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’d 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’t), 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’s no way BS will stay if they know the full truth; they want to protect themselves; they don’t want to admit to anyone (including themselves) how horrible they are, etc. So, they resort to their usual tactics – lie, minimize, hide – in their mind it is the rational thing to do, and no amount of external rationality can change that quickly.
2. Let’s not forget BS also plays a role here – 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’t even know about the concept of TT on DDay. I’d ask a question about something that I didn’t have a proof of, he’d 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 – hysterical bonding, rugsweeping, denial, disbelief, "pick me" dance… All of those delay a proper discussion of the betrayal. No discussions – no opportunity to get the truth. If WS is avoidant, and still in the wayward mindset, they will happily embrace distractions – 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’s 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 – 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’t calm. I fully expect more truths to come out).
For me, this is the hard problem, perhaps unsolvable – when lies and TT last for years. I’ll be completely honest with you – I cringe when I see BS writing "it’s 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’t get me wrong – I’m not minimizing anyone’s pain, I wish nothing but what Wiseoldfool wrote – for WSs to feel, for just 60s, how it feels to be a BS. I don’t think I lack empathy for them, I think I’m 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’ll get the full story right away, and I want to tell them it’s ok, this is an easy problem, this is solvable, and you will be fine. However, I don’t 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’ll get your answers soon so that you can finally start to heal. Knowing what I’ve been through, at 1 year mark (where you are) I’d start to implement drastic measures. I’m with HellFire on this. In your reply you mention "fast forward 5 years" – are you willing to wait that much? I’m 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.