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Reconciliation :
The Minefield of Details and Dealbreakers


 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 5:52 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Greetings SI,

At this stage in my fairly unconventional and twisted road to recovery, I find myself contemplating a fairly intense swirl of stuff surrounding the nature and relationship of details and dealbreakers in the course of determining/attempting reconciliation. As I continue to do my own recovery processing, I thought I'd reach out for SI's collective wisdom while I sit in this swirl. Thanks in advance for your time and participation in this thread.

I have seen two primary schools of thought regarding details in my reading over the years here. One school is...minimal detail. Just the primary framework. Who, how long, protection, maybe where, and maybe a handful of other just foundational facts. Framework. I think the main concept here is that infidelity in and of itself is a full stop dealbreaker no matter what...even in the abscence of fine (and finer) details. The infidelity itself is sort of the umbrella that covers most/every potential detail under's all dealbreaker, so, there's no real need to get the fine (and finer) details. BS's just have to determine if they can/want to reconcile infidelity as a whole...with details being fairly impertinent to that determination.

The other school wants/needs the fine (and finer...some even the finest?) details. The main concept here is often (but not always), "I need to know precisely what I am reconciling and/or forgiving." Other folks have other reasons driving their need to know more/full detail (i.e feeling like secrets remain with AP). To the "detail" folks...the details absolutely matter..maybe even are central to their determination to R or not. While reconciling infidelity as whole (like the "umbrella" folks) might be in view, it is contingent upon what might be found in those details.

I have so many questions... the "umbrella" crowd:

Can you describe/explain a bit why the details (beyond the basic framework) did not matter/mattered less to you? Do you think there's a possibility that a detail could exist that WOULD be a dealbreaker for you? Also, what DID you need to know (what WAS your minimum "framework" of detail)?

To the "detail" crowd":

What "fuller" detail beyond the basic framework did you need? Was, "I need to know what I am reconciling/forgiving" the main driver for your need to know full/fuller/fullest detail? If not, was it to bust the secrets that would remain with the AP? If not either of those, what do you think was the main drive for you to pursue details?

And finally (and this one's sort of a's the "minefield" to me that I reference in the title)...

If there wound up being dealbreakers in the details...what were they? What were the bridges too far?

If you got the details and you were able to choose R, what WOULD have been a dealbreaking detail(s) for you?

Again, if you R'd...are there details that STILL after the passage of much time and recovery work flirt with at least FEELING like a dealbreaker for you?

Do you regret getting the details? (why or why not?)

I totally understand everyone is different...different needs...different limitations etc. I get that. And maybe the whole lot of this swirl is just nuts. IDK.

For full disclosure. I needed details. All of them. If it could be remembered at all...I wanted to know. Every. Last. Thing (still not even 100% sure why...the lazy thing to say is that it's my "wiring"...but who knows?). So I got every possible detail. And I chose R. With passion and conviction. But my personal pursuit of this discussion is settling on the possibility that ...there might actually have been dealbreakers there. There are things that, even after so much time, with a deep desire and passion and conviction to reconcile them (AND with a deeply committed and remorseful fWW)...are just not...well...reconciling.

I am starting a round of IC to plumb this...but have always found so much help here...I wanted to reach out here for your potential experience(s) with this "swirl" as well. Maybe these aren't even the right questions. But I appreciate you wrestling with some of them with me.

As always, thanks in advance for what you bring.


BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 31   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8743565

Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 6:04 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Read "Joseph's Letter" in The Healing Library. It's in the articles section.

Married 2005
D-Day April, 2015
Divorced May, 2022

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button." -Brene Brown

posts: 6536   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8743566

tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 6:12 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

It is your R, and you have every right to set whatever boundaries you need to feel safe, and start rebuilding trust with your partner, and if that partner is all in, they should be willing to do whatever you want to help you through this and save the relationship.


Him: FWS
Kids: 22 & 25
Married for 30 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19420   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8743567

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:52 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I think I asked questions as a way of gaining some sort of control over my life. Also, the Q&A told me if my W was being honest, since I asked most questions at multiple times in multiple ways. My W's answers were consistent no matter how I asked the question, so I concluded she had stopped lying.

There were other benefits, though.

Answering questions forced her to take responsibility for her A.
Every honest answer rebuilt trust.
Every honest answer rebuilt healthy bonds.
The honesty was a sign of love ... perhaps I concluded that she wouldn't go through the interrogations unless she loved me.

Etc., etc., etc.

I never thought in terms of needing to know what I was reconciling from. I did, however, search for deal killers, because I didn't want to work on R for months and then find a deal killer.

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.

posts: 27424   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8743573

 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 7:11 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Thanks so much, as always, for the replies.

sisoon, may I ask what your potential killers might have been? I am not even totally sure why this is important for me to get other perspectives on this as I know everyone will have varying sticking points and thresholds for what their dealbreakers are. But, I'm aslo still thinking there's something there...that notion of "I can deal with X and Q...but Y and Z would be too much." I am personally wondering if there's some pretty heavy import on that line between doable and not doable for me. Not in terms of reconciling anymore...but maybe in terms of greater healing? I mean, that line has to tell us something about ourselves right? Maybe I am freefalling down a rabbit hole here, but I am interested in others' experience(s) and treatment of that "line". Also, I totally respect if that's too personal of a question. Totally.

BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 31   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8743577

Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 8:13 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I do think it is, a bit perversly, fascinating to see what crosses the "I cannot R" line for one person vs. another. Some people will not R with even the mildest case of infidelity while others get betrayed in 3 or 4 highly disturbing ways and still find a way to R.

I believe it is more about the betrayed as a person and the (eventual) response of the wayward than any single factor within the A. However, I also believe certain factors are very hard to overcome even though they may vary from person to person.

One of your questions is nearly impossible to answer based upon what I have learned here at SI: if you chose R, what would have been a dealbreaker?

I think that we will never really know the true answer to that until it happens. As an example, I learned soley because she told me, confessed right away with no immediate way I would find out what had happened (I was deployed and not scheduled to be home for months). That confession really helped me choose to stay with her. But if I sit here and say "if she had gaslighted me that would have been the end" I don't think I can know that for sure. Love has a way of helping us overcome pain and betrayal if we let it.

I have my list of things that I think would be maybe impossible for me to overcome but people here have overcome it many times. FWIW: significant gaslighting, an ongoing, long term strong ea & pa combination and if talking bad about me or sharing personal info is added into the mix then I can't see recovering. There are other details that might push it over the top too, but again, who knows until it is staring you in the face?

posts: 593   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8743582

Hopeful0729 ( new member #67614) posted at 8:35 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I too, am in a similar situation, about to restart IC because I feel like I am regressing for some reason. No new betrayals or traumas, am actually close to 4 years out and not as healed as I hoped. In hindsight, I didn't want to know all the details but an now obsessed with it. Why, I have no idea. I have a deeply committed fWH who has done everything I have asked and more. He is actually restarting IC also to help himself help me. Some of my triggers and crying breakdowns are reminiscent of the first few months after Dday. There are days I feel like divorce would be better, but I love him and our family. He has changed for me (us) and done the work. I am stuck. Absolutely not trying to hijack your thread. Trying EMDR next week. Good luck to you in your continued journey.

Me 41
WH 58
4 kids
D-day 8/27/18
In Reconciliation
WH had a 2-week PA with former COW

posts: 16   ·   registered: Oct. 24th, 2018   ·   location: VA
id 8743583

beauchateaux ( member #57201) posted at 9:05 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

For me, finding out the details needed to happen before I could move on or else my imagination would be stuck on all the 'what-ifs'. It's easier in some ways, in my opinion, to recover from what actually happened (no matter what it involved) than it is to recover from the infinite multitude of possibilities that go through a BS's head after d-day about what might have happened. If I didn't know exactly what happened, then in my mind, everything happened - and I couldn't live with that endless stream of mind movies.

I know a lot of waywards don't understand this - I've seen many come through here, and on other sites, agonizing about their spouses and 'why does she ask these questions when she knows the answers will only hurt her more?' or 'what does it matter whether we did XYZ, it doesn't change the basic fact that I cheated, so why is he forcing me to torture him like this?'. In many cases, I believe this comes from a genuine place of concern for their spouses (even if there is always the ulterior motive of minimizing the damage and avoiding confronting their own shame - I believe that good and bad motivations are not necessarily mutually exclusive).

And I get it, to an extent. In their head, it seems unthinkable and cruel to have to give details to an already hurting spouse. Aside from unrepenting waywards, it has to be a complete nightmare to get caught cheating and then on top of it to have to sit there and look your spouse in the face and literally describe sexual or romantic encounters you had with someone else behind their back. In the moment, when you're just trying like hell to keep your marriage together somehow in the wake of the disaster, having to say things like 'yes, I let him do anal' or 'yes, I had sex with her in our bed' must seem completely counterintuitive.

BUT I think that giving the details when asked is something immediate and relatively straightforward a WS can do to start digging themselves out of the 'selfish liar' label. It's a way of owning the wrongdoing and letting go of control, even at the potential risk of what the WS wants (assuming they want to R). It's giving the power back to your spouse after withholding so much of their truth for selfish reasons.

So I guess the short answer (ha, too late) for me would be that the dealbreaker wouldn't be in the details. It would have been in the act of him refusing to give them to me. That would have done more damage than any detail I could think of that he could possibly confess. If that makes sense?

I edit pretty much every post because I always hit submit and then think of 'one more thing' to say.

posts: 306   ·   registered: Jan. 31st, 2017   ·   location: Chicago
id 8743585

Ladybugmaam ( member #69881) posted at 9:16 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I was in the "I need all the awful details" camp. Once we decided to work on things, I wanted to know everything.

1. He was showing remorse......I couldn't stand the idea of this OW having secrets about my H. And, he KNEW my knowing the details would be painful for me. He knew, I didn't want any more secrets. And, with every awful detail, in some weird way I was comforted to know that he was being honest - in my pain of processing it. I did a LOT of my own sleuthing. Compared notes with what FWH was telling me in his timeline with OBS. And, questioned EVERY discrepancy that I thought I found with OBS for awhile. That helped me to be able to at least verify that I was getting the truth out of FWH. In some way, being able to do that, helped me to see that FWH WAS finally telling the truth.

2. 3+ years out, there are details that I can't un-see. Not that I really would change that. It just makes triggers harder.

3. Our MC flat out told us NOT to share details.....I demanded them anyway. She said every she works with does.

I got to a point where I realized, I couldn't have been in the room with them. There were no other details to uncover. I still have mind movies over that. But, mostly were in such a better place.

I'm sorry you're having to consider this. It sucks all around.

[This message edited by Ladybugmaam at 9:18 PM, Wednesday, July 6th]

EA DD 11/2018
PA DD 2/25/19
One teen son
I am a phoenix.

posts: 254   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2019
id 8743586

EmbraceTheChange ( member #43247) posted at 9:33 PM on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

I wanted all the details, first to reconcile my skewed reality that I got courtesy of the then -husband (husband is at work from 6.30am to 5.45pm and when he's not answering his phone, he's in a meeting/busy) to what had really been happening.

Also I wanted the details to see if it really was an affair, or if it was just a friendship. Because, if I was going to pull the plug on a marriage with 5 kids, 3 of them still little, I needed a valid reason, like VALID VALID to pull the plug.

To the then-husband, AP was only a friend, he couldn't tell me because I would not approve, he only went on 2 walks with her around the building, she was only "replying" to the text that I saw but didn't read entirely (it was totally totally unexpected). And I was over reacting, I was reading too much into it, and needed to get over it.

Obviously, I was not over reacting and I will hate him forever.

Not only because I was the one portrayed as if I was THE problem (I shopped at the wrong shops, I was upsetting people with my joke, I was the one who was always pushing to do my own stuff even when it was a bad idea like homeschooling my KG) before finding about his affair. After dday, his abuse went on steroids - AP was always smiling, he could talk to AP, he liked her a lot, he wanted to escape, he had fantasized about being single again By then I saw myself as The Failure. My kids were going to grow up in 2 separate households because I pushed to do homeschooling, I was a failure as a wife who could not even keep her husband happy and Thanks God AP did. So I took shit loads of pills, wrote letters to my kids, went to get the then-husband (who was back to sleeping with a kid) so I would not die alone (he knew I was serious, the bottle of pills was nearly emptied, I was not going to fuck-up dying on top of fucking everything up).
I also told him not to call an ambulance because I didn't want HIM to have problems with CPS when I was dead. Instead of dying, I puked the whole night and I asked him a few weeks later why he didn't call an ambulance, because you know, obv I was not right in my head that night and needed my stomach pumped pronto. And it was because I said not to, because of my CPS comment. And that's how I could have ended up dead, while the then-husband was snoring next to me. shocked

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination

posts: 1240   ·   registered: Apr. 27th, 2014   ·   location: Near Fort Worth, TX
id 8743587

ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:01 AM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

I'm probably one of those "umbrella" people, at least to some degree. Initially, I was very much a detail person, but then.. I actually got the details. shocked
I managed to get into my WS's secret email account and found it more than I bargained for. Text, future faking, horrible criticism of me, photos, even videos of my WH having sex. barf It's all very shocking as you might imagine. I remember that my heart was beating so hard it felt like it was going to come out of my chest. It was all so painful.

But you know, there are still some minor details I probably don't know. I learned very quickly to spend a little time considering my questions and to form them through the lens of "how does this help me?". Everything we learn is going to create another trigger, and after all, what did I really NEED to know?.. that he fucked someone? Yeah, he sure as hell did, several someones to be more exact. That's PLENTY of deal-breaker right there. The first thing I asked him was whether he enjoyed it, and his honest answer was that "it's always good for me". barf barf barf
But as I cringed over that question for days afterward, I had to admit that there was no substance to the question or to the answer in an of itself. He had answered honestly, that was the important part.. sure. But it wasn't germane to my stay or go decision was it? The fact that he had gone outside our marriage was the pertinent bit. I learned right there and then that indulging my morbid curiosity was only going to result in self-torture. It wasn't going to inform my decision. Of course, that didn't stop my mad, frantic rush to uncover everything I could.

Initially, there's this kind of frenetic energy in our brains and in our bodies which convinces us that we just can't go on without KNOWING. In hindsight, I really do believe this is a trauma-based activity and I think probably the vast majority of us go through it. It's normal for the situation, right? We're trying to recreate "the story" and that's what human brains do. We recreate the story of our trauma and immerse ourselves in it again and again in order to process what has happened. But in hindsight, "normal" doesn't necessarily mean desirable. I think there's room for moderation in this like there is in so much of life It's not so different from the rumination we end up doing. Just as rumination can serve a purpose early in trauma, later on it's devastatingly harmful. So, at some point we need to get a handle on our rumination. For me, this is no different. Some questions are going to help further the goals we've set, and some are just pain-shopping and serve no other purpose.

Long and short, I don't think we should avoid asking for details just because "experts" have said so, but I do think we need to think in terms of our goals. If we're going to try for R, there are certain questions which will inform our stay or go decision. For example, my WH had three OW on the go, but only one he was future-faking with, saying "I love you" and that sort of thing. So, on his phone bill there was a day when he was obviously out of town with a different OW. I wanted to know if he fucked her and if he told the other one who he'd been stringing along her he had gone and what he had done. Of course, he'd had sex that day, and 'no' he had NOT told the other OW. This confirms the "stringing along" portion of the story, right? So at that point, I can see that he wasn't as emotionally involved as he had thought he was. I didn't need to know how it was or what positions they'd used. I already KNOW what my WH is like in bed and frankly, the important bit was that he fucked her at all. If I'm still entertaining R knowing that he fucked these other women at all, what possible difference could it make if they were doing it wheelbarrow style or swinging from the chandeliers? Appeasing my morbid curiosity doesn't help make my decision easier. Getting answers which inform my decision regarding my WH's state of mind did.

I just don't think the details are important. IMHO, what's important is knowing that any question you ask will be answered with absolute honesty. What's important is the goals you have for yourself and your future. It just makes more sense to focus your energy on achieving those goals rather than torturing yourself with a bunch of superfluous, painful factoids.

My 2 cents anyway.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5750   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8743600

survrus ( member #67698) posted at 12:06 AM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

My list of reasons to get all the details.

* so you will not still be questioning 5 10 20 or more years from now

* So you will not wonder who else knew about the affair and supported it.

* So you will not question if there were other affairs

* So your WW will unburden herself of the guilt

* So your WW will stop lying by omission about the details

* So your WW can fully recover

* So you know what WW did with OM that she never did with you

* So you can make an informed decision to stay

* So you can decide to retaliate against OM or not

posts: 1182   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8743601

Disillusioned2 ( new member #79738) posted at 3:08 AM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

I asked for a timeline and I think that I eventually got it all. I wanted to know to avoid the trauma of trickle truthing. I didn’t feel like I could face any more disappointments, period. So hopefully it is all out and I’m working on dealing with it and rebuilding.

As far as deal breakers, just about everything my WH did would have been considered a deal breaker earlier on. However, once I was facing all of it and it came time for the rubber to hit the road, I wasn’t ready to do that because for some reason I still believed in the relationship.

It’s been a year and I can honestly say that things are continuing to improve every day. It took WH husband a while to get out of the wayward mentality but I think he is fully out of it now and grateful to be given a second chance by me and grateful to be with the family.

BW, 30 year marriage as of D-day on 5/8/2021, Trying to reconcile but need to figure out how to get past pain and anger.

posts: 11   ·   registered: Jan. 4th, 2022   ·   location: PA
id 8743611

Felix12306 ( member #78827) posted at 6:23 AM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

My reason for wanting every detail was because I didn't want any secrets with him and AP. I don't regret it and have more to work through but the unknown would eat me alive.

BS Together for 15 years, married for 10 on D-Day. D-day 1/28/21, 44-day affair. D-Day that is was physical 6/18/21.

posts: 183   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2021
id 8743620

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 9:13 AM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

No matter the choice, overall information or finer details, one thing is for sure, WS doesn’t get a say in it if they want reconciliation.

I personally went with the flow. Once all the cards were on the table, after some TT, I used the fact that the ow was set on destroying my WH to ask him to write a timeline with all the factual things. Where, when, how many times. As time went by I needed more though, I asked what was said, I even asked what colour ow’s sheets were, what her style was "down there" (this linked with requests my WH did during the A whilst I was in the dark), if she was a good cook, her family dynamics etc. As I said this didn’t come all in one go, just those thoughts where you remember something that happened whilst you were in the dark and it suddenly means something else hence you need to make sense of it.

Dealbreaker? Well to be fair, everything was a dealbreaker. The question was if, given my WH’s sudden commitment to R, I was able to remain married to him whilst also healing from his assassination of my soul.

We are still together. At points I still trigger but over the last almost 5 years we talked these details so much that I have desensitised myself from it. I can literally imagine my WH having dinner with ow and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes and have absolutely no feelings. It may be weird but that’s how it is.

What helped was a truly remorseful WH (he wasn’t like that from day 1). I don’t think he would still be in my life, with everything I know, if he wouldn’t have literally come to hell with me and back.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1527   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8743624

 Wounded Healer (original poster new member #34829) posted at 3:14 PM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

Again and as always, the thoughtful replies and discussion here are tremendously appreciated. Thanks so much to ALL of you.

I see many of the common themes I've encountered in my own recovery being shared in this thread. "Umbrella" vs. details etc. Also, how powerful the notion of there being secrets between APs and our WSs is for many. As well as the power of "mystery" to ensnare us.

TRDD - thanks so much for sharing your "list". Again, not sure why this helps me to see how others process that "line" but it just does. Maybe it's just a smiple matter of feeling less alone and finding some commonality/solidarity with others who have shared this gutting experience. It's so interesting to me that you mention being badmouthed by you WW to her AP as being a possible would-be dealbreaker...then later in the thread CT mentions her WH did that very thing in buckets and in written transctipt form for her to have a front row seat to...and she is able to fit that under the umbrella. Also...I too resonate with love helping us overcome if we let it.

Hopeful - I relate completely with the delayed/cycling grief swelling up randomly later in the game thing. I know in my case it was becuase I did not press for details in the beginning. It was the mystery for me that kept it coming back. I only fairly recently got the details (April of 2021) and while there is new grief for absolute certain, the cycling/swelling thing pretty much has stopped. I just wanted you to know you're not alone in that happening. Mine happened even much further out than your 4 years. Trusting you will find rest from this soon.

beau - I completely am there with you on the mystery thing. I tried it...for too long. Did not want my WW to have to re-live her experiences in order to relay them to me. It almost killed me. And I also resonate completely with the reality that my wife's willingness to stand in that fire with me and give me those details was, without a hint of doubt, the most powerful (bizarre as it sounds) healing agent in our entire recovery between she and I. Everything in her As screamed at me that there's no way this woman can possibly truly love me. Her willingness to go to the gates of hell with me screamed back that she did...louder.

Ladybug - I am living the double edged sword you mention. Getting the details killed the Jabberwocky-esque monster of "mystery"....but getting the details has created new ones to fight. BUT, right or wrong, at least I know exactly WHAT I'm fighting now...and not chasing phantoms.

CT - you don't know this becuase I am mostly a lurker here...but I lurk A LOT. My join date and post count do not match up well at all. But, I have studied, used, looked to, and read repeatedly your path to recovery. Maybe you don't even WANT to be this person...but...I have often found myself reasoning that if CT can overcome THAT...maybe (there's certainly no guarantee) but MAYBE...I can too. Some of the hardest sticking points to me (to this day) are the criticisms and future planning I discovered in my wife's As. There are still some (too many honestly) days when I believe the things she said...but on the days that I don't it's becuase I am using the things you have shared to help frame those things in a doable way. THANK YOU. I do wonder, in your post you mention struggling with the appearance that your WH was more deeply attached to one particular AP than the others and that, in getting some detail (speaking again to their potential value at times) you were able to determine that it was pretty much BS. Now, before I ask this, I KNOW "what if's" and speculation are near worthless...I get it...but I can't help myslef to perhaps seek a deeper insight from you on this. What if, in your getting additional details about his connection with that particular AP, you discovered it WAS different with her? That there WAS that deeper connection there? This may be an unanswerable question, I understand...but can you speak to how you think you would have approaced that? You have done SO WELL at corraling some of the hardest things folks face in infidelity...I just wonder how you would have tackled discovering that? I ask this in the spirit of this thread relating to stepping on a potential landmine in the details.

survus - I resonate with many of your same reasonings regarding details...however, what is even more noteworthy in your post is how potentially helpful sharing the details can be for the WS. When we (finally) got to the point where we decided to open the grave and shine a light in there on the details, my wife actualy THANKED ME for asking some things. She was bone weary from carrying them alone. That did not take away from the brutality of having to go through that...but in the long was a helpful and even healing event.

Luna - I totally get the rolling with it thing too. Even after I thought we pretty much exhauasted the details, something would (what I call) "ping" over and over in my mind about an event or detail...something that did not add up...and I would have to go back and ask something new. Sometimes it was pinging for no reason and I had to learn that just because something "pings" does not mean that there's something there. However, often times there WAS something there. And talking about it resolved the ping. was helpful to roll with it and ask either way. I also have a question for you. You speak about becoming desensitized to the details. You credit talking about (sounds like repeatedly) them as getting you to that place. Do you think that simply talking about them as much as needed was the only/main thing that got you there? Was there any other specific work you did to achieve that? Thanks so much again for sharing.

Again, I thank you ALL for your time and insights.


BS - 39 years on DDay

DDay #1: 10/13/2010 - 4 month EA/PA with Divorced OM from 10/2009 to 2/2010

DDay #2: 4/14/2021 - 8 month EA with married OM/family friend 2/2010 to 10/2010

Crazy about each other. Reconciling.

posts: 31   ·   registered: Feb. 15th, 2012   ·   location: Northern Indiana
id 8743652

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:37 PM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

I think the deal breakers for me were things like minimizing, blameshifting, TT, deciding W wanted a D, or W not doing the therapeutic work she needed to do.

She did no minimizing, blameshifting, or TT, always said she wanted to R, always told her IC/our MC that she wanted to R, and changed herself.

Could she cheat again? I guess so - but she's a lot less vulnerable now than she was years ago.

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.

posts: 27424   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8743683

BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 8:16 PM on Thursday, July 7th, 2022

Although I agree with ChamomileTea's question, "how does this help me?" is worthy, I'm still in the details camp.

Here is how the details help me:
He hid a LANDSLIDE of actions and thinking from me for about 3 years. I want total transparency to feel safe now.

Details helped verify (or bring into question) his thinking, his perspective/justifications, and his actions.

Also, my fWH is an incredible "stuffer" and he believed his actions would never be known to me. Him having to describe specifics is cathartic for him and for me. It's all out in the light. Nothing more to hide. Nothing secret about the affairs anymore. Walls down. I needed to see this growth in open communication.

"Don't you love it, don't you love it?
No, I ain't happy yet.
But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]

Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrs
Both in IC & MC
Married 31 yrs now
2 kids-both in HS
Attempting R

posts: 179   ·   registered: Oct. 31st, 2020
id 8743707

ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 1:24 AM on Friday, July 8th, 2022

I do wonder, in your post you mention struggling with the appearance that your WH was more deeply attached to one particular AP than the others and that, in getting some detail (speaking again to their potential value at times) you were able to determine that it was pretty much BS. Now, before I ask this, I KNOW "what if's" and speculation are near worthless...I get it...but I can't help myslef to perhaps seek a deeper insight from you on this. What if, in your getting additional details about his connection with that particular AP, you discovered it WAS different with her? That there WAS that deeper connection there? This may be an unanswerable question, I understand...but can you speak to how you think you would have approaced that?

Always glad to help if I can. I actually find quite a bit of value in rhetorical questions. If you think about it, it's when you take a "what if" to its most absurd extremes that you can more easily clarify your thoughts on a given subject. For example, let's say my WH was serious about this OW and that the future-faking wasn't "faking" at all. If we play that out, it stands to reason that my WH would have eventually left to be with the AP. Maybe he would have waffled for awhile; it's hard to give up the bird in the hand, right? Hesitation could be expected after so long and with so many ties in the marriage, but to give up something he believed to be real and irreplaceable? No. Even if we weren't talking about him being under the influence of the worst bout of selfishness I'd ever see in him, I don't think he would have been willing to give it up if he was really emotionally invested.

Let's say though that his love was unrequited, that there was no going back to the affair and I was his next best option, the dreaded "plan b". That would mean that he has to fool me into believing that he's not moping to be somewhere else and that he's all about making R work. I'm not saying it's impossible. But this isn't like the last time when I wasn't paying particular attention. After dday and in the early days of R, ALL my focus was squarely on him. It would need to be an Oscar-worthy performance.

Now, let's say he HAS fooled me. He was emotionally involved and got his heart broken, etc. and has somehow convinced me that I'm the only one for him now? Damn. He's good, right? How long can he keep that up though? Bear in mind that at this point, he hasn't actually done the work. In order to hold onto those feelings and to consider them legitimate, he's still having to lie to himself about the OW's character and his own. He's bluffed his way through and his changes are only skin deep. All his rationalizations which were firmly tied to the cheating course he took are still in play just beneath the surface. Is it rational to believe that he's not going to eventually revert back to type? resentful, arrogant, and bombastic?.. that he's not going to slip up and tip his hand? I've seen who he is when he's become self-involved and full of rage and angst. I KNOW THAT GUY.. and I don't like that guy enough to be married to him.

I think maybe we don't give ourselves enough credit for the surviving we've already done. We sometimes don't consider just how much we've learned from the experience. I'm like the Bionic BS at this point.. better, faster, smarter, and most of all.. stronger. So, let's go one more step.. let's say, I got buffaloed in R and taken in by a faker, and now I've discovered the deceit. So what? Risk was part of the choice. I accepted that risk going in and I've been prepared for it. I've got my back-up plan in my pocket ready to be deployed if needed, but in emotional terms, I am no longer enmeshed to the point I once was. Like most people, I had carried my fear of abandonment into adulthood and associated it with MY PERSON, my primary relationship. Having been victimized by intimate betrayal though, I've had to deal with that fear.

It's very strange, but a couple of years ago, I realized that I'm no longer afraid of losing this relationship. It's not that I haven't made investments in it. It was actually really scary to reinvest in my WS, I remember. This detachment from the fear of abandonment sort of sneaked up on me. I can't even tell you when it happened. I'm pretty sure it's a byproduct of the initial breaking though. On dday, the bond we have with our mate is unexpectedly severed. It's so shocking. We look at that person who we thought we knew and it's like they're a stranger. We're devastated in so many ways. What we don't realize is that this breaking, this severing, has forced us to deal with these dormant abandonment issues. We've proved our self-reliance by surviving the experience, and yeah, it sucked and it hurt like a sonofabitch, but we made it. We're still standing.

I've come to believe that so much of our fear that our WS might cheat again is more like the fear of fear. We desperately don't want to relive those awful emotions again, but that "severing" happened. It can't un-happen. We might bond again, but it's never going to be like it was before, naive and carelessly dependent. We've learned to emotionally rely on ourselves. That's what it took to get through this crushing experience, but having done it, we reap the benefits of learning.

Sorry for the ramble. I hope some of it made sense anyway. blush

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5750   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8743753

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 1:41 AM on Friday, July 8th, 2022

In my affair my husband started with the basics and that’s all he wanted. But my "getting it" took a long time and by the time I had gotten there he was at a breaking point. He decided he wanted as much of a play by play as I could give.

Unfortunately that played out a bit like trickle truth. I had honored what he asked for but then we were 10 months into this thing and now it was like starting over again. So if I have any wisdom I would say really decide if you want to know or not and get that out of the way earlier rather than later.

I am not advocating you couldn’t go back and ask, more limit the torture.

With my h’s affair, I wanted the basics. The obs revealed some additional things I could do without. For me it was more what difference does it make? They were meeting 3-4 times a week for 18 months, I was never going to uncover all those details.

And maybe because I had been in the other situation I just decided that his affair had nothing to do with me but by knowing more I would be comparing myself and involving myself in it. Putting my own self worth at stake. I knew could safely assume a lot of what happened based on my decades of experience with him, and in the end I was hoping to eliminate mind movies. The last one didn’t prove true, the mind movies come regardless.

I do feel like I know what I am accepting, and have no desire to go deeper but I think everyone is different.

5 years of hard work

posts: 6136   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8743756
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