Chastity after Divorce

My husband of 32 years left this past summer…decided that he didn’t want to be married any longer. I have managed ok in ‘moving on’ in most areas, BUT i’m having a horrible time being chaste. We had a good sex life and it is very difficult to just STOP it. I find myself masturbating frequently or looking at porn and then end up going to confession for the same thing week after week. I HATE this, but not sure how to conquer this. It seems when I pray the rosary (or even just grab my rosary and hold on for dear life!) it helps for a short while, but the urges usually come back the next day even stronger. Suggestions?

Chastity is always difficult, but it is especially difficult in the emotional upheaval that follows a divorce. I suspect that this is particularly true for the “jilted” partner (which describes myself also). There is no fast track to getting the emotions back together, and the emotional upheaval, and attendant behavioural problems will persist for months, certainly, and possibly years. Keep doing the things you are doing to move on, but be patient with yourself, and accept that it will be two steps forward, and one step back.

Praying the rosary is a great idea, :thumbsup:, but is, I think, sometimes overstated as an aid to chastity - in the short term. I think that it works wonders in the long term, but it doesn’t actually remove the temptations, it just helps us to fight them (that’s my experience, anyway). “hold on for dear life” :D… Yup, I know that one!

A young, saintly, priest once said to me “Never be ashamed of confessing the same things week after week” :).

Best wishes with it Sue, and I’ll remember you in my prayers,

~ Edmundus

Some people are no good being single. You may have to start dating, with the hope of getting remarrying one day.

I am divorced and am getting remarried this year :thumbsup: Fortunately the Anglican priest is allowing a church wedding :slight_smile:

Of course we all face temptation. We are all in the same boat on this one. Unless someone has a low sex drive. Keep praying & may God bless

Catholics cannot get divorced. Even if they get a civil divorce they are still married in the eyes of the Church and cannot remarry.

I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. I will keep you in my prayers. While I have absolutely no idea what you are going through, I find the following thoughts helpful when I am struggling in my spiritual life:

Remember that you are powerless without God. Stop trying to take the wheel (even if it’s to steer yourself towards God). Rather, let God direct you.

Increase your sacramental and spiritual life. Spend more time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Go to confession and daily mass often. Pray often.

Get a spiritual director. No one can beat their problems alone. Ask your local priest.

I hope that some of that helps!

As a rejected spouse, I struggled with chastity, and still do, but there is one thought which has made the most difference in helping me, and that is to remind myself that my masculinity, and sexuality, may have be been rejected by my spouse, but they have not been rejected by God. I am still a precious person in the sight of God, and my masculinity and sexuality are precious gifts from Him. If I am not using them in a married relationship, then I can offer them back to God, and that this is an offering most pleasing to Him.


Welcome to the forum! Sorry to hear about your divorce. The first thing I would recommend that you do is to start the annulment process. Once the annulment process is finished, you’ll be able to start dating if you wish. There is also an excellent ministry called Beginning Experience that helps people go through the healing process if they have recently been divorced, widowed, or separated. See if there is a group local to you that you can contact.

People often fall into obsessive, compulsive, or addictive types of behaviors to mask the pain and hurt in their lives. Sometimes people are not even aware of the pain but it is there, nevertheless. Trying to stop the behavior without dealing with the underlying pain is often fruitless. Maybe the behavior can be stopped for a short while only to relapse. Maybe the behavior is stopped because another worse behavior replaces it.

After 32 years of marriage, there might be some unresolved issues that need to be worked through. This will take time, patience, and prayer. Let the peace, friendship, and love of Jesus fill that empty hole in your heart. He will give you the strength you need as you embark on this new chapter in your life!

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