Wayward Side
User Topic: ? about exposure
Member # 42205
Default  Posted: 3:39 PM, January 27th (Monday)

I'd like advice from both BS and WS if possible. My BS and I have talked a little about who to tell about the A. We saw a MC (who is also my IC) 1.5 weeks after DD and she counseled him not to make any decisions at this point while he was still so traumatized. Once you go public you can't decide it was a bad decision and ask for the information back. Once it's out it's out. We've told only a couple of people at this point. I asked him if he thought telling everyone, posting it on fb, etc. would make him feel better. Obviously, as the WS, I'm not dying to have everyone know what I've done, but at this point, the only thing that matters to me is my BS and my marriage. He said he didn't know.

I read one of the articles in the healing library and the BS said this:

"The affair going public was out of our control.Both my H and I are active in the community and the talk and gossip was widespread.The comments made, the stares, the whispering was often unbearable for us both.He has never once complained to me that he does not deserve the attacks, but I automatically feel the need to shield him from the scrutiny of our so called friends and peers."

My concern about it going public is that it wouldn't help R, in fact, it might make it more difficult. I'm actually fine with him looking for support and telling people who he can lean on through this hard time. But do my parents need to know? Do his? Neither of us are close to our parents at all, we generally don't share much aside from general pleasantries with them.

From what I've read as a justification for exposing the A, is to get friends and family on the side of the BS to help end the A. In my case, the A ended in April 2013 and there has been NC of any kind since July. Is there any reason to expose the A to our friends and family at this point?

I know what my answer is and the reasons that I think that way, but as a WS, I know my opinion is hardly unbiased. I just want to make sure the decisions we make from here on out are good ones. What do you think about exposure?

Me: WW
Him: BH
30's, 4 kids
DD- Jan 2014

Posts: 55 | Registered: Jan 2014
Member # 25460
Default  Posted: 4:02 PM, January 27th (Monday)

I think that the advice from your MC is good advice. Wait and make a conscious decision instead of a emotional choice.

I don't disagree that there are times when exposure or the threat of exposure can force a foggy WS to make the hard decision however, I don't think or feel that public exposure is a requirement.

I feel that there is a fundamental difference between supportive exposure and malicious exposure.

There are a lot of posts on SI from both camps about the negative impacts that occurred from the over-exposure created when every neighbor, friend, co-worker and acquaintance were given the nitty-ritty details.

I feel that depending on the relationship, the message and the details should be tailored appropriately. Admitting to "going through a rough patch" may be the message given to co-workers while closer friends might have a bit more information.

I was reminded of a post in which I read that a WS wrote out two timelines. One was a bare bones timeline with dates, places etc. The other one was a very detailed one. Both were given to the BS, so they could make the decision as to what degree of detail they wanted to deal with. If they read the first one and was happy, then they could ignore the second one. If it so desired, then the second one could be read. This was done to deal with the reality that once read or said, you could never unread or unhear the details.

In that same respect, if your message is minimal and very generic, it offers future opportunity to elaborate but if you put out the ugly details to everyone, then you can never retract them.


Words and hearts should be handled with care; For words when spoken and hearts when broken: Are the hardest things to repair - Anon

Donít listen to your head, itís easily confused. Donít listen to your heart, its fickle. Listen to your soul, God doesn't steer you wrong.

Posts: 3226 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: Azilda, Northern Ontario
Member # 41956
Default  Posted: 4:27 PM, January 27th (Monday)

I don't see any reason why anyone outside of the M needs to know. I could maybe get behind the argument of needing someone who knows so you can have someone to turn to, but we see our MC weekly and talk to each other about anything on our minds. How would telling your parents help anything?

I thought about telling my BFF, but haven't yet and I'm not 100% sure I will. As of now, no one else knows.

Me - WW, 33
Him - BH, 37
Dday - 12/16/13

Posts: 211 | Registered: Jan 2014
Member # 42205
Default  Posted: 4:44 PM, January 27th (Monday)

Jovie - I was on another site where the members (many of them!) said it was absolutely imperative for the marriage to expose the A. Not only to friends and family, but to the children too... as young as 7. After reading post after post advocating this, I decided to come here and ask about it. It didn't sit well with me, like HUFI said:

I don't disagree that there are times when exposure or the threat of exposure can force a foggy WS to make the hard decision however, I don't think or feel that public exposure is a requirement.

But what I was reading seemed to imply that the first step in R was exposure. Always. Period.

Me: WW
Him: BH
30's, 4 kids
DD- Jan 2014

Posts: 55 | Registered: Jan 2014
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 5:00 PM, January 27th (Monday)

Ah yes, scorched earth. Tell everyone, and right now! Nope, didnít go for it. I knew if I told my mother, my sister, etc, they would hate my H forever. There would be NO coming back and if I wanted R, the world knowing was not in my favor. Besides, Iíd been through enough. I didnít need to be judged by someone that had no idea how hard this all is. Itís my life. I donít tell the world when good things happen, and I donít need to share every bad thing either.

I would let him decide who he wants to tell. If he wants his parents knowing, then he does. If he wants his entire family knowing, then he does.

The scorched earth policy is advised a lot if the A is still happening. You ended this a long time ago, and you confessed. It seems really unnecessary from that standpoint. And children as young as 7? Really? Thatís just wrong imo.

If you and your H are going to work through this, itís really a decision that the two of you should make, and the answer is really a very personal one.

But please donít tell any 7 year olds

It's so easy to believe someone when they're telling you exactly what you want to hear.....

Posts: 1738 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
Member # 41825
Default  Posted: 5:23 PM, January 27th (Monday)

As a BS, I think keeping it to yourselves is vital. We're 2 years out and are doing so well. I am confident we made the best decision not to expose the A.

I'm proud of my fWH's hard work to restore himself and our M and I'm so hopeful for our future together. I want people to respect him, us and our M. If we went public, it would be so difficult to redeem the M in other people's eyes if we reconciled. It would be next to impossible to for my H to maintain his dignity. Some folks might think, wow, they really got their sh*t together, that's great - what strong people! But I know there are others who would question our authenticity, my H's integrity, our sanity. And there is not nor will there ever be a forum for us to say, Hey everyone, we'd like to explain to you the details of our R so it makes sense. Can you imagine? Miracles are hard to explain!

We both chose to tell one person each at the very beginning and both of those people's responses were not what we expected. We both thought these two good friends would walk beside us through it all. But neither did - in fact, one just kind of dropped out of sight and the other was not patient at all with the time it all takes (at 1 year she said, Isn't it about time for you to be over it already?) You just never know how people will respond and when the response is less than supportive, you've just added more pain to the fallout.

And parents? Hell no! Think about the parent. As far as my mom is concerned, my H IS her son. Her feelings for him are precious. Had I told her early on, it would have shattered their relationship. Two years out, our M is being restored, and that's one less relationship to have to repair because we chose not to tell. Same goes for our children.

That stupid A has done enough damage and it does not need to hurt another person. And believe me, exposing the A would have hurt a lot people who love and care about us.

Me: BW, 47
WH, 48
Married 24 years, 2 teenagers
2 year/8 month PA with coworker
DDay#1 01.20.12 - found out when diagnosed with STD
Dday#2 04.04.14 - found out the PA lasted over twice as long as he originally disclosed.
Separated for 6 wks. T

Posts: 191 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: southeast USA
Member # 42205
Default  Posted: 5:26 PM, January 27th (Monday)

Whew, thank God! 7 year olds can be vicious!

Your approach of letting him decide sits right with me but like I said after reading so many posts about it, I wondered if I was wrong. If he NEEDED everyone, their mother, brother, and sister's ex boyfriend's cousin to know for him to heal. Am I over thinking this? Quite possibly.

Me: WW
Him: BH
30's, 4 kids
DD- Jan 2014

Posts: 55 | Registered: Jan 2014
Member # 41411
Default  Posted: 5:30 PM, January 27th (Monday)

From what I've read, exposing the A to everyone can be useful in stopping the A while it's still going on. But if you're attempting R, then it's completely up to your BH.

Me: 31

Posts: 148 | Registered: Nov 2013 | From: West Coast, USA
Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 5:30 PM, January 27th (Monday)


He won't want to tell everyone. Don't worry.

It's so easy to believe someone when they're telling you exactly what you want to hear.....

Posts: 1738 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
Member # 25460
Default  Posted: 5:31 PM, January 27th (Monday)

CantBeUndone - But what I was reading seemed to imply that the first step in R was exposure. Always. Period.

If exposure in this regard refers to the WS confessing and admitting the scope of the affair to their BS, then I would agree and that might include letting some family members, parents etc know of the A.

However, if exposure means publicly spilling the gory details of the affair behavior including the details of who, when, where etc, then I vehemently disagree. Forcing the WS to publicly confess is no different in some respects to the wearing of the scarlet A. Its meant to punish and humiliate and does nothing to facilitate healing. In fact, the public outing can destroy careers and families.

I think the decision to confess and to whom is one that should be taken after a talk on the rationale behind the need or desire of the confession including a discussion of the implication thereof.


Donít listen to your head, itís easily confused. Donít listen to your heart, its fickle. Listen to your soul, God doesn't steer you wrong.

Posts: 3226 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: Azilda, Northern Ontario
Member # 40166
Default  Posted: 5:38 PM, January 27th (Monday)

On the day my H gave the avalanche of truth he told his business partner and both of our moms. I appreciated this because it showed him taking responsibility and allowing us time alone to heal (time off work and moms taking the kids). I told one friend that I was positive would support my choice to R, and she has.
It's hard to have no one (my friends lives far away) to turn to IRL sometimes but overall I'm glad no one else knows. Our children were told that we are working on our marriage to be a better couple.
I think it's a personal choice.

Me: BS
Him: FWS
M: 15 years
4 lovely daughters
Working to rebuild.

Posts: 883 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Canada
Member # 39257
Default  Posted: 5:42 PM, January 27th (Monday)

There are many different opinions on this.

If the A is ongoing it's easy you expose it.

If the A is not ongoing it's a bit more dificult.

1. The WS obviously doesn't want it exposed.

2. The BS might not want it exposed, specially if a man, because they will look bad in the Eyes of others. At least they Think so. "You coudln't keep your WW happy in the bed hu..." Type of remarks and the humiliation it causes the BS, even if it shouldn't be felt many men do feel that.

3. On the other hand, exposing it gives the BS a bit of security. Now friends and relatives will probarbly keep an extra Eye on the WW in the future. Thus the WS will perhaps "behave" better.

4. I also Think that it could help with resentment, even if it is in an unhealhy way. The WS will be embarased, will Catch some heat for the A.

5. I Think telling the kids is important though. They will know there are problems and I don't Think lying to them is good.

6. The BS needs help from others and if they are gonna get any valuable help they need to tell those people.

7. Finaly, it kind of makes me mad when WS say stuff like "It's nobody elses bussines, we should keep it between ourselvs". That would make me want to expose it far and wide. To me that just screems selfishness and fear of facing what you have done. I also Think it screams "I don't Think about you only me and saving my reputation".

Finaly, I Think it should be up to the BS who to tell and the WS should support whatever the BS wants and not try to influence it at all except by getting at least telling 1 person that the BS can confide in.

Posts: 105 | Registered: May 2013
Member # 30086
Default  Posted: 6:05 PM, January 27th (Monday)

I don't advocate telling anyone and everyone, however I can tell you that because only a very few people know about what's happened, it has placed a LOT of pressure on me as the BS. I can't talk about why I lost 40 lbs in 2 months. I can't talk about why I can't always concentrate. I know I looked like the crazy, horrible wife while my husband looked like a saint tolerating me, while in reality he blew up my world and had multiple affairs and was hiding his sex addiction for our entire relationship. There is a part of me, as a BS, that would have found it and still would find it easier if the people in our circle and family knew.

Me - BW (38) Him (calcitro) - SAWH (38)
2 Kids Working on R
DDay#1 - 11/9/10 - 2 year EA/PA
DDay #2 - 12/9/10
Disclosure - 4/8/11
Timeline - 5/9/11

Posts: 492 | Registered: Nov 2010
Member # 38303
Default  Posted: 6:09 PM, January 27th (Monday)

I didn't tell anyone who didn't find out on their own....or who didn't already know before me...

I knew that I wanted to try to reconcile, though. I knew it would make it harder.

That being said, I don't think that I could look any other BS in the eye and tell them they'd be wrong in doing so. I know of one dude who told EVERYBODY. Random people. The clerk at the grocery store. That is more hardcore than I am.

[This message edited by FacePunched at 6:14 PM, January 27th (Monday)]

"The thing that always seems to be shocking to wayward wives is the simple fact that the man you choose to reconcile with is not the same man you cheated on." - a friend.

Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Illinois
Member # 30242
Default  Posted: 6:26 PM, January 27th (Monday)

This is one of those instances where I don't think there is a 'right' or 'wrong' answer and that everyone has to do what they see fit for their situation. Honestly, I never think it's ok to post this type of stuff publicly on a facebook type internet vehicle, but I guess to each their own. There is a wide range between telling no one but a few people and posting it on facebook. I never think doing something out of spite is the right move and I believe that is what your MC was saying.

My husband and I told quite a lot of people about my affair. We are very very blessed to have a large number of very close friends. To some it may have seemed like we told 'too many' people and I know it wasn't the right decision for everyone, but we have received nothing but support. Most if not all of these people knew me before my affair and had watched my life hit a downward spiral for the entire year so while it surprised them given my previous character, it would have been hard for me to do the type of work I needed to do without our friends and family knowing. Their support for both of us has been unwavering and we have not had any bad experiences from telling so many people.

I think my advice would be to have your BS lead on this one and you should probably check in with BS on who you would like to tell, if anyone. To me, telling people that my BS and I told wasn't a problem. One of my 'issues' in life was really that I cared too much about my outward 'life is perfect' appearance and this was really a big step in admitting I needed help and just how much I needed help. I have remained refreshed at how I have really been able to keep up with this in all aspects of my life and people have told me so often in the past 2 years how my honesty has really made them feel better/different/etc about a situation (non-affair related).

For others in certain situations I can imagine telling people would impede reconciliation for various reasons.

ETA: I really don't know what an appropriate age to share with kids would be, but my guess is that it is somewhere in adult-hood. I can't imagine it helping any child or family for children to know.

[This message edited by helpemegetoverit at 6:42 PM, January 27th (Monday)]

Me: WW
Him: BH

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you."
John Green

Posts: 882 | Registered: Nov 2010
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 6:33 PM, January 27th (Monday)

I actually told more people than my XH did. It's the truth, ugly as it is. Hiding from it would only be perpetuating a false front and not being authentic. But that only my opinion for my situation. Others need to do what's best for them.

That being said, people in my situation know the facts (I was unfaithful, and in some cases, with whom and for how long) but they don't know or need to know the nitty gritty details (we had sex this many times, in these locations, etc.) I would assume that most outsiders wouldn't need to know much beyond the basics.

Also, I don't have children but I think it's important for those who do have them to impart information about the infidelity in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner. Not lying to your children does not equate treating them as if they are adults and of equal standing in the marital relationship.

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 6:35 PM, January 27th (Monday)]

Me: WS, 30s
XH: BS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

Reconciling after divorce

"Someday you'll look back on all these days
And all this pain is gonna be invisible." - Hunter Hayes, "Invisible"

Posts: 2079 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
Member # 42205
Default  Posted: 7:01 PM, January 27th (Monday)

Heartbroken0903- That's actually where I am. I actually haven't told many people, but I've wanted to. The thing that kept me from telling anyone between the time the A ended and me telling my BH is it would've added to the devastation to have to say, I had an A and everyone already knows. But I've wanted to tell and still want to tell because I feel like a phony. But I also feel like it's BH's call on who to tell. I am considering telling a friend but would definitely ask him how he felt before doing it.

I'm going to go with my gut and let BH lead the way. I'm fine with whoever he wants to tell and so far, he's let me know who he's told. My hesitation about telling people was more about acquaintances or people we no longer keep in contact finding out and using it as their amusement over drinks. It breaks my heart to think of someone taking our devastation and pain and using it as their entertainment. But if he wanted to tell our friends and family, people who care about us, he's free to, it wouldn't upset me.

Me: WW
Him: BH
30's, 4 kids
DD- Jan 2014

Posts: 55 | Registered: Jan 2014
Member # 36327
Default  Posted: 7:31 PM, January 27th (Monday)

CBU - I'd like to share my experience, just to give you an additional perspective.

On Dday, FAP's BW contacted my BH, confronted me, threatened to tell my then elementary aged child, and then proceeded to walk around my child's school and expose the A to any adult she saw. I understand that in the next 24 hours, she also sent out a mass email outing the A.

My BH was out of town on business, and began getting condolence messages and phone calls before he and I even had a chance to talk, and he wasn't able to return home for another 3 days, and by that time, the news had spread to every corner of our smallish town. He never had a chance to decide who to tell or not tell. This was before I found SI, and I didn't know that Dday's weren't always exposed in this way - I had no frame of reference, so I just accepted this as a consequence of my A. But it definitely added to my BH's pain, and he still expresses embarrassment as a primary unresolved feeling.

I believe our R was hampered by the massive exposure, because not only were we trying to fix ourselves and our M, but we had to do it while in a fishbowl. Finally, we had to cut off quite a few "concerned" acquaintances, because the questions and offers of "help" and "advice' were just too much, and the crossover with friends of the other couple became extremely toxic.

Interestingly, the other BS tried to "pull back" her initial condemnation of her WH a few days later, and she begged many people to continue to support her WH for the sake of their children (whom they also told). And, when she had another Dday a few months later, she behaved exactly the opposite and tried to hide the multiple A's she discovered. By that time, however, her WH was so "exposed" that no one wanted to be associated with him.

So yes, in my experience, massive exposure does make R more difficult. But everyone needs support. I would just caution anyone to think public exposure through, and be prepared to accept the consequences if you decide to expose - WS or BS.

Posts: 73 | Registered: Aug 2012
Member # 39667
Default  Posted: 7:51 PM, January 27th (Monday)

IME, more people already know about the affair than you think. Just saying. My husband kept saying only three of his friends knew about it. Come on!!! Those guys participated in it, took their "girlfriends" out with them, traveled with them, conspired with themÖyou expect THOSE people to keep secrets? Not only that, but the more of a hot shit you think you are (like my SAWH and his AP thought of themselves) the more people LOVE to see you stumble. So of course, people are going to talk. I won't forget walking into a party a few months ago and I was shocked but most people knew about it. Several women (wives of his friends) approached me and asked how I was doing. Most had good intentions and were very supportive. A couple of them turned it into something about themselves (i.e. "I don't know what I would do if John ever did that to me." Really?!). I will tell you I did take pleasure in letting one of them know that her husband knew about it for at least a year before I did (inferring that maybe he isn't as innocent as she thinks).

Yes you have to be wise about who you tell for all of the reasons stated. But also you need support and your BS needs support. And your BS doesn't need to protect you or your AP at the expense of getting the support they need or at the expense of feeling safe.

My husband did a very stupid thing, yes. It not only hurt me, but he hurt himself, his career, and his reputation. Part of our healing, oddly enough, has been him coming clean with select people and him taking a hit. That expression about hitting bottomÖwell there is definitely something to it.

BS - mid-40's
SAWH - mid 40's
Kids - 2 elementary school aged
Getting tons of therapy and trying to "work it out"

Posts: 855 | Registered: Jun 2013
Member # 23769
Default  Posted: 7:58 PM, January 27th (Monday)

My H was exposed through friends/family feeling the need to spread the news. At first I was alright with it but 18 months later we decided to R and it did not help at all. I was trying to get past it and others didn't understand it. THEY didn't have to understand it but it did make it harder.

You can't unring a bell...

Married 1998, 2 kids
D-day3/27/09,he left 5/23/09
WH wants to rebuild 3/21/10
He moved back in 9/25/10,
Dec, 2011-finally putting it all together, H had multiple affairs.
Possible porn addict for 15 yrs.
01/2014- in house separation

Posts: 3279 | Registered: Apr 2009
Member # 34080
Default  Posted: 1:06 AM, January 28th (Tuesday)

I didn't need to wear a BS sign to let everyone know but I also did not hold back telling family or friends whom I wanted to be honest with and feel comfortable with. I needed them to understand that I was in pain, would not be myself and that I was not being a bitch to my FWH. I wanted to be congruent with my actions and feelings and not have to put on a front with others...especially family members. For me, this was a gift for being able to handle the stress of betrayal and to even try to focus on reconciliation.

Exposure is definitely an individual decision but many people who are told will not be too intrusive into the couple's marriage or overly resentful of a FWS. They have their own lives to focus on and will move on. I think the concern of exposure being a negative influence on reconciliation is sometimes over-inflated to protect the reputation of the FWS. However, I realize there are situations where telling certain people can truly be a detriment to reconciliation. If that happens though, those people can be cut out from interaction with the couple trying to reconcile.

[This message edited by FaithStricken at 1:19 AM, January 28th (Tuesday)]

Posts: 85 | Registered: Dec 2011
Topic Posts: 21