How much truth you want is determined by each individual. There is no right or wrong answer. What I needed to know, may be more detailed than what you need to know. For me, my imagination was worse than the truth and more painful than the truth. At the same time, the more you know, the more triggers you will have.
I was one of those people who had to know the whole truth...every detail. I am very anal about everything in my life and this was no exception.
When dday occurred, I found 1000 + email spanning a 2 1/2 year period of time, so I had a huge starting point for getting the truth.
The therapist was also very instrumental in helping me gain the truth and questioning my H and confronting him when things didn't add up.
In the beginning of the fact finding mission, you are just getting the big details, but as time goes on then you begin to want even the little details.
The most important thing that the therapist conveyed to my H and got him to understand was that the truth would help heal me and secret and lies would destroy me. I was suicidal upon discovering my H's secret life.
Once my H realized that the truth would indeed heal me...even though it would initially hurt me, then he became free to answer all questions truthfully and volunteer the info.
I made a list of questions and acted like a reporter interviewing someone. I detached myself emotionally in order to get through the questions without becoming sidetracked or emotional with each answer. I took notes on what my H told me. My H became more comfortable answering because I was not falling apart or screaming with each revelation, no matter how painful. (We did use this info later and discuss in detail his answers and then my emotions did come out.)
The questions in the beginning were asked over and over again. "I forgot" was not an acceptable answer. We probed and prodded his memory. If after much probing and prodding, he could not remember something, then I accepted that. There is nothing that I feel he is withholding from me now.
The therapist and I held in our hands the answers to some of the questions that we were asking him...they were answers that the OW gave via email. My H knew that we held the answers in our hands, but he still could not remember. At this point, he had nothing to lose by giving us the info because he knew that we already had it, but he truly could not remember. This was all the proof that I needed that my H was being as honest as he could and was telling the truth when he said that he didn't remember something.
My H revealed things to me that I would have never found out about, yet he knew that to rebuild our relationship, he had to reveal all of his secrets from the past.
The more truth that he told, the better he felt as well.
After 20 mos., I felt that I had asked everything, but I needed to be able to order it in my mind. I told you that I was very anal, so with the aid of my master calendar, the 1000 + email, the photo albums, visa receipts, and his old expense reports, he and I set out to put all of those 2 1/2 years of infidelity on a timeline.
It all fit together and it was all there in black and white. I no longer had all the miscellaneous dates and events rolling around in my head. It was organized and it was on paper. It all fit together and it all made sense to me. I no longer had to obsess about it or carry it around in my head.
The first 18 years of our marriage when I discovered his first 2 affairs, we didn't have a good therapist and only went a few times. I never got the truth back then and I felt it. We did revisit those 2 infidelities when dday occurred 3 years ago and I got some much needed answers, but it was so long ago that I couldn't get many details and I am OK with that.
I believe that you will know in your heart if you have the whole truth or if your spouse is still hiding things from you. If it doesn't add up and if it doesn't make sense to you, then your spouse is still lying to you.
Your spouse must be made to understand that you must have the whole truth and it is their job to get that truth for you. No matter what kind of research they have to do, they must give you your answers. They must rack their brain until they remember.