Question:

Dear Rabbi,

Bh my wife and I have been married for two and a half years now and we get on very well.

There is, however, something bothering me and I’m unsure whether to mention it to my wife. As a teenager I watched porn. When I went to yeshiva I had no smart phone so I temporarily stopped, however, over bein hazmanim if I had access to unfiltered internet there would be times where I would unfortunately succumb to my yetzer horah.

When I was dating my wife we discussed the dangers of the internet and we agreed that we would only have filtered internet in our home.I didn’t tell her at the time what I had watched, as I was embarrassed. I believed that together with filters and being married I would be able to overcome my yetzer harah once and for all.

Unfortunately that has not always been the case. On the whole we have had filters on our devices, however there have been times where we haven’t. At the beginning of our marriage it took some time until I sorted out filters so there were times where I wasn’t strong enough to overcome my yetzer. There have also been occasions when the filters have been temporarily broken or a new device has been bought which doesn’t yet have a filter. As I write this email my wife’s smartphone has a broken filter which I am trying my best to have fixed.

Personally I know this is a great challenge that I face. I realise that it is a big averah and I try my hardest to fight it. My question is whether I should discuss this with my wife. She does know that I used to watch these things when I was younger but I have never told her that I have done so since being married. I feel very anxious about her not knowing as it feels like a big secret to keep from her. On the other hand I can’t imagine how hurtful it would be for her to know. Bh we have a daughter now and I don’t want to do anything that could potentially, chas vesholom, ruin what we have. Any advice of what I should do would be greatly appreciated.

I also sometimes worry that maybe if she would have known at the time we got married that I still watch, that she may not have wanted to continue. I’m sure that wouldn’t have been the case as we really do get on incredibly well bh and always have done. She is also a very supportive and kind women. But nevertheless that does worry me. So my second question is whether there is any halachic issue with me not having told her before we married. Could it chas vesholom mean that our marriage was a mekach taus.

I don’t feel comfortable discussing this with anyone in person as it is a very sensitive topic. So I turn to you pleading for any advice regarding the matter.

Many thanks

Answer:

You are a very honest person, and although it is embarrassing for you, you wan’t to deal with things in the best possible fashion. Unfortunately the problem that you are bringing up is rampant, and this is one of the main problems with unfiltered internet. Even if you are a yireh shomayim, and a good person, but  there is always the yetzer hora, and it is very difficult to fight him alone. This is why the gedolim and poskim say that we may not have a device that has an unfiltered internet.

Practically speaking, don’t tell this to your wife. You will gain nothing by it, except for diminishing your respect in her eyes. As I once heard from R’ Avigdor MIller zt”l, that it is important to share your inner feelings with your wife, but not your past aveiros! Therefore by all means don’t talk to your wife about it. What you can do, is to tell her that since she is your protector from the yetzer hora, you leave her in charge that whenever there is a phone or other device in your possession that has an open internet, that she should make sure that you don’t get near that phone. This way she will protect you, without you having to embarrass and hurt yourself.

Regarding your second question, you do not have to worry that it is a mekach taus, because what was done was a one time mistake, and it isn’t you, but when your yetzer hora got the best of you. Besides, it is not a problem that can’t be solved, or something that is very difficult to solve, therefore you should not be concerned about it.

May HKB”H help you overcome your yetzer hora.

Best wishes

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