Dave’s a surfer, he could spend hours in a lineup waiting for his chance to pull into the perfect barrel. Over the years he’s had his fair share of reef kisses. Most parts of his body have either been grazed, scratched, pierced or cut by some form of marine matter. Sea Urchins and broken bits of coral can really cause havoc if they splinter off and become embedded under the skin.
The tiniest shard can go undetected for a while, but over time—even after the skin has sealed over and the surface looks fine—it grows increasingly painful, then as the wound festers and infection sets in, it becomes obvious that there is something going on beneath. Something is causing the angry red inflammatory response and needs to come out, we might not be able to see it initially, but we can sure feel it . The only way to fix this problem is for the fragment to come to the surface and be removed completely.
This is no different when it comes to the lies of betrayal and infidelity.
When someone who has been unfaithful is caught out—it is common for them to minimise, understate, deflect or just simply keep on lying. They might give bare details in an explanation and attempt to appease the partner who has made the discovery but it is highly uncommon for them to tell the whole truth upfront. The full truth is quite likely to be a tad more shocking, right? They’ll probably be thinking along the lines of, “If I can just get through this one, the rest will remain hidden, I won’t do it again and my significant other will never know.”
Not likely—the pieces that have been omitted will remain as hidden as that minute piece of sea urchin in Dave’s foot! It’ll fester away and there’ll always be some other reason for the distance, the tiredness, the apathy, the grumpiness, the arguments, the disconnection, or the lack of interest a betrayed partner feels. Of course this ambivalence may not be evident at first—in fact, it could be quite the opposite—but eventually there’ll be a simmering beneath the surface, a discomfort, the “walking on eggshells” feeling. We know how this unfolds, drip, drip drip The unfaithful will be gaslighting you to protect their secrets, this takes loads of energy and leaves little for an authentic loving relationship, not to mention a lack of safety.
Permanent withholding will always be a permanent deficiency in the relationship, an obstacle to the love that could have beenJOHN POWELL
Here are a few reasons the unfaithful might with-hold information.
SHAME—I am a bad person, as opposed to I have done something bad. FEAR—My partner will leave me if they know the truth, no one will love me if they know who I really am (loops back to shame). PAIN—I’ve hurt someone I love dearly and I don’t want to cause them any more pain. (BTW someone who discloses their infidelity before getting caught, may be a little more forthcoming with details and truth, yet they still may struggle with offering a full disclosure)
These are all valid reasons but trust me, they serve no purpose for a couple aiming towards reconciliation. The facts must be faced and the truth needs to be told. PERIOD!
Whether you go through this process by yourselves or engage a therapist to assist with a full therapeutic disclosure is entirely up to you but my recommendation is that you receive professional guidance in understanding what’s involved and assistance in timelines and questioning.
The betrayed needs enough detail to get a clear picture of what’s happened, how they were deceived without gory details burning more traumatic imagery than is already there and certainly no more than is absolutely necessary—remember, THERE IS NO BLEACH FOR THE BRAIN!
Often the decision is dependant on funds, history, extent of betrayal and importantly the willingness of the unfaithful partner. Polygraphs are necessary in some cases.
None of it is easy.
If you had a malignant tumour in your neck and the specialist told you that your best chance of survival was to have it completely surgically removed—would you want them to leave any behind?
If you are serious about saving your relationship and desire to thrive after infidelity, you got to give it a fighting chance—this begins with safety and truth, not trust.
Trust will come later but for now the foundation needs to be built on a solid bedrock of safety and truth!
To quote Brenè Brown, “Choose courage over comfort”.
I’m rallying for you, I know you can do this!