Unfaithfulness... how to act afterward, and prior to counseling


For anyone who has been in this situation, or for anyone who thinks they just have really good insight and advise… I’m not in the situation technically of having an unfaithful spouse, but there have been acts of mental unfaithfulness for years and years, where he just wants to fix the pain now but not deal with why this keeps happening. So we are going to go to counseling to try and get this all sorted out once and for all. My problem is that after so many times of being hurt, I feel so much pain and then it dulls to apathy, where I don’t want to spend very much time with him, let alone sleep with him, which is the only way he says he feels loved… blah, blah… It’s the same thing afterwards for me: I weep and weep and weep… then I become furious that this won’t go away… then I become so worn out from the emotion that I’m not much of a person at all for a while. That’s where I’m at right now. He wants to snuggle and play nice, and I go back and forth between wanting that too, and then wanting to be left the — alone.

Sigh… This is where I need help. He feels rejected, which doesn’t help his problems… but I can’t bring myself to act like everything’s okay when it’s not. So what do I do during this time? And then even once we start to go to the counselor? I mean, he’s repented (again), told me he’ll never do it (again)… Told me how he agrees that I should put certain restraints so he can’t do it again… But again, just a bandaid on the problem, that’s his solution to make it all better… He agrees that the deeper issue needs fixed, but on a normal day to day basis, he wants to feel loved, but I don’t know if I can do it…

sorry for rambling… any help is appreciated.


what do you mean by mental unfaithfulness? is he addicted to porn?


that’s part of it, yes. there’s also problems with actual online interaction, although it leads nowhere.


Successful counseling should help to begin unraveling some of the issues.

In my opinion, the porn and other addicting habits or damaging behavioral are symptoms of an underlying cause. Treating just the symptoms will not necessarily resolve any true deeply seeded issue(s) that’s going on.

Blocking his access to porn may only resolve that immediate symptom but another may appear elsewhere. Sort of like putting a plug in a leaky bucket only to have another leak appear on the other side of it. The issue isn’t the holes in the bucket, but the bucket itself.

Whatever it is, it will involve work, commitment and honesty for both of you to get “to it”.

Counseling in all likelihood will take time and many sessions to help discover what’s really going on here. There could be many things involved in this (for both of you) up to and including true genuine emotional / mental disorders - anxiety & depression to name two which result in what appears on the surface to be hurtful & spiteful behavior choices.

By taking the first steps of recognizing & trying to do something about it, you’ve hurdled the hardest step - congratulations. Many people just block & numb the pain and won’t deal with it.

Dealing with it can be much more time consuming and difficult than not and more importantly - involves a commitment.

Counselor should be able to provide short term and long term strategies on “what should I do now”.

Wishing you luck and hang in there.


Spend time focusing on him even if you don’t feel like it. Affirm him. Do your best to fulfill his sexual desires so that he can’t use that as a reason why he is searching out emotional affairs or porn. A book that is very effective is called Love and Respect. It talks about what guys really need…not love but respect.
I’m not sure if this will help you directly but I think many men turn towards that sin because they are lacking affirmation and self-esteem. In my case, I dabbled with spending too much time on the computer because I felt my wife wasn’t meeting my needs or giving me the respect that I needed (even though she was giving me love). I wasn’t justified in doing it but the shame of the sin kept me from being as honest as I should’ve been with her.

Talking to other guys about it and turning more towards God through pray has helped me in this arena. A good support group of just other guys will work, something we as Catholic guys need more of. There is nothing more powerful than having other men pray over you and for yo. In my case, other issues have led towards a situation that I can’t change in my marriage even though I would give almost everything to fix.
Finally, pray, pray, pray. Don’t even think about divorce. It is so, so painful. Your situation can be changed and you both can fall in love again. I will pray for you, pray for me.


You have to decide if you can forgive him for who he is and still live with him, or if you need live in seperate spaces. I have been the victim of similar actions. My wife has distanced herself from me and has leaned on her spiritual advisor for emotional, mental and spiritual support to such an extent that I often feel like she’s not there. She is faithful - and I can’t imagine her not being - but she’s no longer fully present in our marriage.

I finally realized that I can’t force her to change and my attempts only led to conflict. I am on the path of trying to love her for who she is and take the bits and pieces of herself that she allows me.

This is not the strong union we once had, but the alternatives are not acceptable for us. I found that I could either spend my life angry that I no longer had a wife who wanted to give herself to me 100%, or I could try and make the best marriage and life for myself given where we were.

Can you accept that you may never have him as a soul-mate? Can you make a life with someone who witholds much of themself? Can you content with what you are offered and not demand more?

You can’t change anyone and you can’t make them change. If you’re going to stay with your spouse long term this may be the reality you’re forced to accept.

Remember, we’re not promised happiness, but we are commanded to stay faithful to our promises.


This is a very dismissive attitude toward the male need for affirmation through sex. I am not saying you can or should pretend that everything is OK, nor that you should have sex when you don’t want to or feel you can’t. BUT… have you always been this dismissive toward him telling you that sex is how he feels loved? Because that attitude could lead to him getting that need met in other ways, which he is doing. Men do feel loved through sex, it is the best and most effective way for a woman to let her man know she really loves him. They are built differently from us women… he means it when he tells you he needs sex to feel really loved by you. I urge you, if you have been dismissive of his very real need, to bring that up in the counseling so that the damage can be repaired. Does his use of porn and cybersex pre-date your marriage, or did it start afterward? If it was before, then he had a major problem before you came along. But, if he started this after your marriage, then that’s a big indicator to me that something in the marriage drove him in that direction.

Only you know the truth about this. As I said, if he did this before you were married, the problem has nothing to do with you. But, if he did not start til after you were married, then I think it is time for some deep, honest introspection into whether you gave your man what he needed or not. People who aren’t hungry don’t go looking for food… and physical love from his woman is soul food for a man.

I highly recommend The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. If you married your standard, basic, decent guy, this book will guide you to treating him right and keeping him happy. If you did not marry the standard, basic, decent guy, then none of this book (or what I said) applies. It only works if you first choose the guy in question wisely.


I can’t emphasize this part of the counseling…make SURE that counselor is aware and is willing to work with your religious beliefs – they don’t have to agree with them, but they HAVE to understand where you’re both coming from. I had a counselor say all this, but then she’d go on to say how “some people use this to enhance their lives in the bedrooom” – uh…did you miss the part where I said “absolutely NONE” in my marriage!!! LOL…just try to find one who is willing to “humor you” if need be – better yet, find a catholic counselor thru catholic charities…this can only get worse without outside help and lots of prayer…trust me.


First, putting filters on your computer, like the NetNanny program, is NOT a band-aide. Knowing that he will not be able to get to these sites to view porn or interact with people on-line will reduce his temptations to do so. It is NOT a band-aide, it is a critical step to a CURE.

Get a filter program. Install it and make sure you have a password he cannot hack (use numbers and letters, mixed upper and lower case, and special characters like # $ % ! as well).

This is a very painful thing and you are not the only wife to be victimized by this terrible temptation that men are so prone to fall into.

As for the counseling and advice that others here suggested, I think that is good. May God grant you healing and peace. :gopray2:


To everyone who has replied (so far :stuck_out_tongue: ), thank you! I want to respond to all the posts, so I won’t be quoting anyone directly, but to build upon my question and answer some of the questions:

Yesterday was a good day for us. We ending up sorting through a game plan and I have been able to pull myself out of the depression and rage I was so entrenched in. So we are (and I am personally) in a much better state now.

My husband has deeply-rooted problems having to do with much more than our marriage. (Believe me, I’m not passing off my problems, I have plenty! But since my post was about him…) My husband was less than 10 years old when he began having sex and less than 5 the first time he was given access to hardcore pornography, among many other abuses going on. So I know this is something that has little to do with me personally, but it’s so hard not to take it personally. I have my own self-esteem issues and put together, our situation can be volatile for me to say the least.

I am 100% against any counselor who is not Catholic. There is even a local Christian counseling center I would not touch. But I am finding it difficult to locate a Catholic psychologist (necessary for our issues, vs. just a counselor) who is close to us. It looks like we will have to travel a little farther than I hoped, but what must be done must be done.

We actually do have a very, very good filter on our computer (BSafe). We’ve had it for 2 years and it rarely allows for “adult” use. People can take regular arenas though and turn them into what they should not be. In this particular case, that was part of the problem as well as a “myspace” of sorts that has not made it through the company’s categorization process. For anyone else who does not have a filter, or who wishes their’s worked better, I would definitely recommend the one we have.


One thing you are likely to address in counseling is what expectations each of you have after your relationship starts working back towards “normal”. It may be helpful for you to start thinking about this ahead of time, what your life will be like. Obviously you cannot go back to how your marriage was before you discovered his infidelitous behavior (nor would you want to), so how do you see it? Is it warm and trusting, or will there need to be measures in place by which his internet usage is restricted and you regularly check up on him? Will you forgive completely and open your heart and body to him again, or will you need to live platonically until sexual feelings return?

This is not to have you decide what is the right or wrong action, but instead start thinking about what is realistic for you. For example, if you feel you will need time to heal and watch him carefully, he needs to know that so he is not surprised when you aren’t interested in lovemaking. Or the reverse could be true, if he is expecting a lengthy healing period with distrust and instead receives your forgiveness right away, the unexpected switch may cause him to discount the severity his actions. You can see that there are probably a hundred other different combinations of action/reaction but clarifying expectations lays the groundwork for your path.

Best of luck, keeping you in my prayers.


Unfaithfulness no matter what kind is still unfaithfulness. And it did lead somewhere or you wouldn’t have brought it up.You are not his mommy and shouldn’t have to monitor his online "activities"
I will keep you in my prayers.



I am praying for you, your husband, and your marriage. My advice is to pray, pray, pray. "

The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

Give thanks that you and your husband are attending counseling sessions. Learn from the mistakes of my marriage, we didn’t attend counseling and we didn’t pray together. Satan entered our marriage and it was destroyed. You and your husband are being given the opportunity to save your sacred union.
God Bless you, Linda Teresa


I’ve been where you are. My wife was abused as well and it affected her later in life in a way harmful to me. Please feel free to PM me if you feel overwhelmed.


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