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Timeline questions and Help

Voorhees5 posted 4/25/2020 10:11 AM

Iíve been told by my BS that timelines are big in the process of healing. My problem is I have trouble remembering dates and years. I attempted on and turned I to just a long run on sentence of memories but not in an order. And didnít really help. Does anyone have guidance or examples. Especially trying to piece together memories by dates or without them specifically. Has anyone done this here? Was it beneficial? Help or tips when creating one? Thank you.

HellFire posted 4/25/2020 11:38 AM

Gather your phone bills, work schedule, journals, calendars,look through the photo galleries on your phones,Facebook timelines,Facebook memories, photographs, etc. Study them. They should help jog your memory.

Understand that "I don't know/forget" responses are unacceptable. And they typically mean you know, you remember, you just don't want to tell the BS because you don't want to deal with the consequences that come with a truthful answer.

Everything about infidelity is unfair to a BS. Don't make it worse by not putting those missing pieces together for her.

If all else fails, there's a polygraph, in which she can ask the questions she needs answers to.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/25/2020 11:44 AM

Look for other cues that can help put events in sequence. My H and I were in an LDR at the time of the A, and decades later, we were trying to reconstruct whether we physically saw each other while it was actively going on. We knew we had seen a specific movie release together and were able to research the date that it was in the theaters. I also remembered that he had taken me to show me his office when he was working night shift, and that he pointed out a restaurant where he often stopped for breakfast. He said that meant the visit had to have been shortly after he started that job, because he only passed that restaurant because the shorter route he preferred later was under construction. By overlapping these two facts, we narrowed down the date of the visit to a single weekend.

sisoon posted 4/25/2020 13:46 PM

One approach is to capture your thought in writing and then let the associations flow; write them down. Some of the associations will allow you to place the thought in time.

Then capture another thought. Before or after the first one? And so on....

I think my W would have given me something like what you describe, and I wouldn't have been able to understand it. What worked for us was a 2-person implementation of the approach above.

We started with an event. I asked what she did, thought, and felt. I wrote it down. Eventually we got it all down. Dates aren't necessarily exact - it's the best she could remember. She just doesn't do dates and never has. (She has strengths in other areas. )

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:46 PM, April 25th (Saturday)]

oldtruck posted 4/26/2020 09:09 AM

you may not be able to remember dates but you should
remember things that happened an the order that they were
done.

write your PA biography on the computer.

as you write it will cause you to remember things that you
forgot.

being you are using a computer it will make it easy to edit
placing the new things in the correct sequence of your bio.

eventually you will have your story, time line finished.

achilles1101 posted 4/28/2020 01:44 AM

A little off topic but I BS asked for a timeline and my wife said she couldn't remember some things as she was trying to forget and put them out of her mind. Frustrating for me, but how do you deal with that?

emergent8 posted 4/28/2020 16:41 PM

BS here.

For me, at least, the details mattered more than the specific dates. Don't let it bog you down too much for now - focus on events and general timeline events first. Specific dates can be narrowed down later if necessary/possible. Create a word document so it can be edited. If you remember dates of specific things then great - put them in. If not, put something like Late Fall - 2019 - Then write what you *do* remember about the encounter/event. For example, you may recall that it was a Tuesday evening because that's the night your wife has her book club meetings. Keep adding things like that.


You'll be surprised by what you're able to remember once other details are added. For me, when he first presented it to me, I'd ask things like, "was that before or after XXX Event or Y's birthday? or things like that. Those types of details helped him narrow down dates and things.

Moral of the story, often WS claim to be unable to prepare a timeline because of memory issues when really they are using failure of a perfect memory as an excuse to not prepare a timeline. Focus on what you *DO* remember not what you *DON'T".

ETA: Sometimes the specific date didn't matter as much to me as it did whether something happened before or after specific cherished memories or events in our lives.

[This message edited by emergent8 at 4:42 PM, April 28th, 2020 (Tuesday)]

Voorhees5 posted 4/28/2020 16:57 PM

I have heard a timeline helps a BS comprehend and process but then I read that triggers are back and remove them at all cost. How does a timeline not cause hurt and pain or stand as a lasting trigger?

faithfulman posted 4/28/2020 17:25 PM

My problem is I have trouble remembering dates and years. I attempted on and turned I to just a long run on sentence of memories but not in an order.

Break things out into bullets.

If you write a run-on sentence then after you write it break out each item into separate events and then add details, scouring any evidence for dates, times and any other clues.

Rinse. repeat.

I have heard a timeline helps a BS comprehend and process but then I read that triggers are back and remove them at all cost. How does a timeline not cause hurt and pain or stand as a lasting trigger?

Your betrayed wife asked you for a timeline. What you need to do now is abide by your spouse's wishes.

This question is just mental gymnastics to try and avoid doing what you are supposed to do. The time to have been truly worried about triggers is when you were cheating and lying.

Now you should worry about being truthful, not sparing your wife what you imagine will be a trigger, which will by coincidence align with what you don't want her to know.

[This message edited by faithfulman at 6:29 PM, April 28th (Tuesday)]

emergent8 posted 4/28/2020 18:20 PM

I have heard a timeline helps a BS comprehend and process but then I read that triggers are back and remove them at all cost. How does a timeline not cause hurt and pain or stand as a lasting trigger?

I second what Faithfulman said. It is absolutely Wayward behavior at this stage to filter anything out because you think you know what is best for your wife. If she asks for an unfiltered timeline, giver her the damn timeline. There is nothing more infuriating as a BS, than finding out your WS further manipulated you by (continuing) to restrict your knowledge about things you very much wanted to know about. Filtering out details is protecting yourself, not her. Full stop.

Will the truth hurt? Yeah, probably. But the damage has been done. She deserves to know that now so she can make educated decisions about how to conduct herself moving forward.

I know for myself, I was able to handle the big stuff when I was told early on because at least it was the truth. When I learned of small stuff months (that had been lied about or omitted) months later, I was absolutely ready to leave. We see this happen over and over again here.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/28/2020 19:11 PM

I have heard a timeline helps a BS comprehend and process but then I read that triggers are back and remove them at all cost. How does a timeline not cause hurt and pain or stand as a lasting trigger?
Mmmm, I would not say that your goal is to avoid triggers. It's to be aware of them -- as hyperaware as possible -- and to acknowledge and validate her pain when they hit. The reality of the A is hitting your BS over and over, from a million different directions. She may have trouble with women who look like the AP, are a similar age or nationality, who have similar names, or professions, or cars. She may hate certain restaurants, or all restaurants, or specific cities, or cities in general, or dates on the calendar, or entire months on the calendar. She may be unable to watch television or movies because adultery is everywhere in popular culture. There is no way to protect her from all the triggers.

But there is one one exception to this rule. The Queen Mother of all triggers is when the WS continues to lie. Any lie, of fact, emotion, or omission. In a world that is assaulting your BS from all sides, lying is the one trigger you can and must prevent.

As I messaged to another WS recently, it is a huge mistake to try to spare your BS by minimizing on your timeline. You have to think not about the pain you are causing, but the pain you are preventing. You are saving her from ever having another D-Day, from being blindsided again by terrible revelations and set back to ground zero in her healing. Tell her everything, this one last time, and while it may be the worst pain she ever experiences, that is because she will never have to go through pain like it again. The affair was an act of cruelty that felt like love. Honesty is an act of love that feels like cruelty.

gmc94 posted 4/28/2020 19:41 PM

I have heard a timeline helps a BS comprehend and process but then I read that triggers are back and remove them at all cost. How does a timeline not cause hurt and pain or stand as a lasting trigger?
Wanna echo the previous replies to this.

The A itself is a lasting trigger for most BS. You can't change that. What you CAN do is give your BS the agency you took by cheating. Your BS has asked for this info, and she is a grownup that gets to decide for herself what she wants at this juncture. Its up to HER to decide what she wants to know. She's asked for a timeline and it is your duty to provide it. fully. With candor. Without minimization, etc. She deserves to have never been put in a position to need a timeline. That ship sailed. So, you can do all that you can to return some semblance of reality to her.

Harsh analogy, but best I've got off the top of my head is you just sucker punched your wife. She's bruised and bleeding. You can't take back the punch. But you can get her a bag of ice and some bandages.... that timeline is the ice & bandages. Anything less than full honesty and candor is not ice or bandages. It's a paper towel and a jar of mayo you pulled from the fridge - they ain't gonna cut it.

I know this may add more pressure, but write the timeline with the idea that she will follow up with a polygraph. Write it with the expectation that you will be asked if anything was intentionally omitted. Write it thinking of how devastated your BS would be if some polygraph examiner had to tell her that you were still not being honest with her.

We see it here on SI over & over & over again: It's not the A that prompted the D... it's the lies and continued wayward thinking that the WS continued AFTER dday that killed all hope.

Godspeed.

pearlamici posted 4/29/2020 05:02 AM

The affair was an act of cruelty that felt like love. Honesty is an act of love that feels like cruelty.
Bravo, BraveSirRobin.

Zugzwang posted 4/29/2020 09:57 AM

I did it through phone bills. Texts. Pictures. Facebook.

BraveSirRobin posted 4/29/2020 10:25 AM

It's a paper towel and a jar of mayo you pulled from the fridge - they ain't gonna cut it.
I know this is a serious topic, but I IRL LOL'd at this.

MrCleanSlate posted 4/29/2020 14:53 PM

After D-day my BW and I spent many an evening talking. Sitting on the couch, in the hot tub, in the bath, on our bed, etc.

These were our Q&A sessions where at first it was my BW asking the questions and me answering. Then I started to volunteer more. We just talked and talked.

My BW never wanted a written time-line. She pulled it out of me over many sessions of talking. She would circle back to topics, or approach them from different angles.

My BW was able to flush out the details she wanted. In turn I found I was able to add details to specific items, events, dates, etc as we delved deeper into certain things. It is amazing how much detail we can recall when it all gets pieced together over time.

The other thing that came from our talks was that I learned how to really open up. To learn how to just be honest and also accept the critical response from my BW.

I wish it hadn't taken me 25 years and an affair to learn how to really communicate. My BW taught me that. I owe her an awful lot.

You need to learn how to talk to each other. Maybe you keep a note pad and add to specific items as they come up.


DoinBettr posted 4/29/2020 16:57 PM

I have heard a timeline helps a BS comprehend and process but then I read that triggers are back and remove them at all cost. How does a timeline not cause hurt and pain or stand as a lasting trigger?

So what does reconciliation really look like for you? If you can't drive past the restaurant where you went on a date with the AP, then that is probably not 100% reconciled or even 90%. The same with the timeline. Triggers will happen no matter what. Once it is all written out, she will have a few triggers, but a piece of paper most likely won't be the trigger.
Triggers commonly come from dates. Anniversaries of trips taken when you were texting the AP. D-Day anniversary and wedding anniversaries. Those are the most common triggers. Having them on a piece of paper will let her prepare for them and put a solid date instead of, the month you were shady, it is the day you lied before you went to see her with a lame excuse.
Plus when she questions if she just put some fact together in her head about another instance, "You forgot" the 2 of you can talk about why it was or wasn't on the timeline.
See how that works out. If it really triggers her, she can burn it and it would show she trusts you and doesn't need to continually "ask" to know what happened.
Not making one shows you are unwilling to do "Anything" as many WS state to get back the marriage. Adding another lie/broken promise to the pile.

[This message edited by DoinBettr at 7:47 AM, April 30th (Thursday)]

secondtime posted 4/30/2020 20:44 PM

If you are an SA, you should also do a formal disclosure with your wife, and assorted therapists.

This is something youíd work on with your csat Iím presuming.

Your therapist should be a resource. If you if do the 12-steps, one of the early ones is also listing all of your behaviors.

My husband was ďjustĒ a porn addict, and his behaviors ran a full page.

Shame is particularly strong with SAs, and that could also be holding you back...

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