I will admit that my target audience is faithful wives. This makes sense. This is the position that I myself was in, so I write from that perspective. It’s easy for me to speak from the heart because I so easily identify with many of the people who read my articles. I suppose that is why sometimes spouses who have had an affair occasionally also reach out to me. They want to hear from someone who might share the same perspective as their spouse. They want insight on what their spouse might be feeling (or on what their spouse might want or need moving forward.)
One very common question that I get from the unfaithful spouse is why does the faithful spouse need to know everything? Why does she ask so many questions? And why does she keep asking the same questions over again when an answer has already been given? Here is what a husband might say: “I like to think that I have tried to be honest with my wife about the affair. I confessed it. I told her as much as I could. I honestly don’t really know why I acted this way. I am ashamed of it, but I have owned up to it. I figured that if I came clean and answered her questions, we could just move on. But she doesn’t seem to want to move on. Because she can’t stop asking questions. Every day, there are more questions. Some of the questions I’ve answered several times. I try to be patient, but I admit that I’m certainly not as patient as I used to be because this just wears me down. There seems to be no end. Why do women ask so many questions about the affair?”
There are multiple reasons, but it really comes down to this: They are trying desperately to understand. And they are trying to determine what happens now. I know that it is frustrating for you to be asked the same thing in various ways. But frankly, we keep asking because the answer that we’ve gotten before is not making sense or we’re still trying to piece this all together so we know exactly what we are dealing with. We’re well aware of the fact that our husbands don’t have their motivations figured out – which is why we’re trying to figure it out for him (and for us.) We want to know what lead to this. We want to know if it’s preventable in the future (assuming that we want to save our marriage.) We want to understand your thought process because we want to know if you can be rehabilitated. We don’t want to ever go through this again, so we want to have every scrap of information available so that we can thoroughly evaluate the best way to move forward.
We know that you’re tired of the questions. It’s just that our need for information seems more important right now than your fatigue. I’m not trying to be funny or disrespectful, but I can’t overstate how badly wives want enough information to truly understand what they are dealing with. They don’t want to make the decision to stay or leave and have it be the wrong decision. At the same time, they are hurting very badly, so they doubt their ability to process all of this information at one time – which is why they ask again and again.
So what does all of this mean for you? In order to get some relief, you’re going to have to help her process all of this information in a meaningful way so that you don’t keep going in circles. You can do that via counseling or good self help resources that allow you to check off what you’ve covered. You can also agree that at a set time, she can ask you whatever she wants for a specific period o time. For example, maybe on Sunday afternoons, you discuss it for a five minutes. This allows her the knowledge that you’ll hear her out, so she won’t feel as much of a need to just bombard you with questions at random times.
Honestly, she probably doesn’t like all of the questions, either. I know I didn’t. I hated having to ask the questions. I hated the insecure feeling of having to sit there and brace myself for the answers. But being ignorant of what truly happened is a horrible feeling also. So please try to put yourself in her position and help her to understand what she really wants to know. It’s truly more simple than you think. She wants to know why this happened. And she wants to know what is her best strategy moving forward. She wants the information to help her to decide these two things. Try to remember that this isn’t her fault. She only needs the information because of something that she didn’t put into motion. She’s the innocent party, here. So as repetitive and tiresome as it is to answer the questions, you are better off being patient and trying to be very clear and not elusive. The sooner you make things as clear as you can by being as honest as you can, the sooner the questions will start to taper off. If you believe that you’ve already done this, then keep at it. Patience is one of the most important attributes that you can have right now.