Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Should my husband disclose details of a relapse?

Full Disclosure

Its up to you, and ONLY you, on how many details you want your husband to tell you.


I personally prefer details. *I* feel safer with details. But I do NOT need GORY details. I consider stuff like "I got turned on by a sexy jogger wearing _____with big______" as gory details. Why? Because its describing the jogger in some sexually appealing way that invokes lust. I NEED to know if my husband lied, relapsed, masturbated, accidentally saw porn, was triggered, is struggling with lust, or has acted out in any way. I need to know what kind it was, how it was accessed, how long it was viewed or thought of, where it happened (what, where, why, when, how) etc etc., but I do NOT need to know what exact dirty thoughts he had that turned him on about the women. Plus if he told me gory details, he technically wouldn't be honest because he would be getting lust hits off his own words.

Examples of Details vs. Gory Details:

"I was triggered by a jogger today, and im feeling sad and ashamed" = Details. 

"I got turned on by a sexy hot blonde jogger with big ______ and I imagined doing this, this, and this to her" = Gory Details.

"I looked at _____ kind of porn for 2-3 hours today on my computer at work, and 30 min on my phone, and then I masturbated in the bathroom. I think I was feeling really stressed because of my boss yelling at me, and I chose to look at porn instead of reach out to you and my sponsor. Im feeling horrible, and depressed. What I did was completely wrong. I need to figure out my emotions better so I can prevent this from happening again. I'm so sorry I hurt you. Is there anything I can do to help you? Can I watch the kids, make dinner & clean the house??" = Details :)

"I was feeling horny for _______ women with big _____ so I decided to search _______. Then I looked up hardcore _______ porn while I masturbated in the bathroom imagining having ____ sex " = GORY Details

"I am feeling triggered by a dream I had last night and im on edge today and scared I may relapse" = Details

"I had a fun dream that I had sex with our hot neighbor in a red string bikini" = GORY Details.

Also, THIS is an example of NO details:
"I relapsed today"

"I felt triggered today"

Gory details re-live and entertain lust. You are not his dumping ground to RE-LIVE his lust. For him to describe the jogger, porn, or ANY woman in any sexual way "hot, big _____ etc", is not appropriate. No gory details about how pretty she was and why, what kind of body she had and why he loved her body, what kind of "sexy" outfit she was wearing, how "hot" it was, no no. THESE things are all just re-living the lust & fantasy.

In the end, its up to you how much you want to know. What do YOU want? Details? No details? Partial detail? Gory details? No gory details? Only relapses?
Details are extremely important to me. I know how an addict's mind works and addicts are compulsive liars, compulsive manipulaters, and compulsive minimizers. Its a habit they have been developing for the majority of their lives.

It doesn't go away overnight.

YES details are painful. Details are extremely painful. But I'd rather feel this pain now, versus feeling the pain 100x worse in a few years when I learn my husband has been lying to me and his addiction has progressed further.

Addicts lie. They are liars.

My husband would say he relapsed, and 100% of the time I'd find out later that my husband only told me half of the truth and he minimized the entire thing. His relapses were WAY worse then he said. For example, he would SAY "I relapsed today at work, I looked at porn for 15 min"
But what really happened (and the truth he *should* have said) was "I relapsed pretty bad today. I looked at porn at work for most of the day, both on the work computer and on my phone. Probably for 2-3 hours total. And then I masturbated in the work bathroom, and afterward spent an hour deleting all evidence so no-one would find out. Also, earlier out on a job, I found a magazine at a customer's house and stole it, then on the drive home from work, I parked somewhere and masturbated in the car before coming home".

See the difference?

This is very common, and why its crucial for an addict to be completely honest.

In the end, YOU DECIDE. No one else. Not a therapist. Not a bishop. NOT your husband. Not a Sponsor. Not his addict buddies. 

This is your marriage. This is about your safety and your kids safety. YOU get to decide which information you feel you need so that you are not dangerously being kept in a marriage under false pretenses.


  1. you have every right to know what he is doing so you can make decisions about what you want to do. my two cents? just don't let this communication be a substitute for the work he should also do with a therapist, sponsor, etc. if he is only talking with you, it will likely not be enough for him to heal. but I think confession can be its own kind of addiction if there isn't someone also outside the marriage to whom he is being accountable.

  2. I appreciate all the points you make about it being YOU , and what YOU needed . I have a little theory , what YOU need is exactly what HE needs to tell you . Your oneness is a divine mystery created the moment you became one in spirit . Every time he broke that oneness IN ANY way I believe you felt it - totally my own little opinion , but I sure think I felt it , and he did when I broke it too . When I asked for details , sometimes even gory ones , now I believe I wasn''t even getting details !! I used to get all into shame for some of the things I needed to have answered , then after years of GROSS minimizing it seems to me he was living in such a dual world he honestly did not even see it as so bad UNTIL I asked him some very tough things he did NOT want to answer . So what else is new huh ? In a way it made him go back there yes, but without it he stays in constant minimize world . But here again this is just ME and US. If confession can be it''s own kind of addiction I sure wish he would try it out ! :( Confession has hardly ever happened . Also I do have to add to the needing a counselor to help through this , I / we have spent a wad on expensive counselors - one in particular takes the man back to his commonly sought after "types"" to unravel the need this " type " is fulfilling in the hole in his soul . List of degrees , expensive and he does this commonly.
    If taking him back there is going to wake up fantasy , I for one want to be present - it feels very violating to me to have him do that without me . Also one ministry I respect grasps the power of the addict witnessing the grief from a closer description . Sometimes I don''t know anything and just want to throw in the towel on men altogether , but living without having him answer what I need to know makes me the craziest , distracted , confused of all . I would rather cry than walk around with my " I wonders " spinning around in my head . He had long term adultery also , and their conversations are just as important to me - to see the parts of his heart he shared with her . That may not be important to someone else , but it is to me . In all this crap one thing I have gleaned and it is to TRY to stop shaming myself for my needs . To create some self respect that was literally stolen from me for most of my adult life .
    You did a great job of explaining the details vs gory details . Do you ever feel like you did need gory details , like about a certain situation or with a particular person ? Asked in a respectful way . It varies a lot for me I guess . Thank you again , you say it so well .

  3. hope, like you said, every woman has to decide. and i think needing to really know what has happened is part of the deal for both to heal. but if you are the only reason he is confessing, then is that real honesty? i feel both a need to know and a need to see what he is really willing to own and share on his own. to me, if i have to drive his recovery, that isn't recovery, for him OR for me. it's not that i don't ask questions, but i personally found i couldnt' heal if i was dependent on what he does or doesn't tell me. to me if an addict isn't ready to really own it, i don't really trust what is being said anyway. i also think that every couple has a different path through all of this so this is just my perspective.

    1. Omg so true. That's exactly how I feel. This article and your reply are dead on. I also feel like I need details because to me they reveal so much about where he is in this process. Love this site!

  4. Well said and received ! good thoughts ! thank you :)

  5. I'm so sorry if I come off the complete opposite of everyone else but how can anyone live like this?!?! I understand HOW to move on with an addict but don't understand WHY anyone should have to do that to themself! If the above said "Honey I had sex with the neighbor girl 8 times this week, I am so sorry can I clean the house?" would be COMPLETELY unacceptable, wouldn't it? Am I wrong in this? Why is porn, a definite gateway drug which just acts as a medium since he/she isn't bold enough to find real people to have sex with, treated so lightly? If it really is not that big of a deal, why aren't couples allowed to view together or sexual indecency wrong at all? There are obvious answers to these questions which I feel also belong to pornography.