Is my cheating spouse serious about working things out? – Part III – Transparency

The final post in this 3 part series is about Transparency after the affair. When your husband cheats, trust is shattered. In most situations, we are not talking about a little white lie; we are talking about months or even year’s worth of lying and secrets. Not only as the wife are you dealing with the shame of thinking ‘I am such a fool for not knowing’, you have the added dynamic of thinking ‘Is he still lying, how do I know it’s over?’.

If your spouse is serious about repairing the marriage, he has to be transparent. There is a HUGE difference between being transparent and being the detective wife. Being transparent is when the husband is very open and casual about his personal belongings. It has nothing to do with you snooping, and everything to do with his ability to be transparent with his actions. Here are a couple of examples of what I mean by being transparent:

1. You finish cooking dinner, and go downstairs to tell your husband that dinner is ready. As you walk up to him on the computer, he quickly closing the screen he was on. – Not good.

2. The cell phone is attached to his hip or he changed is lock access code after you found out. If your husband’s cell phone is attached to his hip after the affair, that is not being transparent and breeds hiding and secrets, not the best time to do this. A cheating husband that really wants to work things out has to humble himself into being more open. For instance, unlock the phone. If it has to be locked for security reasons, leave the phone on the couch or table to show your wife you had nothing to hide. Tell your wife to get your phone and pull up something. Doing little random acts of transparency goes a LONG way in marriage recovery.

3. Typically your husband gets home at 6pm, and tonight he decides to stop by the grocery store, so he arrives an hour late, doesn’t call and when he gets home, he just says that he was out. You start crying because your husband coming home late is a ‘trigger’ for you (a reminder of the affair). He proceeds to get mad and say that you need to get over it! Not good. A husband that is serious about working on the marriage has to understand that a simple 5 second phone call to say ‘Honey, I am going to the grocery store after work.’ is a small act of transparency that agent goes a LONG way in restoring the marriage.

Little acts of transparency built up over a time is how the foundation of trust is restored within the marriage. That is a critical piece of the puzzle.

Now what I just describe is much different from being the detective wife. The detective wife spends half her day checking up on her husband. She is determined not to get played again and often sacrifices her own happiness in order to investigate her husband. I was the detective wife for a short period of time and I was miserable. And I never found anything. I would have been better off observing his transparency level vs. being a detective wife. A husband’s transparency level after the affair will tell you everything you need to know concerning his commitment to working on the marriage.

To conclude, below are the three main questions to ask to determine if your husband is serious about working on the marriage:

1. Is he taking responsibility for his act of cheating?
2. Is he just talking saying he wants to work on the marriage, or is he leading/taking action on those words?
3. Is my husband displaying transparent behavior?

If I would of know these three steps myself after I found out my ex-husband was cheating, I would of quickly been able to determine that he never broke off the relationship with his mistress. My goal in writing this is that I hope is helps someone else determine quickly if their husband is taking the necessary steps towards recovery, or still playing games.

8 thoughts on “Is my cheating spouse serious about working things out? – Part III – Transparency”

  1. Jewels, Another great idea, I have been wondering about how to approach my husband about my insecurities and the things he does sometimes that are triggers for me. I think iI will have him read this because I have felt for a while that not only have we not been progrssing in the way I had hoped but we have been slipping back into old ways that caused our disconnect in the first place. I am guilty of that too not just my husband. Thanks again for the guidance.

  2. Jewels,
    Everything you wrote was right on! My husband has been transparent since I found out about the affair w his phone, work computer, calling throughout the day, and like you even mentioned, when he is on the way home and makes a stop somewhere..he knows this is his responsibility and the result of his actions. He obviously never had to be so accountable before, and even though I haven’t asked him to even do this now, he understands that he needs to do these types of things to aid in rebuilding my trust..in the beginning I looked more often, but now rarely feel the need to.
    Actions truly speak louder than words.

    1. Kem – so glad to hear that your husband is stepping up and understands the power in transparency after the affair. Those little ‘calls’ and mindful actions help to rebuild the shattered foundation of trust. Yes, actions over words, take care!

      Gimlet – I think it is easy to ‘slip’ back. I feel that the amount of work and effort it takes to rebuild is under-estimated. We live in a society where we have access to so much so easily. And when it comes to difficult challenges, well, I think we are just not use to consistently working at it, which is what it takes. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, but little small acts of rebuilding the marriage and trust over time can really make an impact. I will be sending hugs to both you and Kem today!!

  3. Jewels,
    First off I have to say I am a husband that has done some forms of cheating to my wife and I am not proud of it at all. I texted a female coworker and his it from my wife. Now nothing physical ever happened but I do understand that she feels betrayed by me from the secrets and lies that I told her. But I know I really want to change for myself and not for just my wife. So I have decided to start going to co-dependent meetings in my town as well change the habits that I did that would trigger her to have these feelings again. I have made my phone 100% available to her for her comfort as well as trying to ask her feelings everyday to see if I can pick up any new understandings of what she may be feeling. I really do love my wife and really want to change for myself, my marriage, and for her. Is there any literature that you would recommend for me to read or for both of us to read that might help with her coping process? Right now she doesn’t know is she wants to continue this marriage and I don’t blame her for feeling that cuz I made her feel that way with my actions so now I want to show her with my changed actions that I do love her and want to change and fix our marriage.

    1. Jory,

      It seems like you are headed in the right direction with your actions, but again I only know a small portion of the story. There is a book called After the Affair – Healing the pain and rebuilding. That would be a good one. You mention you did some forms of cheating, did you tell your wife or did she find out? Did you interact with multiple women over time? And did she see interaction occurred or something more? Answering those questions will give me some context into how to respond as well.
      For you, again, you are doing things right. The real key is for you and your wife to talk and you to really understand what led you engage with other women. What caused you to respond. Knowing that will be key to prevent it from happening again. I am happy that you are taking responsibility for your actions and leading the effort to try to heal. Also, your wife may need individual counseling.

  4. Well Jewels,
    My wife did find out and like a guy I of course denied it and lied to her at first. And then things got ugly and words were exchanged that I will not repeat but I knew deep down that I was wrong and if I really loved her like I say I do then I need to just admit to her my faults and take my responsibility for the actions of what I did to her. So I told her everything and answered every question she wanted to ask. Though I know it hurt her to hear the details I told her that I don’t want to lie to her anymore even if it hurts her. She still asks the same questions everyday and I still tell her everything all over again, is this normal? Anyways like I said before I found out that I have co-dependency traits so I wanted to get some answers of why I would do things not just to her but to myself. I have been going for a month strong this Thursday and been finding some real good realizations of what would make me act this way to anyone especially my wife. So now I am rebuilding not only myself but at the same time starting to rebuild my marriage. She does break me down with hurtful words which are not helping my program but I understand that she is still completely torn apart by my actions and that is the only way that one, she can see me and two, that is the only way she can express to me how she feels. She still doesn’t know what she wants to do with is and after reading the rest of your ebook I realized that I was making the mistake of telling her to decide if she wants to stay. That was a big wrong on my part and after reading more of your blogs tonight and other people’s stories that I still need to be supportive and not forceful of the situation and allow my wife to properly heal on her own time and not mine. I really do love my wife and will continue to be transparent and open with my life, feelings, thoughts, and anything else that she need to help herself cope and heal. Thank you for you encouragement and creating this site and for being the person that cheated it is enlightening to see just a small taste of what my wife is experiencing. So thank you for that as well as that book I am going to my local libraries tomorrow to see if I can find it.

    1. Hi Jory,

      Glad that reading the site is helping, there are so many women that would love for their husbands to come to the site and try to understand their view, so the fact that you are doing it is great. You mention that your wife keeps asking you over and over again about what happened? That is not normal. The point of transparency is to show your wife that you are fully committed to rebuilding trust. Her asking what happened and you telling her again and again is slightly dysfunctional. I’m no therapist but it almost seems as some form of abuse, I am not sure if she is doing it to herself as a form of hearing it over and over again or if she is doing it to hurt you over and over again. Either way, telling her what happened is great to do as a way to show her no more secrets. Telling her every single detail is another thing. For instance you can tell her that you had sex with the other woman. But telling her the details of how you made love, that’s a bit much. There is no need for her to know how she kissed you, what area’s ect. Next time she asks, ask her how sharing this information will help the relationship. Ask her why she would like you to tell her again. There is some type of mental loop/pattern that is going on, and hopefully with reading, talking and self-reflection, as a couple you can break the pattern. Take care!

  5. Gotta agree with Savannah here. Put yourself in his shoes and think about how you’d feel if he did the same to you. Also, you might want to talk to a colsoeunr (or him if you tell him) about your choice to play strip poker without him and the guilt you now feel. If you didn’t think it was wrong you wouldn’t feel bad and you need to figure out why you’d want to do something that could jeopardize your marriage.

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