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Wayward Side :
Experience of full disclosure

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 Mikka (original poster new member #84614) posted at 8:55 PM on Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

I am preparing a full therapeutic disclosure, and am wondering if others who participate in this forum have done this and would be willing to share their experience. Thanks

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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 9:13 PM on Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

What do you mean exactly? Are you going to have a therapy session, like a couples therapy session in which you confess your affair to what I only presume is an unsuspecting betrayed spouse (BS)/partner?

One of the more important things you can do is to provide your BS with a timeline of your affair. You are going to be dropping a bomb on them and they are going to have questions, a written timeline can help you ground the discussion. The timeline needs to be complete and as accurate as you can remember, but use your resources like text messages, email, receipts, CC statements, etc. all the evidence at your disposal to construct the timeline. Like you may remember context clues, in say mid-December you met up with the AP, and all you can remember is that it was before Christmas, try to go find clues from your records that will narrow it down to say the 16th and that will help you jog your memory too, because our memories are more contextual than we realize. Perfection is not required, but if you carried on an affair you had no problem being precise and careful with details, so now is not the time to get lazy. The timeline may need some edits as questions come up and be willing to revise with additional information requested.

Also, depending on your situation, you may be asked to stay somewhere else for a few days. Best to have a plan to stay somewhere with a relative or close friend, including having a go bag in case as well. Whatever you do, do not make arrangements to go to your APs place, that will not make it better.

Tells us more about your affair, what or who is your AP to you? That will help us guide you. If your AP is a work colleague, that is going to bring some different levels of advice. You will have to go No Contact (NC) with your AP, which is much more difficult if it’s a work situation, more than likely would mean you need a new job.

I hope this was helpful, keep posting and keep asking questions and we can help you through this. You’ve taken a big first step by posting here with stated intent to disclose your infidelity. Good luck and keep going.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:04 PM on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024

I confessed, but I don’t know what a therapeutic disclosure is. It sort of makes something that is not calm sound calm. Are you saying he knows about the affair but you want to sit down and go through it thoroughly so he has all the info? Or are you just talking about confessing in general?

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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id 8829754
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 4:50 PM on Thursday, March 21st, 2024

I also have never heard of this, so I looked it up. Long story short, a "therapeutic disclosure" is an attempt to "Get to the truth" about the WS's sexual history and tendencies overall by having the WS discuss their background with a trained therapist, coupled with a focus on the affair itself, and possibly includes a polygraph test as well.

Or in simpler terms, the WS creates a timeline of sexual history along with the therapist's guidance and help, and possibly backs it up with a poly just to help ensure "the truth" is reached. The sexual history may only go back as far as the affair itself, or it may go back to childhood, depending on "the whys" of the situation.

This is one possible way for a BS to "trust" that what they have from their WS is "the truth" or the closest they can get it short of using thumb-screws.

Mikka,
One of the most helpful things you can do after an affair is to help your BS put the pieces together. For obvious reasons, BS's rarely trust that their WS's are giving them "the full story", and with good reason, as most WS's tend to either lie or "trickle truth" facts over time. If you have indeed told the full truth to your spouse then this sounds like a great idea to help bolster that. Ask your spouse if this is something that would help them feel as though they have the full story. If so, go for it.

If you are hiding ANYTHING, this could possibly make things worse. Just sayin'. BE sure to come clean before this.

If you proceed, please let us know how it goes for you. A lot of people here might benefit from something like this.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 10:26 PM on Thursday, March 21st, 2024

I am sort of glad I didn’t look it up. Not because it doesn’t sound like a great idea, but because I think you just got the best advice you could have from Daddydom. I want to underline that if you don’t do as he is suggesting I think he is right it’s going to make reconciliation likely impossible. I am assuming you are prepared for this or you wouldn’t be doing it.

I also want to echo I would be interested in hearing about this process when you are complete because it sounds like something beneficial, a lot of people could utilize. As much therapy as we did to get through two affairs, this has never been suggested so I think a lot of people might not know about it.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:27 PM, Thursday, March 21st]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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 Mikka (original poster new member #84614) posted at 10:14 PM on Friday, March 22nd, 2024

Thanks for your replies to my post. I should have been more specific and precise in my original post.

I am indeed preparing a "full therapeutic disclosure" as part of a couple therapy based on betrayal trauma theory. I am assisted by a therapist to prepare the disclosure about a single short affair which happened and was discovered by my partner in 2001. Over the years, my partner has asked me numerous times about the affair. At first, I refused, minimizing the affair (and its impact). As time went by, I beleived I blocked it out, for various reasons which I am exploring through therapy. More recently, the trauma that this affair and my refusal to talk about it, is not only putting our relationship in jeopardy, it has been causing long-term severe pain and suffering for my partner. I had not realized how much pain I had caused. Now that I have, I feel so much shame and remorse! I am prepared to take responsibility for my bad decisions and behaviors, and doing a full disclosure is part of the work i need and want to do to help her - a first step in what I hope can allow my partner to trust me again, and for us, as a couple, to build a new relationship based on renewed trust, transparency and honesty.

I was hoping that someone in this forum might have done a "full therapeutic disclosure" and would be willing to share his/her experience.

Thanks.

posts: 10   ·   registered: Mar. 18th, 2024   ·   location: Québec, Canada
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 2:43 PM on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024

I was hoping that someone in this forum might have done a "full therapeutic disclosure" and would be willing to share his/her experience.

I have not done it in a therapeutic setting, but our stories are very similar. I also had a short affair that I revealed but minimized, with multi-decade implications for my BS. I finally saw the light when I realized that (a) he might leave if I didn't fully come clean and (b) it would be smart and healthy for him to leave me. That second realization finally wiped the scales from my eyes. I sat down that night and wrote the honest timeline he had wanted for almost 30 years. It was devastating for him to read, but it was the moment our true reconciliation began.

My one piece of advice, as someone who tried to block/forget the details, is that I could not bring everything up to the surface in one go. I believe there will be new details that emerge for you over at least the next year. Promising that your disclosure includes every last hidden "sharp point" (my BH's term) sets you up for trouble down the road, because when you think of something new, or realize you were lying to yourself about something known, you're back in the position of deciding whether to hide it to avoid a setback in your BS's healing. If you're deliberately lying about even one thing, you're a liar, and that will eat away at you, as well as validating your BS's reluctance to trust. You'll start inventing justifications, and the next thing you know, you're back in the wayward mindset.

I'm not saying you should ask for a "get out of jail free" card, but realistically, you need an awareness from both sides that something new will emerge after the full disclosure. Make an agreement that you will present those memories to your BS as soon as they surface. The follow-ups in my case were not deal breakers, but they did sting, and they understandably triggered him. At the same time, they helped build trust that there was nothing about the affair that I would keep secret for "BH's benefit."

WW/BW

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SkipThumelue ( member #82934) posted at 3:21 PM on Thursday, March 28th, 2024

Mikka,

Checking in. Did you do the disclosure yet?

I'm still very remorseful about not doing it myself. My therapist was doing his darndest to get me to a place where I would be able to self-disclose. But I dug in and dragged my feet hard due to cowardice and conflict-avoidance, and then it was too late. A former AP outed me to my BW with an anonymous letter.

We are coming up on 5 years since DDay and things are going well in R (I always check in with her before I state that grin ), but from time to time she still says "I wish you would have told me yourself."

WH

DD: 5/2019

Reconciling and extremely grateful.

I do not accept PMs.

"The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." - St. Augustine

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PleaseBeFixable ( member #84306) posted at 7:01 PM on Friday, March 29th, 2024

Hi Mikka. Is the program you're doing one by Michelle Mays? This is the context I've heard the term used in. I didn't understand what it was until I started reading her book The Betrayal Bind. Before that, I thought it more like a timeline, but her book talks about it being a way to have a therapist challenge you even on the lies you are telling yourself. I will also be very interested in hearing about your experience if you do it.

posts: 67   ·   registered: Dec. 31st, 2023   ·   location: California
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 Mikka (original poster new member #84614) posted at 7:41 PM on Friday, March 29th, 2024

Hi pleasebefixable. The « full therapeutic disclosure » I am preparing (@skiptumelue: not done yet, will share after I do it) is indeed part of Michele Mays’ model/program. The therapist I work with is helping me remember, and this, at times, means challenging what I do and don’t remember, what lies I have told my partner and what lies I have told myself, including the ones that I may well be still telling myself - albeit not voluntarily. Not an easy process, but a necessary one for me, for my partner and for our relationship (hoping we can repair and build a new one).

posts: 10   ·   registered: Mar. 18th, 2024   ·   location: Québec, Canada
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PleaseBeFixable ( member #84306) posted at 7:43 PM on Friday, March 29th, 2024

That sounds intense and helpful. Can you share how you found a therapist familiar with this process?

posts: 67   ·   registered: Dec. 31st, 2023   ·   location: California
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 Mikka (original poster new member #84614) posted at 10:19 PM on Saturday, March 30th, 2024

That sounds intense and helpful.


Yes it is indeed very intense, extremely difficult and painful, and I do believe is it going to be helpful. But for now, I feel the difficulty, insecurity, and emotional intensity. I also know that it is not the end of the road, just a part of recovery and the basis for what I hope will be repair and new beginnings for us as a couple.

Can you share how you found a therapist familiar with this process


Where I live (not in the United States) there are not a lot of therapist who are familiar with Michelle Mays model. However, there are quite a few who are familiar with attachment theory and trauma. I looked for these kinds of therapists and found one who was familiar enough to accompany me through the process. I know that if you look for Credited Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT), even if it is the not the type of bretayal you are dealing with, you should be able to find professional therapists familiar with « therapeutic full disclosure ».

posts: 10   ·   registered: Mar. 18th, 2024   ·   location: Québec, Canada
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PleaseBeFixable ( member #84306) posted at 7:00 PM on Friday, May 10th, 2024

Thank you for the recommendation, Mikka. I looked for a therapist who is certified in sex addition treatment and she did recommend the full therepeutic disclosure process. She also has been the most helpful marriage counselor we have tried so far (Knock on wood. We're just a few sessions in). We're not sure if we're going to do the process yet. He has the big important information already and I am sharing other things as I remember or think of them. I am still interested because I think it could help challenge me on minimizations. I keep thinking I have gotten to total honesty and then it's like another layer of myself is revealed and I realize I haven't in that way if that makes sense.

I also brought up in a discussion group how it feels like gushing or flooding now that I've committed fully to sharing every thing I realize or think or remember and that is overwhelming to both of us too. Someone there recommended journaling all of those thoughts, then looking for the big stuff and the patterns and bringing those to him at a set check in time. I like the idea of a full disclosure as a way of structuring that process.

Did you decide to do it? If you're interested, I can share the guidelines the therapist sent.

[This message edited by PleaseBeFixable at 7:09 PM, Friday, May 10th]

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 Mikka (original poster new member #84614) posted at 7:06 PM on Friday, May 10th, 2024

@pleasebeflexible Glad it helped. I will take any guidelines you can share - never know what turns out to be helpful. Yes, I have decided to do it. still preparing.

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PleaseBeFixable ( member #84306) posted at 7:11 PM on Friday, May 10th, 2024

Guidance for Formal Disclosure

Formal disclosure should take place when a) the partner wishes it, b) the partner feels prepared to receive the information and c) the acting out partner has sufficient recovery and is genuinely committed to stop the behavior.

Couples should, ideally, embark on a formal disclosure with the intention of healing the relationship. If either partner has decided that they want to know or disclose the truth but have no intention of staying in the relationship, this should be made clear prior to the disclosure and discussed by both partners in therapy.

While a therapeutic formal disclosure may help a couple establish a basis for trust moving forward, there is no guaranteed outcome. The relationship could still end.

The partner making the disclosure should be ready to answer their partner’s questions honestly and fully, to the best of their recollection. Estimates, identified as such, are sometimes necessary because, in the absence of confirmatory documentation, an individual may not have perfect recall of all details.

Withholding requested information, shading the truth, or failing to make a good faith effort to recall information, could result in staggered disclosure which will undermine any trust that has been established, perhaps irreparably.

Despite the preparation, no therapist can guarantee that an acting out partner is being completely and totally honest and accurate in their formal disclosure.

Both partners prepare separately for the formal disclosure, with therapeutic guidance. Since the purpose of the formal disclosure is to provide a complete and honest accounting of acting out behavior in a safe therapeutic environment, the hurt partner's questions and the acting out partner's answers should be facilitated in the formal disclosure session, and not occur apart from that designated time.

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 Mikka (original poster new member #84614) posted at 7:13 PM on Friday, May 10th, 2024

Thanks! Very similar to what I have encountered this far.

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Theburna1957 ( new member #84846) posted at 9:58 PM on Friday, May 10th, 2024

Stop Sign: WS only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 12:56 AM, Saturday, May 11th]

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