I often hear from wives who are trying to deal with two frustrations simultaneously. First, they are devastated that their husband has admitted to cheating. And second, they are beside themselves because he won’t disclose who he has been cheating with.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband finally admitted that he has been cheating. I’ve strongly suspected it all along. He hasn’t been coming home on time. He’s been taking a lot of private phone calls and texts. He’s been distant and cold to me. He hasn’t shown any interest in me sexually for a while. I have repeatedly accused him of cheating and he has always denied it. However, last night he finally broke down and admitted that he had been cheating but had recently stopped. If that’s not devastating enough, he will not disclose who he has been cheating with. He says that who she was does not matter because she is now out of his life. He says he wants to move on with our marriage and put this behind us. How can I even begin to do that when he won’t even tell me who she is? Why would he keep this from me?” I will discuss these issues (and try to answer her questions) in the following article.
Potential Reasons That Your Husband Won’t Tell You Who He Cheated With: There are various reasons why husband will want to keep the identity of the other woman secret. Sometimes, the husband knows that your learning her identity is going to make you tempted to dwell on or obsess over her and will therefore make it harder for you to move on. Many men worry that the second he gives you her name, you’re going to immediately Google her or find her on Facebook and then contact her to get her version of the story or to confront her. Many husbands want to avoid this at all costs.
Another possibility is that her identity is going to be particularly upsetting to you. It’s common for her to be a friend, colleague, neighbor, coworker, acquaintance or even a family member. If she is someone who you know, then you can feel doubly betrayed. I am not saying that any of these examples are valid reasons that justify his keeping her identity from you. I’m just trying to share what might be behind his thought process to help you come up with a plan or strategy.
How To Handle It When Your Husband Won’t Tell You The Name Of The Other Woman: I believe that you have the right to this information. If you are going to try to save your marriage, then you need to be fully aware of what (and who) you are dealing with. You can’t do that if he is leaving some pieces of the puzzle out. He may well be reluctant to give you her identity out of fear. But there are going to be plenty of difficult conversations in the days ahead and you must trudge ahead anyway. He needs to understand that if he is serious and sincere about moving forward with you, he needs to be forthcoming without exception.
In order to communicate this, a suggested conversation must be something like: “I get that you might be reluctant about my reaction to her identity, but that’s a risk you’re going to have to take because I can’t evaluate our situation without having all of the information. I need to know everything including details about who she was, where you met her, the nature of the relationship, and for how long it lasted. And that is just for starters. In order for us to even begin to heal, you’re going to have to show me that you are willing to be honest and forthcoming about everything. I will do my best to work with you, but you are going to need to do much better than this. I can not even begin to think about our healing or what I want to do moving forward until I have all of the information. When you are ready to provide me with that, let me know. Until then, we really do not have much to talk about. You say that it’s over with her and that you want to move forward. I can’t begin to do that until you are completely honest with me.”
I can’t promise you that these words will suddenly get him talking, but it will certainly give him something to think about. Some husbands will try to wait their wives out. They will just sit back and see if the wife will eventually drop the issue of the other woman. They hope that they will be able to get in her good graces in some other way. Whether you allow this or not is up to you. But I believe that her identity is information that you need to know. Of course, there are various ways that you can find out that information for yourself, but it is so much better if he tells you himself.
That’s not to say that her identity is completely vital to your recovery. Infidelity is devastating no matter who the other person was. But many women find it particularly hard if they personally know or care about the other woman. Still others want to know if she is younger, prettier, or what it was about her that caused the husband to risk his marriage.
And this is where you might reach a slippery slope. While I agree that you deserve to know who she is, I would caution you not to become obsessed with her once you get this information. It’s understandable to want to know as much as you can about the cheating as is possible (and this includes information about her.) But some wives get the basic information that they have asked for and find that it’s not enough. They’ll then take it further and research her, confront her, and then continue to think about or dwell on her.
This is often not in your best interest. Whether you want to save your marriage or not, the focus should be on your healing and on your ability to move on. If you dwell on her too much, you thwart your ability to do that. However, this isn’t even possible if you don’t know who she is.