Marriage Betrayal and feeling hopeless

My issues are my husband flirting/crossing boundaries with women and his family. I have caught him using porn over the years. I was suspicious he was masterbating when he struggled with sex. When caught he promised to not do it again. I don’t think he has had an affair but has lied to me about things that involved women. Once playing golf in a tournament with a female coworker(never told me until I quizzed him after) and another time he was planning a lunch with 2 women at work. When questioned he lied and said it was a large group lunch. He apologized, said he would not lie to me again and it was just a lunch. Recently I caught him masterbating and gave him an ultimatum to go to Every Man’s Battle Workshop. He attended the workshop and was remorseful after. He told me he will be more aware of temptations and try harder being professional with women, no flirting etc. Things were good for a few months although he never did the recommended group meetings and didn’t read the book he was told to read. Recently I brought him lunch and his pc was open, he had posted funny memes on the message boards with co workers and had comments and smiley faces from female coworkers and he had commented and sent emojis on theirs. I felt hurt and betrayed all over again since he promised me to be professional at work, especially with women. I gave another ultimatum to attend the group sessions for the sexual issues. He is attending now but seems like he is going through the motions and not remorseful. He says he’s sorry when I force a discussion but will turn it around that things are “my fault, I’m not nice to him, too controlling” etc. We also fight about his family. They live 8 hours away and have not been welcoming to me. Over the years I have been left in the hotel while he would go out to eat and I’m treated as an outsider. Obviously its not my favorite place to go especially since he never sees my side and sides with his family. Not a word has ever been said to them! I put a smile on my face and treat them well. Last time we went was the worst yet!!! His daughter(45) invited her mother(my husband’s ex wife) to the party even though it was only my husband’s side of the family. His ex is still in love with him and gave him a hug with her cheek pushed against his. Years ago she contested their annulment even though they were divorced 18 years and remarried. She said in her view they are still married. The annulment was granted and we were married in church. At this party all of his family were playing a game and picking teams one person at a time and picked his ex wife half way through and I was left for last sitting there feeling hurt and humiliated. Obviously I don’t want to attend this event again and I want my husband to tell his daughter and his family it was wrong. He refuses even though he agrees it was wrong for his ex wife to be there and wasn’t nice what they did picking teams. He says if I don’t want to go he will go without me. I am extremely hurt that he would suggest going instead of being my partner and making me the priority. I feel hopeless and not sure what to do. I do not want to be disrespected or betrayed anymore. Advice?

How long have you two been married first of all?

You may not be able to change your husband, but you can change yourself. I would suggest counseling for you as a couple, but I do think you might benefit from your own counseling.There is a part of you that comes across as too dependent on your husband.

For example: if you don’t want to see his family, don’t go. But you cannot expect him to not attend. Take your own stand about it by not going. But if you continue to want to tell your husband what to say and do, I can see how he would take that as trying to control him. You want him to choose you over his family and when he doesn’t, your feelings are hurt.

I am not sure why you traveled 8 hours and didn’t go out to dinner with them. Either go out with them when you are there or don’t make the 8 hour trip. You can’t expect your husband to make an 8 hour trip to sit in a hotel room with you instead of seeing his family. That doesn’t make any sense.


As a child of divorce, let me tell you a daughter never sees herself as belonging to a “side” of the family. She has two parents, and she has every right to inviter her mother to a family event. Her mother IS her family.

I have navigated parents and step parents since I was 4 years old. My rule has always been that I invite both sets of parents and siblings to things as I see fit, and they can get along or not come. Because I’m just not having it when it comes to pettiness and bad behavior between the people I love. If they make it about them, then they are welcome to excuse themselves.


At least with stuff like this, I wonder if you’re being a little insecure and controlling. If a female coworker posts a funny meme and he responds with something innocuous like “LOL” or a laughing emoji, that’s hardly inappropriate or flirtatious. Being professional at work doesn’t mean you have to be a robot who can’t joke around a bit from time to time.


When you give the ultimatum(s) what is/are the results? When you give an “or else” and don’t follow through, you lose credibility.
Also, going to lunch and emailing with coworkers of the opposite sex are not wrong. Lying about it is.
I agree whole hardheartedly on the counseling even if you go alone and find the root of your own issues of insecurity (we all have them) and anything else that keeps you from leading a happy life.
That includes not worrying about what his family, ex wife and others think.
You say you want to be a priority to him; that is something he has to do. May be bout time you make yourself a priority to you.
Sorry if all the advice sounds cruel-ish, but it’s tough love to be sure :slight_smile:All the best to you!


Some of the work issues you posted don’t seem to have crossed a line —memes, lunch with two co-workers, a workplace golf tournament. In and of themselves, these are not unprofessional behaviors.


We have been married 22 years.

I was asked not to go out to eat. One time I went anyway and his father walked out of the restaurant because I came and he didn’t have my husband to himself.

It’s very hard to explain and put everything in context since they give limits on how many characters you can write. So I tried to highlight which obviously didn’t explain well.

These were all things that were his own choice to do and he deliberately kept them from me. This is a man with a history of secretive behavior (use of porn etc)

The women were all women he had been flirty with. Trust me he does plenty of interacting with women in the course of his work which are not issues.

That is not what happened.
He had previously agreed because of his prior issues with women to not do things that encourage flirting. He was posting memes and it was generally just a couple women. Then one of the women sent him a friend request via a different social media.

I’m very sorry to hear you’re going through this. It brings back a lot of very difficult memories of my husband’s porn viewing and all that’s associated with it - as well as his flirting and ogling women. I know as a wife that it hurts to the core, and I feel your pain. I discovered through years of living with this that nothing really helped much to try to get him to stop. I tried to tell him how hurt it made me feel, and he witnessed the tears that just came flying down my cheeks. The more I tried to explain, the more angry he got and just kept blaming it all on me “being ridiculous” and telling me that I was controlling. His conduct was very typical gaslighting manipulation, unfortunately. I finally learned to just calmly try to explain the hurt each time it happened and PRAY ---- hard, especially asking (begging, actually) for our Blessed Mother’s and St. Monica’s intercession. It took quite awhile of this, but there have been steady improvements through the recent years, thanks be to God. I also went to a Christian marriage counselor by myself when he refused to go with me. That itself was helpful beyond measure, too. I highly recommend all of this to you as well. We can’t truly change our husbands all that much unless they choose to change, although there can hopefully be improvements. We CAN change our own attitude toward our marriage, our own well-being, and our most important goal in this life — eternity with our loving God. Please take care, and know that you are in my prayers. If you or anyone else going through this type of issue would like to send me a private message through Catholic Answers, please feel free to. I would be happy to assist with support based on my own marital experiences. In the past there was a wonderful Catholic Answers support group for this very issue, but unfortunately when they changed the format, they disbanded all the groups. Being part of that group had helped me immensely, too. Our Lord’s merciful blessings always to you.

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I’m not even going to get into this with you except to say I generally agree and I see his ex wife at many things and get along fine. This particular event was not appropriate for her to be there.

I get that I don’t know the whole story, but I wonder if your definition of “flirting” is too broad. Posting memes and jokes on social media, or being “friends” with coworkers, doesn’t strike me as particularly over the line.

As far as the porn goes, I’m not trying to minimize it. But you have to understand it’s a problem for a lot of men, and you don’t necessarily need to pack him off to a seminar every time he slips up. You’re going to discourage him from being honest with you about his flaws.


Tears are literally pouring down my face right now that you understand! It has been such a painful journey! The gaslighting is so difficult and makes me feel crazy at times. I have been to counseling for years off and on. My last counselor I saw for several years has retired. I have been to a couple counselors that just made things worse saying things like “all men are visual”.
Its hurtful to read some of the responses on here that are calling me controlling etc. Sort of makes me regret writing in here which took me weeks to get the courage to do. Thank you for your offer. I would love to PM you. And I will try praying to St Monica which I hadn’t tried yet. God Bless you and thank you!!


I don’t mean to be rude here but you clearly do not understand the damage porn does to a woman and a marriage and it is Adultery according to the bible. And anything that hurts your wife that involves a person of the opposite sex is wrong.

Please understand that no one is attacking you. I don’t doubt your husband has flaws and lots of room for growth. But it’s also worth asking yourself if maybe your approach needs some work too. That’s all. These are issues for you guys to work on together, which means both of you might need to make some changes.

I’m not excusing porn. It’s wrong. But I wonder maybe there is a better way to help him address the issue, that’s all.

And I don’t think you can say “anything that hurts your wife that involves a person of the opposite sex” is wrong. It depends on whether the “hurt” is reasonable. I mean, imagine you were hurt by him literally saying “good morning” to a female coworker. I’m sure you’d agree in that situation it’s not that the man is doing anything wrong, it’s the wife who is being a little paranoid and insecure. Again, that’s an extreme example, but you get my point.


Im just curious. Are you saying it’s a coincidence that he has betrayed the trust in our marriage on numerous occasions and he also just happened to marry someone who is paranoid?

There are actually many professionals that do workshops, books, counseling about the trauma caused by a husband’s use of porn and infidelity. I was hoping to find some help through Catholic sources but I don’t think that is meant to be unfortunately based on the majority of responses. No offense but the comments you are making( which I’m sure are not deliberate) are what hurts wives more. It seems the protestants are way ahead of us on this topic.

Maybe you shouldn’t have gone when asked not to?
Okay, so maybe his father is being a jerk and your husband is too immature even at his age to stand up to his father. So why would you even expose yourself to that? Let your husband go see his family by himself, and either go do something more interesting, or don’t make the trip with him.

Years ago, we would travel 7 hours to see both sides of our family. There are times a spouse just wants time with their mom or dad by themselves. It has nothing to do with excluding anyone, sometimes you just need alone time with a parent. So I always gave my husband those times. I still do.


I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I don’t think you understand and I doubt I am explaining it well. My husband told me to go with him. We had been there 2 days and I had sat in the hotel. We were leaving to drive home after the meal and I think if a man can’t be polite and have a meal with his daughter in law who drove 8 hours is inexcusable. I happen to believe what it says about leaving and cleaving also.
My husband has gone alone more times than I can count! Including running there when we have had a fight texting me along the way that he was going. The time in question is at Christmas. Should we go our separate ways at Christmas to keep his family happy?

I think I understand more than you think I do.

But it’s beginning to sound like perhaps you and your husband are having a problem and it is spilling over into your relationship with his family. Your husband may be telling his family too much of your relationship, and it is “coloring” their attitude toward you. Unfortunately, I don’t think you are going to be able to stop him from doing that. Unless you can go to couples counseling.

So you can only adjust what you do.

As far as Christmas, there are always ways to compromise. Spend Christmas at home and go visit them a couple of days afterward. That’s what we used to do.

And sometimes, for the love of a spouse, it is necessary to just put up with their family.


Depends, is this a case where he and his co-worker snuck off one day for a private get-away?

Camradarie with co workers is in some corporate settings required. The decades I spent in that world, had I a team member who said “I cannot participate in the charity golf tournament because I am not allowed to play golf with women”, or “I cannot go over to the Tulsa office with you because my wife will be jealous” it would have been an issue that would either leave him branded as a weirdo and could be a career limiting choice.

I work for a parish, it is very normal for a couple of us to go to lunch, extend the invite to a male coworker or to one of the priests.

In and of themselves, these are not suspicious actions.

Again, this is the corporate culture in most US offices. It is not unprofessional to joke with colleagues.

When we marry a person who has children with an ex, that ex is part of the package. They are going to be there for important events, graduations, first Communions, birthdays, family events.

It is good that your husband is in a support group.

I would advise you to seek individual counseling yourself.

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