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Telling the Truth (I had a vasectomy without telling my wife.)

answered 10:05 PM EST, Tue January 22, 2013
anonymous anonymous
I had a vasectomy without telling my wife. Having children is something we had been arguing about for a long time, so when she went away for a month long business trip a year ago I just did it. Needless to say I do not ever want to have children. She does but as we continue to ‘fail’ at conceiving she is becoming more resigned to the fact that we may never be able to have a family. I really love my wife. I can see now that I basically did a horrible thing. I want to tell her but I don’t see how I can without breaking up our marriage. Can a counselor help me tell her in a way that won’t make her so upset?

Delisted Expert Says...

First, good that you have thought about it, and realize that a lie of this magnitude is not healthy for your relationship. Although some relationships can withstand just about anything, most cannot. No therapist can guarantee any method of coming clean with the truth that would make your wife "less upset" than any other. 

That said, I do think it would be very worthwhile for you to seek professional guidance. A little therapeutic reflection on how your relationship got to that point where you felt justified in your actions could be useful. Additionally, a professional therapist may suggest couples counseling, again, to help you and your wife as a couple find a way to deal with this issue.

It seems unlikely that this is the only issue in your marriage that may need to be addressed. You clearly state that you love your wife, and if you want your relationship to have any chance at continuing, you will need to address your seemingly opposing goals. Is communication an issue? Is trust an issue? What goals do you share? What disagreements can you both live with? What agreements are necessary for your relationship to continue?

I really think there is something to the saying about honesty being the best policy. Obviously what we choose to do in our adult relationships is no one's business but our own, but doesn't it seem better to try to build a future together than pulling in opposite directions? Only you and your spouse can answer.  

Also, guilt is the appropriate feeling when one tells a lie. As human beings, we are prone to make choices that may not be in our own best interest nor in the best interest of those we love, nor in line with our own purported ethics and values. At the very least, feeling guilty and wanting to clear the air are positives, even if the end result is not what we desire. 

So yes, please seek professional help - mental health counselor, marriage counselor, you can start with your employer's EAP (employee assistance program) if offered, community support resources, etc. No one can guarantee an outcome or tell you what you should do, but having an outside opinion and sounding board to discuss different views and options should be helpful (for support, if nothing else). Best wishes to you.


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Page last updated Jan 24, 2013

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