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Did you want details of his affair?

(19 Posts)
missinginaction Thu 21-Jul-11 17:42:30

I found out DH was having an affair 5 months ago. We are doing ok, been to counselling etc and I feel that our relationship is improving.
However, I have not asked for any details at all about the affair as, until now, I wouldn't have been physically or emotionally able to listen to them. For lots of reasons I think it would be helpful now for him to tell me the details of when, how, why and I wondered what others' experiences of finding everything out had been. Helpful or devastating?

glasscompletelybroken Thu 21-Jul-11 19:00:18

I don't know that it was helpful but I did really need to know all the details. I think it's pretty normal. I don't think I felt any worse or any better after knowing but I think not knowing may have driven me completely mad. If that makes sense?

bristolcities Thu 21-Jul-11 19:06:12

I want to know every single one. Especially the day to day mundane bits other wise I imagine some sort of passionate, sweaty love affair. Also with out the details (that will probably emerge over time) i didn't know what I should be healing from and being furious about.

missinginaction Thu 21-Jul-11 19:48:28

It's wierd - I don't actually have a burning desire to know but because he isn't really giving much thought as to the why/how/when etc I feel this may be a way to make reality bite a bit for him. I do think there may be other benefits, i.e. that he doesn't have this secret period of his life to look fondly back on, that the big romance that I envision will hopefully be revealed to be a run-of-the-mill midlife crisis etc.

greycircles Thu 21-Jul-11 19:56:54

I wanted to know all of the details (it was 18 months ago). Some of the details were extremely painful and shocking. Some of the words just kept playing over and over in my head because they were so awful. Anyway, for me personally, I had to know the details in order to deal with it. So it's a bit like you have to get worse to get better. Both me and DH are extremely blunt and like facts so it worked for us. People are different though, some people do not want to know details.

Anyway, 18 months on, we are doing very well. I would worry that if I had not grilled him exhaustively on many many occasions, I would have odd things coming back to bite me from time to time - at least now I feel that I know stuff and there is no more to be discovered. Hopefully!

GabrieleJ Thu 21-Jul-11 19:59:48

Absolutely, I don't think you can get over it without the details, you don't want to be wondering why?, how?, when?.

ImperialBlether Thu 21-Jul-11 20:18:48

The first times it happened to me, I wanted to know everything and the details tortured me. I felt like I was going mad.

When finally I found out about the last one, I didn't want to know any details - I was struck by the thought that I didn't care, I didn't want him any more.

america Thu 21-Jul-11 20:43:50

I wanted to know but he didn't share anything. Now, 18m later I am still wondering what really happened.

HappyWoman Thu 21-Jul-11 21:01:58

For me I found out a lot of the details early on - I think he was in shock and so told me things that he later would not have.
I didnt want the ow to have anything to throw back at me either. The details were pretty painful but actually when i could put it all down to sex and not the huge love affair it made it easier. After all I could do the 'sex' thing as well as she could wink. I felt she had less power over me iyswim.

I also think it did help my h - although after the intitial rush of info it was hard to get some things out of him for a while.

In the early days there were some things i found very hard to cope with and even now i do sometimes get a twinge - but now my h is very good at talking about it all and is not 'protecting' me anymore.

Some of the recent revelations in the tabloids have made us both cringe - but we now have a laugh about it.

If you are wondering at all i think it is best to ask sooner rather than later as the longer it goes, the harder it will be for both of you.
Also if you h sees you being upset it may well help him to see just how much hurt he has caused you.

Good luck for you - it is a long process that at times will seem harder than if you had broken up. But it can be done and you can have a better marriage.

HappyWoman Thu 21-Jul-11 21:05:54

However if it did happen again i dont think i would bother to go through all the details it would be enough for me to know that he did not respect me enough and I would be able to walk away knowing I had done all i could.
He certainly knows he would not get a second chance - which i think in itself makes him respect me more than he ever did before.

fastweb Thu 21-Jul-11 21:37:54

When I was at partial discovery at a far earlier point ..yes.

But the day I found my first husband's shrine to his...wotever...behind the wardrobe I moved when spring cleaning, the desire for info rose up and then flopped down very fast. Something had just broken, it was over, and I found when I started questioning, that actually I really didn't care to hear the ins and outs, I just knew whatever we had had was gone forever. So it all felt a bit academic.

I had gone through a very long and very trying, very sanity testing detective stage, so maybe I had simply run out of energy to keep it up any more.

The weird thing was that I found the shrine just a couple of week after the huge weight of mistrust had finally lifted and I felt comfortable when he was not at home, feeling safe that he was not with anybody else, that he was where he said he was.

Maybe that meant trust was dropped from such a sodding great height that even I , the eternal optimist that our relationship was worth hanging onto, could not ignore the millions of unglueable shards that it had been reduced to.

Or maybe the fact that both my stomach AND intestines reacted to the shock in the only way they knew how, so vigorously that I was too busy with concerns like keeping my insides, inside me, to get distracted into adding any more nuance to the bigger picture.

I am something like 18 years past that day. Still remember it like it was yesterday though. It was a life defining moment. Moving a wardrobe saved me from a lifetime of pain and half truths. In ten years he had not left a single trace, I had always had to rely on his word, it's almost as though my "maddness" was as much a prize as whatever it was that he was up to at any given time. Spring cleaning is why I am in my 16th year of a lovely relationship with a wonderful man who I can trust in an unqualified manner.

Terrifying really to think that a future can hang in the balance, depending on something so insignificant to happen and set off a chain reaction.

missinginaction Fri 22-Jul-11 07:47:22

Thanks for your responses. It is so sad what we are put through, isn't it? I feel for us all. I've not made my mind up what to do yet but I appreciate your time in sharing your experiences with me. Thanks.

ballstoit Fri 22-Jul-11 07:57:32

I think the very small amount of details are what finally killed off my love for ex-H. I just didnt know him any more, and had no desire to get to know him. I'm glad I didnt have a lot of details to torture myself with, the ones I had were bad enough.

MadAboutHotChoc Fri 22-Jul-11 09:05:28

I think its important to know the main details - dates, where, how (e.g secret mobile phones/credit cards/ email accounts etc). I also needed to know if protection was used. It all really helped me understand what actually happened during the past year.

I have read some good books about affairs and they all say how important it is that the betrayed partner is able to ask questions. You may find the below link helpful:

MadAboutHotChoc Fri 22-Jul-11 09:45:35

Just to add that I feel the same as HappyWoman - should my H be selfish enough to cheat on me again, it will definitely be the end of our marriage so there would not be any point in knowing the details.

ImperialBlether Fri 22-Jul-11 10:21:28

Fastweb, that must have been a really terrible moment, when everything (literally and metaphorically) came crashing down. What was there, do you mind my asking?

I wonder about your spring cleaning... Later, when you thought about it, do you think that you had subconsciously noticed something which made you decide to springclean that day? I'm assuming you didn't say to your partner earlier that day "I think I'll spring clean the bedroom - it's ages since I've cleaned behind the wardrobe"? Wouldn't you normally have asked him to give you a hand with moving it?

When you think about it, had you noticed that when you came into the bedroom he was often near the wardrobe, when there was no reason for him to be there? Or had you noticed something sticking out and next time you looked it wasn't there?

Just wondering whether your subconscious told you something was behind the wardrobe.

fastweb Fri 22-Jul-11 11:16:07

What was there, do you mind my asking?

A collage. A very carefully constructed, beautifully framed, large, collage of photos of them together, cut out with great delicacy, and arranged with the utmost creative care. Some of the photos involved actually cutting me out of the picture ans "stitching" the two of them together.

Behind which was a niche containing mementos and keep sakes.

And some very rare and horrendously expensive Buddha medallion things. Cos this was one relationship that needed mystical help in being protected and revered, given its importance and high value. Not to mention something being required to symbolize the shared culture, language and religion.

And a candle that appeared to have been occasionaly burnt, given it's singed state and the wax dripped on the floor to form a stand.

Both the frame and the trinkets were oh so carefully and lovingly wrapped in tissue paper.

Up until that point I had no idea he was actually capable of of romantic, profound and expressed like. Let alone love.

So it was a bit of a blow on several levels.

had subconsciously noticed something which made you decide to springclean that day

I wish. Actually I was happy cleaning, I had a month or so earlier finally accepted I was the problem not him, that my suspicious mind was creating phantoms out of thin air. I believed, I trusted, for the first time in ten years with all my heart.

Not faking it until I made it anymore, actually making it for the first time ever. And I felt so free, so hopeful and incredibly light of heart. I could see a future and it was so so much brighter than the past.

So it was a bit of a blow on several levels.

Just wondering whether your subconscious told you something was behind the wardrobe.

I moved the wardrobe so I could swop it with the bed, so we could wake in the morning and have a view of the garden, cos that is so much more romantic. And fresh start, fresh outlook deserves a fresh house. I was singing along to my fave upbeat tunes looking forward to the rest of my life being so much better now I had "healed" myself of my "paranoia".

So it was a bit of a blow on several levels.

But it broke my chains in the way only a sharpened axe made of titanium can.

As I puked and crouched in the loo I think I purged myself of any ability to see things for what they were not ever again. Decepetion, self or external, was no longer an option if I wanted to live, let alone live well.

So thank god for that day, thank god for the extent of the shock and the horror and the puking and the rampant diarrhea because I needed something so "utterly free from shades of grey and being open to interpretation" that even I could not keep closing my eyes, ears and common sense to the sheer ridiculousness of staying in that position, for another ten years of the same.

I had never left before permanently, because the pain hurt too much and I'd coming running back. That day proved that staying was going to hurt more, so there was no gain to it.

I may be one of the poster children for "that which does not kill you, makes you about 400 times stronger".grin

SheCutOffTheirTails Fri 22-Jul-11 20:58:51


What was his reaction when you told him?

(sorry for hijack OP, curiosity is killing my cat)

fastweb Fri 22-Jul-11 22:22:39

What was his reaction when you told him?

I don't remember that much about it, I can recall the discovery like it was yesterday, with enough connection to the emotions I felt that I get a belly ache in the present and a tightening in my chest. But the rest, it's bitty, disjointed with no sense of time. I don't know if that is down to the shock I was in, or just time has eroded the less dramatic after party.

I have no memory of us actually discussing anything. But he really wasn't good at discussing anything at the best of times, and I had probably lost the will to even try at that point. I have a memory of him sitting against the wall nearest the door in silence and refusing to even look at me. That is about it.

He left the house when it was still light, so I don't think he hung around very long.

I vaguely remember a friend of mine coming over to take me over the practicals that I needed to do, as well as mop me up a bit, and then details go completely fuzzy after that. I just know at some point I wound up at Heathrow feeling desperately sad, but totally liberated, cos I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that this time it was for good and we were finally over.

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