RESOLVING THE ISSUE AND REBUILDING TRUST—PART I

If you have questions about what happened, ask them. It’s important that you get the information you want, but try to focus on the basics of what happened and not on every minute detail, which can cause more pain and trauma. Knowing the basic facts of what transpired can help reduce your suspicions and uncertainty and be useful when trying to develop solutions.

It’s also important to set some limits on the information being sought. Do your best to focus on the fundamental issues, rather than on the smallest of details. For example, if your partner had an affair, it’s important to know how it started, how long it lasted, and how involved the relationship was. It’s not helpful to know what nicknames they may have called each other, what restaurants they went to, what table they sat at, and other small details. Asking about the smallest of details can prolong the process, and it doesn’t help address the important facts. In fact, seeking out the minute details of what happened can take quite a bit of time that might otherwise be used in healthier ways. When you focus your questions on the fundamental facts involved, you’re more likely to identify solutions to prevent it from happening again.

While getting to the basic facts of what happened will reduce your uncertainty, the things your partner tells you are going to be very difficult to hear. When your partner answers your questions, do your best to listen and avoid reacting in hostile ways. If you’re experiencing intense emotions, take a break and reflect on how you’re feeling. You should express how you feel, but don’t take your negative feelings out on your partner.

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