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Jmidgley

Scared!!!

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I have been living with an addiction to some "morality issues" (in lieu of tying not to be to graphic) since I was probably around the age of 4-5. Here I am nearly 30 years later and I have just barely decided that I really really need help. Been married 14 years and have 5 wonderful children. I have been active in church all my life and kept this burden for myself. I have decided that it is time for me to "man up" and tell my wife about this burden I have carried through our whole marriage and my life. I am completely aware that this will more than likely lead to excommunication. There will be much, pain and sorrow. I am so scared how my wife will react as this is something I am sure she is not expecting. My mind is numb by the amount of thinking, praying, scripture reading, online research, etc. that I have done for the last several months. I have only come to one conclusion, I need to tell my wife and my bishop! This is the only true way I can make sure that I take the correct steps to leading my family to return with our father in heaven again. I am extremely nervous, and have been crying like a severly wounded child for the last few hours, as I have sat here praying and waiting for my wife to come home from work. What a kick in the face for her to have to come home to this. I really need lots of prayers, and some thoughts of encouragement. This is why I originally joined this board was for some good ole LDS support. I encourage your experiences, and uplifting thoughts and ideas as I am sure I will need them more than I have ever needed anything in my life. Thanks for your prayers in advance.

Edited by Jmidgley

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Jmidgley,

What if, when you tell your wife, she feels some sort of relief? I know that sometimes it is sooo much better to let go of a secret and give your burden over to the bishop and your wife so that you don't have to carry it on your own shoulders. Maybe she will finally understand you better. I would not be at all surprised if she has always wondered what was wrong in the marriage and couldn't put her finger on it.

If this has been a problem since you were a little kid, I think you are being way too hard on yourself. You may not be excommunicated at all. How can a 5 year old sin? They can't! If someone introduced you to these things at such a young age, then you were sexually abused as a child and that is different than starting out as an adult. You do need to change, but there is no way that you can change something like this without going to the Lord. Nobody can fix themselves without going to the Lord.

I don't care how disgusted you are with yourself, the Lord loves you and died for you. He will bless you for doing the right thing. You will not be alone anymore. Everyone here has different sins and weaknesses and we are all powerless to save ourselves. We are not loved more than you. We are all loved by God and I believe the Savior weeps for your pain.

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Guest mirancs8

You would be shocked how many wives and husband kind of know in the back of their mind that there is something they don't know. After you spend day in and day out together in your lives things seep out in different ways not directly but in your behavior, attitude and reaction to particular situations. I know some people who have been through some type of behavior issues or traumas and they do gear their reaction to certain things based on their own experiences. There are times that those around them (spouses, close family members) can pick up on those reactions even though they are clueless as to what exactly they went through.

Please don't be so hard on yourself. Many of us have stuff in our closets whether from our early childhood, teen years or a few years ago. It could be a traumatic event or a behavioral issue that was never dealt with from the beginning. It is very hard when you are struggling with something for so many years alone. Your wife is your partner for time and eternity and though she might be shocked or taken back if your love is strong she will over come that initial reaction and want to work with you to help you. We all need a little help whether it's friends, family, the Bishop, therapists and such. There is nothing wrong with seeking help for a problem. You will feel so much better to lift this burden off of you.

I can't imagine they would excommunicate you but that is something I don't know. I would imagine as long as you man up to it and go through whatever it is you have to go through to make things right you should be just fine. You know your wife best and I would imagine she would be more happy to know you opened up rather than kept it from her. I would hope my husband would be open with me and would trust that I would be there to support him through that time of difficulty. More importantly I would rather find out from him then from someone else.

I will keep you in my prayers that you are able to easily open up to you wife and that the Lord will soften her heart to understand and sympathize with the issue you have carried with you all through your life. I will pray that she will comfort you and give you words of encouragement so that you can feel confident in her strength and support for you. I will pray that you will feel the burden lift off of you when you do open up about the issue, and that whatever support you need will be easily accessible for you to take advantage of. HF loves you very much and is listening to your prayers. HE knows what you are doing take courage and HE is very proud of the strength you are showing in this time of difficulty.

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I'm big on not unburdening yourself to the detriment of others. If it's something like pornography, well, that's going around a lot, and it's something you can do something about. If you had an affair 10 years ago, you should keep that to yourself. It would do nothing but hurt your wife and kids when there is nothing you or her (or the Bishop) can do about it except move on. That's a burden that I think you should keep. So please don't hurt someone needlessly to take the burden off of yourself.

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I have a 3 year old boy so I am having a difficult time imagining what a 4 or 5 year old could possibly do that is so bad. :( I am sorry you feel so awful right now! Guilt can be a terrible master. It is normal for little boys (and grown men, IMO) to explore themselves.

Perhaps this is something you can work on privately with a therapist. Only you know what it is that you need.

I also agree that if an older child or adult introduced you to things or abused you it is NOT your fault! Please know that! Many survivors of abuse feel guilt. That is normal. Again, therapy might help with that burden.

I really think that excommunication is used in cases where someone else was involved-like adultery or abuse. Honestly, if they ex'd everyone who had personal issues (that don't involve others) then we'd lose a LARGE chunk of membership. I could be wrong, though. ((((hugs)))) Good luck to you!

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Based on what you wrote, it sounds as though whatever you're dealing with isn't something that happened when you were under the age of accountability, but rather began about that time and has continued to the present day. Once it continues into adulthood, we do have the responsibility of doing our best to overcome the flaws in our nature. To me, it sounds as though you know what to do; it's just a matter of doing it. I can't tell you not to be too hard on yourself simply because I don't know what you did. But it sounds as though you've put a lot of thought, study, and prayer into it and you feel that you need to talk with your wife and your bishop. Hence, you should follow through with your feelings and conclusions. As for your fears, I'm reminded that courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what needs to be done despite our fears.

And if it comes to being excommunicated, which it may not, understanding what excommunication is may help. Most of us consider excommunication a punishment. But in reality excommunication is an act of great love, mercy, and kindness because it releases us from covenants we are unable fulfill. Where much is given much is expected, and without the blessing of excommunication, we remain bound by the covenants we've entered into and are therefore under far greater condemnation for not living in accordance with what we have promised to do. By releasing us from the covenants we've made, excommunication allows us the opportunity we need to put our lives back in order and regain our strength in the hope of helping us get to the point where we are better able to once more re-new our covenants and live in accordance with them.

This doesn't mean it's easy in terms of how we feel about ourselves initially. Nor does it lessen how other might react or what we think they might think of us. But it does allow us to move on by putting things back together again and doing so without being held accountable to higher laws we may be unable to fulfill at a particular time in our journey. It takes character to own up to what we have done, be willing to fall on our sword, so to speak, ask forgiveness, and seek advice as to how to best move on. It seems as though you're on the right path and already know what to do. Rest assured that those who know and love you will remain true, stand by you, and still love you. I wish you the best.

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thank you all for your kind words and prayers. I DID IT! I told my wife and we then called the bishop and went and told him last night also. what a relief to finally have that secret out to who it matters. Only time will tell what my punishments through the church will be, that is TBD. My wife on the otherhand is quite understandably hurt. I think that she is gonna hang in there but my biggest problem with this connfession is and has been the thought of hurting her. I think what was the hardest thing to do was tell her "i didnt do it for you, i did it for me." (by that i mean confess) I finally realized what brought me after so many years to come clean with my sin. I needed to do it for myself, my personal spiritual progression, and those around me would benefit from it. It is a long road ahead but I am blessed with a bishop that felt my pain and showed me an amazing amount of love for me and grief for my pain.

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and oh btw i appologize for the family picture that seems to be a bit inapropriate under these circumstances. where nobody knows me anyways I tried to change my profile pic but apparently it didnt take affect. I sent a message to pam about it hopefully she can get it fixed. really wierd though i went pack to my homepage and clicked on my prof pic to enlarge it and it shows the pic that i had try to replace said pic with. anyways thanks again everyone for your thoughts of encouragement. I still welcome any other thoughts or advice. I need every bit of encouragement and advice i can get. thank you!

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Congratulations on taking the first step. Remeber, though, that it is only the beginning. You still have a lot of work to do.

I don't know what advice you got from your Bishop or your wife, but as the former wife of someone with sexual addictions my advice to you is to seek out professional help. Your bishop isn't likely trained to help you overcome your addiction. He may just say, "Now that you've confessed, don't do it anymore." You know that it's not that easy. If it were, you would have stopped on your own years ago.

You also have to realize that you've just placed a tremendous burden on your wife. She is now feeling all the shame and confusion that you've been feeling for years, but it is new and raw. She feels like she's been decieved by the one person that she thought would always protect her. And she is feeling like she needs to keep your secret. Her life has been turned upside down.

This "Porn Healing Paradox" was posted on a support group forum. I don't know if that is what you've been struggling with, but I think that it is relevant with the discovery of any sexual addiction. It may help you understand her a little:

The Porn Healing Paradox:

He Recognizes His Problem with Porn and Is Getting Better So Why Do I Feel Worse?

HE: Feels a new level of honesty and truthfulness

SHE: Feels the level of his disloyalty and deceit more intensely

HE: Has a new level of appreciation for the marriage bond

SHE: Is saddened to realize how little the marriage has meant to him

HE: Finally has the accountability he was looking for

SHE: Senses the shame and secrecy of being married to an addict

HE: Loves her more than he ever has before

SHE: Has never felt less loved, valued or secure

Bottom Line:

He wants congratulations for something that makes you want to throw up. The emotions listed above are true and valid for both the man and woman yet are polar opposite.

Why does this happen?

He has been holding these feelings for a long time and is very familiar with them. It is a welcome relief for him to disclose his secrets and come clean. Sharing his burden with you means you now get to grieve over the loss of the relationship as you knew it to be. You get to feel some level of the shame he felt. You also have a finely tuned sense of distrust towards all of his actions. Welcome to the temporary insanity that healing from a porn addiction brings to a couple.

Be aware of the porn healing paradox as both of you move forward. Share this with him so he understands and appreciates your viewpoint as both of you work on becoming whole again. He needs to continue to earn your trust. And you need to continue to work on healing yourself and becoming open to trust again.

Good luck to you and to her.

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Although his wife may be hurt, she would have been hurt more if he had never confessed. And I really doubt that she thought that your marriage was fantastic and is shocked to find that it isn't. How could it have been fantastic?

I am saying this as a woman. Yes, we need to be sensitive to the spouse but I think the spouse needs to just know that it wasn't her fault and that she can't fix her husband.

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If it was adultery that was committed 10 years ago then he would still have to go through the repentance process. However considering that he said this was something that started when he was about age 4 or 5 then I am guessing it is not adultery and is probably something like pornography. And when it comes to porn as long as the sinner is willing to work on it and repent and work hard at getting it out of their life then I know that a marriage can make it through something like that. It really depends on the couple.

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Seeking_Peace,

Thank you for what you have said. Although I have spent many hours thinking of that "paradox" the you wrote and am very aware of all those points, it is good to hear it over and over so I dont ever make light of her feelings. Yes we are both seeking professional help and will be going to marriage counceling. My wife is strong and she wants to help me, but she doesnt trust me and I understand and am willing to give her all the space and time she needs. To live with such distress for 30 years then put it on her shoulders is instant overkill. I dont worry about my feelings and what I am going through right now. The only thoughts I have since I came out with this are for her. On the other hand I what brought me to confession was the need for my father in heaven. I realized that I had to do this for myself and not for her or the kids. In return those around me will benefit from my repentance. Thank you so very much for your thoughts and feelings on this subject. My wife, you, and anyone that has, will, and are dealing with these types of problems are forever in my prayers.

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You mentioned the long road ahead. Rest assured that you're not alone. Remember also that we're not judged really by where we are on the road or by how fast we're moving down the road. What matters most is that we are consistently heading in the right direction. This doesn't mean we haven't had detours along the way. Nor does it mean that sometimes we haven't got off course. Consistency means that over time, and despite our momentary failures, we keep trying to head in the right direction. You're doing that and that's what matters most.

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