Am I being too hard on my husband?

I have posted here on this forum before about this topic. I am posting again because I am still finding it difficult to forgive and move forward. I am getting very frustrated and angry with myself.

I am beginning to think that i am being too hard on my husband. Here is the issue:

I have been married over 20 years.
I found out 3 years ago my husband went to strip clubs behind my back.
I found out that the first 5 years of our marriage my husband had lap dances that included touching stripper’s breasts with his hands.

If that isn’t bad enough. This is what is really troubling me.

My husband denies the lap dances; yet I know he had them. I will explain. He washed his jeans and shirt the morning after he was out all night (3:00 a.m). He NEVER does laundry. I had a GUT feeling something wasn’t right. I intercepted the jeans and shirt. I smelled them. No perfume smell. No Glitter. No makeup. Just smoke smell. So I dismissed it. However, in light of finding out about going to strip clubs behind my back, I remembered his clothes. I remembered how nervous/guilty he looked. I just know something happened. He has denied it.

And I know he won’t admit it no matter how much I beg him to admit it, because I told him that I felt lap dances were almost like having sex with another person and I considered it adultery and cheating. I know he is sticking to his story because I caught him in so many lies about the strip clubs. If he admits he lied about this too, he will think that I will NEVER trust him again.

He has stopped going to these places. We are in marriage counseling. However, I can’t move forward because I know he did it and he won’t admit it to me.

The deceit is driving me nuts. I have begged him to confess to me, but he is sticking to his story. Of course my mind is imagining the worse. He never went to the strip clubs alone. Only with his friends.

Is this issue grounds for divorce? Should I file for divorce? It has been 3 years and I still can’t move forward and forgive.

Have you brought this specific issue up with your marriage counselor? I would suggest doing so if you haven’t.

I agree bring this up to your marriage counselor.

I will also want to say, I understand. My husband did not go to strip clubs, but did do porn and even when I found proof, he denied it and lied like crazy. I didn’t understand how he could straight out lie when I found proof. Our dd was only a baby then and so I know he had to have bought the porn. At last, he admitted it and went to confession weekly to help this problem he had. He would not admit it was adultery, but a priest set him straight. He apologized to me, but it took a long time for me to trust him again. In fact, the process was long because as he said he wasn’t watching porn, I still would find more DVDs or magazines, so it took a long time for me to trust him especially because he lied so much.

So it may take you time but I did forgive him and now trust him. If your dh is or has gone to strip clubs, one day he will have to tell the truth in order for him to have peace and have peace in your marriage. Go to counseling and pray for your husband. I know our minds can create things that are not happening, so just pray to Our Lord for your dh. Pray and wait to see if God will touch his soul and heart to admit the truth. It is like an alcoholic, until they are ready to admit they have a problem and need help, they lie and deny things. That is all if he indeed has done what you say.

I will pray for your marriage.

I don’t claim to really know reasons why or judge anyone without knowing intimately, but I can’t think of any other reason he would be lying other than that he’s afraid and ashamed. Unfortunately, men get caught up in this (not all, of course), and I’m sorry he’s hurt you in this way. It sounds absolutely awful. You’ve been deeply hurt, so no, I don’t feel you’re being too harsh. He is in the wrong (if I can say this fairly) for not just admitting to it, when he already knows you know. As for whether or not you should divorce, I can’t tell you that. I know if it were me, however, I wouldn’t feel there was any reason to be married to my husband anymore. No longer would there be trust, and a great deal of, if not all of the love would be lost. I would rather be separated (divorced, annulled, even just living separately) rather than live with someone I could no longer trust, or find myself able to forgive. I do believe this would be grounds for divorce, though.

Oh, there is more… I forgot to mention:

He touched and licked stripper’s breasts at a Bachelor Party. I found out through an email sent by his friend. Hence, I know he had lap dances at the strip clubs… There is so much evidence. Just no proof.

He says he loves me. How could he love me and do this to me? He knew how I felt about strippers and strip clubs.

How do I move past this? I feel betrayed. I feel that I wasn’t enough for him. I am devastated that he would partake in these sexual sins during our marriage.

I also caught him watching porn. It is so hard to forgive all of this. Especially since he won’t admit it.

I know he is ashamed and afraid to admit it to me. I know he is afraid if he confesses everything to me that I may file for divorce. He doesn’t want to look worse than he already does.

I am at a loss. I don’t know what to do. I just cry all the time and am so deeply hurt. I don’t know what he was thinking. He ruined our marriage and betrayed my trust. How does one get past this?

I don’t think I am strong enough. I question his love for me. I question if I am enough for him. I question our marriage. I am going though so much pain and it has lasted for 3 years. I am beginning to think it will never go away. I will never forget or forgive him. Maybe the best thing for me to do is divorce him?

I need advice. My counselor told me not to dwell on the past. Just think about the present. She tells me if he treats me good now and has stopped doing those things, I should forgive and work things out. It is so hard. The hardest thing I ever had to do.


That’s hard. I guess he probably regrets it, if he stopped, and is afraid that by telling the truth, he will lose you.

That’s rough when trust has been violated. It’s very difficult to recover after that happens.

I guess one could pursue annulment in a case like that on the grounds of infidelity. However, for an annulment, I think one would need some kind of proof.

Now knowing something like this, I can imagine it would be difficult, if not impossible, to move on from. I don’t think I would ever be able to. It’s shocking what some women will allow to be done to them. Unbelievable. It sounds as though you have it in your heart that you want things to work out. You have the thoughts and prayers of everyone who has read your thread. I hope you will soon come to a solution, one way or another, that will give you rest.

I am trying to be fair and forgiving. I think Jesus would want me to forgive. Would he want me to stay married?

Trust, betrayal and hurt are devastating to a marriage. Then there are some couples that forgive an affair. I know I couldn’t do that. I am having a hard enough time forgiving what he did with the strippers.

It really has shocked me. I never thought he was that type of person. I think his friends encouraged him. He doesn’t hang around those people anymore. I would describe his friends as “perverts”.

I am not perfect. I am struggling. I sin too. But I have always been faithful to him. I really wish God could tell me what I should do. If God told me, forgive, forget and stay in the marriage I would.

He says I am everything to him and he loves me. How could he love me and do these things?

You would have to talk to a priest, maybe. But I think it’s all the more difficult for you because he refuses to admit. If he admitted and expressed true repentance, it might be different. It seems one-sided, that only you are the one who wants this awful situation to be righted. If he won’t even admit this, much less repent, how can you fully forgive? Jesus wants us to forgive, but He also would want for your husband to be honest to you and to himself.

Agreed. I think I might be able to move past this if he confessed to me what he did and said sorry.
Because he refuses, ( and I know why he is refusing), I am leaning towards divorce, because I am stuck.

I am so heart broken. I can’t believe he has done this to us. I thought i meant more to him. 3 years has been a long time and I am so sad. My daughters see the pain I am in. I am in Graduate School right now. It is so difficult to concentrate on Grad School with my marriage in shambles. I gave him my heart and he destroyed it.

I think maybe I should just stay put until I finish Grad School. 2 more years and then decide what I should do. It is so hard, because I love him so much, but I don’t want to be a push over. I don’t want to stay with a husband who never truly loved me. I don’t want to stay with a husband who has a wondering eye.

The damage he has done is incredible. He has minimized his behavior and said it wasn’t cheating. Poor choices but not cheating. If it wasn’t cheating than why do I feel the way I do?

Your husband should not sin anymore. And you should stay married and build a healthy relationship with him and God. What point would a divorce serve? How does that help you, your husband or your child achieve heaven?

Hoosier Dad-

That is exactly what my Counselor said to me. I do love my husband. Maybe I should wait until after I finish Graduate School and decide if I should stay married to him.

He has stopped going to those sinful places. He dumped his friends. He has stopped looking at Porn. I can tell he is remorseful. He just won’t admit what he actually did to me.

I am trying to dig deep into my soul and do what is right. What would God want me to do? I know my kids want me to stay married. I know my husband wants me to stay married. He has been going to marriage counseling with me. He is trying, but refuses to confess. He is afraid if I knew the truth that he would lose me.

Then possibly his silence on this is his way of admitting it to you. If you can tell he is remorseful, that should be a comfort to you. I don’t know him, of course, but it sounds to me as though he isn’t afraid to admit, but rather ashamed. I hope within time he can be completely honest and confess his sins, if he may not have already.

I think it is time for you to pull a “frozen” and “let it go” He wont admit it because it is shameful. I think you may have the only wise Counselor I have ever heard of…:wink:

Yes, I believe you are being “too hard” on your husband and you are torturing both him and yourself with what you imagine he did. You want him to admit something you think he did. But you do not know he did these things.

You need to let this go. Never bring it up again. You say these things are in the past, so stop living there and turn towards the future.

Some thoughts/questions, please:

  1. OP, it’s not really clear exactly when these incidents happened. Lap dances might have been 15 years ago; I’m just not sure. I’ve re-read (perhaps I was missing something) but I just don’t understand. I think that’s important, i.e., 15+ years ago vs. 3 months ago.

  2. “Proof” is an interesting concept. I say “interesting” because I’m not really sure what proof you might be referring to, other than something like emails (did we have email 15 years ago?).

  3. I must respectfully say this, and I will try to do it with real charity: Are you sure, I mean really sure, what happened, is what you think happened? For example, and forgive me, as I don’t mean to appear insensitive, but this is not, for example, appear to be something like finding Monica Lewinski’s infamous blue dress with DNA on it; you say you found clothing with a smoke smell in it (unless I understand it). Are you going to throw away a 20-year marriage because of a smoke smell? I can conceive of a lot of circumstances where “what happened isn’t what you think” and you are leaning on “evidence” that seems somewhat questionable (did an email say ‘remember what you did 15 years ago?’ Did someone tell you what happened? Is that person more reliable/trustworthy than your husband? Do they have an axe to grind? Sorry, just not sure). I ask in part because if you’ve grilled the guy over and over again yet his story is unchanged – perhaps he really is more innocent than you think?

  4. I think we need some more facts. How often do you think this occurred? Once? Twice? 10 times? 50? Over how long a span? Does he drink? What is he otherwise like – a good provider? Chronically unemployed? Otherwise well-employed? Could there have been circumstances which, although not excusing his behavior if accurate, nonetheless might reduce his culpability? What is your marriage otherwise like?

  5. You say he’s dumped the bad friends; doesn’t go to strip clubs, etc. – and maybe he hasn’t for many years – and you now want to divorce him?

I guess in final analysis I must admit that yes, I think you might be being a bit harsh, but the facts are still a bit unclear so I must reserve opinion on that. Just my $0.02.

Not to make excuses for your husband, (I know this is going to sound like I am), but here are some things to consider:

  1. I believe you said this happened quite a while ago - - I think several years? Sounds like he has been faithful for a long time now, he has turned his act around, right?
  2. It sounds like he made stupid mistakes, but frankly, it could have been worse (much worse!).
  3. I was driving past a strip club the other day, and thinking about a former boyfriend that would go occasionally with a friend of his. As I was thinking about this, I felt really angry at myself, for not using that as an excuse to break up with him at the time (I knew the relationship was not going to last forever). Why did I put up with that - - I knew that he went to those places? Is it possible you are angry at yourself in some way - - if you suspected, but didn’t act on it?
  4. I think sometimes the company that a guy keeps, leads him astray. It may that your husband wouldn’t have gone to those places on his own, but he went along to be “one of the guys” - - then things got out of hand, plus the “pack mentality” of it encouraged him. It may be that you can chalk up his bad behavior as much to weakness to peer pressure, rather than lust / the urge to “stray”.
  5. I’m sure there are many layers of hurt feelings, the pain of feeling betrayed or deceived for years. Allow yourself to feel the pain, but at some point you have to think strategically about what is the best thing for your family in the future.

I wish you the best - - it sounds like this has been very painful for you (naturally). I myself have had some ups and downs in my marriage, and have considered ending the marriage. But, as I told my counselor, I don’t want to break up my family (3 kids). Spend some time in prayer, take things to Confession, ponder these things at Mass.

I see that while I was typing, 1ke said more in 3 sentences than I did in several paragraphs. OK, what 1ke said.

I am tying hard to stay objective and think things through. I am trying hard to do what God wants me to do.

I believe my husband is a good person. He just lost his way and made very bad choices. I believe he loves me. I believe he regrets the sinful choices he has made.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit