I have received conflicting advice from what I believe are good, orthodox Catholic sources regarding whether I should disclose to my wife the fact that I am battling an internet addiction / compulsion and had an affair after meeting someone online. I believe the addition / compulsion is now (finally) coming under control. Any direction would be greatly appreciated as I attempt to be the husband and father (we have young children) God is calling me to be. I want this to stop and to do the right thing. I have confessed these sins to a priest and the penance did not contain any advice regarding this subject. Thank you.
I think you need to ask yourself why you are asking this question. Is it because such activity is a betrayal of your life-commitment to her—or is it this plus your desire to get it off your chest? In both cases, such information will cause her a great deal of undeserved pain. The pornography addiction expresses a choice of genital satisfaction to what she has to offer. The affair expresses a choice of intimacy over what she what has to offer. In both cases, she will be hurt and will wonder if she will ever be able to trust you again.
I do not encourage you to hurt her in this way. (Though if you test positive for a sexually transmitted disease, you must tell her. I suggest that you get tested.) Rather–what you really need to do is not to merely want this to stop, but to determine that it HAS stopped. You can no longer fantasize in the way you have in the past. You just can’t go there. I encourage you to spend regular time before the tabernacle, giving thanks for each aspect of His passion. (This would be a great way to spend your lunch hour.) You have this weakness because the Lord wants your unconditional submission to Him. This is what is REALLY at stake. He preferred to die for your benefit. You owe Him such love. As you become more His, you have more to give to your wife. The dynamic is not about addiction, and all about sharing His cross!
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.