A Double Life


#1

I am a 30 year old married woman. I love my husband very much. We have been married for five years. He works extremely hard for us and has always treated me with kindness, love and generosity.

I work outside our home because we are unable to have children, a source of great sorrow for both of us. We are open to adoption but have not pursued it very seriously because we have not yet, perhaps, given up hope that it will still happen naturally for us.

I was able to climb very high on the career ladder early on in life, and while I do have some major responsibilities at work, I have plenty of time to spend doing personal things as well. I am required to be online at work because I am employed by a major ISP. Here is where the problem started…

I seem to be addicted to lying online while chatting with complete strangers. It has led to phone calls outside of the computer, and me creating an entirely separate identity that I describe when first getting to know someone online. I spend an inordinate amount of time on phone calls to complete strangers, all of whom eventually want to meet and develop a relationship or friendship outside of the computer or phone. I have no desire to do this, and because I’ve (on occasion) been tempted to do so, I use the fact that I create a fake name and fake life story as a safeguard to keep me from actually doing so. When it reaches a breaking point, I either confess to them the truth or I make up some huge reason why I can’t bring myself to meet the person. It gets so bizarre and I develop emotional attachments that are inappropriate for a married woman.

I feel so confused and guilty. AND SO ALONE. Doing this and hiding the phone calls and online activities from my husband creates so much turmoil for myself and I can NOT understand why I keep doing it. It’s true that I feel so lonely and sad about the fact that we can’t have children, as I watch all of my real life friends and siblings having their second or third or fourth babies and no longer inviting me or my husband to hang out or spend time with them–because we don’t have the requisite baby.

I am very afraid of going to hell over this. I think it constitutes at least emotional adultery, as I don’t tell men that I’m married and pretend to be single and fun, etc. It’s like they serve as a distraction for me so I don’t have to think about my real life. I go to confession time and again and time and again…I go right back to doing it. My husband keeps asking me why I don’t receive communion anymore. I feel like God must not love me anymore, either.

My husband and I have been to counseling and to many doctors. Although, never to counseling about my issue with this. I am too afraid to tell him, or anyone, really. It is my fault that we can’t have children, not his. I feel like I am not good enough for him and I worry that he will leave me over it, even though he assures me time and again that he loves me so much and will never leave me no matter what. I feel like I am testing him sometimes and as if I want to beat him to the punch…when no punch is being thrown.

I am crying as I write this. I’m so sad over it and I don’t know how to stop and what scares me is that I’m not sure I want to stop. It keeps me from thinking all the sad thoughts about how disappointing my own life is, and all because of me. I love my husband so much, and he is soooo good and kind. He deserves someone better than me.

Can anyone help me? Please just tell me something, anything, that could help me.


#2

God will not stop loving you, ever! He does want you to take care of yourself, though. This is something you should seek therapy or counseling for help with - the great thing about counselors is that they are NOT allowed to judge you! (Assuming that they are reputable) The right person will be able not only to help you with your problem, but will keep you from feeling so isolated. The counselor could be a mental health professional or a priest, or you could talk to both - whatever is best for you. Please don’t keep this secret locked up inside you; it will only fester and become worse.

I don’t know anything about your relationship with your husband, but it sounds like he is a loving man who would want to help you through this. PLEASE, stop telling yourself that he deserves better! If you keep saying that to yourself, you will just believe it more and more. It is NOT true. It seems like you want to do the right thing (or you wouldn’t have posted this). If you are not ready to tell your husband, talk to the counselor/priest first (and by the way, if the first counselor you seek doesn’t seem right for you, by all means keep looking until you DO find the right person!). Work on it yourself until you are ready to talk to him and explain not just what’s happening, but why. Your desire to hold on to this double life is not because it is fulfilling to you, but because it keeps you from having to deal with your other problems. Once you DO deal with those, I think it might become easier to give up your internet identity.

I am not a professional counselor, but if I were in a difficult situation such as this, this is what I would do. PLEASE seek help! I will pray for you. DON’T EVER FORGET, GOD WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!!!


#3

Dear Grace,

I don’t know if this is what you need to hear, but here’s my take on what’s happening: You say you’re scared of going to hell because you engage in extramarital, emotionally-adulterous relationships with other men. It sounds fairly elaborate too, and like it’s been going on for a while. You’ve been lying to yourself and to your husband, committing mortal sins time and again, and being excessively presumptuous of God’s (and your husband’s) forgiveness. Your fear of hell is more than justified.

You know you need to stop, and if you don’t resolve with every ounce of strength in your heart right now to stop and to avoid all occasions where you might be tempted to resume these adulterous relationships, then count yourself one giant step closer to hell. (I’d rather quit my job than risk eternal damnation!)

What might motivate you to stop? Well, it seems like you’re not capable of stopping out of love for your husband or love for God, so fear of hell is the next-best motivator. It’s essentially theological fact that if we die with mortal sins on our souls, we go to hell. Not only is this adultery gravely sinful, but so is presumption, and in my experience, it becomes increasingly difficult to be truly sorry about presumption if we keep presuming God’s forgiveness! And without a manifestation of true sorrow, to my knowledge, it’s nearly impossible to make a good confession. So, to the best of my ability to judge such things, what you’re doing seems to be the stuff that loses us our souls. Is it possible not to shake with fear at the thought?

What to do? Well, for the sake of freeing yourself from the clutches of mortal sin, for the sake of your husband, for the sake of ceasing to jeopardize the divine life of your soul, do *whatever is necessary! *Hopefully you can keep your job, but in all seriousness, is it not better to die to all that is good on earth in order to prevent yourself from mortally sinning and thereby predestinating your soul for the eternal fires of hell?

I don’t mean to sound melodramatic here :smiley: But we should remember that many of the saints would rather face torture and death than renounce God even in word. Hopefully you don’t need to quit your job. Maybe I can make a few suggestions which would help. Pray often. Every morning, consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so that all your thoughts and deeds will be in accordance to His will. When you go to work, bring with you a cross or othe religious object and display it on your desk. Do not go to any of the websites or services where you chat; if you do, be warned that you already commit a mortal sin by voluntarily exposing yourself to the occasion of mortal sin. Moreover, be warned that you commit a mortal sin in planning to commit a mortal sin, even if you don’t carry it out. And I don’t think it can be stressed enough that mortal sins really do send us to hell. If you are tempted to chat, cross yourself and say, out loud, “Lord save me or I perish.” Finally - and I know people are going to disagree with me - tell your husband. You have an immoral addiction which causes you to forsake your marital vows routinely. Your husband has a right to know about this and you need to be accountable to him because you are incapable of being accountable to yourself. Therefore, you tell him gently about this terrible double-life you’ve been leading and beg his forgiveness. Perhaps the immense pain your actions cause your husband will provide the necessary impetus to put this sinful life to rest. If you continue to fall into sin by chatting with these strangers, you tell your husband every single time. Also, make sure you have a good confessor who can address an addiction of this nature properly.

What to do right this instant? Be sorry. Let your heart fill with sorrow. Beg God, whose Son suffered and died for your sake, to forgive you for forsaking Him, and for living your life in such grave sin for so long a time. Realize that you are worthy of hell, but beg Jesus to save you from that eternal fire in His infinite mercy (perhaps praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet would help). Ask God to help you love Him and never to forsake Him again, and resolve in your heart to do everything in your power never to fall into mortal sin again, lest you also fall into hell. Finally, realize that you’re not alone. We’re all grave sinners at various points in our lives, and God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness are truly without boundary. He is a Father more loving than you can ever imagine, who prepares a feast when the prodigal son returns to Him.

If you can do that, then trust in God’s endless forgiveness and be at peace :slight_smile:

Edit: lacoloratura’s advice is very good!


#4
  1. It is not your fault that you cannot have children, unless you have done something to create the difficulty. Even then, it would not be your fault, if it was done for legitimate medical reasons (e.g. cancerous ovaries).

I suspect that you are right on point that you may be trying to create a situation that causes a blowup. Very often, when people feel very unworthy of their spouse, they do something along the same lines.

The advice given is the best around; get professional counseling. You are carrying a very heavy burden, one that you do not need to carry ( and at least part of which you probably have created concerning your inability to have children). God wants your ulitmate happiness; it sounds like your husband loves you and wants that too. It is time to get on board with both of them, and get things squared away.

You are not crazy; but there’s a pretty good definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You don’t like who you are becoming; you want peace of mind; you have been to counseling before. Go again.

And I would not reccommend dragging your husband through this at this time. He is doing his best. Don’t add to his load. Get help.

God bless!


#5

[quote=I Need Grace]I am a 30 year old married woman. I love my husband very much. We have been married for five years. He works extremely hard for us and has always treated me with kindness, love and generosity.

I work outside our home because we are unable to have children, a source of great sorrow for both of us. We are open to adoption but have not pursued it very seriously because we have not yet, perhaps, given up hope that it will still happen naturally for us.

I was able to climb very high on the career ladder early on in life, and while I do have some major responsibilities at work, I have plenty of time to spend doing personal things as well. I am required to be online at work because I am employed by a major ISP. Here is where the problem started…

I seem to be addicted to lying online while chatting with complete strangers. It has led to phone calls outside of the computer, and me creating an entirely separate identity that I describe when first getting to know someone online. I spend an inordinate amount of time on phone calls to complete strangers, all of whom eventually want to meet and develop a relationship or friendship outside of the computer or phone. I have no desire to do this, and because I’ve (on occasion) been tempted to do so, I use the fact that I create a fake name and fake life story as a safeguard to keep me from actually doing so. When it reaches a breaking point, I either confess to them the truth or I make up some huge reason why I can’t bring myself to meet the person. It gets so bizarre and I develop emotional attachments that are inappropriate for a married woman.

I feel so confused and guilty. AND SO ALONE. Doing this and hiding the phone calls and online activities from my husband creates so much turmoil for myself and I can NOT understand why I keep doing it. It’s true that I feel so lonely and sad about the fact that we can’t have children, as I watch all of my real life friends and siblings having their second or third or fourth babies and no longer inviting me or my husband to hang out or spend time with them–because we don’t have the requisite baby.

I am very afraid of going to hell over this. I think it constitutes at least emotional adultery, as I don’t tell men that I’m married and pretend to be single and fun, etc. It’s like they serve as a distraction for me so I don’t have to think about my real life. I go to confession time and again and time and again…I go right back to doing it. My husband keeps asking me why I don’t receive communion anymore. I feel like God must not love me anymore, either.

My husband and I have been to counseling and to many doctors. Although, never to counseling about my issue with this. I am too afraid to tell him, or anyone, really. It is my fault that we can’t have children, not his. I feel like I am not good enough for him and I worry that he will leave me over it, even though he assures me time and again that he loves me so much and will never leave me no matter what. I feel like I am testing him sometimes and as if I want to beat him to the punch…when no punch is being thrown.

I am crying as I write this. I’m so sad over it and I don’t know how to stop and what scares me is that I’m not sure I want to stop. It keeps me from thinking all the sad thoughts about how disappointing my own life is, and all because of me. I love my husband so much, and he is soooo good and kind. He deserves someone better than me.

Can anyone help me? Please just tell me something, anything, that could help me.
[/quote]

First of all, don’t beat yourself to peices. There is no reason to lose hope or to think of yourself as a bad person. God will always love you. Your husband loves you.

I don’t know what to tell you to do. I think that the idea of telling your husband may be good.

I realize how tough it is to quit an addiction. You want to do it but you also realize the effects or the problems. The best way I think of quiting an addiction is to avoid the place or situation that you would do it in. In your situation that would mean avoiding the computer. But you said that you need to be online, if so then I don’t know what to tell you.

Most importantly, do not give up hope. Continue to go to confession and pray and ask for forgiveness. If possible try to go to confession every week before communion so that you do not have to avoid the sacrament. We need the Eucharist. Also, if you are going to confession every week, it keeps it in your mind that you want to quit and may give you the strength.


#6

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