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The right time to tell your wife

March 28, 2024
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Over my years as a therapist, I’ve sat across from many individuals grappling with the heavy reality of sex or pornography addiction within their marriages. A question that comes up often in these conversations is, “When’s the right time to tell my wife about my addiction?” If you’re looking for a neat, easy answer, I’m here to tell you—it doesn’t exist. There’s never an “ideal” moment to break this kind of news. Whether it’s a struggle with pornography or an affair, the revelation is bound to cause pain. It’s a hard truth, but it’s one we must face.

So, what’s the real question we should be asking? It boils down to this: Do you want to get caught in the act, or do you want to take control and be honest? In my view, honesty is your best path forward. Yes, it’s going to be painful. Yes, she’s going to be angry. And yes, you’re likely going to feel that pain and anger right alongside her. But this is where the foundation for rebuilding trust begins. It’s about preventing a greater loss of trust that comes from getting caught and then scrambling to cover it up with lies.

In my practice, I’ve observed that couples stand a much better chance at healing when the person struggling with addiction chooses to be upfront about it. This isn’t to say the road to recovery is easy—it’s anything but. Yet, initiating this conversation yourself is a critical step in mending the fabric of your relationship. It’s about showing your partner that despite your struggles, you value honesty and are committed to healing together.

Choosing to open up about your addiction marks the beginning of a long journey of recovery, both personally and as a couple. This journey might include seeking therapy, establishing new boundaries, and learning to rebuild trust. It’s a process that requires patience, understanding, and a lot of hard work. But believe me, it’s worth it. The growth and healing that come from facing this challenge head-on can lead to a stronger, more resilient relationship.

I want to be clear: deciding to tell your partner about your sex addiction is an incredibly vulnerable move. It takes courage to expose the parts of ourselves that we’re most ashamed of. But this act of vulnerability is also an act of strength. It’s the first step toward building a future where honesty and trust are at the core of your relationship.

Remember that while there’s no perfect time to have these conversations, the decision to be honest is always the right one. If you’re struggling with how to approach this with your partner, or if you’re on the receiving end of this difficult news, seeking professional support can make a world of difference. You don’t have to navigate this journey alone.