How Long Will My Spouse Want To Talk About The Infidelity?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from spouses who are genuinely remorseful for their infidelity but who are also genuinely tired of having to talk about, discuss, or rehash the details of the affair endlessly.  They often wonder just how many times they are going to have to go over the same details.  They wonder how many times they are going to have to patiently answer repetitive questions.  And they wonder most of all if it is every going to end or if this is a scenario that is going to keep playing out for the rest of their lives.

I heard from a wife who said: “I will admit that my affair was all my fault.  I am the one who cheated on my husband. I am the one who kept it a secret.  I am the one who went behind my husband’s back and lied.  And I deserve to be doing everything that I am having to do right now to save my marriage.  I am willing to do whatever it takes.  But I am curious to know for how long we are going to have to talk about the affair over and over again.  It seems that my husband always wants to rehash the same things.  He asks the same questions.  I will patiently go over how I reconnected with the other man, how the affair started, how it was carried out, and how I feel right now.  I will stress that I love my husband and will never cheat again.  He will accept my answers.  But tomorrow he will want to talk about exactly the same things. For how long will this go on?  Because it’s very trying and discouraging.  I love my husband and would do anything to have him back.  But I hope these conversations aren’t what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life.”

I may not be the most open minded person to whom to post this question.  As a spouse who has been cheated on, I know first hand that you have many questions.  Also, you sometimes doubt the validity and the sincerity of the answers that are being given because you are hurt and because you are dealing with someone who has already lied to you.  So as much as you might want to believe every word your spouse says and so that you can then just drop the topic forever, you simply can’t.  You go to bed thinking that with any luck you can wake up tomorrow and put it all behind you and then when the sun comes up, the doubt and pain creeps back in and so you have questions again because you need more reassurance.

I know that this is difficult for you both, but you have to have patience with your spouse because frankly, if you hadn’t set this into motion with your own actions, then you would not be dealing with the questions.  Try very hard to understand where your spouse is coming from.  The questions aren’t meant to badger or punish you, they are there because your spouse needs reassurance and answers.  And sometimes this just takes time. With this said, there are some things that you can do to answer as effectively as you possible can in order to shorten the length of your spouse’s doubts.  I will discuss that more now.

Make Sure You Are Very Clear And Consistent:  I need to say very directly that you need to tell your spouse the absolute truth.  It is not in your best interest to try to keep details from your spouse because a person who has been cheated on has the capacity to develop detective like skills when the need calls for it. Your spouse is just naturally going to be suspicious of you right now.  So they are going to be watching you very closely for any inconsistencies or any indication that you are holding something back.  Make sure you are telling the truth because if you aren’t, you’re going to continue to get questions meant to trip you up.  But if you are consistent with what you are telling your spouse (which will naturally will occur when you are being completely truthful,) then over time this should help diminish your spouse’s doubts and fears.

Don’t Make Your Spouse Drag The Information Out Of You:  Some people are understandably reluctant to just level with their spouse.  So they make their spouse grill them with questions and yet they still give their spouse only bits and pieces of what they have asked.  If your spouse asks you a line of questioning, then you know your spouse well enough to understand what they want to know and you should make it easy on both of you by just giving that information to them.

For example, if your spouse asks “what did this person mean to you?,” you might be inclined to say something like “it was a sexual relationship for a little while,” because you’d hope that your spouse would then drop it.  But they likely won’t do that.  Because you haven’t told them what they really want to know.  They really want to know if you have an emotional tie or were in love with this other person.  They want to know if you are still pining for this other person and or if you still have contact.  They want to understand the implications of all of this for your marriage.

So the better answer would  be something like: “we had a physical relationship on four occasions but it stopped there.  I wasn’t emotionally attached.  I wasn’t in love.  I was never going to leave you or end our marriage to be with him.  I am not in contact with him now and I won’t be in the future.  You are my priority.  The relationship is over and I intend to do everything in my power to make you believe that.”

Do you see the difference?  You want to answer what they have asked you, but you also want to read between the lines and answer the unspoken questions also.

But to answer the question posed by this wife, I really don’t know how long your spouse will have questions, but I do know that if you are forthcoming, consistent, and honest, this will go a long way toward offering the reassurance that is needed to tone down all of the questions.

I will admit that I probably had questions long after my husband was comfortable answering them. But he had patience and he continued to try to tell me what I wanted to know. This went a long way toward my trusting him again and allowing us to save our marriage.  If it helps, you can read that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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