Will knowing the details of the affair help you to move on?

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The more you know, the more you understand. Most people would agree it’s good to have as much information as you can about a subject, so you can make “informed” decisions. But there are times when too much information just causes pain, so before you demand full disclosure of the details of your husband’s affair, first decide whether there’s anything you’d rather not know about.

It doesn’t happen often, but maybe you’re one of those wives whose cheating husband is feeling super-guilty and is compelled to clear the air and confess his sins. Maybe he feels that by telling you all the details of the affair, he’s redeeming himself in your eyes because you’ll feel better able to trust him.

Or, more likely, it’s you who is asking to be told all the details. If so, what are your reasons for wanting to know?

Make sure you’re not just punishing yourself because on some level you feel you failed. Although from here on out he does need to be accountable for everything, there may be certain details from his affair that are better left alone.

His affair is over and done with, right? There are times when you need to stop picking off the scab so the wound can heal.

There are things, though, that you probably do need to know. If he had unprotected sex with her, he owes it to you to tell you. It’s important information that may affect your own health.

If he’s gotten her pregnant both your lives, and the lives of your other children, will be changed forever. You need to know this as soon as possible.

You probably want to know if there was a reason that he had the affair — something missing in your marriage that is required in order to rebuild your bond. And you probably want details about his feelings for her so you can assess whether or not he still loves you.

Bottom line: Knowing the details of the affair WILL help you to move on, if you find them out in the right way. If you want to stay married to your husband and want your marriage to move forward past the affair, you’ll need a structured framework for exchanging information with each other.

Sessions with a marriage counselor can provide such a framework, or you can do it yourself if counseling is too expensive or if either of you is not willing to involve a third party.

The goal is to prevent the discussion of deeply emotional, touchy subjects from getting heated. The more you know the less you’ll wonder, but you don’t want the process of finding out the details to make matters worse.