It might seem like the questions will never stop, or that there are no answers that can satisfy.  However, there is a kind of “healing intelligence” behind these questions, and they usually occur in roughly the following sequence.  Although there can be more than one motivation for asking a question, a bit of introspection will reveal the core of what you are searching for.

Shock:  “How could you do this!?”  “How could this have happened!?”  “Do you have any idea what you have done to me?”  These first questions frequently are the emotional equivalent of shaking your partner by the shoulders as you try to comprehend that the affair really happened and at the same time convey the way you yourself feel so shattered.  The affair is still not completely real to you.  You are demanding that your partner somehow reconcile the person that you thought you knew with what you have discovered.  There are seldom satisfactory answers.

Piecing it Together:  “When did it start?”  “Who started it?’  “Has she been in our house?”  “So last Christmas,  all of that “business” texting… ?”   The facts.  You are now starting to piece things together.  You need to rewrite the history of your relationship and you are doing research.  Hopefully your partner will cooperate.  You need to know what happened to start to process it all.

Tests:  “Do you love her?” “Do you love her more than me?”  “Was sex better with her than with me?”   “Are you just staying with me because it is easier?”  “Do you really regret what you did?”    You are trying to get reassurance, to reestablish yourself as his only love.  Your partner has to answer perfectly for you to be satisfied or else you will keep asking.  Depending on your situation, the answers can be helpful or hurtful, or some combination.  You may find yourself repeating these questions in the hopes that you will get the answer you want.  Your partner may start telling you what you want to hear out of desperation.

Obsessive questions:  These are the ones you ask over and over and it almost doesn’t seem to matter what the answer is, you find yourself asking again and again.  “What attracted you to her?”  “What does she have that I don’t?”  “Where did you have sex?”  How many time did you have sex?  “What was sex like?”  “Why did you do it?  “Did you think of me while you were with her?”  As you can see these can be some of the same questions that you ask in other categories, the difference is, you find yourself asking them over and over no matter what answer you get.  The answers will either make you feel worse or satisfy you for a short time only and you return to them again and again.

These are also the questions that are most likely to lead to intense arguments.  Unlike the other types of questions, these are really expressions of feeling.  For example, “what does/did she have that I don’t have?” can be a statement about how undesirable or  inadequate you feel.  That feeling can be so painful that you cannot bear to be completely aware of it.  And if you are, perhaps at this point you do not feel safe sharing your vulnerability.  Putting him on the spot is much safer.  When you find yourself repeating these kinds of questions, see if you can ask yourself what you are feeling underneath. Then you can decide if you want to share the feelings.

Reflective Questions:  These come later, after the initial shock and devastation and some emotional sharing has occurred:  “Why did you feel you had to go outside the marriage?”  “Why couldn’t/didn’t you come to me if you were that unhappy?”  “How did you justify it to yourself?”  “How did your feelings towards me change?”  When you ask these questions you notice that you actually are interested in the answers and are willing to hear things that might be hurtful. These questions carry the healing potential to open up important conversations between the two of you.

One way to track your relationship’s healing process is to think about what kinds of questions you seem to be asking the most.  Most discoverers of affairs at some point get stuck in “test” and/or “obsessive” questions which can cause  conflict to escalate to an alarming degree on one hand, or emotional distancing to avoid such conflict on the other.  Marriage therapist in Walnut Creek is one way to get help to move through the painful feelings these questions represent and eventually establish a healing  dialogue.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Debby

    My husband of 28 years worked with this woman. He talked about her and what she was doing so much that I began to question him about the co-worker relationship. This went for two yrs. I told home I thought something was going on. The arguments became two or more times a week. He was fired from his job due to downsizing, but I think it was the very open relationship they were having at work. My husband’s obsession with this woman intensified 100%. I found out later he was meeting with her and six other men for drinks after work each week. He did not want me to meet me for dinner or drinks. In the past before this person entered our lives we went out at least once a week. Husband retired, we argued about his party, he did not want to have me plan a party at our house. At the party this woman discussed our financials and rubbed on him like he was a stripper pole. There are too many nasty words that he said to me. I met with an attorney, when I got home my husband begged and cried for me not to divorce him. I asked him to call her and tell her that the relationship was over and that I knew and planned to meet with her Husband (yes that is right) so we could all share this hell. That night our house had the windows broken out ( about five) . I called the police, they went and talked to. The seven men and their wives, plus the woman and her husband. They all denied having anything to do with this teenage stunt. My problem is I can’t get over this situation. We have seen marriage counselors. My husband doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Divorce may be the only way, but due to financial issues it is not likely. My husband is 67 and I am 59. The seven men and this woman are all in the same age group. We have known the men for 27 years. It makes me sick that our friendships meant nothing. Guess they never were friends, their wives too. Any way to help me get over this mess?

  2. Alan

    I don’t know why people ask if the affair sex was bad….in most cases it’s great (for those that are honest) with very few stating it was bad. However, it’s almost always “bad” when they explain it to their spouse. Cheaters lie. They lie to protect themselves and “not hurt” their spouse. I doubt anyone could believe what comes out of a cheaters mouth when it comes to the sex. Come on all you cheating wives, prove me wrong…’s anonymous here….lets hear the lies you told your poor chump husband to sooth his crushed ego.

  3. Anonymous

    Hello I would like to know what to think of this. I had an affair with a married man for about 5 months. I am busy getting a divorce, not over him. He phoned me twice a day and we texted all day. He said he loved me, every day. Then suddenly he stops and say nothing and then blocks me on his phone. Then after 4 days he phoned me and said sorry, that he is a coward but he really likes me. And then good night. The next evening again how sorry he is and that he is coward. And then a a nother one that he really loves me. Then he blocked me again. After 2 days he unblocked me but does not contact me any more. He is a Virgo and I know his marriage is not good. What should I think of this? Thank you.

  4. Anonymous

    #6 Thank you! I’m glad these articles are so helpful to you and your husband. Susan Berger, MFT

  5. Anonymous

    Though I agree that no one is responsible for their partners affair, I did not get the message that #3 recieved. My husband and I are finding these articles very helpful in understanding my feelings and are using the constructive tools to help us mend. We have yet to read more than 3 articles as we are reading one per day and discussing them. We’ve read a lot from other sites, have been to counseling together (told we didn’t need it after going twice?) I have gone to another individually (I have no support system but my husband) and have gone to a couples retreat, though we believe it was too soon for that. These are the first articles that I have found that really break down the questions I have and give me tools to understand them and ways to analyze them. Thank you!

  6. Anonymous

    I am having affair with a married women for the last two months. Now she is asking me about us having a baby. My question is that should I do that?

  7. admin

    #3 Thank you for writing. You are right. No one is responsible for their partner’s affair. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. Susan Berger, MFT

  8. Anonymous

    Thanks for your thoughtful cmnteoms. I agree with them. I disagree with several points in the article you recommend which implies that the wife is usually responsible for her husband’s affair and that she can heal the relationship by doing a better job of loving him. This may occasionally be true but more often, professional help is needed to sort things out. A qualified professional will help her use this upset to examine her own behavior in the relationship that her husband may be reacting to, but his reaction (having an affair) is his responsibility.

  9. Anonymous

    I know the woman.
    The emotional affair had been going on since 2009 until 2013.
    I had so many questions… mostly WHYs…
    And the best answers he could give were:
    “I dont know!
    I’m stupid!
    I made a mistake!
    I made a bad choice.
    I didnt realize I was hurting you that much.
    We are just friends.
    Nothing happened.”

    And my mental and oral reactions is always “You are a BIG, FAT LIAR!”

  10. Anonymous

    No matter what category of qustions you ask, the problem is, that you can’t believe a word of the answers.

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