I lied to my wife about my adultery. Do I have to tell her?



I am writing this email to ask a serious question about my life. I'm a Christian. I have been married for three years. But I had a problem with sex "addiction" (I'm not that sure if it's or not). I am highly drawn to girls since I was young just to have sex with girls. I had been also pleasuring myself a lot, mainly using pornography. I got married, but the problem came again whenever we had a fight or when the marriage is cold. I have had sex with a lot of women, mostly prostitutes because I wasn't interested in a relationship but sex only. If you ask me the number, I don't even remember how many times I have had sex outside the marriage. It has become an easy habit.

My wife and I left for a year for different countries because of work. I used that time a lot to have sex. But all that time she didn't know almost anything. She had minor doubts, and I said I never cheated, that's all. I felt terrible all this time though.

I had tried several times to repent and return but after a month I would do it again. It has been a vicious cycle. But now I have almost stopped doing that. I have repented and constantly pray and read the word of God to overcome this problem.

I am currently away from my wife due to studies. I actually decided to try to stop after I came here. I haven't seen any pornography for the last month, done anything to pleasure myself, or have sex for the last eight months.

Now the big question is should I tell my wife about this? If I tell her, I am 1000% sure she will leave. The other option is to live a clean life from now on and never to tell her. She will be more hurt than me if I tell her. I am afraid she might do something bad to herself. If I don't tell her, she will never get the information from any other source because I left no trace. She will come also to where I am now, which is a new place and no one knows about what I did, even there. What's wrong if I don't tell her as long as I don't cheat again and she never finds out (believe me there is no way she will find out or at least assume)?

Thank you and I eagerly wait for your answer at least to get some insight.


"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).

What I find the most disturbing is your ability to think of yourself as a Christian while you immersed yourself in sin. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). In your note, you listed out sins of fornication, adultery, lust, and lying. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that you are trying to change because you badly need to change. But I'm concerned because you said that until recently you've only lasted about a month and it has only been about a month since you gave up pornography.

The seriousness of your sins extends far beyond the stability of your marriage. Until you realize just how much in danger you are, I fear that you will eventually excuse yourself when another opportunity to have sex comes along.

Typically I tell people who slipped in sin and have truly repented of it that bringing up the past is unnecessary and can be harmful. Yet, if the spouse asks, the truth must be told. Even then, the person will be able to say he used to be involved in this sin, but he changed years ago. "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

However, this isn't your case. Your wife did ask and relied on your lie. You are still struggling to overcome your sin and you seriously need help. If you are going to turn your life around and truly follow Christ, then you need to be honest with your wife. You need to apologize to her for telling her a lie about your past behavior. Tell her about how hard you've been working to change because of your love for her and your disgust with yourself. Likely she will need time to digest this tragic news. Hopefully, she will be willing to forgive and Christ demands (Matthew 6:14-15). I can't guarantee how she will react, but you knew all of this could be bad each time you sinned; yet, the knowledge of the possible consequences did not stop you from sinning. I hope and pray that it will not be as bad as you fear.

However, fear of the consequences does not justify avoiding doing what is right. You've corrected your sexual misbehavior, now it is also time to correct your lying.

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