Telling the Wife

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by RiverBlue, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    My wife doesn't know about my porn addiction. She doesn't know about my bisexuality. She doesn't know anything about my extensive sexual history pre-marriage. (Other than porn, I've never had any sexual relationship with anyone other than her since we started going out.) We've been married almost 15 years and have a son.

    We've had some issues with our relationship at times. We see a relationship therapist. At this point, with the therapist's help, our relationship is pretty good. While my porn addiction has had some effect on our relationship for sure -- particularly my sex drive with her, I think -- I don't think it has ever been a big source of relationship problems.

    On here, it seems almost universally accepted that one has to tell one's spouse. It's presented as a prerequisite -- something one has to do in order to kick the addiction. I don't see that.

    I've made significant progress in kicking my addiction. I see no reason why I can't kick it completely without telling my wife about it. Whatever benefits my marriage gains when I'm off porn are there whether or not I tell her.

    Now, some suggest an understanding spouse is a help in dealing with this addiction. I get that. And there is also the consideration that she may discover this on here own, and it would be better to tell her pre-emptively. I get that. So there are good reasons for some to tell their partner about their addiction.

    But, unless I'm missing something, I don't get the idea that this is a must in every relationship. And even more that this is something that has to be done to ever be successful with kicking a porn addiction.
     
  2. Buzz Aldrin

    Buzz Aldrin Fapstronaut

    It's better to say it. Building up just gets you more & more worried. Eventually it may even break you. If she loves you she'll understand that this isn't about her it's because of something in your brain. You still love her, But like an alcohol addiction it has effects on your life. So your being a better man by saying to her.
     
  3. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    This is the reason to pre-emptively tell. I do get that. But I'm still not sure this answers the question, which was whether this is something that has to be done to ever be successful with kicking a porn addiction.
     
  4. Buzz Aldrin

    Buzz Aldrin Fapstronaut

    Do what everyone else does, install blockers, remove triggers, cold showers, delete porn (if you have any), get rid of porn accounts (again if any), exercise, any of that just to keep you distracted. (And no peeking)
     
  5. palindromo

    palindromo Fapstronaut

    In fact, even in my opinion, you don't necessarily have to tell her. The important thing is that you get out of it

    if you can't do it on your own, ask her for help in the future
     
  6. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    @Buzz Aldrin That's exactly what has been working for me. :)
     
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  7. Trobone

    Trobone Fapstronaut

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    Eventually, you're going to get caught.
     
  8. You share a few similarities with me in that you are bisexual and married. I've been married for nearly 3 years and we have a child on the way. I hid my bisexuality even after I initially came clean to my wife and only admitted it to her after my third time of "full disclosure".

    In my personal opinion I think you should tell your wife. I think it's important to be truthful to your partner and to allow them to make their own mind up about it.

    In terms of my relationship with my wife I think my P addiction definitely had more of an effect than just sex. The increased sense of honesty between us allows us to bond more closely and I don't have to go around feeling like I have to be on my guard hiding things from her constantly. In some ways hiding your recovery is just as bad as having to hide your addiction. We are also generally a lot more close and intimate with each other.

    I think to question if you are you being honest with yourself when it comes to this. You are at the point of seeing a counsellor so there is evidently some issues in your relationship. Is it not awkward having to hide things during discussions? If it hasn't ever come up, what would you do if you were asked outright?
     
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  9. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    @JamesTheSquirrel An interesting point!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  10. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

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    My husband thought it wasn't effecting us either. He thought it was this self-contained indulgence a few times a week to make him feel better about stress and bad things. Guess who he wasn't going to with his emotions? Guess how his mood was the rest of the time? Guess how tolerant he was of our kids during withdrawal? Guess how great his memory and energy was?

    Truth is he was not kind to me. He went from being so calm and gentle when we first dated, too short tempered and grouchy. Angered over little things. But if you asked him what was wrong, it was never anything even though it seemed like he was seething. He'd want to test the waters for physical intimacy for the night the second he walked in the door when I was barely holding on from kids and took those 10 seconds to be permission to act out later, creating his own rejection story. The truth was later in the night when the kids were asleep and I was calm, then I missed him. Most all of our problems have been because he created a cycle of not turning to me emotionally and then acting out when he couldn't handle life and a wife who doesn't want to be used for sex when she doesn't feel connected. By his own words this is what happened to us. He had no clue and now he sees it clear as day and is so mad at himself. He did it all.

    When secrets are present, intimacy is absent.

    From a trauma perspective, I wish I never knew. The pain sucks. BUT if he's using porn, I don't want to be with him. If he goes back to it, we will be divorced. And truth be told given the toll it created in this marriage, it probably would have pushed us there anyway. It might go over more gently if it is done with your therapist since you guys have one.
     
  11. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    I am really sorry to hear your story, and how your husband's addiction has affected you. I am really sympathetic. But, while you may think I am not seeing the real effects in my marriage, what you describe does not match my relationship with my wife.

    And I think it is a bit different from my question as well. Is it necessary to tell one's partner about one's addiction in order to recover from it? What if one can recover on one's own, the porn goes away, any effects of porn addiction go away, and the relationship is renewed -- without revealing anything to one's partner?

    I think the idea of coming clean begins from a different point. It starts with the assumption that the porn addict never actually recovers -- maybe they manage it better -- but it's always going to be an ongoing problem and have ongoing effects on the relationship. In that case, then it's clearly unfair not to reveal the problem to the spouse. But I don't start from the assumption that one cannot recover from this addiction.
     
  12. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

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    Good luck. I don't personally believe it's possible. My husband went 10 years before relapsing again for twice the amount of time as the first. He's now over 600+ days without a relapse or slip and I still realize that without the proper work in it's not a done deal. The stats on this addiction are not pretty with only 5% ever truly healing for good. I just don't see how one could possibly heal from this having secrets. And a marriage with such a tremendous lie is not going to function well - plus all the additional lies it will take to mount a strong enough recovery. Who would want to be married to a spouse who is so damaged, so hurting, dealing with something so hard and you have no idea? I've seen both sides of the lie now, and as much as I am in pain, I prefer this husband that needs me in his darkest hour and loves me enough to no longer hide anything. For a lot of us wives it is not just about the infidelity of porn itself, but also the disconnect and failure to commit to a true marriage that is open, honest and bonded.
     
  13. p1n1983

    p1n1983 Fapstronaut

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    You are rigth. Man solve their problems by themselves. Work on it to solve it, maybe if you need to, talk this with close friend or maybe a profesional.
    Telling this to your woman is only going to bring drama to the table. Showing this weak side of yours is going to make her don't trust your masculine core and loose attraction and respect for you.

    If you want, once this addiction is over or you are preatty clean, you can tell her about it as and example of sthrenth and improvement.
     
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  14. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    @p1n1983 Thanks man. I appreciate your different viewpoint. I have to say that I just don't see where telling my wife is likely to 1) help me get off porn (I just don't see how telling her connects to my stopping) or 2) lead to anything buy conflict and hurt feelings.
     
  15. CrimsnBlade

    CrimsnBlade Fapstronaut

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    Because honesty is a must in every relationship. It's a non-negotiable if you want any sort of meaningful relationship with your spouse

    This further reinforces the above.

    From your perspective that may be true, but you'll never know your wife's perspective unless you talk to her about it. Hiding things is lying. Pornography is choosing someone else over your wife. It took me a long time to figure out the reality of what I was doing. How much I was betraying my marriage vows every time I looked. There's no doubt she will be devastated. When I told my wife, she made a good point. It's not my decision to say what I get to hide and what I don't. She is my spouse, she is my partner, and she is the person I've decided to team up with and go through this life with for better or for worse. You can't have the intimacy without the honesty. It just isn't possible.
     
  16. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    When men tell their SO's, what happens is there is another layer of accountability with recovering that isn't there if they don't know.
    An example would be let's say you wanted to start exercising regularly but have a difficult time getting into a schedule. You find yourself lacking motivation on some days and finding excuses not to do it. However, if you tell your SO that you want to start exercising every day, subconsciously you've created a layer of accountability because you want to follow through with what you said. It helps with motivation as well, especially if your SO decides to exercise with you.
    Or let's say you're addicted to donuts. Would it be easier to stop eating them if your partner knew you wanted to stop, or would it be easier to do on your own?
    There's a lot of variables involved with P addiction. My husband thought him and i had the best relationship ever and often bragged about how well we communicated and worked things out. On my end, however, I felt distant from him and couldn't figure out why. I didn't feel as though we communicated that well, even though we could talk for hours about things, mainly because he wouldn't remember things from one day to the next. He never knew me. As in, knew who I was on the inside and didn't seem to want to know either. He created stories about me in his head and that was who I was to him. It was not a happy marriage.
    I get not wanting to tell your wife about all this. Who would want to subject someone to extreme emotional turmoil and pain and who would want to make themselves vulnerable to the extent that they are essentially standing there naked in a puddle of shame and guilt? Not many people would jump on that opportunity. However, what does happen by telling her is those walls come down that you've built up either knowingly or unknowingly (part of the addiction) and you're able to discover who you really are as a person without all that you've had to accumulate in life to hide yourself. See, you're not just hiding the P, you're also hiding who you are, from her and from yourself.
    Whether you tell her or not is up to you. I won't tell you one way or the other. If you choose not to tell her though, get yourself an accountability partner at least so you have that help especially when you start going through withdrawals. Best of luck to you.
     
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  17. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

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    What is your longest sobriety? Of course you don’t see it. You have been numbing out, getting high most likely your entire adult life. Maybe you, like my husband are a functioning addict. You are highly successful in your career, volunteer at church, you provide anything and everything your wife could possibly need or want. You’re asked to speak at national conventions, people call you for help. Except- you turn her down or don’t initiate sex.you don’t look at her and get hard, wishing you had more time to get back in bed and cuddle and make love. You don’t jump up to help wash the dishes because you’re too tired from work ( aka pmo, getting high). You get defensive over little things or have a short temper. Nothing huge, nothing that you don’t see in other marriages, so you know yours is fine. You laugh a lot with your wife and she’s your best friend. You tell her everything, except this dirty little secret that continues to remain a cancer, not only in your life but your marriage as well. Your marriage has cancer, you know it but your wife doesn’t. She only knows that it’s lost weight, has a slight cough, can’t remember things as well, gets tired easily. You go to counseling and things get better, chemo can do that, palliative chemo can keep you feeling better and alive. Eventually though, if the cancer isn’t removed, you will remain sick and die. You can change your marriage without telling her, it is highly unlikely, and so far that hasn’t worked for you. If you could do it then why haven’t you? You see, that’s the biggest lie addicts tell themselves. They can get clean alone. You can’t. Would you think a heroin addict could be an addict while married and it didn’t affect the relationship? Then he could get clean while hiding his recovery? Part of why this is so hard to quit, is because it’s so easy to access and hide. Until my husband had months of recovery, months not days, I had no idea how much it affected him and us. No idea. He’s been working recovery for 2 years, has had 6 slips. However, in spite of his relapses, he continues to work his recovery and he has continued to change! Two years and he’s just getting to know himself. He said that’s been a really hard realization. That he had this view of himself and now that he’s clean it’s completely different. He said it’s scary. He doesn’t know who he is. Yeah, he’s numbed out several times a week for his entire adult life, so who is the sober man? His relationship with our kids has changed drastically, it’s incredible to watch. Literally everything in our marriage has changed. How could it not? He’s a completely different man. Ask yourself, how badly do you want to be clean? It’s not just going to happen. What are you willing to do to be in recovery? 90 meetings in 90 days is what AA tells the new members trying to get into recovery. Counseling? Giving up internet? Heck most of you guys treat this like a joke. Then wonder why you can’t stop. I don’t even know how someone who is really working towards sobriety and recovery could hide that from a spouse. Far easier to hide your porn addiction.
     
  18. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

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    Because what, she's going to think he's so strong and wonderful? She might be relieved it's not happening anymore, but it's not going to take away the pain and the betrayals. The betrayal of infidelity from pornography followed by the betrayal of going through a life changing process all by himself. Turning outward again to other people while hiding it all from his wife. She's not going to be happy about all the other lies to keep even the recovery hidden - counseling, internet filters, stopping social media, going to support groups. Whatever it will take for him, it will still be more lies. She has a right to know who she is married to and if she's willing to be in the relationship.

    Turning away from her, assuming you actually want to be married, is going to be another level of pain for her if she ever finds out. I hope she does because even despite the pain, she deserves to know what she is committing her life and energy to. She deserves to know who her child is with. She deserves more than this.

    Leaving another quote here that I find applicable. I think it was from a Dr. Weiss video but not sure, I had it down in my notes for working on boundaries.

    "Sex addicts diminish and devalue partners in their heads and they distance themselves emotionally because that’s how they can tolerate ambiguity - I cannot love you and be close to you and betray you and hurt you at the same time unless i’m sociopathic or psychotic -but what i can do is devalue you and distance myself from you and blame you and i can hold you over there so then I can say to myself I deserve to be able to go over here. So you cannot be intimate and violate the partner at the same time unless you are psychotic and sociopathic, we’re just kind of built that way. Because it’s really hard to be really really close to someone and hurt them at the same time."
     
  19. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    I appreciate all the feedback. I think this thread has turned to more of advice on relationships than anything else, but that's okay. And I do hear the pain conveyed by spouses, although I feel there may be a bit of extrapolation from personal experiences going on. A sort of this happened to me so it must be the same for you.

    Trying to step away from the personal I did some research on lies in relationships. I though the following articles were interesting, because they cited some actual research:

    https://sites.psu.edu/aspsy/2014/04/13/honesty-and-relationships/
    http://web.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Releases/2010/061010.html
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/...1502/when-if-ever-is-it-okay-lie-your-partner
     
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  20. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

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    Ok so that research supports the experience of almost all the responses here- and you've got responses from those trying to recover, holding the beginning of a more stable recover and some wives who know what's going to happen when the truth does come out. I'll have to look to see where I read it, but one of my books talks about how the healing goes better when the addict discloses himself instead of being found out. I'll look and see if I can find it.
     

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