It is the floor joists. It’s the rafters. It might not be the entire foundation of recovery after sexual betrayal trauma, but it is what is going to hold the structure together.
In the discovery process, especially the initial steps of disclosure, truth is definitely imperative. In trying to create a “safe zone” or buffer, the betrayer may try to give morsels of the truth in an attempt to lessen the blow. That will ultimately cause more pain to the betrayed and damage any remaining fraying thread of hope the betrayed had, if the betrayed feels they have to ‘play detective’ and pursue for honesty.
Withholding information from your partner for the sake of fear will only cause the betrayed to not only doubt your relationship, but themselves. If they find out down the road that full disclosure never happened, there’s a risk of irreparable damage. It will be like multiple “D-Days” (Disclosure Days), instead of one. Do not misunderstand or be disillusioned, this “layering” is inducing multiple traumas to the betrayed. This also causes the betrayed to feel as if there’s ‘always more’. It’s a bottomless pit.
If you cause your partner to doubt their own intuition and they later discover that they were right, not only will the betrayed never be able to trust the betrayer again, but the betrayed may begin to resent their spouse for their inability to trust themselves anymore. That’s a tough route to take, because once you do this your relationship may never feel safe again to the betrayed, and you risk never being able to get that solid foundation of trust back.
Accountability is like the ‘oxygen’ to trust. Without it, trust can’t begin to breathe and grow, and there will be no hope of the relationship surviving the trauma that has occurred. It’s rebuilding that trust by telling the truth of one’s whereabouts day by day, exposure to other people, internet activity, and also being responsible for your own actions.
Yes, it’s important to be able to know the whereabouts of your partner when you’ve been betrayed, but it’s also crucial to know that they don’t shift blame with their actions.
If a partner dumps the responsibility of their infidelity on another person, or event, then the betrayed is just going to stay stuck. This is part of the accountability, and frankly, being an adult.
People have to be responsible for themselves, and a betrayed cannot move forward (at least, staying in the marriage or relationship), if they always doubt the partner’s willingness to own up to their actions. If the betrayer doesn’t completely take on the responsibility of infidelity, then the partner’s going to question the infrastructure of not just the relationship, but the betrayer, because it will feel as though the partner is trying to avoid suffering consequences of their actions.
Adults take responsibility for their behavior. I cheated because I wanted to. Did my husband’s actions of emotional abandonment (and infidelity of his own) contribute to my infidelity? Actually, no. They contributed to how I felt in the marriage, and the affairs I had made me feel wanted, loved. That’s the nuts and bolts of it. My own insecurities made me stay in an unhealthy marriage, and then I dealt with it in even unhealthier ways.
If you’re going to cheat, be prepared to be responsible for it. Own up, people. It may be extremely difficult to tell the whole truth, but I know that for me personally, I have an easier time recovering from something that is disclosed to me without me having to pry, than something that is hid. Like I said – that’s a never ending path – always feeling like there’s more that’s untold.. thinking there’s ‘always more’ will feel like non-stop anxiety, and that hurts more than knowing you’re with a human that “slipped.”
If you cheat, but you are willing to be accountable, and transparent (no matter how difficult) then you will be actually nurturing your relationship. Attempting to dodge accountability and consequences will be self-sabotage. You may get it away with it in the beginning and it my buy you more time, but inevitably those sins done in the dark will come out in the light..and it may cost you everything. Be willing to be open, transparent, and most importantly – patient.