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Telling the Wife

The following is an email thread from the brothers at Be Free in Christ that concerns the important topic of how much our wives should know about our addictions. There are many different points of view expressed here, and there is no single right answer for everyone. Anyone contemplating telling their wife should read this first and spend a lot of time praying about it. All names have been replaced with an initial or first name only.

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From: [T]

Hey Guys,

I’ve been with FIC since Nov 2005, and am also going through the PROVEN Men study. These have both been a real blessing, and these last two months have been really good for me.

So far, I have not brought my wife up to speed on what I’ve been doing with the group, or with the study, or with regards to past slips and falls. I didn’t want to dump a load of my problems on her, and leave her with the feeling that I was expecting her to help solve my problems. I also didn’t want to hurt her, and see her go through the pain I know she’ll experience. I had thought about reaching various milestones first, before telling her, such as finishing the PROVEN Men study, or reaching a certain number of days of purity.

However, this past week, I have been feeling that it may be time to tell her. During my quiet time this morning I went through all the reasons why I should wait a little longer, and they all sounded a little selfish in retrospect.

Anyways, I’d appreciate any insights or experiences you may have had if/when you told your wives. Is it worth waiting a little longer? Anything to do, or avoid?

Thanks,

[T]

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From: [BA]

[T],

I don’t know how much your wife knows, but whatever you are planning to disclose has the potential to be very hurtful to her. Women often feel rejected and can be devastated by such disclosures. Many have a very hard time forgiving. So it should be handled very carefully. I would say it should be done only after a lot of prayer and only if, after that, you still believe the Lord is convicting you to do it.

The risk you run is that your wife will ultimately not forgive you or do so grudgingly and your relationship becomes permanently damaged. However, on the up side, the openness and honesty of a confession has the potential of making you closer and more intimate once the pain of it all is resolved. So it is risky, but can be worth it.

If you do decide to go ahead with it, it makes sense to have a lengthy clean time before talking with her. Also, once you start confessing you have to be prepared to answer all of her questions honestly. And you can’t blame your sin on any other person. You have to own up to it. Whatever you do, don’t make her feel guilty about it. Stress that it was your problem and you took it into the marriage and it had nothing to do with her.

I told my wife after I had 8 clean months. It turned out to be a very short converstation because she said she really didn’t want to know or talk about it. She lost all her feelings for me years ago, so it probably didn’t matter much, but I do believe it was the right thing to do because I was praying about it and contemplating it for months, and I believe the Lord was telling me to do it. Not much has changed in my marriage since then (it’s still bad), but I believe it was the right thing for me to do. But everyone has to make that decision independently with the Lord as guide.

I should also mention that [TC] tells just about everyone NOT to confess to their wives. So, you might want to wait for his reply.

Hope this helps.

[BA]

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From: [DC] (English not native language)

Dear [T],

I think [BA] has given a very realistic suggestion. Our spouces are differ majorly and sometimes, knowing that one person in this group can share EVERYTHING to her wife, doesn’t always happen for us. I know there are many godly husband and their wives who can transperent in their respective struggle. My wife irritates hearing my struggles nor will ever help and pray. So i have decided to move ahead prayerfully and with all patience.

[T], a time would come in your life that you can share everything but if you feel it is not now, hold for a while brother. I am carrying the same attitude and working very slowly slowly in this vital area of my life.

Over all above, No other person knows your wife better than you. So, you are right person to decide base on how intimately and genuinely you both know to each other.

I would certainly pray for you both.

Love,

[DC]

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From: [S]

[T] and others who are thinking about telling their wives about our issues,

I don’t post much if any to the FIC group. And I have been a part of it for over 5 years now. If there is anything I have gleaned over the years in being a part of this group and going through my own therapy in dealing with my sexual sins is this. I have learnedthat us men have a duty to protect our wives from ourselves. In saying that, I hope every guy that is considering telling their wives about their struggles or mistakes with sexual sins would not do so. We are here to protect our wives among other things. And in so doing, why do we want to “confess” to her that we fell in this area? What good would it do? [T], you said that in keeping whatever you have done from your wife seems selfish. How so?

I speak from experience. I told my wife long ago about my struggles and today, I am separated. Things were never the same after I told her. And plus, we are notseparated because I told her my problems 20 years ago. It is way too complicated and lengthy to tell you all the reasons why we are separated today which just happened over the last summer. My point is this. Things are never the same. And because they aren’t the same, I was too broken to deal with whatever came along in our marriage that just made things worse.

So, I am begging and urging and pleading to not tell our wives about our struggles. We can certainly say in a general way that we are having a hard time and need to seek counsel from counselors, friends, brothers in Christ, whatever but never our wives. And it isn’t that we are hiding something or keeping a secret because we need to be upfront and honest with our spouses on every aspect of our life. Well, hogwash. Whoever gave you that notion (the enemy) is full of bunk because it isn’t true.

I agree with [TC] wholeheartedly about confessing to our wives. It shouldn’t happen because none of us are prepared for the heartache to follow. Get help from somewhere else. Women never understand how us guys are wired..so why would you tell her something that will only hurt her. She is not your friend but your spouse and someone you should protect from YOU!!

Have a blessed day brothers,

[S]

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From: [TC]

Could not agree more with [S] on this highly critical issue. Our spouses will almost always receive such news as REJECTION, regardless of what temporary denial they might initially enter. Women perceive of themselves as being INSUFFICIENT for our sexual needs when told of our betrayal. Why dump our garbage on the woman we choose to marry? As [S] says, the Lord and another brother or two are more than enough to receive our confession.

I know that this matter will spark controversy, so I will say here and now that I KNOW of men in the group who have confessed to the wife and have found strength, support, and peace. Perhaps such a confession has even made the marriage better. But frankly those kinds of wives of rare.

If you even suspect that you are considering sharing this dark side of yourself, I urge you to go to the Lord first. Be certain that you are not acting from shame or/and guilt. If your motivation is love, then that is an entirely different matter. Even then, you should be aware of the consequences.

I didn’t have to tell my wife. She discovered it the hard way, and my years of sexual philandering and selfishness and disobedience to the Lord have taken their toll on our marriage and her respect for me.

Put yourself in HER position. How would YOU react/feel if she came to you with the same kind of garbage dumping?

So many of us fail to see our sexual addiction as a form of adultery.

Thanks for your candid sharing, [S].

In Jesus with all of the brothers,

 [TC]

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From: [A]

I very strictly do not agree with telling your wife about sexual sin.

To do so is to agree with what every little whim that the enemy puts in our paths.

The ninth step of the twelve steps says, “Made direct amend to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

“I believe that telling our wives about our sexual sin is to premeditatedly injure them.

What do we want from recovery if we are going to tear apart the very ground our marriage stands on, if any is left after being ripped apart by us? Isn’t it bad enough to act out sexually and compromise the very ground that the marriage is laid on?

So, in our selfish behavior, we are going to be continually selfish and hurt the ones that we call family?

No, I don’t ever agree to subjecting our wives or family, for that matter, to the pain of our selfish abuse to them.

Lord bless you all,

[A]

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From: [G]

Nothing seems to get faster replies then the topic about telling wives what and how much. This is not a black and white issue; people can give their advice due to their experiences with their own wife. [T], you know your wife the best, more so you know your relationship with her the best.

[T], I’m not sure what to tell you. I was but in a different situation where my wife found out by seeing what sites I had visited on the Internet and it came out that way. Was she hurt, yes, was our relationship fractured, sure, did she still love me, yes that’s why it hurt her so much. We did not separate to different houses but did sleep in different bedrooms for about 5 months. Not much talking at first, but in time we talk through many of the issues and yes, I am one of those others who now share everything with my wife. And I have been clean 7 months now which I feel partly is due to my willingness to be open with my wife, and we now pray with each other at least twice a week.

A lot of men feel this would never work in their marriage, some are probably right. This was my experience and now my marriage is better than ever. Do I still get tempted to slip, yes, do I share with my wife every thought or look I had that day of other women, no, I just share I struggling harder that day.

Question I guess one should ask themselves, what kind of a marriage relationship do I have, and what kind of relationship do I want? It saddens me to hear [S] say that his wife is not his friend but his spouse. For me, I want my wife as my best friend, therefore what do I need to do to make that relationship a reality. If your relationship is not strong, then work on that first, go to marriage retreats, a Bible study on marriage builders. No wife will refuse this, will wonder why the interest but will love the notion. Really it comes to what kind of a marriage do I want.

Take care [T],

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:6

[G]

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From: [BB]

Wow what a tough subject the whole subject of telling our wives. I could write pages on the subject. I kept my “sin/addiction”, secret from my wife for 17 years, living a double life. Then one day I had no choice but to tell her because I came down with an STD, from an affair I had. I had to first of all tell her of my affair, and then a couple of days later had to categorically confess my lifelong addiction to sex. I thought I would die. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, I was fully prepared for my wife to leave me, but by the grace and mercy of God, she didn’t do it. We are still married. I don’t use her as my accountability partner, but she knows I’m in recovery. I don’t have to hide my recovery books. I don’t have to lie to her about my need to go to a recovery meeting. I don’t have to worry she’ll see me writing an email to this group. I don’t have to hide, I don’t have to pretend I’m something I’m not. My advice in simple, Get sober, stop acting out, after you have some sobriety together, get the council of a pastor and or Christian counselor specializing in addiction. Surround yourself with a support group to help you walk through this very difficult thing and find a way to let your wife know of your addiction. It is better that you tell her, then for her to find out another way. Make sure your motives are pure though, don’t do it to alleviate guilt. They say we are only as sick as our secrets. Everything I have read, all the literature I have seen encourages disclosure, however the timing must be right, you should have a measure of sobriety, and you should be surrounded with a support system to help you deal with life after the disclosure.

This is just one brother’s opinion who at one time bargained with God “God anything, I’ll do anything, but don’t let me have to tell my wife”. That is one of the biggest fears of every addict, “If people really knew me, the real me, they would never love me, they would reject me and hate me.” That is not true. You are loved, you are worth loving.

Bless you bros,

[BB]

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From: [G]

[A], you stated “What do we want from recovery if we are going to tear apart the very ground our marriage stands on, if any is left after being ripped apart by us?” As a side note, do you think that building a foundation on secrecy and sexual fulfillment outside of the marriage is a good one to build on? One should not dump on someone else to make themselves feel better, but we might want to look at ways we can improve out marriage foundation, other then more secrecy.

[G]

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From: [M]

Well, I guess one more voice on the subject of confession to your wife.

1. It is the truth that sets us free. How can keeping our dark secrets ever help us to be set free? Ultimately, I want the Light of Jesus to expose every area of my life so that I don’t have anything to hide from my wife or anyone else. I want her to be my closest friend, my partner, and someone with whom I am one with. The natural tendency is to hide our sin from our spouses (and other people). It goes back all the way to the Fall. Adam and Eve sinned and the first thing they did was to try to cover up their sin. Adam covering up from his wife, and Eve doing the same thing. As long as we are covering up our sin from our wives then we will leave the door to temptation cracked open and wholeness\oneness with her will escape us.

2. James wrote, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” While confessing our sins to the others in this group is important and helpful, shouldn’t we also confess our sins to the ones we have sinned against? Does James say confess only when they already know about your sin? Or does he say, don’t bother confessing if it’s going to be hard? If I stole $10 from someone isn’t it a part of confession and reconciliation to tell that person that I took the money (and return it)? If I stole $10,000, and by letting this person know I stole the money was going to hurt them, does it relieve me of my responsibility to confess?

3. The Apostle Paul told us to “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Eph 4:15). Speaking the truth in love surely includes confessing our sins to the ones we have sinned against. Speaking in love no doubt includes telling the truth at the right time, and led by the Holy Spirit. Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean dumping on our wives. That is not loving but is selfish. However if we don’t speak the truth then how will we ever “grow up in EVERY WAY into him who is the head”?

4. Along with this, Paul also wrote, “(Eph 5:11) Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eph 5:12) For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” Paul tells us to expose the unfruitful works of darkness, but immediately after that he tells us that there are some things that are shameful to even speak of. Wouldn’t this apply to our wives? We should expose the fact that we have a problem to them, but we don’t have to go into all the dirty little details?

5. Like [BB] who wrote the post to which I am responding, I got “caught.” (By the way I agree with what he wrote) My wife found the porn on the computer, and she caught me looking at porn on the Internet. I was still in the midst of my sinful compulsion when she found out, and she was deeply hurt. Our relationship was strained, to understate it. In my process of recovery I have had lapses. She told me what hurt her more was when I hid the lapse from her instead of telling her. Now, I admit my wife has been patient and gracious through my recovery. What I have learned through my recovery is that although truth may be hard to share with her, by sharing that truth (after praying about how and when) it has brought us closer than we have ever been before. My wife is not my accountability partner. I believe my accountability partners need to be men, but by being accountable to her and being honest with my struggles she has come to understand a little bit more how difficult it can be to be a man and to live in this sexually saturated world. Like [BB] said, “Get sober, stop acting out, after you have some sobriety together, get the council of a pastor and or Christian counselor specializing in addiction. Surround yourself with a support group to help you walk through this very difficult thing and find a way to let your wife know of your addiction.” I think it ignores the teachings of Scripture to say, “Never confess your problem to your wife” ([BB] did not say that). I believe confession should be our goal.

Well, that’s my opinion. And lets remember the advice of my first pastor. “If we disagree, then let’s disagree, agreeably.” God bless you all as you serve Him,

[M]

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From: [G]

For those thinking of talking to their spouses, here are a few points to think about. Not if you should but how should you.

These are not things I came up with as good points however, they came from my wife who belongs to a group like this but is for women who have spouses addicted, a support group for them. Anyways, here are some of the things they feel.

One. When sharing about other women involded. Stick to the simple facts, female period, don’t go into race, color of hair, age. For some women will have a hard time dealing with those types of ladies it will always remind them of your problem.

Second. Ask how much they would want to know about. At first they may not want to talk alot but give them the choice. Remember, you have been dealing with this for years, its like having a luggage full of junk, you can’t expect to just dump it all on her and walk away. Sure you will feel better but it will crush her. Go through the bits in the suitcase item by item over the time period that is right for her.

Third. Every women will be hurt to find out. However, they also agree that it is worse to discover it then be it confessed.

Remember, the goal is to get pure AND build a healthy marriage.

God bless you in what ever you do.

[G]

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From: [A]

I don’t agree with sharing with the wife out of our shame and guilt.

I believe that only if she is open to it do we share.

If she is not open to it, the best thing to do is work on ourselves and free ourselves (through the help of Jesus Christ) from the pit of despair.

If our spouses are not open to us revealing our sin, then we share it with our mentor.

It is a mistake to keep it in secret. But it is more of a mistake to share something that will cause her to feel unsafe or unloved.

We have to realize that we have already caused the pain in the action. To reveal the whole picture is to take a knife and stick into the very heart of the one we love. In this, we have to look at whether we really love the one we are hiding our addiction from. What is love? Is it going into the darkness and having sexual relations with another or trusting that the Lord will free us from the temptation?

There is a root cause to what we are doing or have done. We have to look at that first and foremost.

We can only walk in purity if we have all of our triggers known and our esteem issues met.

Remember, we have to have relationship with Jesus before we can have relationship with anybody else.

If we do something out of thinking it is the right thing to do, we endanger our own recovery and the marriage.

Remember, we are flesh. We have to get the flesh in line before we can admit or even walk into freedom.

You can talk to your wife because she is open to hearing how you are and where you have been.

I have been in this group for many years and I have seen what admitting our addiction does to marriages.

There have been many men here who made that decision and regretted it.

Have a great evening,

[A]

From: [T]

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all of your counsel on this topic. It has been very helpful. I once opened up to an elder from church who didn’t have this same struggle I had, and the results were not positive. Hence my reluctance to make a similar mistake.

However, in going through PROVEN Men study, pretty much every week the study encourages men to share what they are learning with their wives. Hence my concern about this.

I have much to think about from what’s been said. One of the key take-aways for me is that if I do decide to tell my wife, I need to have an extended period of sobriety, a close walk with the Lord, much prayer, a solid set of accountability partners, and a sustainable support system.

I know that my wife wants (needs?) me to be a spiritual leader. I think she would be supportive if she knew I had already invested the time and effort to protect her spiritually in the future. So I will spend time in prayer, and continue to grow in Him.

Even now during the last two months of sobriety, my interations with my wife have changed subtly. We pray more often together, hold each other more, and open up more on certain issues. If i’ve noticed it, then I’m sure she has. My guess is she won’t really be all that surprised.

But anyways, thanks again for all your counsel.

In Him,
[T]

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From: [S]

These have been excellent responses on the subject of telling your wife about your sexual addiction. Let me clarify something I said earlier that is in [G]’s email below. I did mention that my wife is “not my friend but my spouse” and what I meant by that is while my wife is my spouse and my best friend, she isn’t a person that I should dump on or confide with regard to these type of issues like you would a brother in the Lord, a friend that you are close to, a mentor or somebody like that. Again, I will say that she is your wife, somebody you should cherish and protect and love and honor and be that person that completes you and not to be an accountability partner, counselor, mentor, etc. Yes, some wives in unique situations will be that for their husbands but that is rare and in my opinion not a good idea. So, I apologize for not being clearer on that.

One other thing on this subject that I read from one of the emails is that it is not good to keep sexual addiction in secret. I couldn’t agree more. But it is worse when you feel you have to tell your wife because you don’t want to keep it a secret and the end result of telling her destroys your marriage and her in the process. I am living proof of that happening. Just think about your motives and outcome should you contemplate about telling her about your struggles and addiction.

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From: [G]

Hey bro,

Thanks for the reply, I want to say first, I mean no disrespect to anyone’s opinions or thoughts. Addiction hits us all differently and we all have different kinds of relationships with others and our spouses.

I could not give advice on what someone else should do or not do. I can say what has worked and not worked for me. But I will try to challenge people to think as I do when I here other view points.

When these kind of topics come out, its hard to type out the tone of the conversation. Personally, I think its good to reflect on what is said, so I come up with some bizarre questions more to help me understand more.

Such as, looking at your statement, “we do not harm others with our selfishness.” You see, I find that an interesting statement, then I wonder is that true for myself? Does my selfishness affect my marriage relationship if we are to be as scripture says `one’? Some would say yes, some would say no depending on what viewpoint they are looking at. For me, I had the addiction before the marriage, it was part of me from the start and my selfishness robbed intimacy that was meant for my wife.

[A], I hear your pain about the loss of your marriage and family, and never mean to lessen it by my comments. We all have a story to tell, a journey to follow, and we are here to hear those stories and help in what ever way we can in those journeys.

[G]

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From: [R]

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I waited quite a while to chime in on this one. Much of what was written on both sides of this question is true. How can we truly be emotionally intimate with our spouse if we are lying to her? And yet… there is no way any disclosure will not hurt her to her core. No matter how it is done. And it is true, instead of resulting in the closer intimacy you desire, it might mean the end of your marriage. And if you do it out of your need to confess… your SELFISH need to confess. NO GOOD will come of it.

I do however see one thing very wrong with keeping everything secret. It doesnt work. How do I go to my LIFE group, or my Breaking free group, without my wife asking… where are you going dear? How do I talk with a recovery/accountability partner without her asking… who was that? and what if she overhears part of what we are talking about. Would she not be more worried if I dodged her questions?

When i went to my addictions counselor… just what was I to say to my wife… I’m going out drinking with the boys???

On the other hand… what you tell her is important… and not burdening her is also important.

Do I think sooner or later you have to tell her that you have a problem that you are working to overcome in your life?

I think so.

Does she need a general idea of the problem… perhaps not at first, but in the long run…

again, i think so.

Pray, pray some more pray even more.

My suggestion is as follows. Talk to a GOOD CHRISTIAN Pastoral counselor. When HE feels it is time, Tell your wife that you have been working on some issues in your life, that you have been seeing a counselor, and would like her to come to a few sessions with you. Let the counselor discover where she is at and how ready she may or may not be. Only when He feels things are right would you then reveal the general outline of your problems with her.

Use broad strokes, not detail.

she doesn’t need to know how many times you have viewed porn, but that you have come to see that you do have a problem in this area, and that it had started to affect you in negative ways, and that you have already started to do something about it.

He can help her see that trying to get answers to many of the questions that will instantly come to her mind will only hurt her more, especially in re details.

Again, take into account not only where you are in your walk, but also where she is, how healthy she is.

I really dont have any answers here. In my case, my wife was RELIEVED. you see, she thought the problem was HERS. that she was somehow lacking something… for… she did find socks and other things i had cleaned myself up on… she knew i was masturbating, but did not confront me. She just blamed herself.

And in recovery, she has seen me change. I’m so much less angry, more open and caring… all of these things have helped restore the trust that was lost when i did go over some of the things that were in my past etc.

And it very well may be that your spouse she is NOT at a point, and never will be at the point where she is ready to be told…

One last thought… In some cases, it may be that you are caught… not in re her finding the porn you have been viewing, but rather that you have been going to FIC, or she might find your stiving for purity workbook, etc etc. Who knows… perhaps that in the end is a gentler way of her finding out (no, im not giving permission to leave the stuff in plain view so that she will find it)

So much for my 2 cents worth.

Yours in Christ,
[R]

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From: [BB]

Sounds like very good advice to me. There were at least 3 times that I seriously struggled in disclosure. The first time was when I told anyone (live), not just anonymously, but someone that I knew. It was unbelievably scary the first time I called a Christian counselor and began talking to another safe trusted human being about the reality of what I was engaged in and what I was doing and had done. The next scariest time was when I actually got the courage to go to a 12 step program dealing with addiction. I was petrified I would see someone I knew, or be seen (The shame of this addiction is unbelievable). The final and scariest time was when I had to, forced to, God knew it was time, I had surrendered and gave my entire life over to God, and I had no choice but to tell my wife the whole story of my affair and my life long addiction to sex. I agree with the advice of being more general and categorical in your initial disclosure but be inclusive as to the areas of struggle eg. porn on the net, phone sex, protitutes etc. Timing is everything, also you should be surrounded with a support system when and if you do decide it is time to tell. I know this is so scary, but if were going to stop living a lie, if we want to stop lying about even our efforts to get better we have to face our FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). (Face Everything and Recover). I know there are brothers in this group who will stand with you and will talk with you if you are considering disclosing. I would be more than happy to talk with any brother contemplating such a step. Bless you all bro.

[BB]

From: [A]

I agree.

There is a time when she needs to know where we have been.

The thing that I do not agree with is just thinking it is the best thing to tell her because we feel like getting everything out into the open.

There is a time and a place for everything and when we feel better about not acting out and jumping into it is not the place.

I agree that we get to seek counsel on this. I know that an experienced person who has had the same situation in their life is probably the one to talk with.

I go to a men’s leadership group on Sunday mornings at my church. Most of the guys have experienced some form of acting out in the past. Some are still in the clutches of the dis-ease. We discuss the situation and look at all the angles of the malady.

I let them know if I act out or not. It is an accountability thing.

My wife knows that I have over 100 days clean and she stands beside me.

My ex wife knew that I had a problem and did nothing but ridicule me and shame me for being such a loser.

If my ex wife had not caught me, she would have never known.

If I had realized that I had a problem before I got here, I may have had some assistance in solving the problem. I would not tell her a thing. She had a previous husband who shoved it in her face and she never got over it. She told me when we were married that she would work on the issues, but never did.

I know that this is not my side of the street, but I had to live with a prude woman for 10 years, thinking that this was what the Lord had set up for me. Since I did commit to her in marriage, I would have to stay with her.

It was she that went behind my back with another man from church and dated. They are married now.

My wife, today, is totally different. She knows of my addiction and she stands beside me. She knows where I go when I go to SA meetings and she is open to my sharing about my difficulties even if they are about triggers with other women. This is the kind of situation that is safe.

But to spring a situation like acting out on an unsuspecting person is not fair. How would I feel if my wife told me that she needed to look at p or had to m? Would I feel like it is the best thing that she could do?

I don’t think so.

Thank you for sharing [R].

Lord bless you,

[A]

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From: [BA]

This has been a very enlightening thread. Kudos to everyone who has chimed in. There have been some really excellent points. Since the subject comes up so often, I suggest that with the permission of all the writers, we edit out all names and put the whole thread on the web site. In another month or two there is sure to be a new member that will say, “I’m thinking about telling my wife. What should I do?” and then we’ll have to start the whole thing over again. Instead we could just point him to the link on the web site. Besides, some non-members would probably be helped it also.

[BA]

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From: [T]

All,

I agree with [BA]. I have learned a lot from this thread and I’m so glad I was able to get this input before talking with my wife. Talking with my wife is something I plan to do, but now I have a much better idea of what some of the issues and dangers are, and what needs to be in place before talking with her. Not looking forward to it, but at least I’ll be better prepared.

Regarding names, it would be useful to retain at least first names, so that the reader knows when the same person has made multiple posts, and who is responding to who.

In Him,
[T]

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From: [DW]

Brothers,
I have read the various views on whether or not to tell your wife about your addiction and activity. I would like to share some of my personal experience with sharing porn with my wife.

As a young couple very inexperienced in sex I introduced my wife to some sexually related material and used it in a positive way to enhance and grow our relationship sexually.

As the years went on we did not really need that anymore as a couple and we left it alone.

During the next few years she was aware that I would watch a few movies or look at some magazines and did not really have a problem with it.

Of course this was before the internet came to our house. On the first day we had internet access I was online till her alarm clock went off the next morning. She knew I was up late but not how late and probably figured out what I was doing, writing it off as the novelty of something new. For a couple of years I was on and off spending time online and viewing porn. She suspected and probably had ideas but did not have full access to the laptop I used and I was pretty careful to clean the history since I used the laptop for work.

After we had our own computer I became more and more entrenched to porn. Going from stories and photos to message boards and chat rooms. She is pretty good with computers and would see where I had been then confront me on some of the private chat activity. I tried to put the blame on her, because she was always tired and not as interested in sex and I needed this as a release instead of seeking sex outside of our marriage. I fell deeper and deeper into porn and that spending several nights a week online in porn and chat while she lay sleeping in the next room. Some nights I would go to bed and find her pillow wet with tears from crying. Other nights she would ask why i enjoyed the make believe over being with her, and I could not give a good answer. I was in depression and used the porn to escape the pressure of my days. At the height of my addiction I wrote her a message telling her how sorry I was that I had stayed up all night and neglected her. Her response cut me to the heart. She simply said she would stay with me, cook, clean, work and do the things she did because she was my wife but she had lost her best friend and did not understand how she had lost her best friend, but I was no longer with her even when I was with her. I could have just driven my truck into the river and never came back her words hurt
so. But they were so true. Over the next couple of years I worked very hard to regain her trust and rebuild our relationship. We still cannot really talk about my addiction or porn withour her getting pretty emotional. She still warns me about not visiting sites that I should not visit. Recently when she left for a couple of nights she took our laptop with her to “watch movies” while traveling and where she was going. It was really her way of keeping me offline and out of porn while home alone. We rebuild our friendship one day at a time just as I have rebuilt my relationship with the Lord, one prayer at a time.

Each one of us have to consider the strength of our relationship with our wives before we tell them anything about porn or sex addiction. If my wife had not had some idea about it she would have probably went through the roof. She probably should have kicked me out a couple of times because of my neglecting her and spending so much time online. One day we may be able to talk about it openly but we are not there yet. She is much happier now that I no longer stay up late looking at porn and visiting chat rooms. The chat rooms were the worst for her because she saw them as cheating because I was interacting with another person, and she was most afraid that someone I chatted with would find our identity, address and personal information, which could be devasting to our family if they had the wrong motives.

I would say that at some point to have total reconciliation you will have to let you wife know some about your addiction and activity. You must be very careful and cautious with what and when you reveal or it could quickly destroy a fragile relationship. As one brother posted the best advice is pray, pray, pray, pray and then pray some more.

If you decide to tell her you may want to consider which is the best method. Sometimes a letter or note works better than in person because you are not there to see the tears and anger and may prevent a outburst of anger. Just be careful if you decide to tell her and be sure your relationship can survive the truth.

In His Love

[DW]

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From: [Ron]

OK, it’ my turn <smile>

First, I want to say to [DW], that I enjoyed your message and thanks for letting me tag on my two cents…

When this topic first started, I asked my wife her opinion. I want to share some of what she said (NOTE: I considered having her write a response but I believe that doing so might violate the group’s policies).

My wife was pretty adamant that the real problem/concern is not telling our wives, it’s viewing porn. The hurt that our wives experience is not from us telling them, it’s from what we are doing (or have been doing, or have done). She said that if our goal is to protect our wives, then we should not be viewing pornography, because this is the ultimate hurt.

She also felt that details should be omitted but that being honest was key. For example, she felt that if told: “Honey, I’ve been struggling with pornography”, most women would NOT take that to mean that their husband was actually LOOKING at pornography. She felt that even saying: “I’ve been struggling with LOOKING at porn”, would not convey to a wife that their husband WAS actually looking. Apparently, the word “struggle” does not imply actually looking.

Anyway, I thought she had good insight that comes from experience.

Now, I will say that telling my wife has caused problems. She is VERY (and I mean VERY) sensitive to me looking at other women. Just yesterday, we had a big explosion because I looked at another women. Now, this was a woman walking by our house with a dog on a leash. We have two dogs that were growling and barking at her dog. I looked at the woman, and apparently more than once, and doing so cause SIGNIFICANT problems between my wife and I. Had my wife not know that I struggle with porn and lust, she might not have given the situation a second thought. But because of my ‘problems’ and confession there of, she has been ‘cut down’ and I believe feels less than 100% desirable in MY eyes.

Thus, telling our wives carries possible repercussions. BUT, telling is not the problem, looking at porn and lusting after other women IS the problem. If we didn’t have the first problem then we wouldn’t have the second.

I don’t have an answer. I know that the Bible says two become one, and that means that to me that I should share my struggles so that my wife can pray for me and I for her. It hasn’t been easy, and at times I just want to run and run far, but I AM THE PROBLEM, NOT MY WIFE!!

In God’s loving arms!!

[Ron]

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Compiled by BFIC brother, BA