What to do if you were on Ashley Madison
Are you one of the 36 million recently exposed by the AshleyMadison.com hack?
If so, you must be asking yourself some terrifying questions:
What if my spouse finds out?
Will I lose my family?
Will I lose my job?
How can I make it through this?
Whether you like it or not, you may have to face the consequences of your choices. This is a tough truth to face.
Keep in mind though, you are not alone. I too have had to face the consequences of choosing to act out sexually. Facing this reality was the most difficult decision I ever made.
Not only that, but 36 million others have signed up for their service. This speaks to the # of people that may have a sex addiction.
So how did you end up using that site or one like it? And more importantly, how do you move forward now?
Do you see a pattern?
If you are wondering how you got yourself into this place, you might be struggling with compulsive sexuality. We can probably agree that if you used the website you crossed a major line. You might have done something you swore to yourself you would never do , or even worse you swore to someone else you’d never do.
You might be struggling with sex addiction. Sex addiction, like all addictions is progressive and gets worse over time if not dealt with. Alcoholics don’t start by drinking a liter of alcohol every night, like sex addicts don’t start by having an affair. Small compromises lead to devastating compromises.
Maybe more terrifying than being exposed about being on Ashley Madison, is that you want to go on again. Allow me to speak plainly.
If you are an addict, this might not be enough for you to stop. In our personal and professional experience, even facing incredible consequences, we addicts will still struggle to stop compulsive sexual behavior. It truly is a cunning and baffling addiction, isn’t it?
What do you do if you were exposed? Or if you fear you might be?
Most people would simply hope it will blow over and they will escape being found out. That is one option. Maybe you’ve tried that option before, and escaped unharmed. Maybe you have been discovered before and swore you changed, but really dug deeper and hid it better.
What if you tried something different this time?
What if you took a step forward instead of backward?
What if you got support to face this crisis?
What if you did the opposite of what your fear says?
One thing I know, is that if you keep lying, if you keep your secrets, you won’t live the life you deeply desire. Think about it. What did you really want when you had an affair, or even if you only created an account and fantasized about one?
You wanted someone to please you. You wanted an escape from pain perhaps. You wanted intimacy or someone to really accept you. But you traded the lie of intensity for intimacy.
The only way to deeply accept yourself, to like yourself and to be accepted by others, is to live in reality. And that starts by being known. If you skip this step, and continue hiding, your problems will progress.
The best thing you can do is to get support by being honest:
- Seek out safe people you can talk to.
- Talk to people who understand sex addiction.
- Consider seeing a psychotherapist. Go here to find a list of Certified Sex Addiction Therapists in your area.
- Go to a 12 step meeting. You aren’t alone and there are meetings across the country with courageous people who are facing their addiction and getting help in a community.
- Our app launches in less than a month. Join our email list so you know when we launch. Get support for your struggle.
- Consider telling your spouse. This may be the absolutely last thing you want to do, but trust me, it is better to be honest and confess than to be caught.
You are not alone. Get help.
We have built the R|TRIBE app knowing there are tens of millions of people struggling with sex addiction.
You don’t have to be alone. You aren’t alone. Join the tribe of recovery.
Take it from someone who knows, hiding leads to more pain and deeper bondage.
Reach out and get help. It will require courage. No matter how far your addiction has taken you, you are worth finding freedom.