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How To Break It To Your Wife


Many men who struggle with pornography addiction also struggle with opening up to their wives about it.  This is understandable for many reasons.  There is the guilt and shame they experience because of their addiction.  They worry about what their wives will think of them.  They also fear their wives emotional response to the news.  Most women feel both angry and hurt over their husband’s addiction.  They view it as a violation of trust and the marital vows.  They also feel rejected and devalued because they believe their husband wants to replace them with the young women in porn. 


Despite these fears, men need to confess their addiction and disclose their sexual activity to their wives.  This is a very painful process; however, it is needed for a true and lasting recovery.  In order for a marriage to be healthy, there must be no secrets between a husband and wife.  Without honesty in the marriage, real trust and intimacy can never be achieved.  So the question arises, how and when does a man confess his addiction and sexual activity to his wife?


For many men, their addiction is disclosed when their wives discover their stash of porn.  This can be on a computer, cell phone, iPad, iPod, etc.  At this point, the man needs to be honest and come clean about his addiction.  There can be no denial.  Other men struggle with pornography addiction without their wives awareness.  These men also need to come clean about their addiction.  However, I recommend they first enter a comprehensive recovery program.   It is much easier for a wife to receive such painful news when she sees her husband being proactive about getting help.  This shows her that he has admitted his problem, is taking responsibility for it, and is getting help.  It also prevents her from feeling responsible for his recovery.  This is a wonderful sign of love and respect for one’s wife.


A comprehensive recovery program includes help for the wife and the marriage, as well as for the addicted husband.  Wives often feel hurt, angry and betrayed because of the addiction.   Some women may even struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of it.   To heal these wounds, a wife will also need counseling.  Healing is also needed for the marriage because vows have been broken.  Make no mistake men, pornography use is adultery.  Because of this marital therapy is needed.


An important part of the healing process for both the husband and the wife is full disclosure of the husband’s sexual activity outside the marriage.  This includes pornography use.  While this is a painful process, it is necessary.  So the question arises, when and how much should the husband disclose?  Disclosure should occur when the wife is ready for it.  She may need a few counseling sessions to prepare herself for it.  Disclosure should happen within the context of a counseling session so the therapist can help her process the information.  A husband should provide a general description of ALL his sexual activity outside their marriage.  Specific details should be provided only if the wife asks for them. 


Full disclosure can take several counseling sessions to occur, and although it is a painful process, it adds much to the healing process.  When it is all over, the wife is relieved to know that all information has been provided and her husband is no longer keeping any secrets.  For the husband there is relief because he no longer needs to hide anything from his wife.  He can be open and honest with her.  This will ultimately help in re-establishing trust in the marriage and healing their relationship. 


While admitting that one has an addiction and disclosing all sexual activity is a painful process, it is the first step toward true healing.  There can be no denial or deceit in recovery.  Opening up about one’s sexual struggles can also uncover personal and marital problems that were never addressed.  Addressing these problems, as well as the addiction, can lead to a marriage that is truly healthy and happy.