, I basically told my wife that I was unhappy, that she needed to get into IC and what else I needed, which included a detailed timeline and answers to questions I had.
I was scared to death of what I would find out. It turned out to much tamer than I had imagined. My healing started then.

You need to find out what you can to let you move forward in your healing or it will eat you alive.

I wish you the best.

[This message edited by newparadigm at 1:04 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

Wool94 posted 4/20/2018 12:33 PM

Welcome Brian.

I personally had to know every detail and I don't regret it at all.

If something is burning a hole in your mind, ask it. If you're like me, it will bother you until you do.

[This message edited by Wool94 at 12:34 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

Jameson1977 posted 4/20/2018 12:45 PM

This is a tough one, definitely a double edged knife. I'm my case, reality was somewhat worse than what I had imagined, so that was tough. Some need every detail, some don't want any specifics. Just remember, you can't unhear any of the details, so take time to come to a decision. I would imagine most IC's would say don't ask for specific or graphic details.

I feel that knowing all the details is somewhat empowering, as I know all the filthy details like they do, no secrets.

oldtruck posted 4/20/2018 13:23 PM

B5428, I understand your need for details. I know
that your unanswered questions 35 years from now
will still need answers.

Normal to have questions and to want them answered.

So ask them. Though ask for a written time line
first. It will give you a base of information to
start your questioning.

Remember think before you ask. You can not un-hear
an answer.

Also remain calm during the talks. When a BH gets
angry when he learns things it sends the message
to the WW to stop being honest and hide things
that she believes that you will not handle well.

Last try not to make the talks non stop. Best to
limit to an hour at a time. Once you get through
everything it is normal to go back and revisit
parts of the talks.

Try to do them once a week on Wednesday. If still
need more than once a week then talk every
Tuesday and Thursday.

As important as it is to uncover the past you do
not want to ignore the now and the future.

IJusthurt2017 posted 4/20/2018 13:26 PM

My IC says if you keep thinking about it then ask. Remember you can't unhear or unsee anything you find or see. Be prepared for I don't remember if it was a few years ago, as some details may be forgotten. I had to know every detail, multiple times. I asked the same questions a million times. I actually pictured worse than it was. I don't regret asking, I'm kinda glad I did. It made my healing a little easier.

WilliamM posted 4/20/2018 13:59 PM

It is much better to know. You need to know or it will drive you crazy. You will continue imagine and it wont go away. You will also start to become bitter and your trust will erode away. Learn about all of the details now so process the affair. Have your wife give you a complete time line of the affair. Talk to her about it and ask all the questions you want. Tell her you want all of the sexual details. Because you waited so long she will probably not want to do this. She will not understand why you want to know this stuff now. That is why you will need to talk to her about how you feel and what is going on in her mind. If she is truly remorseful, she will give you want you want.

twisted posted 4/20/2018 14:24 PM

In my opinion, I needed to know. Imagining is usually worse than the actual. Usually.
The hardest part is getting them to tell you the truth. The whole truth.
In my case, I found out about multiple affairs all at once. ( She had made a spreadsheet to compare with her last OM of all her partners, geeeeez!)
They will always minimize and trickle truth (TT) you.
I told her I would considered reconciliation only if I knew where I was starting from. No more lies. Anything I found later to be a lie or omission would be the end of it. Automatic divorce, no more second chances.
I eventually had her do a timeline, and answer about 50 or so questions I had prepared.
I figure I got about 70% of the truth. You will never get it all.
Good luck.

ISurvived7734 posted 4/20/2018 14:33 PM

Iím wondering if it is better to learn the details or not? What is worse, imagining or knowing?
This is something that only you can determine. You are entitled to as much of the truth about the ugly details as you want and she must accept this and be open and honest with you. If she is unable to do this then you are going to have a very, very difficult time reconciling with her. A cheater who now wants to reconcile with their betrayed spouse needs to be prepared to do whatever it takes to repair the horrible damage they have done.

I needed details and over time I needed more details. Hearing them was hard but I had to try to find out if she was being truthful about everything else. My logic was that if she would be truthful about the sexual details she would be honest about everything. In my opinion she has never been fully open and honest about the sex and, likely, anything else related to cheating.

keptmyword posted 4/20/2018 15:02 PM

You want to know the truth about it.

That truth can be anything and everything regarding to the betrayal.

The truth can be painful but I think the main point is to see if the wayward is going to be willing and truthful to reveal the affair or remain in a state of deception and lies.

annb posted 4/20/2018 15:37 PM

I am 13 years out.

I wanted to know everything, and I mean everything.

I don't regret it one bit, I personally don't think you can rebuild a marriage on a bed of lies or half truths or omissions.

hopeandhealing posted 4/20/2018 15:57 PM

My IC and MC recommended not asking the details, but they were consuming me, so I opted to go against their advice and ask for all the details. Do I wish I didn't know things? I initially thought yes, I wish I didn't know that, but the reality is, I just wish it never happened...and that wish isn't coming true!

Though I can't unhear things, in my case, my mind movies were pretty consistent with what they did, so it just confirmed my perceptions and actually quieted my mind movies somewhat.

I am only 9 months post dd and the questions have slowed a lot. I was relentless in the beginning and asked multiple questions multiple times. I do believe it helped me process this trauma and move forward to put to rest (as best I can) what I know. I am no longer plagued by the "I bet they did...", as often as I was.

sisoon posted 4/20/2018 16:41 PM

Typically, imagination is worse than reality for most of the BSes who post about it, but not for all. There's always a risk in asking.

IMO, it's a bigger risk not to ask, though. Sometimes a fact about the A comes out late, and it causes immense pain. Sometimes, it's a deal killer, after months or even years of wasted effort in false R.

Besides, R (Reconciliation) as opposed to r (rug sweeping) is built on honesty, and the first person you need to be honest with is yourself. I think you're in some ways hiding from your W's A, and it's not helping you.

If you've been having mind movies for a couple of years, it's way past time to stop them. I strongly recommend asking, especially the questions that really scare you.

BTW, I do think you've been rug-sweeping. That's not a crime by any means. My only objection to rug-sweeping is that it doesn't help you heal, and it doesn't help you live a joyful life.

mharris posted 4/20/2018 16:43 PM

Here ius what I have learned from multiple ddays.

Find out who, where, when, how, how often.

You Don't need the actual sexual acts or positions. These are adults, so assume they did "everything".

You need to know these things in order to kno w how they conducted the A, and with whom. I didn't do this after dday 1, and it allowed his A to continue foir ano ther 4 years.

DIFM posted 4/20/2018 16:56 PM

My need to know details was directly related to things that she appeared to be lying about or covering up or deflecting. I learned more than I wanted to, but only because I could not pretend to be in a "trust building" mode if I believed there were any lies or manipulations of the truth that still existed.

Her trying to hide some things led me to other things I would not have demanded to know had the lies not led me there. I hope that makes sense. I was not driven to know details just to know them, I could not let lies or deception continue to exist while trying to build trust.

One other benefit of needing to know is that her having to come clean about some things that in the light of day look and sound horrible. My WW was very good about not owning whatever she was not made to disclose.

Peace123 posted 4/20/2018 18:02 PM

In my opinion, only ask the questions you truly can't let go, and don't ask for details you don't want to have visual images of for the rest of your life.

Also, assume that whatever they tell you isn't the whole truth anyway. They are always going to withhold details that they think will devastate you or, if you are trying to reconcile, will ruin any chance of that,

I know some people need the whole truth to move on. I was one of those people for months, and I think it just traumatized me and kept me from moving on.

But each person is different and you have to do what is right for you.

gmc94 posted 4/21/2018 08:15 AM

1: know you cannot unhear hear something

2: WS are REALLY good liars. Thatís how they are able to have the A and keep the A going. They lie to themselves and then they lie to you..... even after dday. So know that their Ďanswersí may just be more lies, even about the basics (who when where how). ďI donít rememberĒ may or may not be the truth.

3: if you sense your WS is still handing you a steaming pile of crap, ask for written timeline. Talk about it in IC. TRY to not show emotion (I am awful at this, but many many folks say itís important for the WS to feel Ďsafeí when telling. Not fair, but it is what it is)


Godspeed to us all.

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