Please Help! "Pretend" cyber cheating gone wrong

Hello, I am a 23 year old male with ADHD. I honestly feel like a poster child for ADHD, but then again I bet everyone with ADHD feels that way. I have experienced every symptom in the book when it comes to ADHD. One strange thing I have experienced is the tendency to masturbate.

Even as a child, I would masturbate. It would send a stimulation to my brain and my little ADHD brain would be satisfied. I feel like my brain would crave the stimulation and figure that masturbating was an easy fix because I was doing it every day sometimes more than once. I am curious if this is truly due to being ADHD.

Once I hit my teenage years and became introduced to internet porn, it was game over. I would spend hours in front of the screen looking at porn. My anxiety would get so bad I couldn't go do things I needed to do until I masturbated.

I recently married my wife after being with her for five years. She isn't very understanding of my masturbating and I cant say I blame her, because I don't understand it either. Of course it then played a factor in our sex life. I was already drained from masturbating earlier that I would not be in the mood to have sex.

Where it really went wrong was when the porn wasn't enough. I needed more stimulation so I went to an escort site (<deleted by admin>) and looked at the ads as a form of porno. When that didn't get my brain excited enough I would even email the escorts pretending I was interested in seeing them. PLEASE NOTE: I was not interested in seeing them what so ever. So whenever the escorts responded to my emails it sent this rush to my brain and stimulated me even further.

My wife has found out twice now about these emails. The first time I tried to explain it to her that it was just for excitement, a kind of fantasy. She didn't understand, which I understand of course. She told me if it happens again, it is over. Well it did happen(just the other day) and she is thinking about leaving me. She thinks I really went through and met with these women. It is hard to explain the reasons why I did what I did when I don't fully understand myself.

I never cheated on my wife, but she calls it cheating because the emails were so sexual. I don't know what to do. I feel like this craving for stimulation has killed my relationship with my wife. I love her with all of my heart. I never meant to hurt her. I need to take ownership of what I did, but its hard when I can't find the reason behind it. I don't want to cheat on her, I am extremely attracted to her. Theres another reason out there.

I truly believe my ADHD brain may be a factor in all of this but I don't know. What do I do? How can I make her see past the hurt? PLEASE someone help me. My marriage depends on it. 

Porn addiction (for the exact

Porn addiction (for the exact reasons you've mentioned) is common (for lack of a better word...not meaning ALL with ADD are addicted to it) with some ADD/ADHDers. First thing you do is realize this. Second thing you do is sit down and admit to your wife that you have ADHD and that you are addicted to porn and that you are willing to get the help you need in order to find better, far less destructive ways to 'stimulate' your brain. Then don't walk, RUN to the nearest ADHD professional and tell them the same thing. Get the therapy that you need, possibly even medication, because it is obvious to me just reading your story that you're as miserable as you're making those who love you.

...and in the meantime, as a

...and in the meantime, as a show of good Faith and that you're serious about stopping this behavior (if you really are) remove your computer from the home...and stay off of the internet!

Hello GotSeb

Well, you're in a bit of a pickle, yes?  I will try to give you some answers, but they may not be what you are looking for.

You ask how you can make your wife see past the hurt?  It is possible she already IS seeing past the hurt- seeing all the way to where this sort of behavior naturally ends.   I don't really KNOW you, of course. But I am not seeing "pretend cyber cheating" as you call it.  It looks to me as if you are escalating your behavior.  It is likely your wife is not unaware of this.

You started with what sounds like somewhat excessive masturbation (to the point where it interfered with your sex life with your wife); then moved up to looking at online porn, then escalated to LOOKING AT (considering?) escort service ads, then emailing these places, THEN accepting email RESPONSES from these places (that's called "corresponding").  What comes next?   Most women are not going to believe that you would assemble all the ingredients- and NOT make the cake.

It would seem your only course of action would be to first, accept that your wife considers this cheating.  There are many women who would not consider this cyber-stuff cheating- but you are not married to one of those.  You might try discussing with your wife that you ALSO see the need to get this compulsion under control (you do, don't you?).  Getting yourself into counseling for it RIGHT AWAY as a show of good faith may persuade your wife to reconsider.  It does no good for you to go back and forth with your wife about whether she understands why you're doing it, or believes your intentions behind it, or what might be causing you to do it, or that you didn't really do anything...blah blah blah.  From what you have said here, your wife's feelings about this issue appear to be non-negotiable.

And the fact is that you have a wife who told you the first time she found out about it, that if it happened again, its over.  And now, here you are. Be careful.

What should I do ?.... Leave,Cry ,Wait, or Laugh

Oh boy ! For the ones that are following my Soap.....LOL ( not really).Not sure that lying is part of the ADHD for all , but think it is (possibly) part of his for esteem ....feed back needed. I had plan to move today, before he said he would get completely understand you'd have to been following or go back and read. We had been using my furniture and his dad had been using he had told his dad (something), and he would be picking up his furniture this coming Monday. The furniture has already been moved out of his dad's to a holding place (his brother's that he get along with) and his dad has bought furniture to replace his.

When we talked and decided we would work on this relationship ( he's got an appointment 12/30 to see the counselor), he ask me to go to his patents for Christmas. Yesterday I ask him to find out what I could take, he said to get with is Mom. I almost called today , but really didn't know what had been said and felt it best to wait on him. WOW was that the right course to take! Tonight I ask him...he said he had not told them he would not be picking up the furniture yet. WOW again! I ask him to call knowing he didn't want me to hear what was being said...because not for sure what lies had been told or what lies were going to be told.

He's on the phone now in the bedroom ( so I can't hear)...LOL I think either my invite will cancel or it will be an eye opener Christmas. I will not lay under his lies with his family.

As always feed back welcome and prayers needed.

You sound like my husband

My adhd husband has done this type of "pretend" cheating on my many times. Not just online but by sexting on his phone as well. This IS CHEATING! It may not be physical but it sure as hell is mental. You marriage vows include forsaking all others (not forsaking all others offline only). What you have done is wrong! Adhd or not its not damn excuse for this behavior! I am still with my husband (if it wasn't for the kids I would have left). We are working on our marriage everyday. At this point it is improved. He has NO access to Internet, I always know where he is, his phone is NOT allowed to be locked. I have major trust issues with him, he is understanding of this. If he wasn't understanding and not allowing his privacy to be "invaded" there would be NO attempting to "get past" the cheating. Our marriage will never be the same again. The cheating will never be forgotten. I feel that my husband truly has made the choice for himself that this behavior not not acceptable. All the times before, the last time, he made the choice to tell me he wouldn't do it again but that was just words to fill my head he didn't truly mean it because it continued. Your wife gave you one last chance and she informed you that she would leave if you did it again. You made the choice to do it again regardless if it hurt her or not. It's not about the masturbating or watching porn, she may not like it but the deal breaker is when you make contact with another woman regarding sex or some type of relationship. Rule of thumb: IF YOU WOULDN'T TELL YOUR WIFE ABOUT IT OR YOU THINK YOU SHOULD HIDE IT - ITS CHEATING!. She is your partner regarding every aspect of your life, if you don't like that then you shouldn't be married to her. If you are truly done with this type of behavior for you (not just her) then you must take every step she asks you to take to help heal the marriage. If there is a part of you that says your done with this behavior for a while to make her happy until this blows over and then maybe you will do it again, then you need to STOP wasting her time because she deserves better! If she stays in the marriage, be understanding, she will need a long time to heal. (sorry for any rudeness, I have angry feeling regarding cheating) Best of luck to your wife, and you.

Note: Direct your sexual attention to your wife where it belongs, you will both be happier.


I like your rule adhd123.  My husband started with the internet porn, then it was joining every singles site on line, sexual emails to "friends", inappropriate sexual references in conversations, then culminated in sleeping with another woman.  He comes from an abusive background.  He's always used that to "justify" his  behavior.  We've been to marriage counseling which went absolutely nowhere because the counselor focused on his background, not his ADHD, as did we.  I've always tried to help him understand that he's loved and supported so he doesn't need to look outside our marriage for anything, he only needs to look at what's in front of him and talk to me.  In researching the ADHD angle on marriage I can see that we've been headed down the wrong road for help.  We just moved half way across the country so he could get a "clean slate" and start over again.  Of course it didn't take long for him to dirty the slate again by signing up for single sites again and hooking up with someone else.  I finally had the conversation with him last night that it needs to be addressed from the ADHD angle immediately and change needs to occur or the kids and I are headed back East.  I'm only willing to give it one last shot because perhaps dealing with the ADHD and its effects on our marriage will help.  I share all the feelings of other wives out there of betrayal, loss of trust, frustration, etc. which will have to be dealt with as well.  I also have feelings of anger towards myself because I feel like I've been taken advantage of again and again and I feel I'm weak because I haven't taken a firmer stand before.  I have serious doubts that he'll actually change but what's one more try after 11 years of putting up with this....I hope for our family's sake he's able to change and recognize his actions and the reprecussions that they have on our family.  Now, to fins a neuropsych that will work with him and a counselor that knows their ADHD in our area.

Hypr1's picture

What MY wife said...

KJ -- thank you. Your post helped me see that not only have other men (non and adhd) put themselves into this situation, but my wife's feelings and "demands" are not "out of line" or said out of anger (well, to a degree but I hope my meaning is coming through).

I joined this thread because I related to the opening volley. I am not sure how many other "normal" men masturbate to excess, but I believe I do. It didn't always interfere with our sex life, but in the last few years I know it has.

My wife recently asked that we start counseling. She is blaming herself for my lack of affection. It is mostly my fault. But she asked earlier this year and I did the ADHD thing and just forgot about it, going on with my behavior and making things worse. Almost and possibly so bad that there is no going back.

To get ME started on the road to improvement, I started counseling for myself a couple of months ago, and ADHD meds last week. Pretty intense... It has been years since I've been in counseling. My FIRST issue to address is that I know porn was interfering with my relationship and I was ashamed and remorseful of it. My PC was in my bedroom, by my bed, so it was very convenient. I am in I.T. so I cannot have Internet access. It's my job. So - the first thing my counselor asked is if I could move the PC to a common or family area. I did that that very night. It is working so far. I feel it is giving my shame a constructive tool that will keep me from viewing porn. Some one is always at home. It's a step in the right direction.

Last week I felt the need to dump this on my wife, that is - that I think my porn and masterbation excess is one thing that was killing our relationship. As you already know - she looked on it as cheating. For her it was really cheating in just that way that I had failed to forsake ALL OTHERs for her. My remorse is so deep, so horrible. I am working on changing it at this point and want it to change. As to the future, we are two people who just met, as in our relationship needs to be reset because of my behaivor, not just this but years of ADD and bi-polar. She has stated that she is through making excuses for me and I hear that. All I can do is try and quell my ADD by counseling and meds - and devote the time and energy I put into avoiding her for porn -- and direct it at her (she is up for that, but not now because of. you know).

Anyway, I need this thread to hear and explore both sides. I am not a bad man, just tired of being a rotten husband. Send me a prayer because I need it.

Hypr1's picture

Wishing this thread had some more positive discussion

I personally am doing great with this problem. NO PC/Internet interactions after moving my PC to the living room. I feel much more self esteem because of it. I know my life long problem with it was escalated in the last few years and that affected (is affecting) my marriage now. We are in marriage counseling (I think I mentioned) that, with all of the struggle and hope that the process incurs. My DW is still struggling with my confession. I actually wish I had NOT brought it out when I did, but she told me that after some time - she felt it had to come out. Not that the reveal made it easier to deal with, but that in the long run it had to. I agreed, as that was why I did get honest. I am dealing with the shame and remorse and most importantly the ADHD reasons for the behavior.

I hope some others can post some positive (terse) comments that will help ones like us to move forward.

Oh my...pretend...really???

This just angers me!  I've been in this exact situation and the message you send to your wife is not one of love but that she is NOT enough!!!  This will escalate into swapping sexual pictures via email and when that's not enough phone sex and when that is not enough actual physical encounters.  Can you tell Ive been thru this before?  You have no right to F with anyones feelings and if you can't have self control then leave.   Ruin yourself and not your partner.  I'm so tired of the ignorance and disrespect in these relationships.  They are so one-sided and you guys don't realize anything until its gone!

My husband was always vocalizing his individuality and dismissing ADHD.  Is it ironic that we all have the same experiences on here?  I find it hard to fault the non-adder when I hear sh*t like this.  Marriage is a partnership...PERIOD.


Thanks Hope09. I agree.

Unique situation

Every marriage is different. If she has a problem with what you're doing, then it's not working within your marriage. I'm not sure you actually have a porn addiction - you have a stimulation addiction (natural with ADHD) and are using porn/masturbation/women to satisfy it. This behavior is causing problems for you and your wife, and you need to deal with that. Seek counseling, seek treatment - both of you - if you want to save your marriage. You need to deal with your stimulation needs and either address the behavior or find something less harmful to your marriage to satisfy your need for stimulation. You don't mention if you're in treatment or are medicated... but it seems your behavior bothers you, not just your wife. Get the help you need. For some couples, it might work, but it isn't working for you and your wife. You have to deal with what you two are going through and your beliefs, regardless of whether others think it's acceptable or not.

@GotSeb - From another husband

GotSeb -

I write from a mirror image of your boat...   partially, anyway.  I will address the external part of your post, leaving your self pleasure to yourself, or others.

I have done the whole internet thing.   Still do occasionally, my dear wife does understand this more than yours does.  We do have a few years on you, that may, or may not be part of this.

<em>To all the others</em>, I believe I do understand your point of view, my wife and I have had deep frank discussions regarding the online flirting/sexting.  Please accept this as what works for me and my wife, within our relationship.

GotSeb - I started simple, moved up, hit the escort sites for the ads and pics, eventually emailed a few, all for the same reasons you state.  I've hit the dating sites, I have NEVER pretended to be single, always up front and honest about marriage.

Most wifes will tell you what you are doing is wrong.  I can't disagree.  I am lucky, my wife understands about the addictive nature of the neurology of ADHD.  It is a compulsion.  I have gone long periods without ever thinking about going back online, of my own accord, not because I was told I had no choice.   Then, I'm back looking around again. 

We have been through marraige counseling, and ADHD counseling.  The ADHD counseling and diagnosis has been the single most important thing to affect change in my life.   Neither is cheap, nor easy, but worth every penny.   The education we have received through all this, and self study has truly opened our eyes, and hearts.

GotSeb, my only advise to you is to find a substitute.  The key is not to quit, but to change.   "Stop" is not easy, change is easier, find another stimulation and bring it into play.  Feel the urge to go online, put on your shoes and go run, ride your bike, or work out.   You loose the stimulation of breaking a taboo, but gain the physical benefit of exercise, and the mental benefit of exercise, both you already get.  

My personal favorite is add chilies into the mix.  I love the spice, and since if increases your metabolism and releases endorphines, you can actually get more benefit for the combo than the computer screen.  There is no easy answer.  ADHD counseling is important, finding the substituion is important, something with instant gratification.

Introduce your wife to this site, it has a profound affect on our life, and our understanding.  If your wife can not take your behaviour, and you honor her, it is incombent on you to change.   PM me if you have any questions, or just want to vent.

Cheers and Merry Christmas, may this holiday season be full of love for you.

I gave my husband the "ok"

I gave my husband the "ok" and understood his needs.  I couldn't be more understanding but he needed more, sought out different types of interactions and failing to fill me in.  I think even if you tell eachother you will be honest, there is never 100% honesty and its really just shady in the end.  I think the ADHD men will give you their advice and say it can work but even if you are open and honest with your spouse about your actions, you still make that other person feel inadequate. Most woman will want to see you happy and they will end up accepting that feeling rather then expressing it so they don't lose you.  That was me and that's 1 reality.   It will slowly effect your relationship.

Helpful Perspective

Thanks Mr. Dad, your post and perspective really got through to me. 

My husband has ADHD and has made several cyber connections (both online at various sites and now on his phone which has numerous aps...sometimes technology is NOT helpful) over the past 18 months.  He tells me the same thing, that it's stimulating and also gives him positive attention he so craves.  He reiterates it's not about meeting up with these women, but about the fantasy and stimulation the cyber connections provide.  We've talked about it several times, both the two of us and with our counselor.  I try my hardest to understand it's not about meeting these people in person, but it's very hard to believe these behaviors won't lead to in-person meetings or sexual trysts.  So far, I have no reason or proof to believe he's met up with anyone.  Additionally, he was prescribed Adderall and Vyvanse to help treat his ADHD, but these medications seem to increase his compulsion, without giving him the focus to develop productive elements in his life.  He has had a very hard time holding down a job and lacks self-worth.  I know getting a job would help so much in building up his confidence, but it's almost as if he's paralyzed because he's afraid to fail. 

It's hard not to feel helpless sometimes so your post gave me a bit of hope.  And it also encouraged me to try and find an ADHD counselor.  Our psychologist is amazing and so helpful but he doesn't specialize in ADHD.  Seems like you learned a lot from seeing someone who does.  I can only hope one day my husband has the understanding, clarity and perspective you have to manage this disorder more effectively.

Aside from exercise and chilies, what other things have you done to manage your ADHD and compulsions?  Are you taking any medication or supplements? 

Thanks again and best of wishes to you.