This is for the porn addict in a marriage or established relationship, who has successfully hidden their addiction from their Significant Other (SO). Now you want to end the addiction. Should you tell them? I know why you don’t want to tell. It might threaten the relationship. They might blame themselves. It will destroy the image they had of you. It will mean admitting you lied. They might equate porn with cheating. They will feel betrayed. They will feel replaced. They may not support you. They may not understand that you still love them, that you never intended for it to get this far, that you are trying to protect them from yourself. And what if you fail? What if you can’t break the addiction and have to confess again? You make your own choices. It is my goal to ensure that you make informed choices. These are some things to consider as you move to reboot your brain and repair your relationship. #1. Your SO already knows there is a problem. If your addiction has progressed to the point where you, the addict, have decided that porn is no longer worth it, you can be assured that your SO knows there is a problem with your shared relationship. The typical effects of porn use that motivates addicts to seek help are Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED), Delayed Ejaculation, reduced physical sensitivity, and lack of interest in real sex, escalation in risky behavior, and/or crossing some moral line previously found abhorrent. However, porn addiction carries many other symptoms that are not as obvious to the addict, but apparent to the SO. They include emotional withdrawal and insensitivity, depression, anxiety, and irritability, among others. Even if your addiction predates your relationship, it is likely to the point of near certainty that your anti-social behaviour has increased with the addiction. You are not acting like the same person your SO committed to initially, and they have noticed. #2. Your SO might think the problem is their fault. If you have kept your porn use hidden, your SO has not found a discernible cause for your anti-social behaviour, and probably blames themselves. Thinking they aren’t sexually attractive, available or adventurous enough, and/or emotionally accommodating, or nebulously “good” enough, many SOs unwittingly enable their addicts and engage in self damaging behaviour as well. Predictably, none of these attempts end in favorable results, which causes stress and depression in the SO. Once the addiction is revealed, along with the expected anger and sense of betrayal, there is typically a corresponding sense of relief. #3. Your SO has a right to know. And from the same source, but deserving of its own quote box, Your addiction has damaged your relationship, which means it has damaged your SO. Not informing them of the origins of that damage, or pretending it doesn’t exist, does not mitigate it. Rather, deception, active or passive, amplifies the damage dealt to your SO. #4. Addiction wants to stay hidden to survive. When your SO does not know the cause, there remains a dangerous rationale for “one more time.” When your SO does not know, fear is a powerful motivator to continue sneaking around. Once they know, you are free to pursue recovery strategies in the open, and fear becomes an equally powerful motivator to remain abstinent. Furthermore, the act of informing your SO creates an atmosphere of honesty and is a tacit declaration that the relationship has become more valued than the addiction. #5. Personal repair vs. relationship repair. You can conceivably reboot your own brain by yourself, though experience has proven this is more difficult to accomplish than a reboot supported by your SO. You cannot, however, reboot your relationship by yourself. You might think that you brought both of you into this hole by yourself, and it is your responsibility to pull both of you out of it again. Whether for good or bad, this is not how relationships work. In order for both of you to properly heal from this addiction, as individuals and as a unit, both of you must be aware of the nature of the damage. #6. Some SOs regard deception to be worse than the infraction. Pornography is detrimental to relationships, but so are lies. Both issues need to be addressed for the relationship to heal. Informing your SO is not a choice to be made lightly. It could mean the difference between reboot and relapse, recovery and divorce, maybe even life and death. Further discussion is valued. For all of these quotes in full context, visit this thread.