A betrayed spouse writes to his wife as to why it’s so important for him to know the details of the affair.
By Linda & Doug
We’ve addressed the importance of full disclosure and providing the details of the affair by the cheater a few times. In fact, Sarah P. wrote a nice article as recently as April. But the other day we came across a wonderful letter on the Marriage Advocates site that we feel might benefit some of you.
Perhaps you might want use the letter as a template, edit it to fit your situation and then present it to your spouse. (If so, you can click here for a text version of the letter. Once open, save to your computer or copy and paste it into your own document.)
If you’re the wayward spouse, maybe this letter can help you can gain a clearer understanding of the effects your affair has had and maybe help you see things more through the eyes (and the reality) of your spouse.
Anyways, we hope this is helpful!
The Need to Know the Details of the Affair – “Joseph’s Letter”
I know you are feeling the pain of guilt and confusion. I understand that you wish all this never happened and that you wish it would just go away. I can even believe that you truly love me and that your indiscretion hurts you emotionally much the same way it hurts me.
I understand your apprehension to me discovering little by little, everything that led up to your indiscretion, everything that happened that night, and everything that happened afterwards. I understand. No one wants to have a mistake or misjudgment thrown in his or her face repeatedly.
No one wants to be forced to ‘look’ at the thing that caused all their pain over and over again. I can actually see, that through your eyes, you are viewing this whole thing as something that just needs to go away, something that is over, that he/she doesn’t mean anything to you, so why is it such a big issue?
I can understand you wondering why I torture myself with this continuously, and thinking, doesn’t he/she know by now that I love him/her? I can see how you can feel this way and how frustrating it must be. But for the remainder of this letter I’m going to ask you to view my reality through my eyes.
You were there. There is no detail left out from your point of view. Like a puzzle, you have all the pieces and you are able to reconstruct them and be able to understand the whole picture, the whole message, or the whole meaning. You know exactly what that picture is and what it means to you and if it can affect your life and whether or not it continues to stir your feelings. You have the pieces, the tools, and the knowledge.
You can move through your life with 100% of the picture you compiled. If you have any doubts, then at least you’re carrying all the information in your mind and you can use it to derive conclusions or answers to your doubts or question. You carry all the ‘STUFF’ to figure out OUR reality. There isn’t really any information, or pieces to the puzzle that you don’t have.
Now let’s enter my reality. Let’s both agree that this affects our lives equally. The outcome no matter what it is will affect us both. Our future and our present circumstances are every bit as important to me as it is to you. So, why then is it okay for me to be left in the dark? Do I not deserve to know as much about the night that nearly destroyed our relationship as you do?
Just like you, I am also able to discern the meaning of certain particulars and innuendos of that night and just like you, I deserve to be given the opportunity to understand what nearly brought our relationship down.
To assume that I can move forward and accept everything at face value is unrealistic and unless we stop thinking unrealistically I doubt our lives will ever ‘feel’ complete. You have given me a puzzle. It is a 1000 piece puzzle and 400 random pieces are missing. You expect me to assemble the puzzle without the benefit of looking at the picture on the box. You expect me to be able to discern what I am looking at and to appreciate it in the same context as you. You want me to be as comfortable with what I see in the picture as you are.
When I ask if there was a tree in such and such area of the picture you tell me don’t worry about it, it’s not important. When I ask whether there were any animals in my puzzle you say don’t worry about it, it’s not important. When I ask if there was a lake in that big empty spot in my puzzle you say, what’s the difference? It’s not important.
Then later when I’m expected to understand the picture in my puzzle you fail to understand my disorientation and confusion. You expect me to feel the same way about the picture as you do but deny me the same view as you. When I express this problem you feel compelled to admonish me for not understanding it, for not seeing it the way you see it.
The Real Reasons Cheaters Don’t Want to Talk About Their Affair
You wonder why I can’t just accept whatever you chose to describe to me about the picture and then be able to feel the same way you feel about it.
So, you want me to be okay with everything. You think you deserve to know and I deserve to wonder. You may honestly feel that the whole picture, everything that happened is insignificant because in your heart you know it was a mistake and wish it never happened. But how can I know that? Faith? Because you told me so?
Would you have faith if the tables were turned? Don’t you understand that I want to believe you completely? But how can I? I can never know what is truly in your mind and heart.
I can only observe you actions, and what information I have acquired and slowly, over time rebuild my faith in your feelings. I truly wish it were easier.
So, there it is, as best as I can put it. That is why I ask questions. That is where my need to know is derived from. And that is why it is unfair for you to think that we can effectively move forward and unfair for you to accuse me of dwelling on the past. My need to know stems from my desire to hold our world together.
It doesn’t come from jealousy, it doesn’t come from spitefulness, and it doesn’t come from a desire to make you suffer. It comes from the fact that I love you. Why else would I put myself through this? Wouldn’t it be easier for me to walk away? Wouldn’t it be easier to consider our relationship a bad mistake in my life and to move on to better horizons? Of course it would, but I can’t and the reason I can’t is because I love you and that reason in itself makes all the difference in the world.
Once again, you can click here for a text version of the letter that you can edit/print and use as a template.
Here are some additional posts that are related to effectively communicating after an affair:
The Big Five: Gottman’s Communication Techniques to Talk about Infidelity
Effective Communication – What is it and how do I do it?
8 Communication ‘Don’ts’ After the Affair
As usual, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. Thanks!
*This article was originally posted on 8/18/2015 and updated on 10/27/2020