I read a lot of blogs that are written by partners of sex addicts and other betrayed spouses. As I’d expect, many of these posts are filled with “what if’s”. What it he is cheating again? Was that text really intended for me? Was he really working late? Why didn’t he answer his phone? If he really went to the gym why aren’t his clothes sweaty? What is this credit card charge? Why does his car smell like gardenia? Some of the excuses we are given (and that we silently agree to believe) are down right hilarious.
No one will ever know every thought that goes through their partners head – it’s best this way. But the basis of trust in a relationship comes down to our actions. Did I think about hooking up with that hot guy at the gym? Sure I did, I am human. Did I act on it? Hell no. It’s not about the thought – it’s about the actions we take after the thought. When we are unsure that our partners actions are on the up and up, that’s when we have a problem that needs to be addressed.
If something looks suspicious, his stories don’t add up or your sixth sense is setting off alarms – those things can’t be ignored. Is he cheating? Is he lying? You need to know in order to make a healthy decision for yourself. If he has done it before then I hate to tell you but there is an extremely good chance he is doing it again…especially if he is an addict. He can’t stop that destructive behavior just by going to a few therapy sessions. It takes a lot of daily work to get sober and a lot of trust to learn to be transparent with our spouses.
I can’t emphasize enough how helpful the polygraph was to my relationship. After being lied to for so many years it was impossible to believe that I had indeed finally been told everything. Knowing 1/2 the truth was of no use to me. Holding back any lies would be an insurmountable obstacle to our future together.
My husband certainly didn’t like having to submit to the test but he understood the reason it had to be done. He wanted me to know, beyond any doubt, that I had been told the entire truth. After all the pain he had caused me, he owed it to me to do ANYTHING IN HIS POWER to make me feel safe. He didn’t resist doing this for me. Only after the truth was out could we could start again at ground zero knowing that everything was on the table.
The polygraph my husband took came back clean. But I think it was his willingness to take the test that made me really believe that not only did I have the truth about our past – but that his intentions for our future were on par with mine.
In my boundaries/consequences list I have indicated that we will do yearly polygraphs for at least the first 3 years since discovery. The concept of a lie detector has a horrible stigma attached – but it is exactly like having a former drug addict pee into a cup. It’s simply a tool we can use to verify a sexaholics sobriety. Nothing more, nothing less. It comforts me to know that I have this tool to use. If I ever have reason to ask “was he really where he said he was” I know that the truth really will come out.
I have suggested to friends in similar situations that they might want to explore the option of using a polygraph. Some have, some haven’t. I believe the difference is that some people truly want to know the truth. Others would rather live with a bit of denial and aren’t quite ready for 100% disclosure. It’s a personal decision but one worth considering. Why cause yourself undue anxiety over a husbands real or imagined activities.
Everyone’s path is different. I can only share what worked for me. I really needed to know the truth in order to start again. And my husband really needed to realize that he is still loved, even after I learned every horrible thing about his behavior. What an empowering way to live. What a great foundation on which to learn to be honest. I wouldn’t have it any other way.