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We Come Clean, Our Wives Fall Apart

January 19, 2010

What a freeing thing it is to share your secrets for the first time!  The dam breaks and we puke our stuff out.  For the first time in a long time we are walking in truth.  We feel a release, a lifting of the burden, and a sense of peace. 

Not our wives.  They are devastated.  A bomb drops for them, and they quickly spin out of control in anger, resentment, depression, and sometimes revenge.   

This is puzzling to guys.  They expect their wives to be proud of them, forgive them, and affirm their courageous step.   

Let’s get a little perspective… 

Husband – Shares his secret for the first time.

Wife – Learns about the secret, the lies, and the double life for the first time.

Husband – Is repentant.

Wife – Is hocked and furious.

Husband – Feels like he’s turned over a new leaf.

Wife – Feels like her world is torn apart.

Husband – Feels like it’s over now.

Wife – Knows it’s just begun.  Her timeline is a lot longer.

Husband – I’m doing a good work

Wife – He’s breaking trust and destroying our marriage and family.

Husband – Is thinking about himself, his reputation, his recovery.

Wife – Is thinking about herself, her reputation, her family. 

Husband – Thinks she’s overeacting. 

Wife – Thinks he doesn’t care about her at all.  She even blames herself. 

Husband – It’s my problem, and it’s done.

Wife – It’s his problem, and it’s not over. 

Truth – It’s both their problem, and it’s far from over.   



1.  Time – Her healing will take much longer and you need to give her triple the amount of time to work through it.   

2.  Space – She might need to step away for a while.  She might need a breather.   

3.  Honest Answers – You need to answer whatever questions she has.  Whatever details you need to give her.  Whatever she needs you to do and say… she deserves it.   

4.  Love – A breaking of trust shakes the love foundation up.  You will have to do many selfish acts and make many sacrifices, not to atone for your sins, but to prove your love to her again.  She might need to erupt in anger toward you.  Take it and don’t get defensive.   

5.  Go Full Throttle into Recovery – Whatever the time and money cost is to learn about sexual recovery do it.  Do as much as you can.  Go to counseling.  Visit a recovery group.  Get some books.  Listen to podcasts.   

How to Share With Your Spouse about Your Sexual Addiction, PART 1 & PART 2

How Much Do I Tell My Wife?

Have THE Talk

Four Types of Intimacy Building

  1. January 19, 2010 9:56 am

    I think it is helpful, with any painful and honest admission like this, to verbally acknowledge some of these dynamics. After the confession say something like, “For me this is something I’ve been fighting and wrestling with for months/years, so for me talking about this is painful, yet relieving. I know for you it must be different. This is the first time you’ve really heard of this, so I can only imagine how you feel right now. But I am willing to do whatever it takes to regain your trust.”

    Our friends Ryan and Laura Booz experienced this in a big way in their marriage. They told us a little about it on this video:

  2. January 19, 2010 10:07 am

    There is no need to approve this comment. As info…

    You wrote:

    Love – A breaking of trust shakes the love foundation up. You will have to do many selfish acts and make many sacrifices, not to atone for your sins, but to prove your love to her again. She might need to erupt in anger toward you. Take it and don’t get defensive.

    you meant: You will have to do many unselfish acts and make many sacrifices.

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