Social Question

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

If your partner /spouse cheated on you, would you want to know all the details of the infidelity?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11271points) July 16th, 2011

There are two schools of thought…some therapists say that you should not “focus on the past” and just focus on creating a new future together. Other therapists say that it is important for the wronged spouse/partner to have their questions answered and that this will lead to a quicker more complete healing.

Through past experience, I have found that knowing the details of what/how/why it happened, helped me to feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I tried to simply “put the lid on it”, but the grief and betrayal was affecting my health. Finally, I just said, “I need to know…everything.” Even though our relationship did not continue in the long run, it was transformed by that truthful exchange and continued. Our parting (some time later) was more organic and mutual. We learned a new level of relating with each other (and still remain friends.)

My friend says she just didn’t want to know anything when her husband cheated on her six years ago. Apparently, he also got angry when she asked questions, so she shut down. Now, there are dozens of unanswered questions she still has (and they are really struggling.) Another friend’s wife cheated on him and he also didn’t want to know. The problem is that he barely speaks to his wife now and they are “staying for the children” and live in a bubble of non-speak, interaction and certainly not healing.

What do you think? Have you ever been in this sort of situation? How did you handle it?

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44 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

I have ALOT of guns. My wife would never say a word about it, especially who it was with.

chyna's avatar

No, it would be enough to know they had cheated. If I knew the details, I would probably play the scenes around in my head until I was crazy, so it would be best that I didn’t know.

Coloma's avatar

When I was younger yes. Now, no.
At 50 if someone is still playing those games, it’d be a swift execution, game over, no questions asked, no second chances. See ya. :-D

Kardamom's avatar

I would prefer to know ALL of the details, so I can know for sure whether or not I want to stay with the person (some things are much worse than other things) and I want to know with whom he cheated (so I can decide what I want to do regarding the “other woman/man”) and I want to know if the other person has been tested for STD’s, and I want to know why this happened in his own words/opinion/thoughts. As horrible as it would be to know all of the details, for me it would be worse to know none or just less of the details. I couldn’t make a rational or helpful or useful decision for myself unless I knew all of the details.

janbb's avatar

Don’t really know; only experienced it once in a teenage relationship. Guess I would need to know the extent and the meaning but not the details of how good the sex was.

Photosopher's avatar

If the cheating remains secret, then so should remain the details.

If the cheating becomes public, then so should become the details.

woodcutter's avatar

@Coloma execution? in the literal sense? or figurative?

Coloma's avatar


‘Execution’ as in…cut out of my life. Go before I put your head is in a basket. lol

poisonedantidote's avatar

Nop, the details are irrelevant, I don’t care if it was vanilla sex, or the kind of stuff you find on google when you search “brazilian lubricated ferret asphyxia fetish”... the main point is trust was violated.

marinelife's avatar

I think that I would want to know most of the details.

woodcutter's avatar

@Coloma That’s what I thought but wanted to have that on the record, Ha.

Hibernate's avatar

I’d ask a few questions but not all the details.

anartist's avatar

No. Just the conclusion. Do you love me and want to stay with me or do you don’t?
Is that affair past or is it ain’t?

Coloma's avatar


Don’t you have that backwards? I wouldn’t be asking THEM if THEY loved me or wanted to stay, I’d be asking myself whether or not I wanted them anymore, and that answer would be ‘NO!”
Be gone, you are more trouble than you’re worth!
I’m all about easy these days when it comes to relationships of all kinds, friends, lovers, work.
If it’s not easy and flowing, time to get going. lol

woodcutter's avatar

It looks like the younger folks are more forgiving on the matter. Maybe they still have most of their lifes ahead of them and therefore have time on their side to work things out? Or is it something else?

whitenoise's avatar

I want to be happy. I dont want to know anything about my if she would ever cheat on me.

If she would want to leave our relationship then I need to know.

We promised each other to be faithful. If ever she cheated, I do not want to transfer her guilt into my misery. It would make me very unhappy and I wouldnt know what I could do with the knowledge..

Cruiser's avatar

No…never again. I found the love letters from my ex-wife to her heroine addict lover and the brain explosion that ensued was beyond devastating! Nope…keep your God damn secrets to yourself!

Supacase's avatar

Yes. I have an overactive imagination and a mind that never stops. The reality would be better than what I would think up on my own.

abysmalbeauty's avatar

I don’t care whether I get the details or not, fact of the matter is I hold onto grudges big time and I would never forgive them. No matter what. Therefore therapist is not necessary because the relationship is over.

Porifera's avatar

Would not want to know the details. What for? To play them over and over in my head? Also, I’d probably add elements to the scenes that were not there making them even more hurtful. So, no thanks!

MilkyWay's avatar

No. If someone cheats on me, they’re gonna get booted outta the house. No matter what the details are.

Bellatrix's avatar

As much as I would hate having the details in my head, not having them would drive me mad too. I would have a million questions in my head. How often did they meet? Where did they meet? Why did he like her? What did they do (not extreme details)? I think to move passed the cheating, I would need to come to terms with what actually happened and it may be that I couldn’t move passed it. I don’t think I could move on without all the info. If I didn’t have it, and something came up later, I would then have to deal with that new information later. I would rather get it all out on the table, be sad, hurt, horrified, angry etc. and finally… move passed it or move on.

choreplay's avatar

Yes I would want to know. The level of how they gave up all those details would speak to me about sincere and honest they wanted to be now.

chewhorse's avatar

Nope, don’t wanna know.. The simple fact of owning up to it is enough for divorce court. Once this has occurred it begins to feed on both mates.. Any future quarrels or arguments will bring up the past (as a weapon).. No, I couldn’t tolerate either being reminded nor reminding of either my or my mates infidelity ..

blueiiznh's avatar

It varies between people and also varies based on where they are in the healing process.
From all I have read, yes there are two schools of thought and action on it.
The main thing is that the person that did the cheating needs to honor the requests of their SO in order to try to heal or ever regain any ounce of trust if it is even possible. The cheater bears the burden if they each are willing to try to continue. Otherwise, it is destined to fall apart.

I have been on the side of being cheated on. At first, I was in a mode of wanting to know all the details. To play it all out in my minds eye. It was very painful, but I felt I needed it. It was able to answer major things and also if there was a feeling of remorse or not.
I was willing to try to salvage it. It however left me on a sort of high alert phase for a bit. I over analyzed everything in my head. It was incredibly difficult. The littlest of things would flash me back into pain mode for the first couple months.
It eventually fell apart when I found out that not all the information was actually fully answered and more lies were used to cover other actions or activity.
Once that occured, it was over for me.

Coloma's avatar


Sounds similar to my story, once upon a time, yep, more lies in the name of ‘truth’, time to go.
I think anyone that’s been down this path knows the odds of rebuilding are about 1 in 75,000,000. lol

Bellatrix's avatar

@Coloma but still many of us try. I am hopeless at giving up on things. Sometimes, you have to give it a go just so you know you did do everything you could. I agree though… very long odds.

bkcunningham's avatar

Like @Coloma, when I was younger I wanted the details. Not now. Nope. No way. No how. No more wasting my time with that silliness. He’d be history. @Cruiser, that is horrible. Sorry that happened to you.

Coloma's avatar


Oh, I gave it MY all, and then, equally so when my mind was made up to go. haha

creative1's avatar

I have been on the side of being cheated on and all I wanted to know is when it began and how, but once I walked in on them together it was fully over for me. Just seeing him with her in bed killed the relationship for me and I had to walk away never to return. He tried to get me back for a very long time and he would call me all the time until I changed my number. I guess all I needed to know from wanting to know when is because our relationship changed a little bit and I just needed confirmation that was when it was and it was.

Cruiser's avatar

@bkcunningham Thanks! That was very not fun indeed.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@creative1…..I know of other people that this has happened to….I could not even begin to think what my reaction to that would be. That must have been very hard for you…I am sorry you had to witness that.

@Cruiser…Sorry you also went through that. :( I think when you come across the evidence (as I did, I found some incriminating things that I won’t even mention…) there is a sort of “explosion” in your head. Especially when it comes out of left field.

@blueiiznh…You are right. Sometimes you “think” you are being told the whole story…and then….more “details” start to emerge and eventually you think, “What’s next? What else wasn’t said to me?” And then you begin to doubt the sanity of it all.

Thank you all for answering….it’s interesting to see how many of us have been through this sort of situation. (Sadly.) Lurve coming to all! Thank you!

Coloma's avatar


Yes, but…while in the thick of the pain and dysfunction one cannot envision HOW freaking, amazingly HAPPY they will be once they come out the other side.
In my case it was the biggest of dichotomies, from the depths of hell and despair to the most overwhelming joy and freedom.

Not only is it true, that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, is also true, that not only can one emerge stronger and more confident in their inner voice, their intuition and self trust, more sure of what they do and don’t want in their life, relationships, but also…for me, the sheer JOY of reclaiming MYSELF.

The first cut is the deepest, and after that, after the worst has happened, nothing and nobody can ever take you down like that again!

Of course, this is only true for those that do their own work, some get stuck in bitterness & distrust forever. Not good.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Coloma….I could not have written it better. I feel much the same way. Excellent posting. I didn’t say what happened to me. My spirituality deepened, I began to reprioritize my life, I learned to ask “harder questions”, I followed my intuition about people more and I felt a certain fearlessness. Thank you so much for saying what was in my heart.

Coloma's avatar


Kindred souls, no doubt. :-D

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. If she cheated, she cheated, that is the main thing that is important to me. The only think I want to know is why she felt she had to step out or be unfaithful. Where, and when it happened, if I didn’t know it already, is of no importance. It would not serve me to see her any better in light of the facts if she disclosed how many times she had an orgasm riding his drumstick, or how well she oraled him down, what she wore for him or he bought for her. I only want to know what made her, or compelled her to do it, the rest is irrelevant. What comes out of her mouth will determine my actions not where the past action took place or who the mook that she was boinking is. I don’t see any benefit in knowing.

Porifera's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central So you actually think there is a valid reason for the henious act of cheating and you are willing to forgive and forget? Why do you think people do it other than because they like the other person very much and they are so sexually attracted to them that they —at least momentarily—forget about you and put you in the back burner. Knowing why is part of knowing the details I think. There is no why. Sometimes people don’t even know why they are so higly attracted to others that that’s the only think it matters and they go through with it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Porifera Why do you think people do it other than because they like the other person very much and they are so sexually attracted to them that they at least momentarily forget about you and put you in the back burner. The way I see it is I can forgive, but I didn’t say I would forget. If I had to dwell on it and could not get passed it, then the smart money would be to walk away before it consumed me. I have been witness to many different relationships and seen many different types of catalyst for cheating. Often it is that they had an infatuation for another so strong they felt compelled to act. Usually if they did that it was because their partner stopped filling a need they had before. Be it they became workaholics, just got inattentive, etc. then here come another woman or man that makes them feel important again, they had a good feeling when seeing him/her so they wanted more, and the only way to get it was to be vested in this person that was not who they were married to or living with. Sometimes one party got abusive to the other, verbally or physically, that can ruin care and desire for the other person because the abuse made them a different person than the one they met. Other times it was drugs, Drugs blanked their common sense, or was a tool in procuring more drugs. It is not all about lust for the sake of lust or all about sex in the beginning.

Sometimes it is about sex if one looses the desire to have it with his/her partner and they still want it, and in greater measure then their partner is putting out.

If I knew why, then I would know if it was because I had a hand in it. If I took on more, and more work, and when I got home I was too tired to give her any attention, or sex. Too busy to even get together to do couple things like date night, etc. then I might unknowingly by my lapse of attention never seen her when she was trying to connect or stitch the gap back up.

syzygy2600's avatar

I’m 25 and if a girl ever cheated on me, her ass is out the door, no questions asked.

Porifera's avatar

@syzygy2600 Ditto.

@Hypocrisy_Central I knew what you meant before all that though. You are right in that there are many reasons for cheating other than pure lust, or that even in the event of it being just lust there is always another reason underneath that pushes the person to go throught with it. What I was trying to say was that regardless of the reason, I would not want to continue with that person so it wouldn’t make any difference to me if I knew why or not.

FluffyChicken's avatar

I would want to know, yes. It would be part of the closure.

lizardking's avatar

I have been in this situation while hospitalized(myself), and when she went to tell me I put my fingers in my ears and went la la la la, don’t want to know.

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