I was born into the LDS faith, to parents who divorced before I was old enough to remember.
My first exposure to pornography was when my neighbors invited me and my brother over to play at their house. They ended up on the computer looking at unsavory pages and I left before seeing too much. I didn't have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ at this point in my life and I dwelt on these images for awhile until my curiosity got the better of me to get on our computer when the opportunity arose. It went downhill from there. Before long masturbation and pornography became an intertwined issue in my life.
Around the age of 17 I went to my bishop. I told him about my immorality and felt the weight lifted off my shoulders. I don't remember how long I abstained from pornography, but girlfriends came and went and church attendance dwindled to naught and soon I was back into my old ways. At this point I felt it was too late. I remembered the words were strongly impressed upon me from a conference address about "the days of the repent and go missionaries are over". And I started living a lie. I told family and friends that I intended on serving a mission. I told them money was the only thing holding me back. I felt it was too late to go forward to the bishop again. As if I really thought that he wouldn't have known my unworthiness if I had ever submitted my application. I became more sexually active. I was in the middle of this giant world of crud and despair when I met my wife. She lived only a few blocks from me, but we had never met.
She was in the process of a divorce and I knew within a few weeks of meeting her that I wanted to marry her, I just didn't entirely understand what that meant and how my actions would affect her.
Due to her recent past with scum ball guys, I put on my mask of a perfect life. I am not going to say I wasn't myself. I acted like the person I wanted to be. I finally convinced her of the goodness of my heart and my true care for her. We started dating officially a few months after her divorce was final in November of 2007.
In February she told me she was going to move out of state because she could no longer subject herself and her child to the situation she was in living with her parent and not being allowed to raise her child as she saw fit. I told her that moving to NYC to live with family wasn't the only option. I proposed to her via text message and she said yes. Our engagement was set for 1 week. We were to elope to Las Vegas the following Saturday and get married. I leaked my plans to one person, who leaked them to my father. My father called me in to speak to him and offered me nothing but support. He gave me a few hundred dollars to help offset the cost of a ring, expressed his love towards my bride to be, and offered us his home as a place to hold the ceremony. We accepted due to the love and support we received but hadn't expected.
The first thing I remember upon returning from our Honeymoon was laying in my room at my mothers house where we were going to live for a few months until we could find a place of our own. She had prepared me a meal of Top-Ramen mixed with Spaghettio's and we lay in our room talking and munching on the food. I was on cloud 9, but the reality of marriage had not hit me yet. We hadn't even picked up our two daughters from the sitter yet. She said to me "If there is anything I need to know about you or your past, tell me now. I can leave now before it gets complicated, only a handful of people know about our marriage and it can save us heartache and embarrassment." At that point I felt like I could NEVER tell her. But I vowed to never give into the temptation again. My secret attempt at breaking the chains of pornography failed. A few months later I sought it out as soon as I was alone and saw that we had an unsecured Internet connection within range of our new home.
I don't think I viewed it again for over a year beyond that. We never established a habit of attending church. About the only thing we did right was I don't think we missed a night of family prayer in the first 3 years of our marriage. I will take the blame for the brunt of this. There were weeks here and there that she would want to go and I would discourage her because it was such a process to get the kids ready and get them to try and behave as we wanted; especially when church overlapped their nap time.
Then we got a new home, we signed our very own mortgage and moved to a place we could really call our own. I shortly submitted myself to the will of satan and indulged in my weakness. I would estimate that over the course of two years I indulged in pornography and masturbation approximately 15 times. I felt shamed, and when I did give into the beast I would not be intimate with my wife for a time. I knew she deserved better, and I wanted her help but I didn't know how to ask for it. We never developed true communication.
Out of nowhere appeared a woman's shirt in our van. I do not know where it came from to this day, but it raised suspicion in my wife and she started digging. When she started digging she found evidence of my pre-marital sexual history of which I had hidden most from her (she didn't think I was a virgin, but she didn't know my whole past).
She asked me about a specific girl several times whom I interacted with quite regularly up through even my relationship with my wife blossomed. I felt backed into a corner, and I lied to her. I told her nothing went on with us. She contacted the girl on facebook and learned of my lies. She also contacted old friends to ask them about anything and everything.
I admitted my relationship with the first girl, but denied other accusations. Before long the flood gates were opened and we sat down at her request and tried to recount EVERYTHING I had never told her.
The problem here is that I don't have a vivid memory of my relationships and the details of those relationships from my past. I tried to fill in the blanks to appease her, and tried to put my emotions and feelings into words, but most of the time it came out wrong, or she interpreted it in the worst possible way. I wanted to work with her and tell her everything, but the fact of the matter is that I couldn't due to the boundaries of my memories of such events. I knew it wasn't typically productive to hash over all the details. I knew it would do little to no more than cause pain, but I felt I had no choice. I had to do what she asked in an effort to establish trust. I know for a fact about how man women I have "been with", and I told her that, but she wanted nitty gritty details and I tried to indulge her by filling in the gaps to the best of my abilities to try and establish trust to move forward. This is the point that I came clean about my struggles with pornography.
We went and saw a marriage counselor. He gave us a few good tools and concentrated on leaving the past behind us instead of trying to move it. She agreed that she would and could do this, but as soon as the sessions were over she would take back everything she told the counselor.
I felt extremely conflicted here, my life was in shambles and things were just bad. She wanted to move out, she already wanted a divorce, but we were trying.
I felt conflicted in that if I had told her of my indiscretions and struggles with pornography that I never would have gotten her heart. I never would have had my son. I never would have gotten the time with her that I did. That time that I value more than any other point in my life, ever. That time that has really augmented my growing up by becoming an insta-dad. Our marriage changed my life and I wouldn't ever take it back. At the same time I know my initial lies of omission and later blatant lies were wrong and she didn't deserve that. It took everything I had to convince her that there were decent guys out there still after her divorce, and that I was one of those guys who could and would take care of her and love her. I didn't see any other way than through secrets.
I think this is where I will stop for now. I apologize that this seems to jump around, as previously mentioned this is the first time I am putting this in writing. One major purpose of this blog is to make sense of my mess of a mind. To sort through it. Sometimes I guess you have to make a bigger mess before you can clean it.