Infidelity Should Only Be Revealed in a Therapeutic, Supportive Setting
anonymous Asks ...
I have cheated on my wife many times in the past but an STD scare a few months ago convinced me that I need to change my ways.
She has never caught me in my indiscretions. I have been working with my pastor in counseling sessions to try to improve myself and he says that my behaviors are driven by some sort of compulsion. He says I need to tell my wife what I’ve done or I will continue to repeat the mistakes of my past.
I am worried that I will be causing her pain for no reason and putting my marriage, which I really want to save, in jeopardy for no good reason.
Rob Weiss Says ...Whatever motivated you to begin asking for help is to be applauded. I honor your courage in reaching out and being honest.
It is clear that you have an emotional health problem that requires treatment in order to heal. If someone told you that you may have cancer, you wouldn’t avoid getting help. In the same way, when you have an emotional health issue, you need to seek counseling.
Based on our experience with spouses, it is abusive and violating to disclose your infidelity without your spouse having support at the same time. There are ways to disclose your infidelity in a safe, therapeutic setting. This way you can both receive direction, structure, support and hope.
I strongly suggest that you start looking at therapists or programs for sexual addiction/compulsion. Here’s a nonprofit website that provides a list of trained therapists throughout the country, by city and state, that deal with this issue: www.sash.net (click on Find a Therapist).
Again, while your wife does have a right to know what you’ve been doing so that she can make informed decisions about her family life and health, it’s not fair to “dump” your past onto her without proper preparation. It might make you feel better temporarily, but it will destroy your wife. Disclosure needs to be done within a planned, structured program by a trained professional for the benefit of both you and your wife.