I recently heard from a wife who was insisting that her husband tell her “EVERYTHING” after his affair. She felt like if she had all of this information, it would help her to move on and have some closure. She strongly felt that if he would trust her enough to not hold anything back, this would say a lot about his character and help her to put this behind her once and for all.
She said, in part: “I want him to tell me everything without leaving a thing out. I want to know where they went, what they did, how he deceived me, what they said to each other, whether they had pet names, how they laughed, what he told her about me, and anything else related to the affair. Heck, I even want to know if she wore lingerie and exactly what they did. I want to know every single tiny detail. Because it’s only then that I feel like I can trust him and that he isn’t continuing to hold things back from me or to deceive me. But he’s reluctant to do this. He says it will only make me mad and cause me more pain. He doesn’t want to do anything to hurt me anymore. Who’s right?”
Actually, I can see both points. It’s completely natural to want to know everything down to the tiniest little detail. Because you feel that knowing everything will give you a full picture of what you are really up against and how he really went about deceiving you so that you won’t have to go through this again. And it helps you know that he’s willing to put it out there because you mean enough to him.
But here’s the thing. I have been through this. I dialogue with women about this who have gone through this on an extremely regular basis. Having every ounce of the information and knowing each and every detail doesn’t always make it better or bring about closure. It can actually make it worse. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Knowing Painful Details That Relate To Things Like Sex And Intimacy Probably Won’t Help You To Heal. Instead, This Will Create Images You Can’t Get Out Of Your Mind: When he tells you very intimate things like what she liked in bed, what she wore, or details like her favorite perfume or foods, then every time you are in bed, or smell that perfume, or she or eat that type of food, you are going to feel pain.
And it’s very hard to erase these things from your mind once they are there. Instead, you’ll have all of these unwelcome mental images and pictures that continue to hurt you rather than give you closure. I understand you wanting him to be COMPLETELY HONEST. But sometimes, complete honestly hurts you rather than helps you.
You can probably live without the small details. Yes, many details are important. But from experience, I would recommend leaving some of them out. You want to pass over anything that is going to continue to cause you pain, hurt your self esteem, or cause you to dwell on your own personal movies you can’t get out of your head.
What You Really Need To Know About The Affair For Closure And To Move On: So now that I’ve told you some things are best left unknown, what do you really need to know? I think you really need to know those things that help you to move on, like:
Why did the affair happen?
What can and will you do to keep it from happening again?
What happens now?
What can you do to strengthen your marriage so you don’t have to worry about this in the future?
How can you strengthen yourself so that you can heal from the affair?
What is your husband willing to do to help you accomplish all of this?
How are you going to make sure that you get what you want and have what you need?
In other words, find out the information that helps you to move past this and to feel LESS pain rather than MORE. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the questions to which there are no real answers. Searching for something that is just not there will simply drive you crazy and make you feel as though there is no real end to this.
So before you demand each and every answer, ask yourself what the answer is really going to do for you. Because if the answer is going to make you feel worse rather than better – then you don’t or shouldn’t really want it .
Believe me when I say that I understand where you are. I went through this several years ago, but I truly do consider myself healed now. It took a lot of work but our marriage is very solid now and actually better than it was before the affair. I don’t worry about him cheating again. If it helps, you can read that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com .