Telling the Wife

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

  1. Rationaliser

    Rationaliser Fapstronaut

    Of course you do, like most would.

    If I were in your situation, I would value truth over the relationship.

    But I'm not making a moral comparison or saying that you should do what I would. I consider morality individualistic and voluntary.

    That's all I wanted to know. I'll sit in the corner with my popcorn now and watch.

    Continue, folks.
  2. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    Read this in a blog today, thought it was interesting and maybe relevant to what some of us were trying to communicate in the thread:

    “The lying makes me feel like my personhood was taken away from me. I feel like I was not given the right to decide for myself about the relationship, to make choices for myself. Because everything was hidden, I was robbed of my human ability to choose for myself, and that makes me feel like my husband doesn’t see me as a full person.”

    From this blog, a site run by a therapist:
  3. somanythoughts

    somanythoughts New Fapstronaut

    what if she already knows?

    maybe you think she is simpler than you, but she has secrets too.
  4. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    8 pages about whether a grown man should tell the truth. Always entertaining...
  5. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Lol! Love it. Well, you know, us wives really don’t know what’s good for us. Better to have a man make those tough decisions. After all, what I don’t know definitely can’t hurt me. Ugh wait, if I had cancer I wonder if the doctors would tell me or just agree that what I don’t know can’t hurt me?
  6. Is this the royal 'we'? :D
  7. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Lol, no but it was finally something we agreed on!
    hope4healing likes this.
  8. luckydog

    luckydog Fapstronaut

    Thank you for this, had a good laugh. As a grown man myself, dedicated to the truth and facing it after many years of denying it, of course this is hard for a grown man to do.

    Us humans, men and women alike, are masters at self-deception. We believe what we want to believe.
    Lilla_My likes this.
  9. Robindale

    Robindale Fapstronaut

    The blog you referenced is very good and has some great helpful information. Thanks for sharing it.
    used19 likes this.
  10. Hi there,

    I just read through about half of this threat and I get the feeling that you found your answer already.
    Reading your question, I feel that it is slightly provocative, and you already include your position, which you repeat and further elaborate in your replies to others. Therefore, I am not exactly sure about your motivation to write the question here.

    Obviously, there is no always, ever or never. So, I agree with you that it is possible to quit porn without telling anybody. I mean, you just stop using it and you are done - you just need to be constantly determined and the problem is solved.

    The problem of course is that changing a 'trained' habit is usually perceived difficult by people and I think the issue at work here is that your determination/values/goals/motivations etc. are not cut in stone. They are floating with time and you are having better and worse days and sometimes your defenses are low. Also, when considering porn usage as an addition (which I think can be reasonably argued given its nature), there are studies indicating that extended porn usage hijacks the reward mechanism in the brain and impairs rationale decision making. For these reasons, by announcing your intention to quit porn to someone is like cutting your intention into stone. Maybe your determination/values/goals/motivations change on some days, however, you can not change what you told your accountability partner. Therefore, disclosing your intention can help you to quit porn (or any habit).
    Now, whether you open up to your wife or to anyone else, is indeed the question. Since you are in an emotional relationship with your wife and you probably don't want to hurt her, I think that it is indeed a question whether it is indeed selfish to open up to her and actually also in the best interest of your wife. If you decide to open up to somebody, opening up to your wife is actually the most safe decision you may take (apart from opening up to some anonymous stranger, which actually is less efficient since random strangers can be replaced arbitrarily): You have a trust relationship, she loves you, in some relationships there might also be a financial dependency, and it is very unlikely that she will tell anybody else or do anything with this information that will actually harm you. Another consideration could be to tell your parents, your brother, your friends - even the world that you are struggling with porn. Add a porn-free counter on your webpage or add a statement in the footnote. Consuming porn is not illegal, presumably many people are doing it, it is simply socially disrespected. You would then reach an audience, where you would really feel the consequences: If you stay away, people will respect your success. However, if you still consume, be sure that people will find out and it will have consequences.

    Telling your wife has two sides: a) announcing that you intend to quit and making yourself accountable and b) disclosing about your past porn usage, which she might have been unaware about.
    Regarding a), you should question yourself why you intend to announce this to her. Especially, are you being selfish? Do you want someones shoulder to cry into? Someone to lean on and to share your misery with? Do you need encouraging words? Or, will telling her help you to quit using porn?
    About b), this is a topic of frequent discussion on this forum. Some SOs say that they want to know everything about their husband and even that it is their right to know about it. However, the topic of happiness has been covered here before and I agree that the porn usage of the husband may cause significant sorrow and even psychological issues to the wife. I see a good chance that telling the wife may cause harm to her. I have told my wife and she was completely indifferent. She is on my side and wants me to succeed; also, she is disappointed when she learns that I relapsed. However, she also made clear that this is my struggle and she does not want to control me or even see any of the material that I consumed. I told her early on (we were together for about one year) before our marriage and I think I wanted to hurt myself for not being able to break free despite trying. I was at that time convinced that she would quit our relationship on the spot, however, she did not and indeed over the years she has helped me to develop a more healthy and normal view on sexuality. I think that the very strict position many SOs have on this forum is a bit frightening to PAs because they might be concerned that their wifes might also develop some psychologic problems or end the relationship. I think that this perception is biased though, since only those SOs that actually are deeply hurt by their partners porn consumption find their way here. Others, who might have more moderate opinions have no reason to search and find this forum and especially they have no reason to share their opinion with anonymous strangers.

    A final note on mixing porn consumption with sexual attraction, betrayal, as well as moral and spiritual believe. I respect everybodies opinion and these are topics deeply rooted in society and culture. It is really bad that SOs are hurt by the actions of their partners and of course the PA shall respect the opinion and believes of the SO. However, these are very personal things between the SO and the PA, the PA and her moral/spiritual believe, or The SO and her moral/spritual believe. Moral/spiritual believes as well as cultural or societal norms do not help in curing an addiction. For the purpose of freeing oneself from addiction, it is helpful to try to see the mechanisms of the addiction and to address them independent of norms and believes.
  11. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    First, your thoughtful post is gratefully appreciated. I value the views of others who are going through a similar experience -- trying to quit porn addiction while in a relationship.

    That's basically true. I'm always open to further views, but this discussion has helped me reach my decision about whether or not to tell my wife at this time. I was genuinely interested in hearing opinions on both sides. I've weighed those and am now comfortable with my choice.

    I think this is very true about the value of opening up in real life about this addiction. It makes me think about who, other than my wife, in my life I could ask to fill this role. Having a real life AP makes sense. Anonymous APs are so helpful, but disclosing this struggle to someone in RL would go far, as you say, to cement this resolution.

    The selfishness in putting this on her, is exactly the reason I don't intend to disclose this at this time.

    That is a good point. It would explain the imbalance on here around this issue. I've already noted the vehemence of the position taken by SOs on here, which I attribute to the fact that those posting and participating are likely those who've felt most hurt by the partner's addiction.

    Yes, the key is to identify the source of the addiction. Making disclosure or having an accountability partner can be helpful in the right circumstances, but neither will actually lead to recovery. Only identifying and dealing with the underlying causes of the addiction will.

    Even the most vigilant/helpful spouse acting as an accountability partner won't help an addict recover, until the addict is ready to really confront his addiction and make genuine efforts to escape it.
    Chris_Cactusblossom and stegiss like this.
  12. RiverBlue

    RiverBlue Fapstronaut

    Thinking a bit further about the post by @stegiss, I am going to throw one more idea into this discussion, which I think is true but can already imagine will be controversial.

    For disclosure to a spouse/partner to be effective at all, and to not just hurt the spouse/partner, the PA and SO must be on the exact same page as to the seriousness of the addiction and the intention to quit. Or at least the PA cannot see it as less serious or be less committed.

    Some SOs in this thread have been absolute in their view that porn and adultery are basically the same thing. I've argued against that. That's a disconnect that would be hard to navigate, if I disclosed to my wife, and she felt like these SOs. I have many reasons why I'd like to take care of this addiction (it's a time waster, it's kept me from focusing on other goals, etc.), but the idea that it is somehow cheating on my wife is not one of them.

    One could argue that it doesn't matter, whether or not I agree with my wife, if that was her view, I should still adopt the level of seriousness that she feels. And I think I would as part of valuing her as a partner. It would probably add to the seriousness with which I address this.

    But I can also see a potential pitfall. Her unreasonable (in my opinion) view could lead to friction, particularly depending on how she responded. I think there are completely supportive things a partner can do and also things that can come across as overly critical or judgmental, which are likely less helpful. Human nature (or at least my nature) would be to resent a view with which I disagreed. And again human (or my) nature would be to push back, even perhaps to act out.

    I raise this because, while I understand why disclosure to a spouse makes sense for many, I think there are a lot of factors to be considered before making such a fateful decision.

    (Commence posting on how I am rationalizing, thinking like an addict, etc. LOL Honestly, feel free to respond however you want, I am interested in everyone's thoughts on this.)
    Chris_Cactusblossom likes this.
  13. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    There are many pros and cons to disclosure, which you've read about through these forums I'm sure. One of the cons is how your spouse will react and what your relationship will look like going forward, and should she see it as adultery, the disclosure has the potential to end your marriage. How she reacts to it and what actions she takes as a reaction to it remains a mystery for now. No one on here can predict how she will see it, and no one on here can say with a degree of certainty how she will react towards you or towards the marriage after the fact.

    My husband and I have talked about this a great deal over these years he has been in recovery. I learned about his addiction because I needed to know. The reason I needed to know is because he needed someone that was willing to crack open his outer shell and expose the side of him that he actually was, not who his addiction made him out to be. For him I was able to do that, but in a sense we are unique in that category and I'm aware of that.
    Him telling me has allowed him to look at what led up to his addiction and begin to work on those parts of himself. By doing this, he was able to put a distance between himself and his addiction. Now, he's not perfect by any means in his recovery and still does stupid stuff every now and again, but he has not watched porn since August of last year.
    I didn't put blockers on his devices and I dont monitor his online activities. I told him he is absolutely free to make his own choice on whether or not he wants to watch porn. But with that comes the understanding that I'm also allowed the freedom of choice, and it would be my choice to leave should he decide to watch it again. This way, he has to hold himself accountable for his own actions. Again, he still does stupid stuff here and there, but he's a lot better today in his own healing from his past traumas than he was a few months ago.

    When we push that it is in your SO's best interest to disclose your addiction, the main reason behind that comes down to freedom of choice. By not disclosing, you're not allowing her that opportunity to choose for herself, which should be allowed since you have that freedom of choice for yourself. This is what I agree with. She should be allowed that choice.

    Will it hurt her to know? No one knows for sure until it happens. She could be one that is indifferent to it.

    I told my husband that I feel as though if he found these forums before I did, that if he had taken the time to learn about his addiction, how it impacts his brain, how it impacts his life, etc and then talked to me about that information first, then I think the disclosure wouldn't have impacted me as hard as it did. It would have still hurt, yes, but there would have been more understanding on my part. That understanding could have prevented a lot of the trauma that came from everything later. I dont know if this will work for you in your marriage, but maybe if you approach it this way, you'll be able to better understand how she will react to your addiction, so you can perhaps help her understand it more prior to your eventual disclosure, if that makes sense? Of all the research I have read, family support has been one of the top things that have helped people overcome addictions. Being able to connect with people in real life has a lot of benefits, especially so if that connection is made with your SO.
  14. To ponder about how your wife would react is maybe not helpful here.
    Because since you can not really know, you have to consider the worst case as one possible outcome.

    However, it does actually not matter what she might think about your actions. As you said before, she can not really help you even if she wanted. Only you can develop the determination and energy to change a habit. So, essentially, it matters, how important the porn use is to you. How she thinks or reacts is just noise in the recovery process. She can try to be supportive, or develop some behavior that makes it more difficult for you to quit - all possible. However, in the end, you have to take action and change.

    Telling her or not is more about what you feel is right and good for both of you. In my case, opening up has significantly improved our relationship and we have grown closer and more intimate by sharing also 'secret' challenges we are facing. Note: if you tell her, and actually, she is the only person or at least the first person with which you share such disgusting secret, this is a significant proof of trust in her. She is the most important person in the world for you and that is why you open up to her, not to others. (of course, I don't know if your wife will see this in the same way - objectively speaking, she should eventually)

    (other posters putting you in the 'addict corner' is simply a primitive way of discrediting you - such comments can be ignored imo. This is a forum where people who have identified that they have a problem with porn usage share their most hidden secrets in an attempt to break free from the addiction. Of course, it should not end there, however, opening up and being radically honest deserves respect and actually is the first and very important step to solving the proglem. There will always be people who know better and it is of course easy coming from a position of not having the same problem. However, I don't see the point in going to a support forum where people gather that have a particular problem and there to discredit them for having the problem. )
    RiverBlue likes this.
  15. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    There is almost always going to be a level of discord, I imagine, unless you had one addict confessing to another. You don't have to be on the same page for it to be successful. A successful disclosure is one that removes secrecy, and does so in a prepared and thoughtful way. The goal of the disclosure is to restore the relationship to honesty and integration, as well as give the SO her free choice back. You aren't likely to be on the same page of seriousness or intention because you are experiencing the disclosure differently. For the PA it is, while difficult, disclosing what already happened, and what they experienced in real time. But for the SO, even though the acts are past, it is a trauma in the moment and it bends/breaks all of her past experiences. Everything shifts. It's going to be more serious to her unless she's already learned the ropes of addiction, which is not going to be most disclosures. Waiting for this magical moment is not going to come when the SO knows nothing. The only way to come close might be to go to your couples therapist together and state that you have an addiction to disclose but would like to do a therapy on the nature of addiction before disclosing it.

    Even if you don't view it as adultery, and she does view it as such, the important point is that an agreement on what will be the new marker of fidelity in the relationship will be from this moment forward. For a lot of us SO, the only way we can stay in this relationship, is by turning it into a new one. The old one with secrets and lies, and to us infidelity, is broken and the moment of disclosure kills the old relationship and makes room for a new one to be built. It's not easy to rebuild, and God I wish I had not gone through this torture, BUT the relationship coming out of ashes, is turning out to be a really good one. And it would not be possible if I had not found out. My husband did not see it technically as infidelity when he was doing it. He sees it now, but even if he did not agree with me, he could perhaps have agreed that since it was important to me, that he could agree to not do it. You don't have to be on the same plane so long as you can move forward and hold space for what she does feel about it.

    It doesn't matter if you think her view is unreasonable. She gets to decide what she thinks about what has happened to her. She deserves the right to know what is happening in her marriage. She deserves to have full consent over her sexual interactions with you. Here it comes, like you said it would, you are thinking like an addict. Addicts don't see it all clearly because they are focused on themselves and their gratification. On the escape of all things negative through that high. And they do not see things clearly in the relationship with their SOs. They think they've got it all packaged into a neat little box that only effects themselves. It does not. There are emotions and behaviors that come out, negatively effecting spouses and children - anger, short temper, low tolerance for things like, oh critical or judgmental statements or maybe less than perfectly behaved kids, low energy, etc. I can now look back to all the really jerky things my husband did, and guess what, they all happened when he was acting out. I can remember being blown away with how jerky he was being because I could not figure out why. He thought he was fine. Now that he's disclosed and working on real recovery, he can see it and is appalled that it is connected. He was confident he'd boxed it all up. Sorry to go on a personal tangent, but the point is that addicts avoid things that are unpleasant. They escape all uncomfortable things. Part of learning to stop the addiction is developing the ability to experience negative things and then cope with them in healthy ways. It is not just about never acting out again, but about getting to a point where you don't need to act out again because you don't need to escape. So I would posit her being judgmental or critical might even help you because she might just become a safe place to work through wanting to escape. She might become a place where you get extra grace to learn how to cope. I know she has her own issues, but it sounds like she's got a lot of experience living through hard stuff that she does not have the option of running from.
  16. Addictus

    Addictus Fapstronaut

    Yeah. See my post in the new guy forum to get an idea what awaits you. It ain’t any fun.

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