My husband has left me and the kids and is with the other woman, who's been in the back ground for almost four years. He only told me this about two months ago. He told me in a phase of amazing grace and seemed to want to get help, but then he sunk back into his addictions and turned again to that relationship. He confessed to multiple partners, over and above her, and years of lying and living a double (and triple) life all at the same time, but barely to porn, he only acknowledged it lightly, and only when I asked.
My question is, why would he make only a partial confession?
My other question is, I'm trying to let him go and entrust him to God. I don't know what else to do, is there anything I can do? I pray for him so much. Is that all I can do, then?
I am sorry for what you are going through. I not only know the pain you carry, I have seen it first hand as I have watched my own wife writhe in agony from the hurt of my own betrayal.
Normally I try to write my blog in an open and not super specific way, but please allow me to, in this response, be a little more personal with my thoughts. I have identified a few points you made in your email and I will try to comment on them one at a time. I am not sure my thoughts will make much difference now, as it sounds like he is already gone, however, perhaps I can give you some insight of what I would be thinking from his perspective.
1. You said, " He told me in a phase of amazing grace and seemed to want to get help, but then he sunk back into his addictions and turned again to that relationship." I want to be careful not to sound like I am making excuses for your husband. I know without question that he is responsible for his choices. But, I also know the bondage of addiction. I can relate only too well to the magnetic force that seems to pull us towards evil. Even when all the synapses in my head are screaming at me to STOP, for some reason the pull of the forbidden fruit feels too strong to resist. If allowed to go unchecked for too long, it becomes much like the dogs in Pavlov's famous experiment, that is, when the bell starts to ring, we jump in with our compulsory response. Do we still have will power to resist? Of course we do. Can we say no? Of course we can. If we begin to train ourselves early and practice that training over and over, we can begin to build a portion of will power, but if allowed to run unchecked for so long, our automated response will kick in and when the bell rings, we find ourselves running back to the forbidden fruit. After my first confession of both an affair and my addiction to my wife and priesthood leaders, I felt strong, the weight was off, I had confessed, I had divulged, now I could begin to heal. It only took 24 hours before the hunger pangs began to rise up inside me again. Within 48 hours I was crumbling in public. I felt like I was consciously fighting a demonic possession. For the first 6 months of the battle, all I wanted to do was sleep. My bed felt safe. I could hide in my room away from the ringing bell. My intentions to quit and be pure were real but the constant triggers going off around me made my life hell... all I wanted to do was act out, reach out, and indulge. My point to all of this that, just wanting to get help, or just confessing isn't enough. In order to be free of the constant magnetic pull toward sin, we first have to eliminate the triggers. Though your husband stated that,"He wanted to get help", he may not have made any steps towards actually receiving any. Without a battle plan in place, he would certainly be susceptible to the never ending, ever familiar, all consuming, constantly ringing, hunger to continue in sinful ways. Again not an excuse for his actions, but hopefully this provides you with a little insight into why an addict, who knows his actions will hurt others, might continue in his destructive path despite knowing it is harmful to both him and those around him.
2. " He confessed to multiple partners, over and above her, and years of lying and living a double (and triple) life all at the same time, but barely to porn.." This is the key point for me. I am no Doctor. I have no degrees in counseling or Psychology. All I have is my own experience, and lots of it. But someone who has confessed to multiple partners and has gone to great lengths to lie and cover it up... I believe is an addict. I would tend to believe there is porn involved as well, but I had a huge porn issue so I always think pornography is involved. So I could be wrong. Having said that. I believe that porn is nothing more than a gateway drug. Satan's goal is not to get me hooked on porn. His goal is to get me to destroy my family. One more family out of contention for celestial glory. One more family with kids brought up with out a father as a role model. One more family who is more likely to lose there connection to the spirit and wander away from the path that leads back to God. No, Satan's goal has never been to get me hooked on Porn. It is to get me to act out the pornographic fantasies outside of my marriage. Porn is only practicing for infidelity. I say that because I believe that if left unchecked, porn will always move off of the screen and into reality. So perhaps your husband does not have a porn addiction.. but in my opinion he definitely has an addiction to lust. I mentioned above the hunger that comes and is inescapable sometimes... well.. that's not porn.. that's lust. Lust manifests itself in many ways. Unfortunately, a lust addict, often needs more than the porn can provide and so... seeks out his fantasies in reality. Multiple affairs does not sound like an unhappy or unsatisfied husband looking to find elsewhere what he is not getting at home.... it sounds like a man who is over taken by lust and cant stop trying to feed it. But... that is the problem... Lust Can Not Be Satisfied. It is the never full monster that continually wants more... and if my affair with this woman did not feed it, then perhaps the next one will, and if not her, then the next one. Lust Will ALWAYS WANT MORE. It leads men to make poor decisions. I know this from personal experience. And yes, as you eluded to, Lust is not love. It cant be. Lust is selfish, Love is selfless. The 2 can not co-exist.
3. "Why would he make only a partial confession?" That's a tough one to answer. But I have a theory. It relates to me and my view of the world, but perhaps it's similar to his. The main reason is... its just too embarrassing. I know what you are thinking... 'He just confessed to multiple affairs and he is leaving me... why wouldn't he confess to a pornography addiction? ' I grew up in the LDS church. I was taught from a young age that pornography was not just bad, but it was straight up evil. I was taught that it was perverted, disgusting, and immoral. Furthermore I was trained that those who succumbed to it were weak, or unwilling to look away. I was taught that lusting on a woman in my heart was like committing adultery. As I got older, I heard the conversations and how people looked at pornography as the vilest of the vile. But guess what? I was looking at it. I was partaking... did that not mean I was the man they were describing? I was the pervert? I was the lowest of the low? Few things in the church are looked at the way pornography is. At least that is what I believed.. and yet here I was drawn to it daily. I was told over and over that repentance and confession was the only way... but I knew that by confessing to it, I would be admitting that I have this horrible, filthy disgusting weakness. So Instead, I vowed to never tell. And I never did... for 25 years I never told, until it grew so out of control that it simply became impossible to hide. So, if pornography is involved, as you believe it is, he may simply not be willing to out himself as one who craves what we all know is, evil. Keep in mind, Satan is the constant companion of the porn addict. He continually hits us with constant rationalizations, repeated vows to quit, short wins of sobriety, all leading to a false confidence. So when he says "dont worry about me, Im doing fine," he probably believes the whispers of the adversary telling him that exact thing. I know I did... listening to that satanic voice for years, simply led me deeper and deeper into a pit that felt completely inescapable.
4. " I'm trying to let him go and entrust him to God. I don't know what else to do, is there anything I can do?" For you... the answer unfortunately is no. The Church has an amazing manual for wives of addicts. It is called the 'Spouse and family support guide'. It is all about learning not to be co-dependent. It spends a great deal of time reminding wives that the Lord is the only one who can truly heal the addict. And that only happens after he completely humbles himself and prostrates himself before the Lord. Your prayers for his humility and willingness to go through the healing process are the only tools you have. And truthfully... they are all you need. Do not discount the power of your prayers or the ability of the Lord to both Humble and heal a broken soul. Effort will be required on his side to make it happen, but until he is ready to walk through the refiners fire of his own accord no real change can take place. No amount of convincing, talking, lecturing, yelling, or crying, will get him any closer to the atonement if he is not ready to approach on his own. So, yes, prayers are what you can offer. Lots and lots of them.
5. "I wondered what brought you to your amazing conversion moment?" Ugh... I wish there was an easy answer. I wish there was a General conference worthy story. I wish I could say that it was a good home teacher, a great Sunday school lesson, a talk that inspired me, or a humble broken heart that brought me to my knees. But it wasn't any of those things. I had the great home teacher, heard the talks, listened to the stories, but I was too embarrassed and afraid to act on them. I even remember sitting through a general priesthood meeting and hearing a talk on the need to confess your sins in regards to pornography and thinking, 'Oh how I wish I could confess', But I couldn't. So I didn't. Without confession I simply slipped deeper and deeper in my addiction, until like your husband, I found myself breaking my covenants. I did not have a life changing burning moment of clarity to change my life... For me it was simple.... I got caught. That is the short of it. I did not choose to be humble, as Alma says, I was compelled to be humble. The key for me to staying away from both the addiction and the acting out, was a grueling year of sobriety that was only possible because I began attending the pornography addiction recovery group. There I found strength and support. At the same time my wife began attending the Spouse support group. There she found healing. I was not very different from your husband in my addiction. All I know is, I was finally tired of living the lie. I was finally exposed... all of it, so it made no sense to lie any more. I saw an exit, and finally had no choice but to take it. I have said this before, but the day I was excommunicated was the greatest day of my life. In my discipline, I discovered the path the atonement. It wasn't a chosen path, it was a forced path, and yet I finally accepted my need for it. That is when the change in my life began to happen.
I don't know if any of this is of help to you. Its a lot to digest, but.. hopefully gives you an insight into what he might be thinking or feeling.
Let me just close by adding this. You are not responsible for his choices. He chose to break his covenants with you. He chose to leave his family. Do not for one moment listen to the devil on your shoulder trying to convince you that you are not beautiful enough, or skinny enough, or that you were not adventurous enough in intimacy, or that you were not righteous enough to deserve Gods blessing in saving your family. Your husband, is addicted to lust. Lust Blinds him to what is right in front of him and inspires him to make excuses for his actions. I am telling you right now that whatever excuses he used to justify his action are simply that, excuses. His choices, inspired by lust, are owned by him. There is not now, nor will there ever be, a satisfactory excuse for being unfaithful. I know from personal experience the layers of lies one tells even to himself to justify his actions. Please remember what you already know, that you are a daughter of God. He loves you. He has created you with talents and weaknesses. He has sent you here to prove to him your dedication to him even in the darkest of times. Your husband may not yet be ready to walk through the refiners fire, but, you are right now, standing in the middle of the flames. And I am sorry to say this, but it will get a little warmer before it is over... but, walk in it willingly, and you will be the precious, priceless metal that emerges on the other side.
I and my wife are praying for you and your husband. May God bless you in and through this trial.