Married to the Love of My Life, Can't Seem to Get It Together

I am married to a wonderful woman - adoring, caring, fun, and beautiful. Our love life is amazing, she and I do things together that hit all of my buttons (and hopefully hers.) I love her more than I have ever loved someone. And yet I struggle daily with compulsions to fuck someone else - compulsions I sometimes fail to contain. I can see it coming, sometimes I can get some alone time and masturbate and the desire subsides. Other times I can't and it just builds and builds. The maddening thing is that I feel like I am two people when this happens, with both competing for control of my actions. I have been driving to a hookup and telling myself "I can simply not show up" and yet still I end up knocking on their door. They're never as beautiful as my wife, it's never feels as good, I struggle to maintain an erection, and I often get bored. In short, there's no reason I should continue. But I do. I don't think it will get better the next time, that the next woman will be a better experience (in the sense of my problems during the event.) I am ashamed before and ashamed afterwards and yet the cycle continues. When I do have sex with my wife, I often find myself thinking about how good I have it; she's so beautiful, wonderful, and willing to indulge me in my fantasies. It feels fantastic. I don't have any erectile problems, I never get bored, she's still exciting after all of these years. There's no reason for me to do what I do. But I do. I think part of it is that we are so open about everything - there is nothing we can't talk about. Except this, I never bring this up (for obvious reasons.) This is mine. It's like this secret is something I can hold onto, that it is mine alone even if it is shameful, maddening, dangerous, and unethical. Strangely, it seems to fill this part of my personality which wants to have something just for me. I realize that this seems selfish but I don't believe that people shouldn't have something that is just for them. I just don't want this to be it. I don't want deceit, fear, and risk to be my secret. I want to be the best husband I can be. I know what I need to do, or not do as the case my be - no different than the alcoholic, drug abuser, or kleptomaniac. We all know what we should do. What I don't know is how to do it. I don't know how to wrest control from that side of my brain and not knock on the door. I know that every action - turning the car on, every turn, every step - is an opportunity to make a different choice. And yet, screaming at myself in my head, I see myself still going through with it. That part is always the same - the angel and devil on my shoulders. And the devil usually wins. I don't know what I expect writing this. I know that the work is mine to do. I know there is no magic bullet. I know that I want to stop. I know that people generally think I should tell my wife. I won't do it. I take multiple steps to ensure I am not bringing anything home to her - the last thing I want to do is hurt her. I wish that that was my focus of my compulsion. But it's not. And I know I need to do something about it. I love her too much to continue. I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror without being disgusted. Like I said - I know what I need to do. I just don't know how to do it.

User Comments
Anon-1

In the most supportive way possible: if you love your wife, you will find a way to control these impulses that you know would be harmful to her were she to find out about them. I don't mean that to be a reprimand, but rather a reassurance: breathe a little easier. Relax. You will find a way. 

Anon-2

This isn't going to be easy. I know what this kind of addiction is like; I don't have issues with sex, but everything else... substances? The wrong foods? Activities which are a waste of time, when I need to be working? Check, check, and check. At times, I'm an absolute wreck. I find that reminding myself of the reason for my need to change is helpful, but it's still a day-to-day struggle. 

Try leaving yourself little reminders of your wife, of how much you love her. Avoid situations that are particularly tempting. Take the blame off of your shoulders and replace it with responsibility; blame is an excuse to do wrong and then feel bad about it later. Responsibility is a reason to do right. It's a difficult shift to make, in part because the distinction is such a gray area, but you *can* do this. It might take time, but you'll get there.

In the meantime, stop beating yourself up. You're a good person, or you wouldn't be concerned about what you're doing. That's not a call to rest on your laurels my friend, but you *are* a good person.

Anon-3

I hope for the best for you, I really do. I hope you're able to bring this under control and to show your wife the dedication she deserves. It's obvious that you love her, so something else is missing; whatever it is, I wish you the best, and I hope that you're able to find it.

Anon-4

You need to stop doing this. I mean this as a friend, as someone who cares, who can identify with sexual urges and frustrations... though I don't pretend to understand your specific circumstances, and this might well seem uncaring to you. Please, stop what you're doing, and talk to your wife about what you're missing, before it's too late. 

Anon-5

I cheated on a partner, once. Only once. We'd been several years together, but she was away for a while, and I got lonely. I met up with a past girlfriend and we had a weekend that was far more wonderful than I deserved, only to see her turn away afterwards, and to lose my girlfriend after that. It wasn't worth it. 

It really wasn't worth it. There's no pain like that, knowing you deserved it the whole time. I hope you're able to find your way out of this. It's not worth experiencing. You -both- deserve better. 

Anon-6

You both deserve better than this. I feel like something must be missing from your relationship, whether it's as simple as a sexual need or as complicated as a certain level of self-esteem. I don't pretend to understand what it is, but you might want to consider pursuing counseling... the stigma attached to doing so is really unfair. Think about your wife, and get the help that might encourage you to stop. 

Anon-7

I would seek counseling. Not necessarily "marriage counselong." I'd go on my own, first, and seek advice as to what to do about these urges that you are having trouble controlling. There's no shame in that; it's a mark of real courage, pursuing help when help is needed, instead of withdrawing inward and indulging.