Honesty After the Affair Vs. Trickle Truth

Honesty After the Affair Vs. Trickle Truth

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I'm idit sharoni, lmft
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair Recovery, Betrayal Trauma, and Surviving Infidelity. The owner of Relationship experts private practice and host of Relationships Uncomplicated Podcast
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What do you think about the truth and honesty after infidelity? If you feel like they are required for recovery after the affair, you aren’t wrong. You aren’t alone if you were betrayed and want the whole truth. You may even believe that, without knowing every single detail, you simply cannot move forward. 

A woman sits next to a man, her hand on her forehead, symbolizing lost truth & honesty after the affair. Relationship Experts can assist. Schedule a consultation today. Serving couples globally, including California, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, New York, Ohio in the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Yet, is it right that every bit of the infidelity truth will set you free? Maybe not.

Many couples report quite a different outcome when all the difficult details of an affair are divulged and sorted out. Instead of freedom, relief, or empowerment, betrayed partners are often burdened by intrusive thoughts and mental pictures they can’t escape. Sometimes, some aspects of an affair go so far as to re-traumatize hurt partners and hinder infidelity recovery and healing.

Still, if you are the hurt partner, it’s important that you aren’t saddled with the pain and anxiety of too little information either. Or worse, that infidelity truths aren’t wholly revealed or discovered. Instead, you get them a piece at a time. It can be additionally devastating to sense that you’ll never really know how you’ve been deceived or whether a trustworthy relationship is possible. That kind of “trickle truth” often does more harm than good.

Honesty is a natural step towards infidelity recovery but it isn’t an easy one. For the truth to come out and actually draw you closer to each other, there is a lot to consider, questions to answer, and a process that makes exploring the truth much more productive after the affair.


When we think about marriage and monogamy we equate them with being truthful and transparent. Conversely, we link infidelity with dishonesty and deceitfulness. This one-dimensional perspective leads us to believe that telling the truth will make us happy and keep us free. In other words, we tell ourselves that dishonest cheating will be helped and healed by honesty. 

Yet, things aren’t that simple.

Betrayal will cause you to have many questions. After the affair, the world seems to tilt and knock you down. You may feel dazed, confused, and bewildered as you try to make sense of your life and relationship. This is called a loss of coherence. Things between you and your partner no longer make sense.


Essentially, what you thought you understood about your world and the life you shared no longer connect. As a result, you have a deep need to regain your equilibrium. To reorient and stabilize yourself, you naturally attempt to regain your sense of coherence. 

How? By filling in the gaps regarding your partner’s behavior and betrayal. In short, you want answers and you want your partner to provide them. That is completely natural. However, to get those answers, you may be tempted to ask questions that interfere with your ultimate goal: recovery and reconnection. It’s not easy to know which questions will help you heal and which will harm you.

Moreover, your unfaithful partner likely must be clear about their own role. They must strike the right balance of patience and compassion while being more honest than they may have been in quite some time.


A man holds his head while a woman looks on, depicting the aftermath of trickle truth in infidelity. Gain insights to avoid this. Serving couples globally, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and California, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, New York, Ohio in the USA.

It seems simple: you want to know the truth. But from there, things just get more complex. In my work with couples, “the truth” often leads to issues they may not have anticipated. For example, hurt partners frequently share the following:

  • “I heard all the details. Now, my partner was free but I feel trapped, replaying what I now know.”
  • “The details were unexpectedly traumatizing, keeping me stuck in a cycle of crisis and pain.”
  • “Hearing everything fed a need to know more. I hate feeling like a detective in my relationship.”
  • “Constantly looking for the truth is killing any desire and passion between us.”

So, what is the path to a betrayed partner’s ability to restore coherence? What can an unfaithful partner do to avoid “trickle truth” and retraumatizing their partner? What questions help truth and honesty free you instead of tying you to the pain of the past?


When you initially question your unfaithful partner, it’s easy to become an investigator. You want the cold facts, the stark details. Unfortunately, without context, comfort, and conversation, this can easily cause you more trauma. Relationship expert, Ester Perel calls these kinds of inquiries, interrogative or detective questions

Better questions are transparency questions (Were you sexually involved? Is it over? How did you end it? How do you feel now?). They are less explicit but still provide information about what you are facing. 


The best type of questions are what Perel calls investigative questions. You want to get away from a one-dimensional perspective (truth vs. lie). Investigative questions require self-control and thoughtfulness. The answers received will provide more information about the meaning of the affair for your partner. They permit multi-dimensional truth and valuable understanding. Love, sex, loss, commitment, etc are explored in ways that detective questioning will not allow.

Investigative questions are inherently less antagonistic and less prone to trickle truth from an unfaithful partner. They are not easy conversations to have but they do open doors to vulnerability and sensitivity between you and your partner again. From there, sharing the truth is more productive and purposeful. The conversations you always needed to have, but never did, actually start to happen. Intimacy is built and a new closeness blossoms.

A couple stands, hugging by a window, symbolizing after the affair guidance fostering intimacy and closeness. Connect with relationship experts in Colorado, New York, North Carolina, California, and Ohio in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and globally.

In a nutshell, always seek the truth. Just be sure that the truth you seek is beneficial for you both. Ask yourself if you are rebuilding your connection by fact-seeking after the affair. Consider whether the answers you want lead to exploring your connection or force your unfaithful partner into a corner of shame and trickle truth. Pause and think about what matters most before pressing for details that might impede your affair recovery progress.


We have an experienced affair recovery team at Relationship Experts. We’re all prepared to serve you and your partner when you are ready. We can help you ask the questions that matter and grow as a couple too. Our practice provides many programs, resources, and aids. Please check out our online options anytime. 

Our helpful infidelity recovery coaching program is a proven path toward healing.

These three tips will help you get connected now:

  1. Plan your free 45-minute consultation.
  2. Talk to a program specialist. Discuss details about our Affair Recovery Programs.
  3. Come begin your affair recovery with us!


Our team at Relationship Experts provides affair recovery services built to help you and your partner survive and thrive. Our private practice, established in the United States, operates in Miami, FL. However, our services are obtainable online too. Connect virtually in the US, Canada, or the UK. Please read more about us and our offerings on our blog page.


I’m Idit, your blog writer & podcast host.

practice owner relationship expert PODCASTER
blog writer

I am the owner of the highly respected Relationship Experts private practice based in Miami, Florida and focused on affair recovery. In over a decade and together with my team, we help couples with surviving infidelity and healing from betrayal trauma

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair-Recovery and Infidelity Counseling in The United States and worldwide.

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