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From what I can glean, full disclosure can mean:
  • Full honesty; the marriage before is dead and buried. In order for a new one to be rebuilt in reconciliation, that means full honesty, no lies whatsoever. It’s a means for the WS to be accountable in order to prove sincerity.
  • Gauging whether reconciliation is the best path to go, as Divinely Favored put it. Because of course why should you reconcile with someone who basically had a whole nother relationship with the works? Saves time and heartache.
  • Making sense of what’s happened over the duration the affair(s) lasted. Because of course what we imagine in our heads to fill in the blanks is way worse.
  • Wanting nothing to remain private between WS and AP. With everything out in the open, there won’t be anything left for the WS reminisce about the AP without imagining the BS’s knowledge and pain to go with it. This way, it blows a hole into any secret bubbles of affection or residual feelings for AP and exposes the relationship they think they had as a sham (partially taken from SI).
 

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I for one wanted to know everything. No detail was to insignificant to me. I had to know precisely what I was forgiving. If we were going to reconcile I wanted full disclosure. I had two primary purposes, the first to make her significantly uncomfortable, and secondly to know what she did with him.

I did not want to keep having thoughts about this, thoughts about that, etc. I had to know. Also, I had a poly she had to take after we discuss all of the details.

For me, R would not have been possible without knowing the facts.
 

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I for one wanted to know everything. No detail was to insignificant to me. I had to know precisely what I was forgiving. If we were going to reconcile I wanted full disclosure. I had two primary purposes, the first to make her significantly uncomfortable, and secondly to know what she did with him.

I did not want to keep having thoughts about this, thoughts about that, etc. I had to know. Also, I had a poly she had to take after we discuss all of the details.

For me, R would not have been possible without knowing the facts.
I had never considered that - you wanted to know what you were forgiving. That really makes a lot of sense to me, now.
 

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I can understand that disclosing each fact may be unhealthy ...... form a "healing" viewpoint.
But as I have my own set of serious objections about said perspective I don´t take it as the main obstacle to know and perhaps neither the main motivation for knowing.
I´ll refrain at least for now to discuss the above as it may be / become a TJ.
Let´s instead say that if what I know is enough to leave, the will for knowledge even if persists would be more...abstract.
If not and in the doubt I would want to have the best possible description of what happened.
So to make my emotions and decisions to be conditional to the factual out there.
If that requires pain, so be it.
 

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One of the most important methods of coping with retroactive jealousy is that the sufferer must NEVER ask his mate even one more question about the sex he or she had prior to them meeting. Most people lie about their sexual encounters so as to "not hurt" their mate. Just assume that they did all of the sex acts that long-term couples do. They probably did. In my case, they certainly did. Repeated confirmation does not promote healing. It makes the problem worse.

I agree that a WS needs to disclose a certain amount of information to a BS, but the BS needs to understand that knowing everything, at least in many if not most cases, does not promote healing. Once a BS had demanded and received all of the answers to questions that probably shouldn't be asked, you can't put the tube back into the toothpaste. The mind movies become indelible.
This debate is frequent because everyone thinks it's full disclosure or no full disclosure. The reality is there's not just one answer. It's one or the other depending on the individual's makeup, mindset. emotional health, etc. It's like asking which is the best sport, football or basketball. The answer is it's an individual choice so there's no right or wrong. Whatever is right for you is right for you and whatever is right for the next person is right for them.

What's right for me is full disclosure. I do not care how bad it is or how it will leave me feeling because if reconciliation is in the balance, I need to know who and what I am reconciling with. I choose to feel horrible knowing the truth than risking further infidelity because of not knowing what my wife is capable of doing. Let's use the fictitious example below to make my point where the levels of egregious actions(details) escalates with each number.

  1. My significant other/wife was unfaithful .
  2. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend
  3. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house
  4. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed
  5. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed without protection
  6. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed without protection while we were trying to get pregnant
  7. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed without protection while we were trying to get pregnant and continued contact after D-Day
  8. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed without protection while we were trying to get pregnant and continued contact after D-Day through emails that disparaged me as a father and husband.
  9. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed without protection while we were trying to get pregnant and continued contact after D-Day through emails that disparaged me as a father and husband and sexting to a degree of vulgarity that I wouldn't believe it was her if I hadn't read it myself
  10. My significant other/wife was unfaithful with my friend in my house on my bed without protection while we were trying to get pregnant and continued contact after D-Day through emails that disparaged me as a father and husband and sexting to a degree of vulgarity that I wouldn't believe it was her if I hadn't read it myself and doesn't know what she wants to do.
I made this scenario up but the key elements and actions can be substituted with any story you've experienced or read. So my wife's infidelity would "probably" be a deal breaker for some if they just knew the basics, let's say numbers 1 and 2.

For me personally further disclosures reveals a shocking series of DECISIONS that far exceed the infidelity itself. These decisions significantly impacts my reconciliation decision which are 100% based on additional information that some would consider full disclosures. Everyone does stuff differently, but in my reasoning each egregious act gives me a read on my wife's capability. She's not just capable of having an affair. She's shown evidence of making decisions that desecrates the home and family life.

She's capable of having an affair with my friend, in my house on my bed, without protection, while we were trying to get pregnant, continued contact, disparaged me in emails and is still unsure if she wants to remain married. What she showed me is what she's capable of. If I don't know these details I don't know what the person I'm considering reconciling with is capable of.

What she has already done and that I have knowledge of, is what she's capable of in the future even with therapy and a significant changes which if course we already know because of the amount of repeats we read here. I'm not even predicting that she would be a cheater, but it's what I feel she's capable of that will determine it for me.

Ever hear about a friend or relative that committed a serious crime and you said to yourself, I'm actually not too surprised. Chances are you weren't surprised because that person past behaviors suggested he was capable of doing something like that. Some people reveal themselves as capable of killing someone. Others aren't. Some people reveal they are capable of robbing someone. Others are not. It's not an exact science so much of a personal read on another's actions.

I'm incapable of forcing my son to leave the home because of his emotional instability. Some fathers don't give a heck and are capable of removing there kids from the home regardless of incapacities. It's not a good or bad thing. It's just a self imposed measurement by your gut of another person's actions and the determination of whether you condone it or not. Simple as that.

People reveal themselves through behaviors and while it's not full proof, it's sufficient enough for me to make a significant life altering decision on being with them or not. It's not just the infidelity, of which any person can get caught up in. But, there are various degrees of actions that for me define a person's capability that are unique in each adulterer.

I had an extremely f'd up affair in my early 20's. I ran into my girlfriend's dad while with my AP. Turns out, my girlfriends dad was cheating on his wife and our AP's were relatives. THE MOST EMBARASSING THING IN MY LIFE BY A MILE. A couple weeks later, my AP attempted to take her life because she wanted more than just a sexual relationship. I just wanted the sex to continue as it had for 4 months, on demand, extremely frequent and extremely good. After her attempt, I said that's it for me. I'm done with this life style.

I started staying home and visiting my parents watching TV like I did as a kid to straighten my morality. I was raised well and sought to reconnect with the source of my decency, my parents. Never again I said to cheating. It's not in my DNA. On the flipside, some wayward spouses are capable of continuing the affair regardless of the multilevel family and generational damages that can be caused.

In real life I was cheated on by two fiances. I severed my engagement with both pretty quickly and never sought details because the only detail I needed was they had sex with the AP. I didn't ask any questions about details because it was insignificant to me considering the infidelity was a deal breaker and the relationship was over. By the way, I never thought about being cheated on (arrogance) and didn't know how I was going to respond. Turns out, my tolerance for it is a zero.
 

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Curious, is your relationship any good at this point? Why not divorce?
Assuming this was for me...

It has its moments.

Right now things suck so it's hard for me to not be a grump about it. It's a work in progress though. We're two people who both have issues, in a marriage that has always had issues, with a large and busy family that is easy to be distracted by. It's not going to get better overnight, and it certainly won't get better when one or both of us are not working on it or when one of us (mainly me) keeps screwing it up.

I have no desire to get divorced or head in that direction, quite the opposite really (though my actions sometimes say otherwise). I can't say that's always been the case but that's where I'm at right now.

Well, I wouldn't call you an ass exactly...but I just wonder if acting that way gets you what you want LONG TERM. I know it feels good in the moment, but when you speak that way you are basically attacking and tearing down whatever good you've built up. It appears in those moments that you can control her feelings by going on the attack, but eventually you are going to lose that control and potentially lose her or her love/respect/trust. Your reconciliation is still very young, and struggling to "mature" into a REAL marriage/love between you both (from how it sounds, not that I know for sure).

It just surprises me that you are still stuck at this point, because you are SO SMART -- your posts to help others have a brilliant honesty about them that I'm sure are so helpful for people -- but the way you relate can be so toxic and damaging TO YOU, I don't know why you haven't used your considerable understanding and self-knowledge to choose to truly heal your relationship. And maybe you ARE, I'm not saying I could possibly know the nuances of what you are thinking and feeling.

I am NOT judging you as bad or good (how could I?)...but maybe just trying to understand how you can struggle so mightily with this. And allow your emotions to create situations that will have consequences that could hurt you in the future.
You are correct that it doesn't get me what I want long term (though in the moment I'm either not thinking about that or what I want long term changes). You're also correct that it destroys whatever we've built up, and the more it happens the harder it is to "rebuild" it. And I'd say you're correct about the struggling to mature as well. So correct all around :p

I do feel like a hypocrite at times. Gaining knowledge, knowing what you should do, and spitting it back out is easy though. Even doing it here and there is (or can be) easy. Doing it all the time, with consistency takes actual change.

It is something that I'm working on and it has improved but it's still a work in progress. It's not as simple as "just stop doing that" (not saying thats what you're implying!). In a way, it's a dynamic we've had pretty much since we started dating 19 years ago. So there's a lot more to it than just my reaction to her infidelity.
 

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It's not good, but it is human. People feel hurt and have been betrayed, so knowing everything (or just 'more') gives them ammunition to use against the person who hurt them. They feel justified weaponizing the information.

And that goes hand in hand with the horrible advice to shout it all from the rooftops so that everyone else can shame the offender too.

It's nothing more than morbid curiosity to ask for details, and it definitely has nothing to do with moving forward and working towards forgiveness.
I do not agree.
One of the main ways to keep a cheater accountable is to let all the family and friends know. I know many who decided not to do this, keep the secret, even from their closest family and kids, cover for the cheater and the cheater goes and cheats again. This is part of consequences, without consequences very few cheaters wring their hands in despair at what they have done to their BS. Shame is a powerful weapon.
Secondly, it is human to want to know the details. Knowing the details lets the BS consider whether their WS has sunk to depths even deeper. It will be part of the decision whether to reconcile or not. If the BS decides to divorce then the details are irrelevant. Each person is not the same.
 

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I do not agree.
One of the main ways to keep a cheater accountable is to let all the family and friends know. I know many who decided not to do this, keep the secret, even from their closest family and kids, cover for the cheater and the cheater goes and cheats again. This is part of consequences, without consequences very few cheaters wring their hands in despair at what they have done to their BS. Shame is a powerful weapon.
Secondly, it is human to want to know the details. Knowing the details lets the BS consider whether their WS has sunk to depths even deeper. It will be part of the decision whether to reconcile or not. If the BS decides to divorce then the details are irrelevant. Each person is not the same.
I understand, though I doubt you put yourself under the same type of accountability and scrutiny.

Everyone keeps secrets. No one in your life knows who you really are, because you hide it. No one is as honest or transparent as they believe themselves to be.

Shame is weaponized to damage and destroy. It's actually abusive, and, in their pain, people feel justified hurting the one who hurt them.

The community holding someone responsible is ideally (biblically) an opportunity for confession and repentance and restoration, but that's not what you (or really anyone on TAM) advocate. All of you are more like a lynch mob - judge and jury and executioners, full of self-righteous bitterness.

There's no love or good involved in any of this.

I'm done. 🙂
 

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Assuming this was for me...

It has its moments.

Right now things suck so it's hard for me to not be a grump about it. It's a work in progress though. We're two people who both have issues, in a marriage that has always had issues, with a large and busy family that is easy to be distracted by. It's not going to get better overnight, and it certainly won't get better when one or both of us are not working on it or when one of us (mainly me) keeps screwing it up.

I have no desire to get divorced or head in that direction, quite the opposite really (though my actions sometimes say otherwise). I can't say that's always been the case but that's where I'm at right now.


You are correct that it doesn't get me what I want long term (though in the moment I'm either not thinking about that or what I want long term changes). You're also correct that it destroys whatever we've built up, and the more it happens the harder it is to "rebuild" it. And I'd say you're correct about the struggling to mature as well. So correct all around :p

I do feel like a hypocrite at times. Gaining knowledge, knowing what you should do, and spitting it back out is easy though. Even doing it here and there is (or can be) easy. Doing it all the time, with consistency takes actual change.
when you say you’re a hypocrite and screw up do you mean you’re currently cheating?
Assuming this was for me...

It has its moments.

Right now things suck so it's hard for me to not be a grump about it. It's a work in progress though. We're two people who both have issues, in a marriage that has always had issues, with a large and busy family that is easy to be distracted by. It's not going to get better overnight, and it certainly won't get better when one or both of us are not working on it or when one of us (mainly me) keeps screwing it up.

I have no desire to get divorced or head in that direction, quite the opposite really (though my actions sometimes say otherwise). I can't say that's always been the case but that's where I'm at right now.


You are correct that it doesn't get me what I want long term (though in the moment I'm either not thinking about that or what I want long term changes). You're also correct that it destroys whatever we've built up, and the more it happens the harder it is to "rebuild" it. And I'd say you're correct about the struggling to mature as well. So correct all around :p

I do feel like a hypocrite at times. Gaining knowledge, knowing what you should do, and spitting it back out is easy though. Even doing it here and there is (or can be) easy. Doing it all the time, with consistency takes actual change.

It is something that I'm working on and it has improved but it's still a work in progress. It's not as simple as "just stop doing that" (not saying thats what you're implying!). In a way, it's a dynamic we've had pretty much since we started dating 19 years ago. So there's a lot more to it than just my reaction to her infidelity.

It is something that I'm working on and it has improved but it's still a work in progress. It's not as simple as "just stop doing that" (not saying thats what you're implying!). In a way, it's a dynamic we've had pretty much since we started dating 19 years ago. So there's a lot more to it than just my reaction to her infidelity.
 

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For me cheating is a deal breaker. End of story.

That said, if someone else was considering reconciling after being cheated on, I definitely understand wanting to know all the details they could so that they could have a better feel for what they're dealing with and if they could even attempt reconciliation.

Would hearing these details be painful? Absolutely but everything about infidelity is painful. Why add to it? I'm of the belief that when one doesn't know what happened it's natural to think the worse.

I guess it comes down to each individual handling it the best they can and thus to each his own.
 

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I see a lot of advice on this board that the WS should tell the BS EVERYTHING. I just don't understand.

That doesn't sound healthy to me. If you have learned that your spouse cheated how is hearing every dirty detail of every sex act they committed with the AP including, when, where, & how often, whether their were orgasms, & what positions going to help?
If the BS wants to know it, they should give it to them. I certainly didn't need details. Just knowing she spread 'em for other men was enough for me.

But I think some BS, particularly men, want to know details because they want to know just how much more consideration their wives gave the OM with their monkey sex that he never got as her committed partner, which might just push them one way or the other on the reconciliation/divorce fence.
 

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I don’t think it’s always a good idea to have full disclosure. It wasn’t in my case.
For a period of fine, I wanted to know everything with a vengence, especially after he started spying on me when I had my own affair. The hyprocisy of his insisting on knowing everything when I knew very little enraged me to no end. It was a big ole mess, and if you care to read all the sordid, sad details, you can find them in my original threads from way back.
Eventually, especially over these past few years, we've both come to realize that it would be way to painful and counterproductive at this point to revisit all that. My H did admit that he was drinking so much during his affairs that he can't even remember some of them. I believe that for sure.

I try to focus now on the future and gratitude for the good things he brings to my life, and there are many.

I will admit that I occasionally have fantasies of a deathbed confession on his part. Though it better be when there's no chance of recovery.
 

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I'm not one who cares for details...I'm mainly interested in whether my partner is trustworthy. If I feel like they're not details don't matter at all.

When I found out my ex had kept his ex gf around our entire relationship I tested his willing to lie by starting with simple questions, like whether she was on FB with him. He lied about absolutely everything until he realized I already knew, then he'd change his story to accommodate only those details he was sure I knew. He gaslighted, lied, through tantrums, stonewalled, and bullshitted.

I never had proof it was physical. It may well have been but once I realized he was a liar nothing else mattered to me. If he'd been honest about everything I asked I doubt I would've asked for any details.

Once I know you lack integrity I just assume you're a ****bag and anything goes.
 

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Hitchcock knew that the mos compelling horror was always what the mind could create using incomplete information. He didn’t need to show the actual slashing because you filled in the blanks using your own mind, based upon your own fears.

That’s why just knowing “what” happened can be worse for the betrayed than knowing how (and other details) because the missing sections allow for personal horrors that could be greatly worse than what actually went on.

Plus, credibility. The Betrayed Spouse was presumably lied to before, and some things left out could be considered more lies (by omission).

There’s no one answer that fits all, but I think it’s wrong to deny the betrayed based on the betrayer’s feeling that they shouldn’t have to know.
 

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I understand, though I doubt you put yourself under the same type of accountability and scrutiny.

Everyone keeps secrets. No one in your life knows who you really are, because you hide it. No one is as honest or transparent as they believe themselves to be.

Shame is weaponized to damage and destroy. It's actually abusive, and, in their pain, people feel justified hurting the one who hurt them.

The community holding someone responsible is ideally (biblically) an opportunity for confession and repentance and restoration, but that's not what you (or really anyone on TAM) advocate. All of you are more like a lynch mob - judge and jury and executioners, full of self-righteous bitterness.

There's no love or good involved in any of this.

I'm done. 🙂
Not everyone, @minimalME.

Of course, if you see examples of bad behaviour please report it.
 

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For me it was necessary. I was going crazy wondering what they had done and had to press for details. Did she do things with him that she doesn't do with me? Did they use protection? Did he ejaculate inside her? Did she swallow his semen? These things mattered to me. The facts did not create mind movies they helped dispel some of the ones I was already creating.

It sounds like for you, details are not necessary or even desirable. I think as a general rule full disclosure is best. However, the BS sets the rules. If they want details the WS must give them if there is to be a hope of R. The same is true if they don't want details.
 

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I see a lot of advice on this board that the WS should tell the BS EVERYTHING. I just don't understand.

That doesn't sound healthy to me. If you have learned that your spouse cheated how is hearing every dirty detail of every sex act they committed with the AP including, when, where, & how often, whether their were orgasms, & what positions going to help?

IMO that level of detail only sets up the sickest porn movie in the BS's mind & makes everything worse because it can't be shut off. It would just play on an endless hurtful loop.

There has to be some sort of full disclosure that is not quite that much detail. What is the point of telling everything? That seems more like rubbing salt in the wounds, especially if like in a recent thread the married couple had been each other's 1sts and only but now the BS did things with her AP she hasn't done with DH. How the <bleep> does sharing those gory details with him help him heel? It seems like it would just make him feel worse.

I really don't get it (& I hope I never have to find out 1st hand) but if somebody could enlighten me & maybe others who are trying to find a path forward, that would be appreciated.
Absolutely. Men seem to have a particularly hard time getting sex images out of their head so I think it's really stupid to go into any detail about it. Sometimes I think they just want more ammunition, but if it comes at the cost of their own peace of mind, it's a self-defeating foolhardy request.
 
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