How Can I Be Sure That My Husband Has Told Me Everything About The Other Woman?

By: Katie Lersch: One of the most common concerns that I hear about from wives who are dealing with the aftermath of an affair is the other woman. It’s normal and natural to be curious about her. It’s understandable that you want to know what (and who) you are up against. It’s normal to want to know what attracted your husband to her and made him turn away from you and what he knows is right.

And often, you wonder if your husband has really given you all of the information that you might need about her. You might hear a wife say: “it is like pulling teeth to get my husband to give me any information about the other woman. It took me weeks to extract the information that he met her at his doctor’s office where he receives regular treatment at the same time that she does. It took me another couple of weeks to get him to show me a picture of her. I always ask him about what they talked about and what they had in common. He will reluctantly give me some of this information, but mostly he tells me that none of this matters anymore because the affair is over. I will usually respond by saying that I am not going to be satisfied until I know every significant detail about the other woman. And then he might throw some more crumbs my way. But I’m still not satisfied. I do believe that my husband isn’t seeing this woman anymore because he is always with me at this point. We work together. And he is generally never out of my site. But I still have so many questions about the other woman and about the affair. How do I know that he is telling me all that there is to know about her?”

Believe me when I say that I completely understand becoming even slightly obsessed by the other women. I don’t want to come off as insensitive here because I am anything but that. In fact, I am probably the opposite of that. I have been through this myself so I know at least some of what you are feeling and going through.

But here is my answer, although you might not like it. You can’t possibly know everything there is to know about her. You can’t see inside his brain. You can’t read his memories. You can’t take on his perceptions. Yes, you can try very hard (as many of us do) to pressure him into giving you facts and from that trying to form your own mental picture. But frankly, that is all it is going to be – an incomplete mental picture.

I suspect that I know (from experience) what you might be trying to do because I did the same. You figure if you can get a full and complete picture of her then you might understand why the affair happened. You might even be subconsciously trying to bring some of her more compelling attributes into your own marriage. But both of these aren’t likely to be as effective as you are hoping.  And this information can hurt more than it helps.

I know this from experience, unfortunately. I used to take the little bit of information that my husband gave me and then I’d start playing detective on my own. It was as if I was desperately searching for that magic tidbit of information that would give me all of the answers and start me on my path to healing.

But here’s what I found. Having those bread crumbs of information doesn’t do anything to quench that hunger for information. You might get one detail which leads to you another and then another. But you still keep searching. You are never satisfied. In fact, in my own experience, the more details that I knew about the other woman, the worst I felt. The more I gleaned about her, the worse I felt about myself and about my marriage.

I would never tell you that you shouldn’t have questions about her. But here is what I think is the most important thing to know – and most of this is already covered. You know that he met her at the doctor’s office. So now you know that you need to either go with him to his appointments or find a new doctor. You know that the affair is over and you should watch closely to make sure that this remains true. You know that he is trying to now focus on healing your marriage. And you will have to decide if this is what you also want.

I know that this may sound very simplistic. But time and time again, I see women thinking that more and more information about the other woman is going to help them heal. Frankly, I firmly believe that it does the exact opposite. It makes you worry more. It makes you doubt yourself. It makes you feel like you have to keep digging and can never stop.

If you feel that your husband is keeping something important from you, then address this. But know that once you know who she is, why he started the relationship, and whether or not it’s over, there really isn’t any more information that is vital. And searching for it is likely to just frustrate and hurt you. She doesn’t hold any magic answer for your healing. But you hold those answers.  You already have access to them.  You just need to start.

But to answer the question, I’m not sure that there’s any way for you to know if he’s told you everything about her. You can certainly address this in counseling as counselors are often very good at extracting information that the faithful spouse can not. But even then, no one but him can tap into his memories or his perceptions. It’s my belief that the best thing to do here is to make sure you have enough information to address what happened in the marriage and to know with certainty that it is over.

If these bases are covered, then why continue on to give her even more power over you? Honestly, in my opinion, leaving her behind as quickly as is possible is the best thing that you can do.  If it helps, you can read about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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