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Reconciliation :
Is a degree of trickle truth inevitable?

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 WhiskeyBlues (original poster new member #82662) posted at 10:24 AM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

I was just wondering whether people feel some degree of TT is inevitable?

DD one year anniversary is just over a month away and despite promising and vowing not TT, my H has. The last TT was about 7 weeks ago and now I have, yet again, more renewed promises etc etc 馃檮

The saddest thing is, the things he has lied about are minor and in no way change the outcome of us trying to R. For example, I asked whether he took annual leave to see her (he denied this but it now transpires he took 2 hours leave very early on - but like I say, it doesn't change anything, I just want the truth!). Yet he has admitted to some other pretty gruesome details. The duration of the A is as he said, I knew it was an EA/PA right from the beginning, and I know there has been absolutely NC.

It's just minor details he slips up on. He has a knee jerk reaction to lie and then digs himself a hole (something he's done since childhood). He says it's because he's terrified one more thing will tip me over the edge and I'll leave. Yet I've promised I won't, and I just need the truth. He's seen the things he's TT about, literally drive me nuts, and still held back, digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself.

Other then the TT, he has mostly been a model WH. I don't want to throw the towel in, but I am so sick of being lied to. I just feel despondent and empty at the moment though, like he has again shattered the little bit of hope we had built up, over the most ridiculous thing to lie about.

But is some TT almost expected? Is it unrealistic to expect someone as broken as a WS to suddenly be able to fix years of ingrained self protective behaviour, this quickly?

Ironically, I have a grain of trust that he probably won't cheat again. I can see how he has destroyed himself and he has changed in so many other ways for the better.

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 11:32 AM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

IMO, infidelity is a form of abuse. TT is abuse.

Ok..he's not punching you in the face..now he's pushing you, or shoving you into walls.

TT should be as unacceptable as infidelity. Telling BS they should just expect it,and accept it, is a disservice.

Do most WS TT? No. Mine didn't. He also didn't blameshift or gaslight.

I'm sorry he's continuing to lie to you. He needs to understand that, what he is doing,is resetting the clock on your healing to day one. Now you have to reprocess everything. And he continues to show you he can't be trusted. It also shows he isn't remorseful. A remorseful ws doesn't lie.

So what consequences does he have, for this behavior? I suggest you 180,see an attorney to know your rights, and halt all talks of R. There's no point, when he's still lying.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

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 WhiskeyBlues (original poster new member #82662) posted at 12:07 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Thanks HellFire. He hasn't said I should expect it or anything like that, it's more me pondering on the subject. I see it on here all the time; the WS TT's for a period of time post A, but then fast forward 5 years and its something the WS has managed to address within themselves and they are doing very well in R.

My issue is I'm a justice seeker. I have a very strong moral compass, and have had honesty drilled into me since childhood. I cannot let injustices go, it eats away at me. Im always fighting a cause, usually other peoples actually! My counsellor said that she feels I am more struggling to forgive myself for compromising on my own values, then I am struggling to forgive his A. And this is probably rather accurate.

I feel our personalities are almost at odds with eachother when it comes to integrity. He has knee jerk reactions to lie (which he's now trying to address in IC and also CBT this month) but then knowing how injured I will be (in particular due to what I'm like) at the lie, digs himself a hole he can't get out of...if this makes sense.

As for consequences, I don't know exactly what these would entail, bar leaving him (due to logistics, neither he nor I can leave the home for a break/space - any leaving would have to be permanent). As it stands, I have said I believe he may have sealed our fate as I am not sure I am even capable of overcoming this most recent TT 7 weeks ago, even if I wanted to. But I've said that I won't be making any decisions currently due to my emotions being all over the place. I already know what I'm entitled to and where I stand, should we separate.

He's been more honest about the tough stuff, then the easy stuff. It's truly bizarre 馃様

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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 4:36 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Quick synopsis for context: my wife had an affair from 2010-2013. I was unaware of it until she confessed it under questioning in 2018. She lied to me for two and a half more years about details of the affair. I still have doubts about her story.

To answer your question directly, I think trickle truth is perhaps not "inevitable" but I think it is baked into the deceit of having an affair in the first place. It is my belief that those betrayers who truthfully and fully confess everything right away make up a very small exception to the rule that betrayers lie and lie more.

And by saying that I do not in any way excuse trickle truth by the betrayer. It is abusive, it is destructive, and it is still more injustice heaped upon the betrayed.

Like you, my betrayer has done almost everything well post Dday EXCEPT tell me the whole truth at the first opportunity. Many of her lies were, like your husband鈥檚, calculated to mitigate the harm to me, in her mind. Her lies almost without except minimized the intimacy in an effort to salvage the marriage she wanted to keep.

It was a horrible miscalculation on her part on both counts, saving me from harm and protecting the marriage from divorce. Indeed, her trickle truth navigated me to within minutes of filing for divorce, and she knew it. It harmed me greatly to know that the person who betrayed me from 2010-2013 was also willing, in 2018, to betray me further still. I could envision forgiving the long ago affair, but not the lying about it in the present. It infuriated me to think that she considered me a fool when she had the affair and still was willing to play me for a fool as she tried to manipulate the outcome post revelation.

It still makes my blood boil that she did not even have the decency to simply tell me the truth about what my life actually was for three years and let me decide what I wanted to do with the life I finally knew I actually had. It took her coming to believe I was divorcing her if she didn鈥檛 tell me the truth and hearing on a fucking podcast how important telling the truth was for her to finally give up the story I now have.

I really wish every unfaithful spouse could feel, for just sixty seconds, how it feels to be you or me. I am convinced beyond any doubt that if they could just feel that, most of them would rush to full disclosure. The ones who wouldn鈥檛 should be cast into a pit and buried alive.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 5:13 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

I think the answer is basically yes. But the complete written timeline, with polygraph to confirm, is the best tool to minimize TT.

Polygraph would have made my life easier but I got solid corroboration without it. Only a single detail got changed in my case, but still more than no TT.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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 WhiskeyBlues (original poster new member #82662) posted at 5:16 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Wiseoldfool, can I ask what your relationship is like at present with your wife?

Where do you sit with trusting her today (not related to the A)?

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Diva19 ( member #83232) posted at 5:19 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

This seems to be the worst for most of the post I have read here. It's the classic cheater to keep things from us that we ask to know and only decide when they decide to tell us. My husband after 6 months of finding out about his affair still keeps lying about the same questions I ask him. I found out only yesterday he lied for 6 months about something I continued to need the truth to and said he lied because he didn't want me to leave him and he didn't want me to feel hurt anymore Tham I have. I said that hurts worse and it makes me feel unsafe to ever try and trust you and reconsider my marriage. That has been such a trigger for me and basically made me feel like he cheated all over again by lying. I agree I wish they could feel and understand how important the truth is all at once not when they want.

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Tanner ( Guide #72235) posted at 5:48 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Like WOF said, TT is baked in, they cover their ass by lying and then claim it鈥檚 to protect you. TT is abuse, its like punching someone in the face and saying I did it to protect you from being punched in the face. See the logic?

TT stopped when I demanded a full and accurate timeline. One lie or omission would kill R and I would leave. I studied it backwards and forward, and haven鈥檛 found any discrepancies. I also knew when my gut settled down.

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R BH M 32 years

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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 5:54 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

Wiseoldfool, can I ask what your relationship is like at present with your wife?

Where do you sit with trusting her today (not related to the A)?

Timeline:
2010-2013 Long term affair, emotional and physical
2013-2018 no contact with AP, affair for sure over, WW goes all in to be a great wife except for admitting to affair
2018 disclosure of affair generally, duration and nature, but big and small lies persist
2018-2020 trickle truth, professional cross examination by me of WW, damage, resentment
2020 "full and final disclosure" under threat of imminent divorce

Today, I remain skeptical about one or two details of the actual sex acts and resentful/distrustful of the degree to which she enjoyed the physical part of the affair. The details of who did what to whom at one particular moment or two that are at issue wouldn't change anything, and it's possible that her story while hard to believe is true.

The degree to which she enjoyed the sex with him I'll never know, but she says it was exciting only at first. She says it was always wracked with guilt and that he was a selfish, sloppy lover. That part I have reason to believe, he was my best friend for 25 years. Also something she says I believe is that over time it also became the unspoken price she had to pay to keep him from disclosing the affair to me (he was not married and literally wanted to take my wife, house, kids, life). Of course, this is precisely the last lie she would take to her grave, isn't it, the one where I was and remain the far better lover? Still, even she admits she went to great lengths to make sure HE had a good time, and I'm sure he did, and that still hurts.

Now, at present, the relationship my wife and I have is good. Perhaps the best word is "comfortable." My wife and I have been married over thirty years, we were teenagers when we met. We have close to four decades of shared experiences, good and bad. We have had more very real, very hard conversations in the last five years than we did in the preceding thirty. That's been cathartic and bonding. She struggles to default to empathy sometimes, there are still shame spirals that she pulls out of quickly more often than not. I refuse to compare the marriage I actually have today to some fictitious perfect marriage. Even without the affair this marriage stuff is hard. I don't subordinate my wants and needs to her like I did then, and we don't live merely parallel lives any more.

So I don't see myself divorcing her, with one caveat. I've told her that if, because the universe is a strange and sometimes cruel place, I ever learn a detail of their affair from some other source than her that she should have told me, I am done, irretrievably and on the spot. She says she understands and that it cannot happen, that she's been 100% truthful as of 2020.

She very much loves me and she goes out of her way to be a great wife now, and I'm grateful for that. My life is good, and my math (metaphorically) says it is far better with her in it than not.

As for trust, while I think she's possibly held on to one or two fig leaves in the category of what precisely happened between them sexually on one or two occasions, I trust that she's been honest about what happened and why. I have no doubts at all about her day to day truthfulness. She is not going to have another affair, and if she did I'd see it this time because the blinders have been removed.

So the trickle truth she did is, at this point, just one more element of the damage the whole affair did. I don't expect any other revelations. I understand why she lied about the lying. I've told her many times I'd be even worse than her about that if it were me trying to cover up the most hurtful things about fucking someone other than my spouse. At this point, I wish I'd just never asked her the very first question at all that revealed the affair in the first place. We'd both be better off just living the very good life we actually presently have.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 5:56 PM on Thursday, May 4th, 2023

I also knew when my gut settled down.

That ^.

I've known my wife so long that once I could see the affair in retrospect I could plainly see all the lies she was presently telling to cover up pieces of it. She had no chance to keep up the lies.

When I heard the truth, I knew it, at long last.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 12:16 AM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

Let鈥檚 call trickle truth what it actually is. Lying.

What consequences are you prepared to put in place if you find out your husband is still lying to you?

BW, 40s

Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

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Never2late ( member #79079) posted at 12:49 AM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

Only to the extent you allow it.

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faithfulman ( member #66002) posted at 8:23 AM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

I don't believe any cheater anywhere, at any time, including the most reformed cheater any of us can point to, has told the "whole truth".

There is always some detail of the affair, some event, even a thought that you can never find out, that the cheater owns and you can never get to, that it will be decided that "You don't need to know."

It might be something stupid like some bullshit about mismatched socks, or it might be something that will just destroy you like they knew they wanted to step out with this person the first time they met them, some sexual detail, or that they wore something special, they shared some simple intimacy that was only for you, etc.

Or it might be something in-between.

Usually it is dumb shit - because liars lie.

The knowledge that you will never know the 100% of the betrayal, and that this person will look you in the eye and lie, or simply hold onto information because they do not deem it to be worth your while (Or more aptly put, they don't want the trouble that comes along with it.) is what is the death knell of so many affair-aftermaths.

Forget knowing everything. It's impossible. If that is what you need, then it won't happen.

But the habitual lying, that should simply be unacceptable. Couples who don't cheat might lie to each other on occasion: "What? No there was no chocolate ice cream so I had to buy strawberry!" - nobody is perfectly honest.

But cheaters who want to reconcile have to be more perfectly honest than any normal person. For them, little lies become big lies, which become all-out deceptions, that then become doing the same shit all over again.

Those are my observations.

Best of luck to you.

[This message edited by faithfulman at 8:28 AM, Friday, May 5th]

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Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 2:24 PM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

I also believe that the WSs who are completely honest right away make up only a very small percentage. If I would have to choose one default reply to anyone who has just found out, it would be: cheaters lie. So, yes, I鈥檇 say you can expect direct lies, lies by omission, and trickle truth. It is absolutely damaging, but it is reality. BS needs to know that not because it somehow excuses their WS (it doesn鈥檛), but to be prepared. BS has every right to refuse to be treated that way. That being said, I believe it is not unforgivable if WS comes fully clean only after a few weeks / months after DDay.

1. Some WSs are still in the affair fog, many are still in the wayward mindset. They want to save the relationship; they think there鈥檚 no way BS will stay if they know the full truth; they want to protect themselves; they don鈥檛 want to admit to anyone (including themselves) how horrible they are, etc. So, they resort to their usual tactics 鈥 lie, minimize, hide 鈥 in their mind it is the rational thing to do, and no amount of external rationality can change that quickly.

2. Let鈥檚 not forget BS also plays a role here 鈥 I believe most BSs are in a complete shock on DDay. No one prepares you for that crap. Just as it usually takes time for WS to get it, it also usually takes time for BS to get it. Unfortunately, by that time, the damage is already done. Hell, I didn鈥檛 even know about the concept of TT on DDay. I鈥檇 ask a question about something that I didn鈥檛 have a proof of, he鈥檇 reply, and I believed him! It took some time for me to start thinking clearly, to gather more evidence, to recognize inconsistencies, etc. In a way, I was enabling him to keep lying, and he used it.

3. All sorts of things can happen after DDay 鈥 hysterical bonding, rugsweeping, denial, disbelief, "pick me" dance鈥 All of those delay a proper discussion of the betrayal. No discussions 鈥 no opportunity to get the truth. If WS is avoidant, and still in the wayward mindset, they will happily embrace distractions 鈥 anything is better than talking about what they did.

Having those three in mind, a level of understanding can help you to overcome the damage done by initial additional lies. That behavior is not excusable, but perhaps BS can see it as understandable. What is the duration of "understandable" continued lies behavior, is hard to tell. I believe it鈥檚 highly individual, it depends on so many factors. This is something BSs need to determine for themselves. The only advice is to try to look at things objectively as much as possible. And ofc, just to repeat 鈥 BS has every right to refuse to be treated that way (180, separation, consulting attorney, put reconciliation on hold, etc.)

My situation, circumstances, and context were such that I would understand 6-12 months of continued lies. I have my reasons, and I am being as objective about it as I can be. Unfortunately, it was worse than that (5 years of lies and minimizing, followed by 1 year of TT, my gut still isn鈥檛 calm. I fully expect more truths to come out).

For me, this is the hard problem, perhaps unsolvable 鈥 when lies and TT last for years. I鈥檒l be completely honest with you 鈥 I cringe when I see BS writing "it鈥檚 been 2 weeks since DDay, and my spouse is still lying", "I had to wait 1 month for her to finally come clean", "he TTed for 6 weeks, and that destroyed me". Don鈥檛 get me wrong 鈥 I鈥檓 not minimizing anyone鈥檚 pain, I wish nothing but what Wiseoldfool wrote 鈥 for WSs to feel, for just 60s, how it feels to be a BS. I don鈥檛 think I lack empathy for them, I think I鈥檓 just very envious of anyone who got the full story and honesty in the first 6-12 months. I want to tell them they are delusional for thinking they鈥檒l get the full story right away, and I want to tell them it鈥檚 ok, this is an easy problem, this is solvable, and you will be fine. However, I don鈥檛 know what to tell to those who experienced lies and TT for years, despite their best efforts to get the truth, despite very visible pain and destruction. How do you see that as understandable?

WhiskeyBlues, thank you for starting this topic. I hope you鈥檒l get your answers soon so that you can finally start to heal. Knowing what I鈥檝e been through, at 1 year mark (where you are) I鈥檇 start to implement drastic measures. I鈥檓 with HellFire on this. In your reply you mention "fast forward 5 years" 鈥 are you willing to wait that much? I鈥檓 not saying your situation is unsolvable, but you need to protect yourself.

Also, thank you Wiseoldfool for sharing your experience. I got some insights from it.

Fate whispers to her, "You cannot withstand the storm."
She whispers back, "I am the storm."

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:03 PM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

Let me clarify.
I do think some TT is expected in the first month,or so,after dday. However, after that, it's unacceptable. At that point they aren't suddenly remembering things they forgot. They are purposely lying.

Consequences..outting the affair to friends and family that you believe will support you. Having him move to another bedroom. Maybe having him go stay with his parents for awhile. A post nup.

At a year out, maybe having him start to post here would be a good requirement.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 10:30 PM on Friday, May 5th, 2023

I agree with Hellfire. Once you have the written timeline and have asked all your burning questions about it, TT should be over.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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 WhiskeyBlues (original poster new member #82662) posted at 6:51 PM on Saturday, May 6th, 2023

Thank you all so much for your amazing replies, I can't tell you how much it means to have others truly understand what I'm going through.

If I'm 100% open, actually, my WH's issues with lying is not simply contained to lies surrounding the A. It goes far deeper unfortunately 馃槙 Our whole marriage has been pitted with lies, big and small. I wish I'd have seen, and really appreciated the giant smoke signals sooner. But clearly I had love blinkers on and excuses at the ready. I mean this whole TT ONLY came out as he'd been lying about something unrelated to the A, but from the past. So he still couldn't find the courage to own up from something (which turned out was completely benign, but drove me nuts over the years) from the past. And following this, he divulged many TT as a means of damage contro, it seems. But it doesn't matter, I just feel so deflated, I really do.

He's really not a bad person, he would never intentionally hurt anyone, and I know that in my gut from years of knowing him - but I'm afraid our marriage (and me) may just be too damaged for it to be fixed at this point. It's not even like I've just "had enough". It's almost like the final wound had allowed me to bleed out what was left in me, and now there's just nothing left in me. I mean, 2 weeks prior to the TT came out, I really felt he was able to be honest, and so we ordered new wedding rings (I was not able to wear mine since DD and told him to permanently remove his a few weeks later when I realised it meant so little to him during the A).

I am simply not willing to make any decisions based on what my my limbic system is telling me. I want to take my time and observe from a distance. I cannot have any regrets. We have always been such an affectionate couple, but I just don't feel that way in the slightest at the moment, so I am keeping my distance, which I know he is struggling with.

At the moment I feel like we are living parallel to one an other. I'm finding this mostly easy, as it's what I need. I feel he is swinging between feeling sorry for himself/belligerence, between actual remorse and realisation that he is the cause and therefore needs to change drastically. I've told him I need to see change. I'm not sure what that exact change is as of yet, but I feel I'll know when I see it...

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BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 8:56 AM on Sunday, May 7th, 2023

I also suffered the abuse of TT. It did so much damage to the trust that, even more than 3 years out from Dday 1 and more than 2 years out from Dday 4, it may be what ends our marriage.

I want to point something out, but know that I mean this gently.

You say:

If I'm 100% open, actually, my WH's issues with lying is not simply contained to lies surrounding the A. It goes far deeper unfortunately 馃槙 Our whole marriage has been pitted with lies, big and small. I wish I'd have seen, and really appreciated the giant smoke signals sooner.


Then you say:

He's really not a bad person, he would never intentionally hurt anyone


Just sit with that contradiction for a minute.

Lying, trickle truth, withholding truth...all of it...it feels so hurtful and destructive because it is emotional abuse. It's all gaslighting. Making--or even just allowing--a person who trusts you (and who should be able to trust you) believe that there is one reality in the relationship when there is actually a completely different reality that they are well aware of is abusive control. They are controlling information that is damaging to you and to the relationship.

They are willing to put their goals/needs/desires ahead of you being emotionally safe.

That's why it feels so bad and why it IS so bad. It's another manifestation of selfishness of the part of the wayward.

At some point, I had to come to grips with the fact that, even though my husband didn't "intentionally" mean to hurt me with his affairs and with the lies and trickle-truth that followed, he really had to work hard to continue to create BS justifications in his own mind to betray, lie, and trickle-truth me...and that WAS a really intentional act. He intentionally chose his needs and goals and saving himself pain over saving me pain. He refused to have true empathy for what I would feel and for what I was clearly feeling. He was thinking of himself.

"...lately it's not hurtin' like it did before. Maybe I am learning how to love me more."[Credit to Sam Smith]

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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 4:21 PM on Sunday, May 7th, 2023

I also suffered the abuse of TT. It did so much damage to the trust that, even more than 3 years out from Dday 1 and more than 2 years out from Dday 4, it may be what ends our marriage.

For me it鈥檚 five years from the initial revelation of her affair, but otherwise SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:09 PM on Sunday, May 7th, 2023

I am simply not willing to make any decisions based on what my my limbic system is telling me. I want to take my time and observe from a distance.

That makes sense to me. Perhaps you're watching a race between your tolerance and your H's desire to stop lying.

There's no justice in infidelity. If you want to stay M, you have to accept a partner who cheated. If you want to stay M, you have to give your WS a pass.

You might feel you're betraying yourself by considering R. To that I'd say you made a decision about your behavior while you were missing critical information. Now you know the problems involved in dumping your H, and you didn't/couldn't know that until you experienced his betrayal. Now you see that both R and D can be honorable decisions. It's reality, and reality often complicates our lives. smile

Consequences for TT are very difficult. I think you really need to accept the TT or leave. That means you need to set a boundary and maintain it; if the amount or nature of the TT is too great, you leave. If it takes time to evaluate whether or not your boundary has been violated (and I think it should), so be it.

So I think I understand your dilemma. My reco is to do what you're doing - gather data, evaluate, act.

*****

About 14 months out, my W said something that triggered me. I accused her of TT. She said it was on her timeline, and it was. I just saw it differently when she did the timeline and a year later.

We worked on the TL together. We started with an event. I asked questions, noted the answers, and asked what happened before and after that event. I asked Qs about every event that mattered to me.

I recommend that method of doing a TL, because it gets the BS the info the BS wants. Without working together, a TL can document only the events that the WS thinks are important.

I recommend getting a written TL if you haven't done that already.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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Topic is Sleeping.
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