Why Withholding The Fact That You Are Relapsing To Pornography Does Not Actually Protect Your Wife And What To Do About It

A lot of men get into marriage with the mindset of hiding their unwanted sexual behaviours from their wives. They have the following thoughts to justify their decision of not disclosing:

  • “I am going to hide this [my unwanted sexual behaviours] from my wife, because it would devastate her.”
  • “This is my problem. There is no need to drag her into this while I solve this.”
  • “I’m trying to protect my wife by not telling her my problem.”

The reality behind hiding your unwanted sexual behaviours from your wife is not so much that you are protecting her, but deep down, the main motivator of not disclosing is that you are afraid that your wife will leave you if she ever found out.

Hiding this problem is a tactic you are using to buy more time to solve your unwanted sexual behaviours on your own, without your wife knowing this part of you.

But the question remains: How effective has this path been for you? Were you able to resolve your behaviours on your own? Are you still relapsing to your unwanted behaviours behind your wife’s back?

You may question that disclosure is not worth it because it will ruin the both of your lives.

While there is a possibility that disclosing about your behaviours would hurt your wife and she may leave you, what you may not have recognized is that you are, at this very moment, already hurting her by betraying her through your behaviours and choices.

Your hiding of the problem from her does not change the hurt you have caused her. It only delays when she will feel hurt.

If anything, disclosing about your behaviours would only confirm to her what she already suspected and can sense through the apparent and subtle signs. Whether that is your lack of presence and intimacy in the marriage, your inability to take care of your personal needs resulting in frequent burn out, or your inability to be present with the kids; to her, these are all signs that something is not right.

“Your hiding of the problem from her does not change the hurt you have caused her. It only delays when she will feel hurt.”

Moreover, the constant hiding and covering up of your tracks is already draining your relationship with your spouse because the only way to cover up a lie is to tell another lie. This quickly will get out of hand.

As one brother in the Purify Your Gaze Community reflects:

“The huge mistake I made then was I thought I was free of the addiction and I didn’t say anything to my wife (then, my fiance) about it. I didn’t want to shatter the illusion of the perfect guy I had going. And so sometime after the engagement but before our nikkah, the addiction crept back in slowly but surely. And then I lost almost 10 years of marriage life due to it. Alhamdulillah my wife and I were together but it was a very empty marriage.” – Br. Suhail.

This is not only “your” problem that is only affecting you. Yes, it is true that you are primarily responsible for your unwanted sexual behaviours and recovering from them, but what is going amiss in this mindset is the fact that your actions are hurting your spouse, and the foundations of your married and family life.

The Prophet peace be upon him said, “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible …” [Bukhari & Muslim]

The way you can protect your wife proactively is by getting help for your unwanted sexual behaviours, so that you can be a better husband to her. Disclosure does not have to be done alone and is something we, at Purify Your Gaze, can help you with in mitigating the harms and figuring out what to say.

I will leave you with the words of one of my clients, who went through the path of disclosure:

“I’ve been sexually acting out for >15 years probably. I’ve been married 5 years. During this period my wife caught me talking to other girls 3-4 times. I was supposed to get divorced each one of those times, but then we got counseling and I changed my ways (pressure cooker phenomenon). I would always eventually go back to my old habits.

“I started working with Br. Zeyad in Oct 2011, but didn’t sincerely seek recovery until Jan 2012. I still had lots of stuff hidden from my wife, she didn’t know the extent to which I had acted out. Allah (S) planned that my wife stumble upon the notes from the Purify Your Gaze program on February 14th 2012. Happy Valentine’s Day. On that day, I knew that I had to bite the bullet and all truth had to come out and all lies had to come to an end. I was truthful to everyone who this affected – including her parents and my parents. Face to Face. Yea.

“Don’t die with a heavy heart that you have secrets from your wife. I remember during those hard hard days… when I was honest with my wife, the whole world could curse me for being such a bad human being for doing the things I’ve done… but I knew that not everyone can say they’ve ever been 100% honest with their wives. And I haven’t done many good things in my life, but that was something I was proud of. If my wife left me, at least I know that I had no secrets from her.” – Br.Musa

About the author

Zeyad Ramadan

Zeyad Ramadan is the founder of Purify Your Gaze. Through his leadership, Purify Your Gaze has served as the personal recovery guide for thousands of Muslims coming from over 35 different countries around the world in the various stages of their healing journey and has provided support to its members through its addiction recovery tools, its workshops, and personal 1-1 coaching. Zeyad has successfully lead workshops and delivered talks dealing with sexual intimacy, addiction recovery, embracing true gender roles, and spirituality. He currently lives with his wife and four kids in Orange County, California. Connect with Zeyad on Facebook and Twitter.