When Is It Time To Stop Talking About The Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:   I sometimes hear from folks who are dealing with a spouse who has become tired of talking about his affair.  Quite understandably, the faithful spouse often has questions or concerns for quite some time afterward.  It’s completely normal to want to talk about this for a long period of time.  But, this can become problematic when the cheating spouse feels that there should be a time limit on these types of painful conversations.

Common concerns are things like: “it has been about seven months since my husband’s affair.  I will admit that rarely does a day go by that I don’t bring it up.  We will be having a perfectly good day and then suddenly a question or concern will pop into my head and I will ask my husband the applicable questions as soon as the thought strikes me.  And when this happens, suddenly the mood is ruined.  My husband gets very upset by this.  He will usually respond by telling me that he has answered my questions and that he doesn’t understand my need to endlessly rehash this.  My response is often that I wouldn’t need to rehash it if he hadn’t cheated on me.  In my view, it’s his fault that he is hearing my comments because he is the one who cheated.  None the less, my husband is now telling me that he is very tired of this and that it is time we stopped talking about the affair.  Although I have agreed to try to limit these types of conversations, I can not and will not commit to never speak of it again.  I still have questions.  I still have concerns.  And if he tries to silence me about this, then I may choose to just leave because I can’t and won’t pretend that this never happened, although I’m sure that he would like that.  What is your opinion on this?  Is it ever time to stop talking about the affair.  If so, when?”

Believe It Or Not, Once You’ve Healed, You Won’t Be As Interested In Discussing It: I have a definite opinion on this because of my own experience, but I don’t believe that my opinion is going to be applicable to all couples.  I believe that what is appropriate for your marriage is something that you and your spouse have to dialog about and come to an agreement that makes you both comfortable.  But, in my own case, I rarely talk about the affair anymore.  There just isn’t any need.  My husband and I have discussed it extensively.  There is nothing left to say.  Occasionally, when we are talking our marriage today, one of us will make reference to some things we have been able to overcome.  And we both know what this means.  But we do not dwell on it and we see no need to bring it up.   I no longer have questions because, as I’ve said, I kept asking until I was satisfied with the answers.  And I have honestly moved on to the point where I don’t want or need to bring it up anymore.

But, if I’m being honest, turning this corner took a lot of time.  There was a lengthy period of time where I DID still have questions.  And I DID still need answers.  And I would have greatly resented it if my husband had tried to limit the same.  Yes, I am well aware of the fact that my husband didn’t exactly enjoy these conversations.  But he endured them because our marriage was important enough to him and he was committed to taking responsibility for his actions.  If this isn’t your reality, here’s some suggestions that might hopefully help you to come to an understanding about this issue.

Encouraging Your Husband To Understand Your Need For Conversations About The Affair:  It was probably a fair bet that this wife had not yet healed and therefore continued to have questions.  I believe that you are entitled to ask questions or have conversations for however long it takes.  However, you should know that you will make this process easier on both of you if you take a bit of care with how you present the questions.  Try not to continuously bring the same thing up over and over again.  If something is bothering you, ask your husband to schedule some time to talk about it, and then really lay it on the table in the hopes that you can get your answer and move on.  If his answer doesn’t satisfy you, then I believe it’s best to go ahead and let him know rather than waiting a little bit and then bringing the same topic up once more.  Because this is one of the things that frustrates husbands the most – the rehashing of the same issue when he thought that you had already discussed it multiple times.

Also, I believe that it’s best to have one designated time to discuss it.  This makes the whole process easier on every one.  If you agree to say once or twice a week where you will sit down and discuss any concerns and issues that have come up, then he knows he won’t be bombarded with questions each day and you know that, at least at set times, you are going to have your questions addressed.  I know that not every one embraces counseling, but that forum is perfect for this.  But, if you choose not to pursue counseling, then commit to sitting down together at regular times to check in.

And, to answer the questions posed, I believe that talking about the affair is fair game until you and your marriage have healed.  And, this process can take a while.  But, once you have healed, then there’s really no longer any healthy reason to continue to bring it up.  And quite frankly, at that point, both you and your spouse will be more than ready to move on.

I realize that you might be at a point where healing seems like a far away goal.  But hang in there.  Commit to keep moving forward.  And take it one day at a time with patience and self love.  If it helps, you can read more about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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