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In one of his previous posts, Alex commented that you are only as sick as your worst secret.  Secrets are your worst enemy in recovery, in trying to stay clean, and in trying to rebuild your relationship.

Your spouse needs you to be transparent, especially where your online activities are concerned.  Transparency allows him or her to see for himself or herself that you are “staying clean” and being an honest and faithful partner.  In the aftermath of the kinds of behavior sex addiction often contributes to – such as infidelity (even in the form of porn use or cybersex) – and lying about those activities, your spouse is probably not able to trust your word, no matter how much he or she would like to.

Your spouse can only believe your actions; if those actions are consistently faithful and honest, then eventually your spouse will be able to believe that you are really trying to be “clean.”  He or she can only believe your actions of he or she can see them.  Inability to see for himself or herself that you are being faithful and honest will only strengthen distrust, insecurity, and resentment.  Transparency is how you regain your spouse’s trust and repair the damage to the relationship.

Being transparent with your partner also you gives you a valuable tool for your own recovery – accountability.

The ability to conceal your activities makes it easier and more likely for you to give in to the urges of addiction.  If you can keep your behavior a secret, you can be fairly sure there will be no consequences – no anger, sadness, disapproval, or disappointment from your spouse; no loss of your family’s trust and respect.  Without those consequences, your struggle becomes a match of your willpower against your brain’s chemical needs.  When you can tell yourself “no one will ever know,” you weaken your willpower’s side of that fight.  Think of accountability – and therefore think of transparency – as backup and support for your willpower in that fight.

Anywhere you give yourself room to hide your actions, you may also be giving the darkness of this addiction room to grow.  It can be much too easy to lose yourself in that darkness.  When I think of transparency, I think of the pane of a window.  It lets in the light and leaves darkness no room to hide.