Infidelity: Why the Need to Know is So Strong
When you discover that your partner is immersed in infidelity, you may have a powerful need to know. You want to know the details. Maybe ALL the details. When? Where? How? How Often? What was it like? etc.
No. there is nothing wrong with you. In working intimately with hundreds of people like you, ravaged by an extramarital affair, the need to know is very common.
Here are six reasons why you might want to know.
1. The need for validation. If you tend to be intuitive, that is, soak in the signals from others around you and try to make sense of them, you may have this powerful urge to go back and find out what really happened.
Your partner says, “Yes, I was with him/her on that day.” You think, “Oh yes, I remember having a feeling at that time, an awful feeling. Now I know what that was about.” Or, “I asked you if you were having an affair and you denied it…or turned it back on me with your anger. I thought I was going crazy. Now I know I wasn’t.
2. You question your adequacy (and who doesn’t when confronted with marital infidelity) and a part of you wants to heal/change those thoughts and feelings.
And so, you venture into the comparative game and ask/think: “What did they do? Was he she better? What was he/she better at? What didn’t I do or give? Where do I get stuck emotionally/sexually?”
Sexual interaction is a “window to the soul.” Be kind to yourself when you compare. Learn. Often their sexual interaction leaves a lot to be desired. Know as well that your partner’s inadequacies will shine just as brightly with the OP (other person) as with you.
3. How bad is it? You want to know what you are up against. What is the extent of the boundary violation? How deeply embedded is my partner in this web? Do I throw in the towel? Will it be possible for me to forgive? How long will this take? How long will I hang in there?
This question is important for the “I can’t say no” and the “I don’t want to say no” types of affairs. Infidelity behaviors worsen over time with these kinds of affairs. You want to know where in this process is your partner.
4. I get turned on. Yes, knowing the details for some is sexually arousing. Frequently, upon confession of the affair for a couple, there is a discharge of sexual energy.
I hear someone say, “This is weird, but sex for us is better, more frequent and more intense than it ever has been.” Knowing the details of what happened with the OP may in some cases be very titillating and stir up hidden fantasies.
5. It’s a connection – maybe one of few. There may be a great deal of distance between you and your spouse. Conversations may be minimal. The affair, however, is front and center and becomes a focal point.
You ask questions, probe and want to know because it is perhaps the only point of connection. Something is better than nothing.
And your spouse may bring up the affair because it meets a need for drama. This is especially true of someone who “fell out of love…and just loves being in love.”
Or, your spouse may encourage talk about the OP because in some rather unconscious way s/he carries a load of revenge and wants to “twist the knife.”
6. You want to care for your self. You may have concern about STDs. You need to know the extent of the behavior and protection used, if there was sexual activity, for your own physical well-being.
The need to know is very powerful for some people in the midst of an affair. Examine carefully your situation and see if any of the above circumstances fit you.