Falling off the honesty wagon

The other night TL got to talking about how, as I had mentioned before, I don’t feel a real sensation of temptation from an available woman.  That would take an added ingredient: entitled intent to sin, on my part.  However, I do actually feel temptation sometimes when I’m reading news on the Internet and some banner or advertising box says that clicking on it will show “women you won’t believe exist,” “celebrities in bikinis,” or whatever stupid thing the advertiser knows is sickly irresistible.

I told TL I struggled with those images.  She asked if I had ever clicked on them.  I said, “no.” We discussed it some more.  She asked again if I had ever clicked. I said, “Well, maybe,” or something half-hearted.  This continued until I had contradicted myself at least twice in 10 minutes.

I had lied.  I had fallen off the honesty wagon.  Despite my good intentions, I had succumbed to fear, fear of being honest.  This caused TL and I great anguish.  Hopefully, at least I learned from it.

I learned, again, that the beginning of the slippery slope is not necessarily just an available woman or a pornographic image.  It is anything I might experience, do, or think that I fear sharing with other people, particularly with TL.  Clicking on an Internet link claiming to show Kim Kardashian’s butt or “25 unbelievable women” may sound insignificant.  I may even ultimately turn away from it before becoming transfixed.  But, in fact, I must avoid it because it is like an entry-level drug.  More importantly, whether I click on it or not, I must tell TL, completely and quickly.  Why?  First, telling her will help defang the temptation and reinforce my will to resist in the future.

Second, telling her will build better neuro-pathways in my brain, pathways to make honesty and transparency a habit.  Every time I lie or withhold information I train my brain to lie and withhold information.  So, instead, I need to practice (just like practicing piano or batting a baseball) honesty and transparency so it eventually becomes reflexive, instinctive.  It worked for Pavlov’s canine.  It will work for me too.

I also learned that even as I become better at removing myself from the slippery slope, it is imperative to describe the entire experience, act, or thought to TL, immediately and in full detail.  Yes, I have successfully avoided porn for nearly four years.  But, telling TL about any occasion when I am tempted to click on a website and not tell anyone about it is important for demonstrating to her that I can overcome my fear of telling her.  In the case of porn, it is obvious to me that it is a sensitive topic that I must discuss with TL.  And, it will be easier for me now to recognize that gateways to porn should be discussed exactly as though they were porn, in that regard.

But, I also need to watch out for surprises, for anything, related to sex and porn or not, that I may be tempted to keep quiet.  TL suggested it might be useful to ask myself, before I do anything, whether I would do the same thing if TL was standing next to me.  I think that is a good tool.  I look forward to trying it.


11 thoughts on “Falling off the honesty wagon

  1. My husband (a compulsive liar and sex addict) and I had many of those “discussions” you mention that took place between your initial “no” and the half-hearted (gas lighting) “well, maybe” and finally the true “yes”. I just want you to know, that those “discussions” are not really discussions, they are EXTREMELY HARD WORK from the betrayed spouse. They are not “discussions”, but painfully sacrificed times of our lives when we just want to scream and cry because we KNOW our partner is lying, but we can’t just do that, we have to stay calm and smart and HELP the fucking bastard to come clean. Now, for TL to have to do that three and a half years after discovery is so hard for me to stomach – when will this lying end? Will it ever? I know everybody and every couple is different, but boy, this is still scary.

    What I am trying to say I guess is that you are not only falling off the honesty wagon (that’s just your own selfish perspective) – you trample all over her heart again and again, and completely erase the trust that you have both invested so much into rebuilding. Not with the slip, but with the simple choice of lying to her yet again.

    You probably know all this but I couldn’t just bypass your post without saying something as this hit too close to home.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. This really is IT.

      It is usually NOT a problem with the thing that was so done so much as the LIE. The only reason betrayed spouses stay is because their cheaters have vowed to NEVER be that person again and have to SHOW that they’re working to rebuild trust.

      One lie – ONE – brings all of your efforts and all of her faith down to NOTHING again. It’s breaking a kind of lying sobriety. It shows that you are STILL that person… the same kind of person who could lie to her. And even more so, you could still lie to her even after KNOWING that it breaks everything to the start again, hurting her deeply.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. Thanks for your comments. I know.

    I never expected to lie again, after all these years. I hate that I failed. I’m so sorry I broke my promise, again. I’m trying so hard.

    I know this is not fair to TL. I know I’m hurting her, even unintentionally. It kills me that I hurt her again. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I did.

    I’m trying to be a safe husband. Apparently, I still have a lot of work ahead of me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The lying, it is the hardest, probably for both of you. Lying became your protective shield and your automatic response and of course a habit and it is a trigger for TL.

    Thanks for sharing….both of you


    1. Dr. E., thanks. I’m struggling with compulsive lying, apparently. Why do I do it? At its root, it’s cowardice. I’m afraid to admit my failings, great or small. I remember this fear going all the way back to childhood. Beyond cowardice, habit takes over. Prior to D-day, I lied, even thoughtlessly about seemingly insignificant things, for so long that I did it without conscious thought. It had become an instinct. I must fully extinguish this instinct. I must build new neuro-pathways.

      Yep, even on this blog I’ve promised this before and then failed, broken my promise. Perhaps in TL’s place, you would not give me another chance. Perhaps in TL’s place I would not give me another chance. I do want to become a better man, an honest man. I have no choice but to keep trying, chance or no chance.

      Can I overcome it? I think so. Yes, maybe that sounds overconfident. It’s not. I’m again humbled by the scale of my failings. Yes, maybe that sounds uncommitted. Why try? Why not just do it? It’s like this. I know I should keep my eye on the ball and follow through with my golf swing. I know that, and I commit to doing it. I even know how to do it. But, knowledge and good intent aside, sometimes I just fail to keep my eye on the ball and follow through with my golf swing. Fortunately, I’m getting much more consistent with honesty and transparency than I am with swinging a golf club. Unfortunately, my honesty handicap is still way too damn high. I need more practice.

      I remember in second grade I had developed an awful habit of swearing. It took lots of effort to break that habit. A few years ago, I developed a smoking habit. I broke the habit. I can do this. I can break bad habits.

      But, this habit of lying has turned out to be more insidious than I thought. With this click-bait lie, I started down the path of dishonesty before my conscious mind even knew I was doing so. The habit is that powerful. Yes, I can probably point to my enormous fear of my mother as the origin of this habit, decades ago. But, that’s not relevant. What’s relevant is that I will break this habit. But, it has not been easy.

      Telling TL about my day in great detail helps. Calling or texting TL the instant I encounter a temptation, even a temptation inside my own head, helps. Imagining TL always standing right next to me helps. I’ll focus on these techniques. I’ll also welcome suggestions from readers or other sources.

      God, give me the courage to be honest and transparent, fully, constantly, and instantly.


      1. Maybe you’re too focused on how your lies affect you.

        Your analogies describe things that affect only you negatively. Lying is not similar at all. Lying hurts TL, not you. Lying protects you, in large and small ways, and that’s why it’s so easy. But it HURTS HER. And she must not be hurt anymore.

        Lying doesn’t hurt you until she holds you to it… and she does that because it HARMS her.

        Maybe try thinking of lies being REAL harm. Because they are. Every time you’re inclined to lie, think of preparing yourself to slap her in the face… punch her in the stomach… beat her with your golf club. THAT is how much it will hurt her. How much it DOES hurt her, every.single.time.

        Because if you’re willing to lie to her about something stupid, when the consequences of telling the truth are absolutely trivial? It lets her know that you’d absolutely lie to her about great big things, when the consequences of telling the truth are monumental.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Insistonhonesty, thanks for staying in the dialogue. It is helpful.

          Yes, lying is easy because it protects me. You’ll get no disagreement from me on that. Yes, it hurts her. I’ve known that for a long time now. But, this month I got a big reminder of that, due to my own failure.

          I like your suggestion of trying to think of the lie as a physical threat. I will try that technique.

          But, I still need help with the step immediately before that: quickly recognizing the fact that I am lying, when I lie. On this click-bait lie, for example, I blurted out the lie several minutes before I even realized it was a lie.

          I think I need to start with courage, then confronting my fears, then translating the courage into honest speech. This week I’m trying another specific technique. Today, for example, I stopped myself three times during the day to call or sit with TL and give her a full report on my inner thoughts since the last time we had spoken. I believe that helps me get truths out long before they can become intimidating to me. Telling her immediately if I see a sexy ad or attractive woman or if I remember something associated with my affairs is scary. But, telling her immediately is like ripping off the band-aid or jumping into a cold swimming pool. Doing it now may suck, but doing it later will be much more difficult.


          1. It will help if you do it even immediately afterward. It feels shameful right away.. a great deterrent, for you from yourself, for doing it again… knowing you’re going to immediately embarrass yourself. Because the important thing here is that you stop hurting her.


            TL: Did you call the insurance company yet?

            MC: Yeah… I called and was on hold for 20 minutes and then got disconnected! I called back and left a message.

            TL: Okay… [she already suspects this is a lie but is generously giving you an out to make it right in the next day or two] but please call back tomorrow if they don’t call you back today.

            MC: Wait. Sorry- that was a lie. I waited on hold for 20 minutes and then hung up, frustrated. I’ll call back when I have more time to wait, later today. I’m sorry, TL! That was stupid.

            This can even be for smaller things… like when she asks where the juice boxes are and you say they were out of the kind she usually gets, when really, you just forgot. It HAPPENS. You jolt out a “DAMN- I forgot!,” laugh, and then go back for it.

            Owning mistakes will get you very, very far into making the truth a habit.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Exactly, if he had just admitted he had lied at the very beginning. He did come clean about the click-bait details quickly, but still was trying to convince himself and me that he wasn’t trying to hide anything, he was simply trying to remember/figure it out. That pissed me off to no end. Like you said, if he had just immediately said. “Wait. Sorry- that was a lie. I’m sorry, TL! That was stupid.”

              As an aside, the example you gave about calling a company made me laugh. MC is Mr. OCD to-do list guy, OMG he never lets that kind of thing fall through the cracks. I sometimes wish he did. His micromanaging of shit like that has been an issue for us. To a certain level it is very helpful, especially when we are in the process of moving, but then it just goes WAY beyond. I could give lots of examples, but I don’t want to veer off the point here. So, I will just say that one of the HUGE things he has had to work on, and is making progress towards, is being more flexible, not so tied to his to-do list.

              It is really those things that cannot be put on a to-do list (or encountering something not on the to do list) that is/are the problem. If that makes sense? It is almost like he has so boxed himself into the idea that he MUST have and abide by a to-do list, that he never learned to guide himself without it. Sometimes in life you encounter something not on a to-do list, how you handle that speaks volumes.

              Still, your overall sentiment is SPOT ON! Just be honest, admit to the mistake immediately. “Owning mistakes will get you very, very far into making the truth a habit.”

              Liked by 1 person

              1. You know what, now I am really getting off topic or maybe back on to topic. I was thinking about this more. For something to be on his to-do list, he must decide it is a priority. If he puts something on his “to do” list that he doesn’t really want to do, it will eventually get done, but it is not at all the priority that he makes everything else on that list.

                ETA: I really want to think through this more. If it is something that is logistical, related to organizing, tidying, etc., he is always on top of purely logistical crap, no matter whose idea. No, when I think about it, it is those things he is afraid of or, perhaps, doesn’t want to admit he is afraid of that find their way lower down the list. Hmm. . .

                Damn it, you know what, this is not my shit to figure out. This is his shit to figure out. Geez, TL, get to work on your own shit, like real school, job shit. Grrr. . .


  4. The Player finally realized just because he could doesn’t mean she should. No lore walking on the edge – even if he thinks he is solid and you’re right the little lies that cover the behavior are the gateway.

    Liked by 3 people

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