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Dealing with full disclosure

ChidisTrolley posted 10/2/2020 15:51 PM

First post and here is my current story: almost 20 years married and I had a 3 year PA starting over 3 yrs ago. D-day was only 6 weeks ago. My BW has access to a portion of the messages I sent and received from the AP. (It is not complete access as I was an intermittent deleter during the affair) I really want to reconcile and I believe we have made progress that may lead to reconciliation. I am about to provide her a "come clean" list of when and where I met my AP. At this point, there will be no surprises to her, but I know she will see a few "I can't believe you did her the day before we did x!" moments. She already has seen some of this by matching the messages from my phone to memories from her social media accounts. She is, justifiably in a very angry frame of mind and my disclosure list is only going to add to her anger. But I know it must be done. I am anguished and feeling terrible about what I did, I have no contact (or desire any) with my AP and I am willing to do what is required to reconcile. I don't know if it is possible considering the number of lies, and the way I treated my BW during and before the affair. Any help in dealing with the consequences of full disclosure, or the anger it will generate is appreciated. But most of all, any advice as to what I can do for her during this time is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

oldtruck posted 10/2/2020 19:22 PM

ask your BW that maybe using a IC together to help the both
of you with you coming clean would be beneficial.

gmc94 posted 10/3/2020 03:04 AM

I'm a BS.

I agree that it should be done with an IC.
One thing that matters a lot to me is using "I" statements and ACTIVE (vs passive) language that shows you taking full responsibility for your choices. No minimizing. Nothing like "we fell into it" or that kind of thing. I've read of WS going through several drafts with their IC beforehand to address that language piece (which I believe is beneficial for BOTH the WS and BS in that WS is becoming honest & accountable and BS is gaining some ground in the quicksand of trust s/he finds themself in).

I assume you and your BS have some ground rules about what info is to be disclosed? IOW, does she want all the details, including sexual? That can be somewhat controversial - there are some that want it, some that do not, and some that want it but have an IC/MC who advises against it. Personally, I'm in the want to know EVERYTHING camp. And I completely respect those who do not. What I cannot get behind is an IC/MC or a WS who refuses to provide all the deets to a BS who wants them. The BS is an adult and can choose what they want to know about the reality of their life. For me, that was particularly true given the significant chunk of my life that was lived in darkness of my WH's infidelity. Many suggest doing a "PG" and an "X" rated version so that the WS isn't providing details the BS really doesn't want (or doesn't want yet- that can change).

Again, I'm a BS, but I hope you are working on shame management. That can be a really tough thing to deal with.

As to dealing with her anger, what comes to mind is finding ways to manage the shame and find some empathy. There is a book called Help.Her.Heal by Carol J Sheets that my WH's CSAT recommended on WS building empathy. It has exercises that looked pretty helpful from my side of the street. There are also some brene brown TED talks on YouTube (I think) about empathy - one of the nice takeaways from her work is being empathetic means YOU get down to HER level.... you are on the floor WITH her, not looking AT her, and you are focusing on how hurt SHE is, rather than what an asshole you are (that's your shame talking). My WH was pretty good about empathy when I was physically in pain not caused by him.... but is like a 3yr old when it comes to pain for which he bears responsibility. I suspect some WS may have mind "tricks" to play to help in the midst of this (SI can be slow on the weekends, so give it a couple of days).

You can learn about trauma, and particularly relational betrayal trauma. I recommend (IF you think you can manage it) listening to Marnie Breecker's 2-part interview on Duane Osterlind's "The Addicted Mind" podcast. It's about 1.5 hrs altogether. It will go into some pretty deep detail about the BS's trauma response to relational betrayal, and I suspect that it's probably pretty tough for a WS to hear, esp early in the process. I really recommend it, but suspect the WS needs to be able to be in a good headspace (relatively speaking, of course) to take it all in. Relational betrayal can be an existential crisis (a term they use), and I found that to be true for me. Breecker & Osterlind went on to do their own podcast, Helping Couples Heal, which I have found very helpful.

You mention your BS putting together A dates and her memories. It's easy for me to say - and hard for a WS to hear/contemplate - that one of the big things that happens to a BS (esp? with an LTA like yours) is the shattering of memories. On my dday I basically hallucinated the photos of all our memories float up in the air before my eyes, burning. It wasn't until weeks or months later when I learned more about infidelity (and found SI) that I discovered how common that kind of reaction is. It can destroy EVERY good memory from during the A (and sometimes for the entire M). I've seen a number of ways to describe it but one that really resonated with me was from a fellow SIer who wrote: imagine you've had a dog named Sparky for the last x years. You have memories of doing everything with Sparky.... long walks, trips to the park, the vet, the pool, etc. And one morning you wake up and look over and see that Sparky is not a dog... he's a cat. Now you question EVERYTHING.... all those memories of playing fetch, how can that be if Sparky was a cat the whole time? The way I tried to describe it to my WH was asking him to recall one of his most fond memories of our M.... and when he had it in his head and could describe those little details, told him to put his AP into the picture. May not be what it's like for your BS, but that's what it's like for me.


That is painful and scary - hell, it's ALL painful and scary for quite awhile after dday. We have to figure out who our spouses are, bc the people we thought we were married to are not the people before us after dday.

The trauma of dday can set a BS' amygdala on fire - kind of takes over everything. That is scary as F to a BS. The emotion is sooooo powerful and overwhelming. I didn't think a person could experience that much pain and still be alive. I bring this kind of thing up bc it will be SUPER hard for you to try and temper YOUR feelings in the wake of hers.

If you haven't already, read "how to help your spouse heal from your affair" by Linda MacDonald. Also, be sure to read the "Things That every WS needs to know" thread which is pinned as the 1st post in this forum.

I'm sure you already realize you are in for a bumpy ride. Buckle up and Godspeed.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 3:08 AM, October 3rd, 2020 (Saturday)]

Unhinged posted 10/3/2020 08:57 AM

"How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair," by Linda MacDonald. Get it today, if you can. Read it. Learn it. Live it.

As a BH, I had an overwhelming desire to know as much as I could (or, at least, as much as I could stomach). What was most important, however, was that my FWW had the courage and integrity to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

ChidisTrolley posted 10/4/2020 13:12 PM

Thank you for the additional resources. I am working my way through them. The dog and cat analogy is good, especially if you add that the BS has always been allergic to cats and would never had voluntarily chosen to live with a cat.

My BW wants more rather than less info. I have a calendar showing which days I met with my AP, where we met (as best as I can), and whether the encounter was sexual in any way (about 15% of the encounters). I plan to go over it verbally, as I think having to voice the timeline will feel more completely confessional.

sundance posted 10/4/2020 13:18 PM

Agree that telling 100% of the truth is necessary.

No holding back. Answer all direct questions honestly. Always stick to the truth-- even if betrayed spouse doesn't want to accept it, or believe it.

Do not alter the truth in an attempt to appease betrayed spouse.

Truth, truth, truth. and then more truth.

Barbarella1 posted 10/5/2020 12:19 PM

Good advice shared on this thread.
We are 24 months post dday, married for 23 years. H had a one year PA with a married mother of two half his age.
I never got the whole story on dday. Lots of lies over the next 4 months, trickle truths however he kept most back....because it was so, so bad. Met her on my bday where they moved in together for 2 weeks while away at university. Had sex with both of us on the same day.....devastating
Sadly, I found out the truth from her 4 months after he asked for NC. She sent me a nasty email with all the details, shared a timeline and all what was said and done. She ccd her husband and mine also. I do believe it was a fake email of her husbands. I sent a brief reply wishing her all the best to her husbands real email acct., and told her that we are in R and doing well....
I wish my H told me the truth 4 months earlier. To finally hear the whole truth from his AP was devastating. Her attempt to destroy us was beyond comprehension.
Do the right thing and tell the truth.

Thissucks5678 posted 10/5/2020 12:22 PM

My best advice to you is to read the book How to help your Spouse Heal from your Affair over and over - treat it like your bible. Your wife is going to go through a rollercoaster of emotions that you will probably never begin to understand. That book is the best Ive read to help a wayward understand a bit of what she will be going through.

Read up and learn about ptsd and pisd. Dig deep to understand why you did this. Do not blame your marriage or that you drifted apart. There is a reason you cheated instead of seeking out counseling or a divorce. No more lies. Be completely transparent and honest. Even the tiniest white lie will set your BW back in her healing process.

Good luck, I wish you well.

MyAndI posted 10/5/2020 15:58 PM

ChidisTrolley,

If at any point you trickle Truth or hide anything in your "come clean" list you will set your R way back and maybe even end your marriage. Total and complete honesty at all times is the rule from here on if you ever want her to trust you again. Don't think you are protecting her by withholding anything.

In the meantime, be tethered to her by phone, check in often and don't use ANY free time NOT with her. Be around and be available as much as possible. At the same time, give her space when she wants it.

Chaos posted 10/6/2020 11:34 AM

Let me share my perspective.

My WH in the beginning TT. When I finally called his bluff, he claimed it just "reset the clock"

NO. It didn't reset the clock. It knocked me back to Ground Zero - and beyond. In fact, I had to claw my way up just to get to Ground Zero. It mocked all my previous pain and suffering. Twisting the knife is an understatement. It was a deliberate cruelty. It still is a mindfuck in the middle of many nights.

WH had the knowledge and power to set me free with the truth yet chose to let me suffer in order to protect himself. He didn't "save me pain", he CHOSE to let ME suffer in order to protect HIMSELF. He caused me more pain.

To this BS - how you do it isn't as important as the fact that you must do it. Every moment that passes is another moment you chose not to tell the truth and dig both your and your BW pit of despair even deeper.

BraveSirRobin posted 10/6/2020 16:05 PM

Absolute honesty is the only path, but we do understand how hard that is to face. None of us here came to it without a struggle. Given your username, let's say we're all Eleanor Shellstrops here, in varying stages of our journey to enlightenment.

NotMyFirstRodeo posted 10/6/2020 17:28 PM

Let go of trying to control the outcome by not being completely candid and honest. Accept that the truth truly will set you both free and give you the best shot at recovering and R.

I was TT'd and it created way more damage than the things lied about did. The person that made the choice to step outside of our M and cause me pain could be a person in the past. The person I am currently with making the choice to deceive me *right now* makes a statement about who they are in the present. It's one thing to hate the person someone was. It's another to hate who a person currently is.

JungAdmirer posted 10/6/2020 17:34 PM

BH here: About a decade ago my Mom was given a terminal cancer diagnosis. I was very wrapped up in her surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy..so much so that I had little time for my wife from March-September of that year. July was the last good month in my Mom's life and I spent two weeks with her visiting her sisters and camping at a location she loved. I found out a year later that a former college boyfriend had contacted my wife that June via email. He was going to be in town during July and would love to reconnect.

My WW's 12 month PA started that July while I was travelling with my mom. My mom passed away that October. I share these details because I can think of no greater betrayal. I will tell you what I told her. "This relationship will not survive another betrayal. Come clean now about everything because nothing may be added in the future."

Any betrayal... past, present or future and I will divorce her the next day. Be transparent, fall on your sword if necessary and express gratitude if grace and mercy are offered.

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