Getting the Affair Details – Maybe Trickle Truth is Best for Everyone

getting the affair details

Getting the affair details – as little or as much as the betrayed spouse wants – is vital for healing. Yet, sometimes it works out that getting them gradually over time is best.

By “TryingToGetOver”

When I joined this forum I was in shock over my husband’s affair. One of the first emails from the site to land in my inbox was the importance of knowing the truth, even some details. Doug had reached out to welcome me and I wrote back to thank him and to say that I did not want the truth, nor the details! WHY would I ask for gory details of the worst personal disaster I had ever faced? It seemed insane.

Doug wrote back to say, wisely, that whatever I wanted or didn’t want was totally fine. It was my call. But, he said, be open to the fact that you might change your mind.

Four and a half months in (from D-day #3 and my final ultimatum) I see what he means. I finally wanted and got details, and I feel better.

Also, I’ve realized that my husband and I have been on the same ride. His version goes: There was no affair, she was a best friend. Then he admitted the emotional-affair part but minimized it (literally saying, “there’s no story there”). Finally came the classic trickle-truth, including their months of having sex, as he slowly shed the reflex to lie. It has taken therapy, meditation, and religious (Buddhist) counseling to get him to a place of openness. Honesty does not come easily to a guarded, fearful CS so full of shame that he’s built a mask of hubris that takes some doing to coax off.

My similar path: This can’t be happening. This happened, but thankfully it wasn’t as bad as those politicians who get women pregnant! Then, slowly, I asked questions. The answers devastated my sense of self and made me question who I was married to. But only by filling in the blanks could I move forward knowing who I was, and who he was and is. My own therapy (both individual and couples counseling with him) required those answers so I could enter stages of anger and sad acceptance.

An Analogy…

My good friend survived a horrific traffic accident. She woke up in the hospital with an amputation. The doctors told her she lost her leg, and she had zero reaction. How could she wrap her mind around that? Then came the cascade: Fury. Self-pity. Despair. She left the hospital desperate to cover up and use the most realistic prosthetic she could afford. A year passed. She began to meet with witnesses to her accident and ask for awful details. She began to speak to other accident victims. More time passed. She switched to a lighter, high-tech prosthetic that people can spot a mile away. She doesn’t mind. She won’t hide. She’s now 15 years along and that accident is a giant signpost in her much larger life story. She will tell you every detail if you want them. She owns what happened. She’s more than it. Her victimhood is not the sum total of her. 

After my ultimatum my husband blocked and unfriended his AP and gave me access to his phone. There I spotted a months-old  text thread between the two of them using some different number of hers. All I saw was my husband’s text: (heart throb) is what he wrote. I deleted the thread and sat on the bed, shaking and crying. But later, I regretted not sitting there and going through the entire thread with him at my side. That thread was my witness, and I had gotten rid of it, and I wanted it back.

“I think I just wanted proof.”

Four months later I was going through my husband’s email, which he’s also given me access to. His inbox was full and he needed to delete old messages, so I began to do it for him. There were dozens, maybe a hundred, of old work emails between him and her that he hadn’t yet erased. Before I deleted I checked each one. Delete. Delete. Then I hit a year-old email. The two idiots had a long thread between them full of details of the affair, her subtly bad-mouthing me, poems of how they longed for each other and wanted to have more sex. It was gross, and pathetic, and vivid, and also, I will admit, incredibly validating. I forwarded it to my own email, to my work email as backup, and to my husband, writing, “I think I just wanted proof.”

Then once again I started physically shaking. After taking a long walk, I sat and cried in front of him. He said all the right things. He promised that I will see, over time, that I am not making a mistake by staying with him. He showed remorse, listed the ways he has changed and wants to change further, promised that nothing like this will ever happen again and held me as long as I needed to be held. I thought, for a day, that I shouldn’t have read that email, that it would be the final blow that would kill me. But then something in me switched. I texted the one friend I’ve fully confided in and told her what I had seen. She wrote, “You just had to know. Now you do, and things will go better from here.”

That email I found is my witness, and its truth, along of course with my husband’s changed behavior, is giving me some peace. I never, ever would have suspected such a thing would be possible. Also, I am happy that I got the details gradually over time. Trickle-truth must happen for a reason, and that is so we can accept something awful, as my friend gradually came to terms with her lost leg.

The truth didn’t take my sanity, it returned it to me. I can now say, “I know what you did to me. You know that I know what you did to me. Let’s see where things go from here.” It breaks my heart that many in this forum are still hunting for the truth. At first I didn’t want it, but now I understand how vital it is. I wish everyone luck getting what they need, and recovering.

Photo by Simon Blackely

 

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Regaining Control:
Dealing With Obsessive Thoughts, Triggers and Memories of the Affair

Arm yourself with a variety of techniques, practical strategies and  knowledge to help you to manage those intrusive thoughts, triggers and memories of your partner’s affair.

 

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30 Responses to Getting the Affair Details – Maybe Trickle Truth is Best for Everyone

  1. TheFirstWife May 1, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

    I found this interesting as I had a similar experience. I found out some details and truth about one month after DDay2.

    But I had a very different reaction.

    As in why was he still lying to me.

    At that point I threw my hands up in Disgust. I had explained that if he can just be honest with any questions I asked I would be able to move forward quicker. Not get hung up on the details and “stuff”. Did he do that?

    No. He had a CYA mentality and lied by omission- thinking I would not find out.

    At that point I was ready to walk out the door. I had nothing left. No emotionsl strength. No positive feelings for him. Complete devastation (more than the A).

    I asked for one thing – honesty. And he could not even do that.

    I would rather have had all my questions answered up front and honestly. Not in dribs and drabs.

    He just could not trust I would stay with him. So instead he gambled figuring I would never find out – but I did. He lost the bet and almost his M.

    That is what the cheaters do not and never will understand. The lying after DDay is much worse than the A itself.

  2. Shifting Impressions May 1, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

    I’m with TFW on this one. Respect me enough to tell me the truth….THE WHOLE TRUTH!!! When they withhold the truth they deny us our God given right to make an informed decision. And I’m not talking about every intimate detail, but tell me what happened. Basic stuff..when did it start? How long did it last? What did it mean to you? Was is physical? How physical? Did you make plans to leave me? And on and on.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad you finally got the truth. I believe “The truth will set us free”.

    In my case, I stumbled upon the emails…..I started shaking and feel like I went into shock. I just read a few and saw enough. I phoned him at work and told him I found the emails…..he came straight home. Unfortunately I was to shaken up to really go through the emails and shortly after he came home he deleted everything before I had a chance. To this day I wish I would have looked more carefully before confronting him. Reading through more carefully would not have taken away the pain of what he did but it would have given me, as you said, a witness to what happened.

    In my opinion the “Trickle Truth” is horrendously damaging. It has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks to forgiveness and healing that I have experienced over the the last four and half years.

    • Rose May 2, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

      That’s the thing though SI…the CS has no respect for the BS, or the A would not have happened.

  3. Shifting Impressions May 1, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

    One more thought….it’s like ripping off a band aide!! Just do it!!!

  4. Fatherof4 May 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

    The problem with trickle truth is it usually means they lied straight to your face back when this all first came out. It’s not like we didn’t ask them theses things when we were originally had it out. They usually said they weren’t there, they weren’t together, there was no communications. So six months later when you finally find the smoking gun, it’s not relief you feel but betrayal.

    • Tired May 19, 2018 at 11:26 am #

      I completely agree with this. I feel betrayal. My husband lied for 2 years about what went on. He lied to my face. And to me that is worse than any affair. You need to know the one you are with has your back.

  5. Hopeful May 1, 2018 at 4:20 pm #

    What I learned was this is who my husband was or became over time. He lied. Some were major like to my face when asking about women. Others smaller, white lies. He had over time just gotten used to living his life that way. He always stretched the truth or made it advantageous for him. I hate everything he did but the most damaging were the lies and the trickle truth. The trickle truth and withholding critical details and minimizing what happened almost ended us. Dday and learning about the affairs did not cause me to think to end our marriage. But how he strung me along after 10 years of affairs was almost too much.And still over three years since dday that is something I struggle with and in the end it was just to protect himself and save face so he would not look as bad.

  6. Rose May 1, 2018 at 5:18 pm #

    And when all you get is trickle truth, there are so many holes remaining. If you don’t get the truth, you make up your OWN truth. And we know how our imaginations get us into trouble. 6 years later and there are still holes and things that don’t add up.

    • Hopeful May 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

      Rose, This is so true and something my husband never understood and I am not sure he does now. He just thinks differently than I do in all ways. I tried to get that point across to him that my imagination was limitless which was not good. And in the end this just either slows down healing and moving towards any thoughts of trust. We worked through a lot but I am much more skeptical of my husband because of how he handled all of this. I am thankful he told me on dday but after being asked questions directly to his face and taking five months and a very direct letter to own up to the real truth it is very damaging.

  7. theresa May 1, 2018 at 5:58 pm #

    No matter where you are in your relationship, (reconciliation, rebuilding, revelations, restoration, revenge, regret,….,), going forward, backward or stuck in quicksand, whether you have accepted TODAY that you have enough faith to start your healing and try again, or, you are done, or, it’s still very much a work in progress, be prepared.
    It may come as a result of something out of the blue that will raise a flag, or you are still in fact finding mode, verifying something that is not quite right.
    There will always be more. And big or small it will always hurt.

  8. Joey May 1, 2018 at 6:57 pm #

    Can multiple DDays be considered trickle truth? probably not so maybe I never really experienced actual trickle truth because my ex never ended the affair. Just went underground numerous times.

    I think it’s so damaging the continued lies, but on some level, is it surprising?? We want so badly for the wayward to tell us the truth, but their logic is so screwed up (hence having an affair in the first place) so they aren’t going to shake out of those patterns overnight, right?? It’s that very reason why I finally came to the realization that I needed to focus on me and my well-being so when I found out for the last time and looked her in the eye and said “I will be completely fine with out you” – she knew I meant it.

  9. Exercisegrace May 2, 2018 at 8:18 am #

    Let’s not confuse “trickle truth” with receiving information (in its entirety) when you ask for it. Trickle truth is simply another self-serving, manipulative behavior on the part of the cheater. It’s a continuation of the affair, and a means of protecting themselves from the consequences of their choices. It is NOT “to spare your feelings” or prevent you from further hurt.

    Looking back on my own experience, I would advise anyone to only ask what you are ready to hear, when you are ready to hear it. The key difference here is the betrayed spouse controls the flow of information.

    HOWEVER. There is one caveat to that. You should demand to be told the truth about whether or not there was sex, and if they used protection during sex. It took a YEAR for my husband to admit his whore has HPV. He felt justified in withholding this because he used condoms. But no protection when he performed oral sex on her. Sorry to be graphic, but we live in an age where STD’s can kill you.

  10. Carol O May 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

    I agree with EG, when sex is involved you need full disclosure. STDs can kill you. Condoms do not protect you from HPV. There are many types of HPV and many of them cause cancer.

    I just had my doctor visit and the test results are coming in now. So far so good. Thank God for my doctor. He has been so understanding and supportive. I am almost 65 and I was mortified to have to go through this. I made my CS get tested, too. He told me that it was a difficult time for him as well. I’m afraid I wasn’t too sympathetic. But that is what it is.

  11. SeentheLight May 4, 2018 at 9:50 am #

    As EG says, trickle truth is another self-serving behavior on the part of the cheater. I was raised and have always believed that “Honesty is the best policy”, regardless of the misdeed or consequences. We are supposed to be adults by the time we marry, that includes taking responsibility for ALL of our actions and paying the piper after the dance (affair, lying). The bull about sparing someone is just that – bull and self-serving. The truth needs to come out in order for healing to begin and get on with whatever the Betrayed needs. It’s like pulling off a band-aid, you do it quickly and get it over with so you can heal. If you are the cheater, you need to put on your “big boy” or “big girl” panties and face what you’ve done, realise what you’ve done to your Significant Other and either help repair your damage or get the hell out of Dodge and let them recover and move on from your bull/selfishness.

  12. TheFirstWife May 4, 2018 at 10:22 pm #

    Truth is like a medical diagnosis.

    The doctor doesn’t say we found a lump or tumor. And then three weeks later tell you it needs to be checked. And then tell you a month later it could be cancer.

    No – they give you the diagnosis in full.

    And that is how the TRUTH should be dealt with – upfront and honest. In full detail. Complete honesty.

    I’m not saying all the sordid details must be provided in full. Unless asked.

    It can be and should be acceptable to say “we went to a motel and had sex”. Yup I get the picture (thank you very much). But if your spouse or partner asks for details they should be provided.

    Because trickle truth is like erosion – if the water keeps hitting the Rock it will erode it. And the trickling of truth erodes the trust, relationship and ability to heal.

  13. Unknowningly May 7, 2018 at 8:01 am #

    Hello all, I have read almost ever article on this website and I come asking for advice. Here is my situation. Married since we were 18 in 2006. DD#1 was June 6th 2016. She was talking to an ex and I found out about it. When confronted she said she just felt done with me that I was rude to her and made no time for her. I asked her what does she want to do she said she wants to stay and make this work we fought and I was the only one that changed at all she was still always emotionally unavailable. Fast forward too DD#2 October 2nd 2017 she is talking to this same guy found out that they were meeting up and as far as I know just making out there was a nude picture my wife sent him but that is all I have proof of. They started hanging out sometime in September. when I found out again I lost my shit and kicked her out while sitting on the floor with my kids all crying I decided to call her and ask her to come back.. she refused the first 3 times I asked her.. finally coming home around 3 in the morning. It was a hard week and I couldn’t be around her and she just laid in bed all the time I was an emotional wreck… after a few weeks I tried to start working on the intimacy part and I have and still am bending over backwards to meet all of her needs and treat her with respect. She has told me that I was emotionally abusive and she couldn’t stand me and used to hate being home cause all I did was complain. So I do not complain to her anymore at all even though I do all the wash most of the laundry take care of the kids and play with them and cook dinner every night while working full time if she asks something of me it gets done, she works about 20 hours a week. Her friend recently left her friend in a similar fashion BTW.. I caught her still talking to this guy 3 more times since then.. last time was feb 16th… She said she just wants to be for a little while and not argue but I feel like she doesn’t want to be in this marriage anymore and she has completely detached herself from me and the kids. She does not do the same things she did for the other guy I have only gotten 5 nude pictures from her our entire marriage… she kisses me when I leave in the morning but I have to chase her down for it…. we have sex maybe once a week.. we go to baseball games bowling hiking and other dates with and without the kids… I know we have a bunch in common.. I just don’t know what to do I love her I want to be with her but if she can’t give me what she gave the other guy or is unwilling to even try what should i do… When ever I bring it up she just says I make her feel like she’s not good enough. Any advice would be greatly valued as I want a happy marriage.

    • Unknowningly May 7, 2018 at 10:23 am #

      I also want to mention. She doesn’t talk about the future or what changes need to be made…. when I ask her if she thinks we are gonna make it she says she hasn’t thought about it…. I told her if we are going to fix it she needs to think about it are we going to make it to 50 years or are we doing this for a few more months and she just says she doesn’t know she guess’s forever. prior to the affair she would constantly ask when we are going to renew our wedding vows and she was deeply religious now she never brings up the wedding vows and appears to be ditching Christianity for stuff like Buddhism and energies and crystals.

  14. TheFirstWife May 7, 2018 at 11:12 am #

    She’s having an Affair. Unfortunately when cheaters are in an A they find everything wrong with the spouse and Marriage to justify their choice to cheat.

    It is called the Affair fog. google it and you will see what you are facing.

    Nothing you do is good enough or right. It is all about the Marriage being compared to Fantasyland (which is what they create in their mind regarding the A).

    the A is wonderful and magical. It is also not reality and a figment if the imagination.

    We have all been there. The Affair Partner is wonderful. He/she listens. They connect. They understand the cheating spouse. Blah blah blah.

    You need to get out from under the infidelity cloud. Read up on the 180 – google it under 180 U Turn. It will give you a list of suggestions to stop an A or get yourself away from the cheater’s behavior

    1. Act as if you are moving on with your life

    2. Don’t sit around waiting for your spouse

    3. Appear strong and confident

    4. Do not do favors or errands or cook dinner for her. Cook for you and kids.

    5. Act as if she isn’t there – be polite and non committal but do not engage in conversation about her A or your future etc. it’s about kids and schedules.

    That is step 1 for you.

    She hasn’t chosen you or the M. She’s made it clear.

    You can separate- she leaves.

    You can in-house separate- different bedrooms.

    She’s no longer your wife – her choice by virtue of cheating.

    Good first steps as a suggestion.

  15. unknowingly May 7, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

    Thank you TFW, I read your comments and they are very helpful. I am trying to prepare myself for your advice it’s just hard knowing that it could potentially be the end of us and we have been together half our lives. I get that she is already gone and I was trying to follow the advice of manly marriage revival but she wont even right a letter. Her best friend is knocked up by his brother who also poached my wife best friend. She also stated she would never date him because he works at Walmart lol to my shame. TFW do I tell her this is it till she’s back in the marriage or do I just stop trying and do it? Thank you for your help.

  16. unknowingly May 8, 2018 at 7:43 pm #

    Just as an update: So I did start the 180 around noon she tried talking to me and I made it clear I only want to talk to her if she was ready to recommit to our marriage and start reading articles. She ignored that comment and went to a subject that I had to engage in about a new job that I had to get a clearance for and she was meeting with the investigator today. She just had said she received the phone call and that she was supposed to call him back and said he left a voice mail. I said ok are you gonna call him back? She said not right now I want to take a nap I said ok well dont forget and she said ok I wont what do you want me to tell him no I dont think you should get the job? I said very funny and that was that. So i get home doing the 180 still say hi to the kids she’s still in bed “shes always tired thyroid issues) and I dont go into the bedroom like I normally do and kiss her. She eventually comes out while I’m sweeping the front porch and and says what your going to fight with me again and I just said I’m not fighting I’m waiting for you to truly recommit and stop lying and hiding shut. She then comes and kisses me a long one and says I love you I just think I would be better off myself sometimes. That triggered me and when we went to the store I was checking her email and found out that she had been deleting stuff as recently as 3 days ago that she did not tell me about. Another guy messaged her to hang out she says she didnt reply just deleted it cause I would cause a fight. Well… I have asked her told her screamed at her that she needs to be open and honest with me and stop all that crap for months. And now I was extremely mad that she was still doing lying. So I went off and I yelled and screamed and she responded by saying she cant take all the fighting and I said I cant take the lies and dishonesty and she needs to come clean right now or else… or else what she said or else I’m finished I went and popped holes in all her theories about how I want there for her when she had ovarie cancer but yet I brought her dinner in bed laid in bed for 4 days straight comforting her took care of all the house the kids and everything else and was not available for her 24/7 and I admit after a few months of that i was tired and would watch movies and try to escape life and she would Facebook. Anyway, I then went and laid in bed and tried to fight back tears and she popped in and asked if I wanted to eat dinner with her. At first I refused but then she came back in and said see your just trying to fight with me idc anymore so I got up and ate dinner and shes laughing and joking and having a good time. I wasnt I didnt really say much but it is though she is trying to keep get me to stop.. I dont understand I dont get it she just told me that she cant give me the attention cause I’m always fighting with her is this a trick do I just do the 180 and be pleasant and stop searching for the truth so i not bring it up for a while now do I not obsess about it? I feel like I’m going insane!

  17. Rose May 8, 2018 at 8:46 pm #

    Wow Unk…I don’t know. Maybe others have a better suggestion but I say lay it on the line. Write it if you have to. “Here are my boundaries (no other men, no secret Facebook messages, no secret emails or texts, no deletions). Step over the line and we are through.” Then DETACH. Don’t respond to her kissing you, guilting you, etc. She has to know the rules and maybe you are giving her mixed messages? I’m no expert tho.

    • Rose May 8, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

      Or, exactly as TFW says!

  18. unknowingly May 8, 2018 at 10:10 pm #

    Thanks rose pretty sure I am giving mixed messages. I dunno I think the nail is in the coffin.

    • Hopeful May 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm #

      unknowingly, I did not have the same experience as you so I can not provide what worked for me in the same situation. However I would suggest seeing a therapist just for yourself. I think if you find the right one they can be so helpful in figuring this all out and providing you the needed support. If it works out they can help you navigate since honestly it is not easy. Or if it does not work out they can help you with that too. They can support you and provide what is best to say to your kids etc. This is a long roller coaster process whether you both choose to work it out or part ways.

      I do not have experience with the 180. After dday I was crystal clear what I would not allow. The boundaries I set down were very specific some the same as Rose. Others were contact me when you arrive at work, call me during your lunch break, cal me when coming home from work. If anything changed from the planned day then I needed to be contacted immediately. There was zero contact with the ow, if any contact was made I needed to be told immediately and we would talk through if a response was needed or not. At a certain point the decision has to be made if 100% effort is going to be given and if you both want to be on the same team. I remember my husband said that love is not just a feeling but it is a verb. And that means taking action not just saying things. And really that is what needs to match the actions with the words. There is no way to have any relationship much less one of quality where there is no trust. It takes a long time to even consider trusting someone after they lie to you and betray you.

      If I were you I would get in to see someone ASAP. It was the best thing I did and provided me with the support I needed.

  19. seenthelight May 9, 2018 at 9:40 am #

    unknowingly, she’s made her choice. Kick her a$$ to the curb, take the kids, change the locks and take her cell off your phone plan.

  20. TheFirstWife May 10, 2018 at 5:35 pm #

    Unknowningly

    She is a master manipulator based on your description of recent events.

    I would not tell her anything. I would just act – 180 hard and firm.

    That is step 1.

    • Unknowningly May 16, 2018 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks, so much I have been trying to do it. I do tend to freak out some days. but still trying to detach. Its hard for me cause I have been with her for half my life high school friends started dating in 10th grade was great for years then something changed and for the past few years its been rough this was a wall. I am trying to prepare myself for the worst I do want the kids. I’m not sure about her but am struggling to let go I do care about her.

    • Unknowningly May 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

      https://www.emotionalaffair.org/signs-emotionally-abused/
      Question on this article. I tend to get really bad anxiety when she hangs out with the friends that helped coordinate her cheating on me and told her what lies to sell she will not stop hanging out with them I have tried they have been friends since they were 4. I believe she act differently after hanging out with them. We both been really good for about 5 days at communicating and he keeping me up to date. Yesterday she said she was going home to fold laundry and stuff while I was working a double. I texted her saying hello and she said she was in the town next to ours cleaning out her car. I asked her why and she said oh I’m going to my friends house for a little (3 hrs). I said ok thanks for telling me and stopped talking to her… I called later she put me on with the kids cause they don’t listen to her and she barely talked to me and was short. So I asked her what happened at her friends house. now we are fighting again and she is telling me nothing happened and I’m being emotionally abusive. Should I put up with this. Am I being emotionally abusive.

  21. TryingToGetOver May 17, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

    Unknowingly, in my case an ultimatum worked and my spouse “snapped out of it” when he realized he’d lose his family and that he couldn’t have us and his affair partner too. But there were a lot of things working in my favor: The affair had gone on long enough that he and she were fighting. We had started counseling. And I had taken a friend’s advice to heart: Don’t give an ultimatum until you are ready to see it through. Your spouse will know if you are serious about leaving, and will know if you are bluffing.
    It sounds like your wife still wants you and the kids and some extramarital stuff too. That is not going to work. But give yourself a short break while you gather your strength. My advice is to ask for counseling, detach a bit to save your sanity, tell her you’d like to save the marriage but you have boundaries that she needs to respect (or else it is not a marriage), per everyone else’s advice on this thread. Then only when you feel ready do you give an ultimatum.
    I am so sorry that you are so in the thick of it. We have all been there and it is a terrible storm to weather.

    • Unknowningly May 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

      Thank you very much. I really appreciate everyone on here and your comment helps me understand.

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