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New Confession

Jedstolemyfish posted 4/22/2020 10:14 AM

I don't really know where else to turn right now, so I'm going to make this post to look for some wisdom from you all. My wife and I have been together for 8 years, married for 1. Two days ago, I was discovered to have been using pornography for a number of years after we had discussed that it was not something that she was comfortable with me using. I had also admitted to having an emotional affair in college.

At this point, I feel stuck between deciding whether to leave or stay in the relationship, and I'm having a hard time thinking clearly about either side of the coin. Last night, I decided to tell my wife that I would like a divorce and then only a few hours later told her that it was the biggest regret of my life to say such a thing without putting in the effort. The idea of leaving makes me sick, but the idea of staying leaves me scared.

I think she deserves a person that she can trust. I think she deserves a person with enough mental fortitude to keep going when decisions get difficult. I can identify with many of my behaviors being narcissistic and self-preservation oriented. I lied because I didn't want to face shame of admitting my weakness. I love the way she makes me feel valued, but I have failed to give a lot of that value back to her. I have crushed her repeatedly over the past two days, even when I've told her that her happiness means more to me than anything in the world.

I know that deep down I have not been the person I always aspired to be. I never set out to hurt anybody, or to lie, or to cheat, or to destroy.

I am signed up for IC and my wife and I are signed up for MC. Being quarantined in the same house with my emotions fluctuating wildly is not a good situation. I need to talk sooner and get things worked out sooner than Monday (my first IC appointment related to these issues).

So, I'm freaking out, and scared, and hurt that I feel so bad when I know she feels 100x worse. What do I do?

leavingorbit posted 4/22/2020 10:42 AM

Hey, Jed, Iím sorry youíre here. Others will hopefully be along soon to respond.

Do you understand that you can choose to be a different, less selfish person? Itís not like itís set in stone. Itís a process. You can choose to figure out what led you here, to make these choices. Itís not easy. Itís incredibly rewarding. If you donít want to make that choice, then I feel you should let your wife go. She would really benefit from positive support and it sounds like she wants a healthy, fulfilling partnership. I donít think thatís something you are able to offer her if youíre stuck in shame. I understand self loathing. Itís hard. Itís also very self focused, and I donít believe thatís loving. If your decision is to keep withdrawing, I would advise you to keep the divorce as amicable as possible.

You can choose to confront your fear. You can choose to understand why you have come to hold yourself at a distance and disengage from reality, beyond just saying, ďitís hard.Ē You do have to make the decision and take action, however. I would strongly suggest that you do not keep dangling divorce. Make a decision. Your wife is showing a lot of strength and compassion. Thatís rare, IMO.

Have you heard of SA? Or SAA? Other porn, love, sex addiction recovery groups? I feel finding something like that ASAP would be beneficial for you.

Strength!

Jedstolemyfish posted 4/22/2020 12:20 PM

Leavingorbit,

Thank you for the time you took to reply. I think I do understand that I can choose to be a less selfish person. Hearing from someone else that the process is rewarding is very inspiring.

Our DDay is still very recent, and the shame of getting caught in making those choices is still very high. I honestly don't want to withdraw - I want to be open and honest, and not have to live in fear or walk on eggshells because I'm avoiding pain and lies.

I've been reaching out to my supports and baring it all and telling them about my actions, and doing just that was almost a relief for me. I don't have to live in fear of getting caught anymore.

I am choosing to confront the fear and figure out why I had decided to disengage from reality and my relationship.

I really appreciate what you say about self loathing not being loving. My experience is that I would always play the self pity card in our relationship and not own up to any mistakes I made. My wife has communicated this to me time and time again, and I'm now feeling more than ever how I need to get out of this negative habit before she gives up on me. My wife is strong, and I need to reciprocate that same strength for her so she can feel as cared for and supported as I do with her.

kairos posted 4/22/2020 18:09 PM

Good advice from others above. I think IC/MC will go a long way in helping you two understand and work through these issues. From the outside, your situation seems so far from a desperate point of divorce, but I appreciate that it's hard to not consider that. Have you considered that maybe the reason you brought up divorce is because you feel shame, and also weakness within that shame, and that helplessness makes you want to do a desperate but probably irrational thing? What your wife probably wants/needs right now is to: 1) decide, and 2) begin making small baby steps toward that change.

Take a step back, meditate, remove yourself from the equation, listen to yourself for a second.

I'll comment on the SAA advice. I was a serial cheater, a lot of porn, and really just kind of stuck in using sex to compensate for my own sadness and lack of self-worth. Seeing that I was used to seeking sex/porn, etc. for happiness, I also went to SAA. If there is a real addiction, then it works for many people. However, most addictions have underlying reasons. I quickly learned in therapy/IC that the real issue with emotional disconnection, a lack of self-love, a lack of authenticity with my spouse, in general a disconnect with emotions and emotional expression.

Once I addressed those issues, I never looked at porn again. I did however start dating other women (after being separated with intent to divorce) and definitely learned another very important lesson. Sex will never fulfill you if it is not coupled with true, emotional connection. Further, true emotional connection isn't possible without self-knowledge, self-love, authenticity, and radical honestly. Period.

In other words, you might just find that diving deep into your own personal issues will re-create the way you think about relationship, desire, those needs. And when it does, you'll get that satisfaction in other ways.

I'm only writing this because I think addiction to porn/casual sex is very much a disconnect form self. That said, real addiction should not be underestimated; it must be dealt with.

I really hope you see the opportunity to evolve here. Take a step forward my friend.

Voorhees5 posted 4/24/2020 13:20 PM

Hello and welcome. I am new here and have a recent DDay myself. I am still in the middle of the fire with everything and have had issues with confessions along the way as well. A big part of it, just like much of why not admitting prior to DDay comes from in my experience Fear. Embarrassment. Shame. But I fear runs all of those and more. It is so hard to open your mouth and say things that you know are hurtful to the person you love, already hurt and are trying to make things better for/with. I can say that being open however hard even if you open mouth close eyes say it and just get it out is the best way. It is so much harder than it seems but it is. It won't be easy and will be missteps along the way. Believe me. It will cause pain hurt emotions and a lot of hard times ahead but it will be better in the end. That is what I have been told and am using to help myself through the hard times. I wish I could give advice or confirmation or a success story but I am not there yet. You are not the only one going through this here or at all so people feel and use being open here as your first steps. Best of luck in your journey.

[This message edited by Voorhees5 at 1:21 PM, April 24th (Friday)]

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