Discovering that your spouse had an affair can be shocking and traumatizing. At the onset of revelation, you’re probably beginning to question your beliefs about who you are, who your partner is, and the foundation of your marriage. This will be a one big emotional roller coaster ride for you where your thoughts and emotions rage and race with each other.
Probably by now you’re asking if you need to know the details of your partner’s affair. It is quite common for betrayed spouses to obsess in knowing everything. It is highly recommended that they’d be given answers to their questions such as “how long have you been together?” “how did you meet?” “what did see you with her?” It is not uncommon too for you to get your calendar to check the dates when your offending spouse should be with you, yet for some reason he/she wasn’t there.
In order for your healing to begin taking place, you need to have a hold of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, that is the affair. You need to put these pieces together for you to see the whole picture of what happened, and eventually gain understanding. The only questions that you should avoid asking are details about sex, if they have done it. Knowing the sexual details will not serve you, instead it will add to your symptoms of post traumatic stress.
Now the challenge here is that some husbands would withhold some information about the affair. They either refuse to add more pain to their hurt partners or they wanted to avoid further eruption of anger from their spouses. This will just lengthen the healing process, worse make rebuilding trust difficult. In Peggy Vaughan’s online survey on 1,083 betrayed spouses, it was revealed that (1) when the unfaithful spouse answered all questions, 86 percent of couples remained married and 72 percent rebuilt trust; (2) when the unfaithful spouse refused to answer questions, 59 percent remained married and 31 percent rebuilt trust.
There are offending spouses who are forthcoming about the details of the affair, but there are some who are not. Whether a spouse is forthcoming or not could depend on different factors. Probably the relationship has been long infected of dysfunctional communication pattern such as contempt, criticisms , and flooding. Another factor could be the offending spouse is not comfortable with expressions of anger. And another possible reason is that the offending partner doesn’t want to talk about the affair anymore and doesn’t want to be reminded of his wrongdoing again and again.
Since confession can be difficult for some offending partners, encouraging them could be helpful. You need to make your partner understand that although the truth will hurt you, it is necessary to your healing and to your marriage as well. You need to preempt him that you will have outbursts of anger, yet this is a normal reaction after discovery of affair. You need to explain to him that you will not engage in destructive anger which could destroy you, your partner, and your marriage. And lastly, tell him that you will appreciate his honesty.
Your offending spouse is no doubt the source of your pain, but he/she is also the source of your healing. His/her honesty to your questions will help you make sense of the affair. Having this understanding will lead you to learn to trust your partner again which will pave the way to your healing.