When do I disclose past sins to loved ones?

Dear Dr. Elia,

I love reading your column on Mormon Times, and appreciate how you've addressed the issue of pornography. I had a pornography addiction from my late teens, off and on, through almost 17 years of marriage. My wife never knew until four-and-a-half years ago, when I finally told her -- I had overcome the addiction about three years earlier, with no relapse (and now, almost eight years later I'm still free, with no sense of weakness or teetering but still wary and vigilant).

Needless to say, it was devastating. She sunk into deep depression, went through anger, rage, and such sadness and hurt that it was almost unbearable, for both of us. It strained our marriage, though neither of us ever seriously considered separating.

Through my addiction, I had self-deceived to the point where I had never confessed to an ecclesiastical leader. I thought I could beat this myself and confess to the Lord. I now realize how foolish that was. So when I confessed to my wife, she had me meet with our bishop where I did confess, and finally at that point, was able to complete the repentance process. The loss of my recommend for a time was painful, but necessary to fulfill the process, and now, to make the long story short, my dear wife is finally mostly healed for the past year, and she expresses trust in me again and the most love and appreciation that she's ever expressed in our marriage.

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