Should I Tell My Wife? Talking to Your Spouse About Your Porn Addiction

One of the most difficult things to experience as a person is realizing that you are engaging in addictive behaviors. Usually, we can deny the fact that we’re addicted by pretending that we can stop whenever we like. However, over time, it becomes more and more apparent that we’re powerless over our addiction.

Porn addiction is just like any other. You may think that it’s different because viewing porn is much more mainstream these days, but the fact is that it can take over your life just as easily and quickly as other vices, such as hard drugs or alcohol.

Coming to terms with your addiction is hard enough, but what about telling your spouse? When it comes time to admit your behaviors, how will she react?

At first, it’s only natural to think that you can avoid this unpleasant conversation altogether. You tell yourself that she doesn’t have to know and that not telling her is sparing her feelings and her happiness. After all, ignorance is bliss, right?

Don’t make this mistake. Admitting your transgressions and confessing your sins to your spouse is the only way to move forward. Even if you can beat your addiction on your own, you can’t keep something like that a secret from the person to whom you’re committed.

Yes, it will be difficult. Yes, it can strain your relationship. But only through confession can you absolve your sins and move toward the path of recovery.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. Here are a few things to consider before telling your spouse about your addiction.

Sooner is Better

For many of us, we like to think that it’s best to wait for “the right time” to break bad news to someone. While that is relatively true, it’s easy to fall into a trap whereby you believe that it’s never the right time, so you go longer and longer without saying anything.

Yes, there are bad times to bring up your addictive behaviors. You don’t want to tell your wife that you’ve been watching porn obsessively as she’s about to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. However, there will never be a “right” time to bring up the subject, so you have to be proactive.

Overall, the benefit of confessing sooner rather than later is that you can begin the healing and recovery process as well. As long as you are keeping this a secret from her, then it will inhibit your ability to move on. Confession is good for the soul, and it will ensure that your sins don’t compound themselves.

Also, think about it like this. If you confess and she finds out that you’ve been hiding this for a long time, then how much more upset do you think she will be? Ultimately, it’s better to come clean as soon as possible so you don’t make things worse.

Consider an Intermediary

Breaking the news to your wife is going to be one of the hardest things you have to do. Depending on your relationship and who she is as a person, the fallout could be relatively devastating. Thus, if you want to soften the blow, then you might consider using a mediator to help you confess.

Ideally, your intermediary will be someone who-

  • You both know well
  • You both trust
  • Can be objective

Consider a close family friend or religious leader. Having a strong connection to both of you will ensure that you can all work together to move forward from these revelations. If you use someone she doesn’t know, for example, then it can feel like you’re keeping much more than this secret from her. Don’t put her in that position.

Be Completely Honest

When talking to your spouse, you will want to mitigate the damage of your transgressions by downplaying their severity. You admit that you have an addiction, but then you qualify it by saying that you only watched porn when she wasn’t around, or that it was not as frequent as it really was.

The whole purpose of coming clean is to start on the path to recovery. If you hold back the truth, even just a little, then it will taint the whole experience, and it could derail your success as well.

If you’re going to confess, be as open and honest as possible. She will likely have questions or want to know more about it, and you should present a complete version of the truth. Hiding parts of it will only make it more challenging in the long run, so don’t put additional strain on this process.

Commit to Her and Your Recovery

Admitting that you have a problem is only the first step. It doesn’t do any good to confess your addiction only to continue to watch porn regularly. Instead, you have to show her that you are committed to beating your addiction. This is another reason why having an intermediary is a good idea. By sharing your struggles with multiple people, it’s easier to be held accountable.

Overall you want to show her that you are committed both to recovering from your behavior and to her and your relationship. Prove to her that she is a guiding reason for your confession and that it’s her support that will help you get through this. Sharing this burden will strengthen your marriage and will ensure that you don’t relapse in the future.

However, it’s necessary to remember that you have to ask her for forgiveness during all of this. If she doesn’t, or she’s not ready to right now, then you have to wait until she is. You can’t force her to forgive you, so it’s necessary to give her time and space until she feels like she can.

Bottom Line

When it comes to confessing your porn addiction, realize that doing so is a positive thing. Yes, it may feel bad in the moment, but it will help clear your conscience, and it will provide a stable footing for the long road ahead.