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Full disclosure - learning points

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In hindsight I wish I had been able to disclose the full extent of my SA early on. There were several opportunities to do so but I was racked with guilt and fear, and only focused on what had been discovered. 

It seems to be a common trend but leads to prolonged agony for loved ones.

If I had my time again I would open up as soon as I realised I was a SA, knowing now that I would be able to get the right support.

Has anyone got any further thoughts, advice or learning points?

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As a partner of a SA, who gave me a prolonged drip drip disclosure, even giving me a false disclosure to minimise what he’d done, I’d say that keeping things back is the worst thing you could do. I can see why it happens but it is very damaging. I feel it means that the SA is still acting in a way they’ve always done and they are not really in full recovery. 

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I agree.  I think not disclosing everything is born out of shame and not wanting to face themselves, not wanting to lose the relationship or hurt the partner further and probably still wanting to keep  a part of their behaviour for themselves. It would be good to hear from addicts as to their perspective on this. 

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On 4/27/2020 at 8:46 PM, Sunflower said:

I agree.  I think not disclosing everything is born out of shame and not wanting to face themselves, not wanting to lose the relationship or hurt the partner further and probably still wanting to keep  a part of their behaviour for themselves. It would be good to hear from addicts as to their perspective on this. 

I think this is a very good summary of what is going on and I also would like to hear other addicts perspectives please.

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A year to this week since discovery day and I am still getting more disclosure. 😢. Please if you are an addict, tell me why this happens and will it ever stop 😟

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Hi first of all id just point out that this is my first post of any kind, so hi to everyone, it has been useful to see the perspective from the partners. 

I came to realise i was an SA just over a month ago. It came as a shock and surprise for my wife, but also it surprised me. I realised something wasn't right but never though I was an addict until the "bottom fell out the glass". Now im in therapy and realise my problem and the compulsions were spiralling out of control, I was trying to control the cycle of addiction, to which I kept failing... miserably! 

Anyway my point of view of disclosure for the partners  (this is by no means any justification or excuse of any kind just an insight into my own thought process). 

It took a few weeks to fully come clean to my partner, at first I struggled with how i was going to tell her the things i had done. I was concerned that if i told her everything all in one hit, it would certainly spell the end. Like a huge dumper truck in one go, completely unmanageable for anyone. Fear, shame, guilt and a sense of me trying to save the marriage were at the forefront. I even had thoughts that if i drip feed, it would make it easier for her sake but then i realised that after all the years of being selfish and blocking her out, denying her the time, love and affection she deserves that it was time to just stop, I couldn't go on living a secret life and lying to her anymore. Especially now id seen the impact on those around me. 

Disclosure was something I was overthinking,  like an obsession, how i would tell, what level of detail etc. We met in person on a few occasions and basically gave an insight into my history of porn use since my teens and how it progressed in recent years. I didn't give an account of every person i ever contacted but I disclosed the more relevant matters such those i stayed in touch with over a period of time and the type of behaviour i was involved with.

The more i disclosed the greater the sense of relief (for me), but the more i disclosed the more I remembered in the following days. I was holding back at first and she even challenged me to just come out with it, which i did, who am i to try and protect her feeling after what I've done? Anyway now i feel i have the major stuff out and given her an insight into all the minor stuff. I simply cannot recall every thing i have ever done, not sure i ever will.

A few small things from my secret life have since popped into my head  but we agreed to focus on the present and future rather than small things i might remember from the past. Its early days yet but am happy enough I've disclosed my problem to her so that... IF ...I do get a second chance then I'm not having to explain any infidelities again.

The above is my answer to the why.

My answer to "will it ever stop?" Only if you both want it to stop.

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Thank you Axe20 for offering your personal experiences and thoughts. I think it’s good that you admitted you didn’t really drip feed to spare your wife the pain, but that it was more about sparing yourself the pain and trying to salvage what you could. I guess this is human nature. I also get that you may not remember every detail. But for me, it was about knowing the infidelities, the when, the where and how often etc. Partners are being asked to understand and forgive horrific behaviour and I wasn’t going to even attempt that with someone only telling me the bits they wanted to tell. To me, that’s just repeating the behaviour that had caused the issue in the first place. It’s a very long and difficult road. I did feel a little unsure of your final comment about it being able to stop if BOTH of you want it to. As a partner who had no knowledge of this behaviour, a great marriage for 21 years and fulfilling too, I am uncomfortable with the comment. I will not make my husband stop, nor was I to blame. So the only person who can do that is himself. I am willing to support where I can. But I have been deceived in the worst possible way and I have to recover too. That will not involve me making his recovery my responsibility. I’m guessing you may have meant the comment in another way. But I’m restating these thoughts for all those suffering partners out there. Axe20 I wish you all the luck with your recovery. This forum is an excellent support. 

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Thank you Axe20 for sharing your story.  Not easy!  I wish you all the best in your recovery too.  We are  currently writing a mini blog series on breaking the cycle of addiction which you may be interested in.  The 2nd part was posted yesterday on the main web page, but here they are for ease:  https://www.thelaurelcentre.co.uk/blog/breaking-the-cycle-of-sex-addiction--part-1 and https://www.thelaurelcentre.co.uk/blog/breaking-the-cycle-of-sex-addiction--part-2

Sunflower thank you too for replying to Axe20.  

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I have just picked up on this post as a newbie on here, and I can only speak for myself, but please, PLEASE, if you are a SA reading this , consider telling your partner everything.  From my own experience I cannot tell you how much more painful and destructive it is to be drip fed information or to have to prise it out of someone.  If my husband ever reads this post, I just want him to know that whatever you have to tell, it cannot be any worse than the things I have imagined.  

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I totally agree with ElleS.  Having to drag out everything that has happened slowly over many weeks or months is like repeatedly pulling the scab off a healing wound.  My husband said it was because he was scared I'd leave him if he admitted everything when I first asked, but all it did was make our problems much worse because it got to the stage where I couldn't believe a word he was saying.  At first he admitted 'only' porn. Weeks later when I found out about the prostitutes he said it was 'only' hand jobs.  I didn't believe him because of all the previous lying.  This meant that I had to go through the torture of visiting a local sexual health clinic at the hospital and the indignity of sobbing in the waiting room and crying uncontrollably in front of so many health workers.  He avoided this because he knew that part was the truth.  I could have avoided this if he'd been honest in his earlier disclosures.

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