Whether it’s an emotional affair, a long-standing relationship, a one-night stand, or even sexting, you want to know the details.
Your mind, in fact, can’t stop with wondering:
Where did you meet her? How long have you been seeing her?
Did you __________________ (fill in the blank with any and all sexual acts you can think of) with him?
Was he better than me?
Is she prettier than me?
Did you call her the same special name you have for me?
Did you meet with him at our favorite vacation spot?
This is very normal, so don’t feel guilty.
Finding out about an affair is traumatic. It shatters your sense of reality. The trust you once had is demolished. The relationship you believed you had was a farce.
But, even though the questions may be eating you alive, should your spouse answer them?
The Purpose of Asking Questions After an Affair
First of all, let me affirm you again — what your spouse has done to you was his or her choice, regardless of any reason he or she had an affair.
Because of this, you have every right to ask any questions you want.
The cheating spouse won’t want you to, which is understandable. But, the initial responsibility for repair is in his court. He is the one who has created the trauma for you and needs to do all he can to restore the relationship.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s a very important question for you:
How will the answers to your questions help your marriage?
I understand you’re angry and perhaps don’t even know if you want to stay.
However, as the two of you process through this, there’s a very good possibility your relationship with this person with whom you have so much invested could be far, far better than it ever was.
I know it’s hard to imagine at this point, but couples who allow themselves to become vulnerable enough to explore and resolve what was missing in their relationship, end up with the relationship of their dreams.
So, if you ask those questions, will they help restore your relationship?
The Damage of Questions After an Affair
If your anger at your spouse kept you from being able to truthfully answer the above question, let me explain the effect your questions will have ON YOU.
If you find out she was with the other guy in your bed, will you be able to sleep in it?
If you find out he liked her young breasts, will you be able to bare yours to him or anyone else again?
If you find out they performed oral sex, how will you get that picture out of your head?
In fact, how much more torment will you have after you have your answers?
Sadly, by getting answers, not only are you not helping the relationship, you’re also hurting yourself.
Forgiving the Details
Another way you will be hurting yourself is you will be piling up more and more offenses you will have to forgive.
You can either have a situation of forgiving the fact that your wife cheated on you or have to forgive each and every one of the myriad of details that pierce your heart.
What to Do with Your Questions After an Affair
Therapists vary on recommendations for this, but I personally agree with Dr. David Carder (Torn Asunder: Recovering from an Extramarital Affair*) who suggests putting a time limit of two weeks for allowing detail-questions to be asked.
This will be hard for both spouses, but there really is no getting around the pain in these early weeks.
After two weeks, Dr. Carder recommends you take any new questions to God and sincerely ask him if he gives you permission to go to your spouse with them. Your spouse will also have to agree to allow you to ask, if you have prayed about it first.
These Answers Don’t Restore Trust
Perhaps you will feel like this is unfair to you and that you need the answers in order to trust again.
But, these answers won’t do that.
Seeing your partner commit week after week after week to being by your side as the two of you work through this, along with being patient with your anger and fear, are what you need to rebuild trust.
At some point you will have to make the choice to let go of your questions about the details. You can protect your marriage and yourself by making that choice sooner rather than later.
Also, in my next post I’ll share some powerful questions that will actually make your partner have to think and will move your relationship toward restoration.
Taking Care of Yourself
Even if you decide to leave, you need to implement as much self-care as you can at this time.
Seeing your own therapist will help you to process this traumatic discovery. Some things you will want to explore are the impact this has had on your self-image and your view of the opposite sex and of God.
To help you with your self-care during this stressful time, be sure to get my free gift for you. It’s a list of calming activities you can engage in when feeling overwhelmed. (You’ll also be sure to not miss my future articles.)
(*Any purchases you make through this link do not increase your price, but I get a small percentage of what you pay. Thank you for your support. )