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The MB principles state that honesty, as in revealing the affair, is the healthy path for a marriage. I was listening to Dr. Laura Schlesinger (sp?) earlier this week and she counseled a woman NOT to reveal to her H an affair that was over as in Dr L's opinion it would just make the H miserable and unable to trust the WS. That the woman keep the secret and basically go on keeping her H in the dark.<P>I've listened to Dr. Laura off & on for a couple years & this surprised me, usually she is very much for facing up to your mistakes.<P>I've been thinking about my long ago affair & if I hadn't been caught if I ever would have confessed. I don't know. I was at the point where I didn't want to see the OM again, it had been a crummy night, with the rather thin fantasy fading, so it may have ended anyway.<P>My H has told me that although his affair, 8 years later wasn't for revenge, his knowing that I had had an affair made his choice to be unfaithful easier.<P>Then I think about if my H hadn't finally stopped denying his affair...I thought he was really mentally ill with depression and maybe worse. I think my wanting to believe he wouldn't be unfaithful to me would have allowed me to gradually let go of my affair suspicions--if he had stayed with me.<P>Don't get me wrong, I think our marriage is stronger now for all the disclosure--it was all a big wake-up call and Guard & I know each others weaknesses as well as strengths. I have hated what I did and would wipe it from my life without a second thought. And, since I immediately broke contact with that OM and ended the affair, both Guard & I knew that a WS could become faithful again, though I do believe his affair was more intense emotionally, physically & with more frequent interaction. <P>But I wonder what our lives would be like if a) my H thought I had always been faithful so resisted the temptation of the OW or b) he hadn't resisted but didn't tell me either.<P>Of course the road we have traveled has brought us back together, so messing with the components could have resulted in a completely different ending. This is all a big what if.<P>Anybody else have any thoughts on honesty vs blissful [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] ignorance? I know a lot of betrayed want more honesty...the very thing that is so difficult for the WS, some of the reasons being protection of OP, self or spouse. <P>And where does that line for needed honesty lie? We know that although the words "you're ugly & mean" or "the OP's __________is better than yours" may be honest, they aren't helpful.

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Great question! I heard Dr. Laura say the same thing.<P>Assuming the WS is totally out of the affair and recommitted to the marriage, what are the pros and cons of 'fessing up?<P>Well Dr. Laura of course has a point that it will hurt the spouse and we all know that once an affair is revealed the dynamics of the marriage are forever altered (for better and for worse).<P>However, if you do not disclose an ended affair, there will always be a secret in the marriage. The marriage may suffer on both sides because the spouse may "feel" like something is off and the WS feels the guilt without possible forgiveness. In a marriage, there shouldn't be an elephant in the room.<P>On the other hand, if an affair is revealed it does plunge the marriage into chaos. If either the WS or the betrayed does not work through the hurt and anger to get to forgiveness and recovery, the marriage may be destroyed in the process. <P>If children are involved, their needs and best interest are at stake as well.<P>So maybe for some couples, nondisclosure really is the best choice, but unfortunately this can not be predicted.<P>Who really knows when we or our spouse can rise to the occasion and the new marriage that rises out of the ashes is a better marriage than the one before.

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Lor,<P>I'll bite...<P>If Hollywood was responding...<BR>...the line they would give...<P><B>YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH</B>...<P>Honesty, truth, that ability to handle truth, resentment, and unforgiveness touches all of us in a real deep level.<P>I, in general, do like Dr. Laura, and remember at other times she made the same recommendation to other women about their unfaithfulness. I happen to disagree with her on this one... personally.<P>If you can't handle <B>it</B>...<BR>...how are you going to handle...<P>...the death of a child/parent/best friend<BR>...the marital breakup of your children<BR>...the cancer announced by your sister/brother<BR>...and so much more.<P>Strength comes through adversity!<P>Some may say...<BR>...but Jim...<BR>...what about your replies in <A HREF="http://www.marriagebuilders.com/forum/Forum28/HTML/004726.html" TARGET=_blank>Question for the MB Veterans - Let's Agree to Disagree Here</A>...<BR>...my claim is that I am <B>not</B> being inconsistent.<P>Near sub conscience thought need not be divulged...<BR>...a fully cognitive decision... should!<P> [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>Jim<p>[This message has been edited by NSR (edited September 28, 2000).]

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Lor,<P>It's awfully hard to answer "what if" questions? Az asked me one on my thread.<P>An affair is a violation of the marriage. The WS lives in fear of the BS finding out, and shares this secret with another woman. If he has any social or work contact with this woman, it is much worse, not just from the possibility of a recurrence but because they share their "secret".<P>I believe my h found it much easier to engage in a second A, because as he told the OW, he saw himself as depraved while I still saw him as a man of integrity. At a very deep level, he wanted me to know and love him as he was, not as the lie he was feeding me.<P>And it seems the truth comes out eventually, somewhere. The BS is faced with something that may have happened 10 years ago, but she is disoriented, she has to go back and fit this info into the last ten years!<P>Jim, I had read that thread before without comment.<P>I don't agree! Total honesty is the ONLY way to a great marriage, IMHO.<P>My h didn't have to tell me about the beautiful woman he saw and lusted after last night, but I want him to. We are in this together. If I judge him instead of hearing him, he won't open up. I have to LEARN to hear him, even what is very uncomfortable for me.<P>That is the beauty of eliminating LBs. He is another person, not part of me, and this is who he is. I WANT to know! This has been a huge growth step for me.<P>Affairs don't begin when the two are in bed together. In having this discussion, I learned that he began thinking of OW #1 that way back in '96 or early '97, but didn't act on it until '98. What a difference if he could tell me without fear of being judged that he was attracted to this girl at work!<P>Anyway, my 2c.<P>

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OK...I have really been mulling this over this past hour.<P>In my case my H had a 4 week, about 10 date kissy face thing going with a brazen hussy he had just met. <P>When I discovered the affair, he was ending it and it had not developed into a sexual affair yet. Although my H did maintain phone contact for several more weeks, I am convinced that he had no strong emotional ties, actually ran when she pressured him for sex and for him to leave his family and actually didn't end up even liking her and think feared her somewhat.<P>ALL he wanted to do was forget it ever happened. I have never detected left over warm fuzzies and I honestly think he learned his lesson and didn't want to fall prey to that temptation again. And to cap it off, the whole thing had little to do with our marriage and more to do with a quirky period of his life.<P>The discovery caused a huge amount of pain. It just about devastated me. It pretty much destroyed one year of my life, aged me and affects me to this day.<P>So I think the pain the discovery caused was far greater than the damage the actual affair did to the marriage, which was minimal.<P>So if my H wouldn't have told, I don't think it would have been too bad for him, because Ii think he learned a lesson and didn't feel a huge amount a guilt because he was neither emotionally or physically involved. And since we did have a good marriage, we just would have went on.<P>I have lost a sense of trust in all humanity. Since that is the reality of this world, I guess that has some benefit, although I so long for that complete trust in my H.<P>There are ways our marriage has grown stronger, but if my H would have come to me wanting greater intimacy or been open to my attempts, we could have grown in the same ways without the pain.<P>Am I better off knowing? I honestly don't know in my own particular case.<P>Lor, assuming you had ended your affair, what do you think your own pros/cons have been?

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Had to get in on this one.<P>I had an affair that began 6.5 yrs into the marriage. Never got caught... tho DuncanMac has told me since that he sure as heck knew *something* was very wrong.<P>Never told, on the advice of our counselor - they pretty much ALL said that then, & most still do.<P>The net effect was that it continued to eat away at me and at our marriage. First, since there were no immediate and terrible "consequences" to face (angry, hurt spouse, accountability), the affair continued (initially just EA, but much later, PA again). I was really trying hard to do things right - but just didn't know how. My counselor just bawled me out for slip-ups - this doesn't do much good for a person whose sense of control & self-esteem is already in the gutter! [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>Second, there was always that skeleton in the closet - or that elephant in the room (thanx, FHL!). IMO, you can't heal either yourself or your marriage if you feel like it's all based on lack of truth. And you feel unworthy of your marriage & spouse, so those walls & defenses go up - then of course they feel hurt by your wierd behavior, so more walls & defenses go up - and you've got a really nasty viscious circle going. What kind of a marriage is that?<P>True, you're taking a crap-shoot when you confess - and in truth, I'm not sure what the results would have been if my affair had come to light right away, instead of six years later when I finally decided it was time to get the skeleton out of the closet. DMac has said he's not sure if he would have had the maturity & confidence then to deal with it. But from my standpoint, I sure would have liked to have his support and love at that time, and I think it probably would have saved us years of trouble.<P>Overall, I'm just not sure it's possible to have an intimate, trusting marriage when there is a secret *that big* lodged in the middle of it... I think eventually you have to tell. Heimlich maneuver!<P>------------------<BR>~suse~<BR>Rome wasn't built in a day.<BR>

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Hi Lor,<P>I basically agree with suse on this. I truly believe that even if firestorm had ended the affair and never confessed it to me, it would have eaten away the foundation of our marriage until it collapsed.<P>Even in the worst depths of my pain, I never thought that I wish he hadn't told me the truth, although I spent a lot of time wishing that it WAS NOT the truth.<P>Peppermint<p>[This message has been edited by peppermint (edited September 28, 2000).]

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I really am for honesty and not having an elephant in the room. If your spouse knows what you have done there isn't anything to skirt around. But hearing Dr. L give that advice really made me curious how the people here feel about it, even knowing that most betrayed posters here either know or strongly suspect the affair. <P>FHL--I've thought about your situation a lot the past year+ and how devastated you were without your H's progression to PA. Even if he hadn't told you, I think something would have brought it to light.<P>You also asked if I hadn't been caught & had ended it. First of all, Guard had no clue. I thought he did (my guilty conscience), but he didn't. I saw the OM very rarely, he lived either 100-400 miles away, moved a few times and we were out of communication for months at a time. Looking back, I can't imagine why I continued seeing him at all. My counselor at that time--a flighty nut who didn't particularly have a problem with my infidelity--said one sensible thing to me "why would I allow myself to be with such a scoundrel?" I said that night had been crummy and I think the worst thing about it was I saw myself through his eyes & in his words and it was not someone I thought I was or that I wanted to be. And not a person my husband knew. I think I could have carried the secret--I did for a long time, not knowing if I'd see the OM again or not. I don't think I would be the person I am now if Guard had not found out--and we worked to restore our marriage and there were very good times in the following 7-8 years before Guard's affair.<P>And until I glitched out in our 6 & 7th separations last fall & winter, I was very strict with myself in regards to never being alone with a man or putting myself in an uncertain situation. Now, again, that is my plan for the future, I know where not following that got me.<P>NSR--strength does come through adversity. I think not being honest would have a component of fear behind it--would the betrayed leave, divorce, get violent. People handle what they have to handle.<P>Schizzo--<<The BS is faced with something that may have happened 10 years ago, but she is disoriented, she has to go back and fit this info into the last ten years!>><P>I agree. At Guard's disclosure I immediately thought back a year to meeting the OW at a party, which I left him at & went home early. It was an ugly piece of the puzzle. I'd seen her eyeing him but thought that someone like her (DOH a vivacious blonde party girl) would not be tempting to him.<P>Hey Suse! Good to see you post. Your thoughts on this make me realize that there are so many components within each of our stories. One of the things that I held onto through Guard's affair was that he had loved me enough to stay with me when he discovered, I will always admire and respect him for that. I knew we had weathered one of the worst times before, and that I would be there for him, as he had been for me. But I felt angry that he didn't turn his back on his affair--like I did. I have difficulty imagining confessing 6 years later, like you did.<P>Peppermint--You sound good, I hope you and Firestorm heal through this. At this point you are well aware what it was like to have undisclosed activities in your marriage. Thanks for sharing. You said <<Even in the worst depths of my pain, I never thought that I wish he hadn't told me the truth, although I spent a lot of time wishing that it WAS NOT the truth.>> <P>Amen to that.<P>Any other thoughts?<P><BR>

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Lor<BR>Can I ever pass up an opportunity to give my opinion on honesty?<P>No truth is as hurtful as a lie. Secrets are lies. It is the lies and secrets that did the damage to our marriage. The lies and secrets caused me to lose my trust and faith in the world.<P>When you lie or keep a secret from your partner you are basically saying that you don't think they are strong enough to handle the truth. How demeaning. How disrespectful.<P>Lies and secrets lead to more lies and secrets. Would there ever be a time that you could stop lying about something like an affair?<P>Imagine having an affair in the early in your marriage. It's over. You never tell. On your 50th anniversary your spouse says how wonderful it has been to be faithful to each other all these years. How would you feel? I know how I would feel. <P>I think I'm sounding like a broken record. [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<BR>Guess I don't compromise on this topic.

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The trick is timely honesty. There is no point in telling after 30 years, you do not even know by then why it started, so you cannot really discuss it to put it behind the both of you. The only thing is pain. <P>It is the nature of A's to be secret until it cannot be one anymore. Otherwise it would be the Harley "Hon, I am attracted to this person aat work, they make me feel this way..." BEFORE the damage is done it can be repired. That is nice, but...I am skeptical. <P>No, timely honesty is the key. It is such a heavy burden anyway, and it takes your strength, better to make a clean breast of it but in a very non verbal-bruising manner. So as not to cause more pain than necessary.<P>Myt H and I have figured this out after a recent lie about not seeing the ow, when he did. I found out on accident not 48 hrs after he got home. I blew up! <P>I have finally convinced him that even if it is painful truth, at least then i can deal with and work through it. that leaves me open for the Plan A-ing I am supposed to be doing! Plus the burden is heavy for him, and he is in disbelief that I mean what I say, but relieved! He has vowed the truth from now on. We will see. [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]

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Honesty causes pain but looks to be essential...

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I can't resist not replying!<P>I want to scream! My husband used to listen to Dr. Laura faithfully every day, for a couple of years. I have heard her say that very thing, that the Unfaithful spouse is being selfish and causing more problems if they are honest about their affair.<P>I have had this conversation a 100 times with my husband. <P>First of all, I have to be reminded of Scripture... "TRUTH will set you free..." SO, that means that LIES cause you to be "un free, or tied to, or boxed in, or in some way - in bondage. So, if that is an absolute principle to live by, (which I fully believe it is) then it is applicable to all situations....<P>We realize that there is definitely a bonding taking place between two people when there are secrets to be shared. If I have discussed an issue with someone, and suddenly this other person and I are in company with a third person - and the conversation hints at something I discussed with the other person, I can look at the person I previously discussed something with - and make eye contact, and we are connected. We are connected because we share a knowledge about something the third person didn't share.<P>It happens all the time. When I hold something in confidence about someone, I am bound to that person - I am bonded to that person with that issue. <P>It is the same with an affair that goes unrevealed. There is something that is shared between those that know about the affair, that EXCLUDES the persons that don't know about the affair. It continues to bind the affair partners together, as a mission to conceal.<P>If the affair is still going on, it is the fact that it is entirely built upon lies that generates the deceitful good feelings of the fantasy. If the affair is over, the fear of consequences and shame is what continues the lies. And the lies are what keep the two bonded, whether in an active affair or an inactive affair. It is exclusive of the marriage, and prevents the marriage from experiencing the "oneness" that God intended in a marriage. <P>Dr. Laura is ABSOLUTELY wrong, and I feel 100% confident about this. If lying is wrong in the Bible, then lying is ALWAYS wrong, whether for "noble" reasons. "noble" "justification" "and all other reasons for lying" are the tools that Satan uses to deceive us and get us going down the wrong path... <P>Just like with sin, as defined by the Bible as "short lived pleasure", lying to cover up an affair is a short sided solution, and has its own consequences. I agree with WS, the right decision to make is honesty, and you can always test the right decision by the test of time... the long haul, the long end of the consequence. <P>Dr. Laura is wrong to say that "part" of the Biblical truths are appropriate, but "other parts" aren't appropriate. It is this "pick and choose" philosophy that leads me to believe to seek other counsel. <P>Having an affair is wrong. We all know that. Lying about it afterwards is wrong also. Two wrongs do not make a right. <P>I think that for any healing in a marriage to truly be genuine, it has to begin with the foundation of TRUTH and LOVE. <P>My husband is trying to be more honest now. But - I still have my doubts about our future, or how solid our recovery really has been, because he is not 100% honest about the past. We've been getting along better. Behavior patterns are changing. We are learning how to become a better couple. But there is a wedge between us - not due to his affair, but due to the CONTINUED lies, and I can feel it. <P>I'm not so sure he will ever be honest, and I'm not so sure I'll ever feel as deeply about him as I did once. But, I will stay married to him, and I will continue to work on my marriage - because that is the RIGHT thing to do for me. I just think that it is kinda sad for him, because he will never have what he could have without his honesty. This marriage is important to me, definitely, but it is a CHORE to stay married, for both of us. I believe it wouldn't be a chore, or so much work if we had honesty and trust like we did once. He controls how wonderful of a marriage we can have. <P>By him believing what Dr. Laura preaches, from her radio pulpit, he has reinforced the lie that he is justified to lie about the affair. He has bought in for the short term solution. He will go to his grave with the inability to overcome this area completely, and a portion of his life will always remain unfulfilled and empty. That is his choice. <P>I wouldn't listen to Dr. Laura anymore, Lor. She is in business to sell her show, she is simply entertainment, and at others expense. She is not truly value wisdom, she values ratings.<P>

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TNT,<P>Your post expressed my own concerns so very clearly. I wish I could have written those words, but since you did I want to let you know that I have "borrowed" them (with credit to you) for a letter to my husband.<P>His dishonesty is a much bigger problem to me than the affair. I really think that I can deal with any of the truth, but the lies are so corrosive to the heart of our marriage.<P>Thank you for your thoughtful words, they really put things together with a new perspective.<P>Peppermint

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Lor, <P>I'll be willing to bet that all of us wonder the same thing.<P>I read a passage in one of the Harley books about 'protective lying.' Keeping a secret like an affair is a form of that. I can undoubtedly relate to being a protective liar. My H (BS) has had moments of protective lying as well. In the end, it's like you said - we have the best of intentions and don't want to hurt the other person. I can understand you wondering if the honesty was all worth it in the end.<P>However, I have mentioned this before here on MB - in the long run, I think it is far more painful and difficult when you find out a 'secret' and then discover that this big secret has been hidden from you all these years. Just the thought of the other person having the gall to keep it locked up inside for so long - you find yourself thinking back to situations where you thought you were truly happy with your spouse OR times when you thought you had a nice firm grasp on reality and then realize - gee - all this time this lie was in his/her head! Timely honesty has been a better choice many times for many people that I have seen. So, of course you did the right thing, Lor.<P>I also agree with you that not every last scummy detail needs to be revealed - there is a happy medium here. The best thing is to be as honest as possible and answer the questions your spouse asks of you. <P>I'm not exactly one to preach here on what I just said or about this point, but I do know that regrets can eat away your life and your sanity over time. I think you deserve to feel secure in the confidance that your decision to be truthful is the right choice.<P>Still Learning here too, <BR>Khyra<BR>

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Wassi, TNT, Khyra--thanks for your heartfelt responses. I'm glad I posted this question. The quandary of this question has probably been lingering in my mind for a long time, summed up with "I believe in honesty, but." Time to get the "but" out of there. [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>I listen to Dr Laura because I do a lot of computer work/data entry that doesn't require much of my brain and right now I don't want my thoughts to be randomly wandering, either to negativity or anxiety. <P>I'm not a Dr. Laura "ditto head" to borrow Rush's fans'nickname. I don't automatically agree with her. I like that she is tough & very opinionated, but some days she's just plain mean & harsh & her solutions unworkable. But her overall approach is that there is a right and wrong way to make decisions, and sometimes, like the affair/dishonesty advice, she mixes up & blunders. Also, given a marriage with any of the "3 A's" as she calls them--adultery, alcoholism, abuse--she doesn't encourage second chances, and I'd never call her about my marital situation, because having given my H 7 reconciliations she'd make me feel stupid, ridiculous & bad! But, for me, that was the right thing to do. People can change. We MBers know that as well as anyone.<P>I don't get Steve Harley's radio show here, last I checked, otherwise I'd be tuning in there.

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You know I don't listen to her often enough to get a real handle on her, but have always wondered how she reconciles her ability to change (since those nudies were taken :eek [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] but does not seem to allow for others having the ability to change.<P>Also wouldn't an orthodox Jew be more pro marriage and second chances?<P>Off topic, but I have wondered.

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FHT,<P>I agree, especially since she has also admitted to being involved with a married man in the past. It seems so hypocritical to me.<P>By the way, I read yesterday that her new show is about to be cancelled already. Apparently there are many people who have no confidence in Dr. Laura or her advice. Wouldn't it be great to give that television spot to Dr. Harley for a MB advice program? Or even to Dr. Phil since once a week on Oprah is not enough.<P>Peppermint<p>[This message has been edited by peppermint (edited September 29, 2000).]

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Good point, FHL.<P>If I recall correctly, she was raised with little religion, some Protestant, Lutheran? But her...mom, grandma? was Jewish and when she married a Jew, (uh, AFTER the affair & the naked pics [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] ) she centered on the Orthodox Jewish faith. <P>I don't know a lot about Orthodox Jews, but have been told that there are a couple opinions she holds that appear not to come from scripture, but I couldn't follow the agrument, nor do I remember which opinions. Good grief--that's a pathetic offering of info on my part. [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]

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Lor LOL<P>TNT - well said, girl! Now I want to scream.<P>If he is still not being honest - don't let go, don't settle for a CHORE of a marriage! Rember Dr. Phil says we teach others how to treat us...Keep looking for ways to get through to the old numbskull. I think it is only an LB to "teach" during those first tenuous months.<P>Does he buy into any of Harley's rules? And TNT, this is hard for me but getting easier, do you make it SAFE for him to tell you anything? He has to feel like he won't be judged. I learned to say it makes me feel awful, instead of you are...<P>I just posted an update on how well we are doing.<P>The single biggest thing is the HONESTY, about EVERYTHING. There is now nothing that we can't talk about.<P>And it is I as a BS who decides what details I do/don't want to hear. My focus had all been on OW #2 as he was in-love with her, but recently I told him it was time to go back to OW#1 and tell me all the details. And he did!<P>This is what is making our marriage so awesome! There are no more secrets, no protective lying, it is REAL.


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