Sister-in-law temptation


I have a problem that I don’t know how to deal with. I have over the past 6 months, since coming back to the faith, been struggling to overcome my addiction to pornography and masturbation. My wife and I speak about it and she is very supporting of me. (She is a non-practicing Catholic).

This summer, her 18-year-old sister came to live with us. She is a wonderful girl who is helpful around the house and with our two young children. The problem is that she is very good looking with a good body. I find it very hard at times not to look and let my mind wander. I have spoken to my wife about it and she understands and tries to make sure her sister doesn’t wear clothing that is too revealing but it is summer and she does.

I don’t want to continue to be trapped by this but when I am home from work, we are always together. How can I overcome what my mind thinks so I can stay closer to God? I find when I am around her; I am constantly thinking about not thinking about her. It is hard and I don’t want to continue to fall into temptations. I pray about it but it is still very difficult.

Any advise?


I struggle occasionally with bad thoughts, and though they aren’t as bad as what you seem to be struggling with, I find that if I stop myself immediately, and just pause for a moment to say a Hail Mary, it really helps. It takes your mind away from thinking about not thinking about the bad thought, as you put it. :stuck_out_tongue: It gives you somethings else to focus on, and will hopefully give you a chance to focus on something else. Try to keep busy with tasks around the house, perhaps in places where your SIL isn’t. Give yourself something else to think about, so you’re less likely to get distracted. And keep praying!

Thank you so much for fighting against the impurities that have infected you! Keep it up, we need more men to do the same! I’ll offer up a rosary for you today. :gopray:


Would it help to think of her as your daughter?


I found that praying for the person will help you see her as more than an object of passion. I went through the same thing about 15 years ago (though she didnt live with us). I prayed the rosary for her and other women I felt I hurt, including my wife. I found I was soon able to see my sister in law as a whole person and love her as I would a sister.


Does the sister have to live there with you and your wife? Is there another place she can stay?


From Matthew Chapter 5

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

I applaud you for having the open communication with your wife about this, I think that this is key in this. I would take time to look into and for support in your struggles.

You failed to mention why this sister was there and how long she will be staying? When you are in the state of temptation, you need to do whatever you can to turn completely away from that. Whether that be praying, going outside to run, eat, anything, just do your best to get away from it.


This is a very dangerous situation to be in my brother! You are not well enough to have this kind of temptation right there. I’m sure it took years for you to become ‘addicted’ to porn and you’ve only been clean for six month…you are not out of the woods.

*]If the living situation can change then change it!
*]Memorize the St. Michael’s prayer. Say it every morning and evening at least.
*]Pray the rosary when temptation is strongest. Full five decades! You need that time focused on prayer not your temptation. I’d suggest getting one of those guides with pictures of the mysteries to help you focus.
*]Beg your wife to attend Mass with you. Go to adoration together if available. You need the graces that a strong marriage will bring. You need our Lord in your marriage and that happens most fully when both of you are on the same page spiritually. I speak from personal experience here.
*]If your parish has a support group seek it out. If not look for some kind of men’s group at the parish.
*]Go to confession even if you only have venial sin. If you find yourself taking long looks at her then confess not maintaining chastity of the eyes. The graces you receive will help with this struggle. Don’t get discouraged if you confess the same thing week after week. Satan loves for us to be discouraged. Again, speaking from personal experience.
Remember you are not helpless against these temptations. Satan will tell you that you are…that’s his strategy. You have all the Saints and angles praying for you and you have Jesus in your corner. It took time for your intellect to darken so it will take time for you to come fully in to the light. Unfortunately, this may be a cross you will carry for the rest of your life.

I’ll pray for you and please pray for me. I’m not out of the woods either but it gets easier.



You could all pray a rosary together in the evenings.

I’ve heard about the tradition of praying 3 Hail Mary’s each morning for purity.

Going to Eucharistic Adoration (or just spending time in front of the Tabernacle if you don’t have Adoration at your church) regularly would really benefit you. As Fr. Corapi says, “I don’t care what the problem is. The Eucharist is the answer!” :slight_smile:

Just like someone battling smoking or alcohol, you need to take a multi-pronged approach for best results. It is impossible to go “over the top” with this. Go ahead and pray your daily Rosary for purity, go to extra Adoration, try and make it to one or more Masses in the middle of the week, go to weekly Confession, and enlist the prayer support of your wife. Spouses are very powerful in their prayers for one another. And then on a more physical level, go ahead and see if you can get the sister-in-law out of your house, minimize the time you are with her (especially 1-on-1), etc.

I just had another idea. You can enlist the help of Saints known for their purity! St. Maria Goretti comes to mind, as well as St. Joseph. I think St. Mary of Egypt was a prostitute who had a strong conversion and actually ended up becoming a Saint! There is hope for everyone! :slight_smile:


Here is a letter that has helped me

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