Should I stay married?


I posted last year regarding my husband who got a bent penis from four years of on-and off explicit lap dancing. We have been married over 30 years. We’ve been to counseling. He apologized twice. He had a real hard time understanding why saying, “I’m sorry, BUT…” just justified his behavior in his eyes, as well as felt like a dagger in my heart. (He thinks he did nothing wrong because there was no intercourse.) There’s little to no physical affection, even though I have repeatedly asked for it. Out of the blue, he gave me a trip to the Caribbean as a Christmas present. This is the nicest thing he has ever done for me, and the only nice thing since his “confession”. The problem is, because of 18+ months of him strongly resisting efforts at reconciliation, along with nasty comments made to me that felt like resentment coming from him, I have lost all feeling for him. I have been married 31 years to a man I didn’t realize had very little sexual integrity. (I have also since found out that the on-and-off visits to go-go bars for 31 years involved" free feels" when he tipped them down their bras.) All of this has just made me sick, both physically and spiritually. We have been separated on and off about 4 times. I just can’t get over the hurt from this. I look at him and picture him saying to our counselor, “I just thought, 'What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.;” This was such a flippant attitude. I had no idea I was married to this.
I don’t know how I am going to be able to spend 5 days alone with him on a vacation. I feel like I will need to permanently separate from him when we return. What do you think?


Due to the nature of this topic, I would strongly suggest that you get your priest involved somehow in the reconciliation process, go to Retrovaille, see a marriage counselor with a Christian-based background, and consult other related resources.


Yes, we have been seeing a Christian counselor.


I don’t see how you can even go with him on a vacation after what you described.

The suggestion that you discuss this with a priest sounds very appropriate.


I would suggest following up with your priest as well - he may have some different insight since he knows you both and be able to help or if not you at least will know that you have done everything you can. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I will pray for you and your husband.


Thank you.


I have no words of wisdom for you, but you are in a tough spot and I feel for you. Your husband has betrayed your trust severely and what makes it worse is that he seems not to care. If he is not repentant, how can you forgive him and ever trust him again? And how do you trust that he has not had affairs, since he did not tell you about the strippers? Lies destroy ALL trust.

I am so sorry, and I will add you to my prayers.


I am so very sorry to hear of what you've been going through in your marriage. You have been a very strong woman through all of this. I also would recommend speaking with a Priest (both your husband and you together or just you if he won't go). Prayers for St. Monica's intercession to our Lord might help you also - she experienced similar horrible difficulties in her life as well.
My prayers are with you for strength through whatever happens. Please take care.


When I was a child, we had a dog that killed a neighbor's sheep. My dad was forced to shoot the dog because it is said that once a dog kills a farm animal, it can never be trusted again.

Now, people are not dogs and we all make mistakes in our lives; however, infidelity indicates a serious lack of good character and concern for one's spouse, only God can cure his heart. Thank goodness, men are not canines; they have rational souls, which God can heal. If they humble themselves, that is.

You are in my prayers. Good luck and God bless you.


Until your husband admits that he has a problem and wants to change there is not much you can do. I do think a person can change and he doesn't need to be shot LOL! But not without God's grace.


I just have a feeling there is more to the story here...


Why not change your agreement to a Josephite marriage?


That won't change the fact that her husband continues to elicit other women for sexual favors. A truly Josephite marriage would require BOTH partners to be chaste, not just from each other. IMO, I think the husband has a sex addiction issue.


OK, OK, I did not mean that he should be shot, literally. I was trying to make the point that a dog has the instinct to kill, rather than “think” about the morality of the act. Likewise, a man who frequents lap-dances to the point of physical disfigurement, and gropes the women to boot, has a character defect that has degenerated to the point of being “instinctual.” Therefore, only a sincere conversion, with God at the helm, can help him.


If you stay or if you leave you will be married. You might be able to get the Civil side of your marriage broken from the state, but you will still be married in the eyes of the Church. I would suggest see your Priest. If after seeking help you cannot get your husband to change then you can leave him, but you will still be married regardless of what a judge says unless you can get an annulement.


Unless she puts in for a decree of nullity and is awarded one. But she will not be able to apply for this unless she divorces.


[quote="kentuckyliz, post:12, topic:225179"]
Why not change your agreement to a Josephite marriage?


Sort of OT, but do these really exist? I mentioned the concept to a priest during one of our Theology of the Body classes here but he just laughed at me in front of everyone. :(


Separate from him and live as a happy single person.


he is seeing a Catholic counselor with you and has bought you expensive tickets as a token to show he cares. . That indicates to me he wants to work things out and is willing to take some steps. . I think Ann turin was out of line to point blank tell you to just leave. You say he denies what he did was wrong. Clearly, he is deep into rationalization. That is what most people who sin do. They rationalize. His attitude about lap dances and such is unfortunately very common in the secular world and he has been rationalizing this behavior for years. . But that does not mean he will not eventually come to realize what he did was wrong, feel guilty , and ask for your forgiveness. and your Catholic counselor will be agreeing with you that this behavior was major infidelity. The counselor will be pushing at him on this issue. You did not say if he promised to stop. I am assuming he said he would stop, but does not agree that what he did was a big deal. If he has not promised to stop then to me that makes a huge difference. You do not say how long you have been in counseling. If it has been years that you have been trying to get him to see that the behavior is wrong and he refuses to stop, then maybe it is time to give up on convincing him, but if he has said he would stop but just doesn't see why it is wrong and the counseling has only been for months on this issue, even if it is 6 months or so, then I think you should give it some time/ Anyone who has been rationalizing and normalizing behavior over a period of many years is not going to be able to reverse opinions immediately. You are right that this is a major violation of trust. It will be his task to rebuild trust and that is part of what the counseling will address. People have rebuilt trust even after infidelity involving intercourse so it can be done if he is willing. but it is going to be his task, not yours other than to tell him what you need in that regard.

Some people have implied there is more unrevealed behavior. You do not know that and neither do they. Maybe there is, maybe there isn;'t. I would,not assume either. That kind of doubt is created by the trust violation.You simply can';t be sure at this point. At some point he is going to have to be such an open book that you will know all the past and your questions about whether there is more will end. . That is part of restoring trust. Again, that should be part of the counseling. for the counseling to be successful, he is going to have to turn himself into an open book.
I would share with your husband all of the deep feeling of pain and betrayal. You can say to him "Thinking of you with those girls makes me feel(you fill in the blank)." Don't hold back on exactly how it makes you feel. Share it all . The relationship can't heal unless he fully comes to terms with the consequences of his behavior and the damage it has done.
Don't assume he is a total jerk either. He may well be and probably is a very hurt , needy person who is seeking intimacy in a very wrong way .
Some have said first he must know Christ. Only then will he understand. I do not think I agree with this. It could be reversed. First he sees his rationalization and self centered character and feels shame, , then he sees how deeply and horribly he has hurt you, then he feels deep guilt about that, , then because of the guilt he tries to comfort and heal you and repair the damage and make sacrifices, , then in the process of acting less self centered he come to act in love, then he feels a spiritual connection to you as he gives and receives love and receives your sacrificial forgiveness, then he sees what is meant by the phrase God is love, then he opens his heart to a loving relationship with God because he has come to know what loving relationships are about. Please don't assume that the relationship with God has to come first before your marriage can be healed. I hope some of this gives you comfort and some hope. Again, some of it is hard to evaluate because some of your details are missing.


I am curious. Why did he surprise you with the trip?

Is he repentant, and wants to try to rebuild with a fresh start?

Is he trying to buy off your anger? In which case, if you go, aren't you in essence accepting a bribe?

If I were you, at the counselor's office, I'd ask why the trip? Why not some direct talk instead like:

"I made a mistake"

"I was raised in an environment that taught me men do this. I see now that it hurt you and was wrong, but I want you to be able to understand how/why it went on so long."

"I should have come only to you for my sexual needs."

"I want to work on keeping us together. I need help in knowing how to not do this in the future. I'm concerned that it is par of my life now and may be difficult to stop."

And so on. If this hasn't happened, I'd guess your gift is a bribe to buy-off your anger.

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