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  1. I have been married for 18 years and am in the middle of a divorce. Our older 2 children discovered his affairs this spring through Facebook and emails. He has cheated on me with at least 3 women, two of the women were married. He lies about everything and currently lives with his married gf. He is a remorseless cheater stating he has the right to be happy. I feel stuck and am having trouble moving forward. My question is this- do I need to forgive him to get unstuck? How do you forgive someone who cheats and lies? How do you move forward?

    1. God does call us to forgive (Mt 6:14-15), but forgiveness is not forgetting, not excusing, not condoning, and not reconciliation. You can hand him over to God entrusting him to God to deal with him as God sees fit. I plan on having more on forgiveness in later posts, btw.

      And I would add that forgiveness is a process….the deeper the betrayal, usually the longer the process (in my personal experience). You might start…if you would like…in praying and asking God to give you the desire to forgive. Also, I encourage doing something physical…write a letter about all your losses or wrongs done against you then burn it or shred it. This helps us work it out and makes the point that real wrongs happened.

  2. Thank you for your blog!I divorced my former husband because of abuse, infidelity and abandonment by a non-believer (though we were both atheists during our marriage). He was/is a angry closeted gay man (and he and his family knew it – prior to our marriage, as a teenager, he completed some kind of Christian Conversion therapy that just repressed his SSA further and taught he how to cover it up) and used pornography to covet other men – something that is rarely talked about it in religious settings. No amount of marriage therapy could have helped – he coveted men, I am not a man….

    I strongly endorse getting tested for STDs and celibacy – it is the only way to truly protect ourselves. I look forward to marrying again and setting a better example for my children of what a true marriage looks like – and not a ‘mismarriage’ as termed by Bonnie Kaye.

    1. Sarah, sorry you had to endure that during your marriage. There is too much deception and infidelity in contemporary marriages. And it always turns into a form of emotional abuse. We definitely need to talk more openly within religious and non-religious communities about the things that cause people to marry before they’re emotionally ready or capable of meeting the obligations of such a commitment to another person.

      As far as your husband’s sexual orientation goes, we should make sure we place the blame where it belongs in situations like his… on the parents who sought to change him from who he was, and the organizations (religious and non-religious) who lie to those parents about the horrors of their child’s nature and lie to them that they’re able to “fix” them. Such attitudes and efforts only make matters worse for everyone involved, and especially for the person who is put through conversion or reparative types of programs only to need far more psychiatric support down the road.

      Health screenings, celibacy, choosing sex partners carefully.. and most importantly, waiting to get married at an age where you can sustain yourself if you need to, are intellectually and emotionally ready for marriage, and can take on the responsibilities for any children you may have when, not if, you likely end up as a single parent. That’s not pessimism, it’s realism. Being prepared to be a single parent doesn’t mean you’re wishing for it to happen.

      An an important note about turning to Bonnie Kaye for insight: You criticize those who turn to charlatans who do conversion therapy when they’re really con men and women willing to stick themselves in the middle of delicate life situations so they can impose their distorted view of the world onto others…many times, for a fee. Your willingness to turn to Bonnie Kaye for insights into your marriage is equally misguided. Just like conversion therapists, she says all the things that women in your position want to hear and, on occasion, she can hit the nail on the head. But, like conversion therapists, she’s always swinging a hammer and bound to hit a nail now and again. She is no less a charlatan and con woman than your garden variety conversion therapist. She has had nothing but failed relationships in her life.. MANY of them with bisexual/gay men. She’s great at keeping up the benevolent facade that draws women like you in, but you don’t even need to scratch the surface before you start seeing the trainwreck beneath the surface. Her screes about her family, her life, and especially about her gay ex-husband and children are all fabrications and embellishments designed to give her credibility to those who don’t know any better. And then she interjects herself into people’s delicate life issues, tells them all of the distorted things they want to hear, and creates a bonded sisterhood of wounded birds who see their marriage, relationships, and life spiral down the drain until they’ve had enough time to gain perspective and realize that all she has to offer is a well of misery and pain that she wants you to express, celebrate, demand validation for, and hold onto for as long as she has.. which has been for 40 years after the end of her oh so terrible four year marriage to a decent man and the father of her children. If you ever take a look at the way she talks about her own family members, husbands, boyfriends, and her poor children, you’d do well to learn from the huge failures and mistakes of her life and do everything that she didn’t do.. everything she tells you not to do…and don’t do what she advises. Like I said, surfacy things she says can sound sensible.. and she can hit the nail on the head on some points… but the most important lesson is that she has not LIVED up to any of her own standards, expectations, or advice points. You wouldn’t take investment advice from someone who has never held down a job in the finance industry and who hasn’t a penny to their name. Why would you take emotional investment advice, relationship advice, or parenting advice from a woman who is emotionally bankrupt, has never held onto a healthy or functional relationship, has never been in a healthy or functional romantic relationship, and especially parenting advice from a woman whose two children were dead by the age of 23…and whose experience growing up with her as a single mother was troubling to say the least.

      To be fair, I’m not saying she caused her children’s deaths, especially her son who died from an illness. But the home she provided for them was a constant churn of angry protest (she calls activism), half baked support groups for people in pain and misery needing professional help she couldn’t provide, a parade of dysfunctional relationships; destructive family relationships; alcohol and drug abuse/addiction; and Bonnie at the center of it all trying to feed her constant need for attention and validation.. none of which has yet been satisfied. Best to turn to the real experts and those who have had healthy and functional lives and aren’t energized by their bitterness, anger and resentment.

  3. Hello Pastor David,
    Good work and long overdue. All too many of us who’ve been raised as Christians in a more fundamentalist tradition came to believe that we should forgive anyone of any trespass against us and didn’t get the disclaimer on what that actually means. Forgiving does not mean one should put up with the craziness of these kinds of terrible and destructive behaviors. In a meditation I wrote for an advent booklet at my church, ” I came to understand that God did not mean for me to live in pain and ugliness, instead I was given the freedom to make good and healthy decisions and to choose my path out of darkness.” What that means is understanding boundaries. Boundaries all too frequently get the rap of being control based and that by stating what we will not tolerate we are being controlling. The opposite is true. By exercising the freedom to choose a healthy life, free of liars and cheaters, we may be able to better serve God and live in the light. It’s pretty hard to do when you are obsessed with following a trail of deception, disgusting emails, and being slapped around with lies and fabrications.

    Many who are struggling with these questions may find the work of Henry Cloud and John Townsend a refreshing take on how the Bible speaks of boundaries (the title of the first book is “Boundaries) and how one can free onself of the burden of being shackled to a life of despair and darkness.

    The book helped me quiet some of my delusional thinking based on childhood interpretations of scripture.

    All the best to you and your new life,

    1. Martha-boundaries are incredibly important. You are very right, so often setting a boundary is seen as being controlling. I’ve noticed that when the cheater sets a boundary and enforces it, the faithful spouse gets attacked and the cheater is commended on setting the boundary. But when the faithful spouse sets a boundary and enforces it, thus thwarting the cheater in some way, all of a sudden the faithful spouse is controlling. What the heck? There’s some sort of double standard that’s developed from all this and it drives me crazy. We all need boundaries, infidelity or not, or we get walked on. Boundaries are healthy. Cheaters, (and a lot of counselors/pastors/other people) don’t seem to understand boundaries. When my husband told his ex that she couldn’t be out at bars alone with her single gals until midnight each night she freaked out that he was being controlling and not letting her see her friends. He was setting boundaries yet no one stood up for him or encouraged him in that.

  4. Dear Divorce Minister: I always read your comments on that other blog (!) ChumpLady, of course, and I jumped over here to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your insights and sharing. I come from a different religious tradition, but I really respect your perspective and the strength and wisdom it brings you.Thanks so much.

    “Named for Vera” (who was my great aunt, her name was Vera, and in Russian, that means Faith…I thought you’d appreciate that tidbit!)

  5. I would like you and your wife’s advice on my situation . Husband cheated on me in an affair for sure 15 yrs. ago . About 4 yrs. ago I found text messages to him and a married co- worker calling her “baby” and that’s my girl”. When I threatened to call her husband he said his arm hurt.He is verbally abusive to me. He does the minimum,takes me shopping and out to eat 2 times a week. If I accuse him of anything(cheating) he says “prove it”. I just want out of here,but seem stuck. If I accuse him of anything he sAys the house is a mess. If I say I want a divorce he threatens to call our grown daughters and tell them. Please pray for me and give your advice.

  6. Dear DM,
    I shared you last post on my FB page and got the following. This has been a constant from one particular person all year. How can I help her.

    Name not included.

    I have real issues with the bloke who writes this. It seems to me that his stance is to encourage the acceptance of divorce. I understand that adultery is extremely damaging. I understand that he is saying why accept (or not talk about adultery) and only focus on divorce? I understand also that he is saying that while divorce is visible and adultery is not so easy to see so therefore if we focus on divorce we are “being lazy”. My problem is this – and most of you already know this. Divorce IS a sin. Just like all the other sins God hates divorce. While the Bible may give people an out if cheating is involved it also makes it very clear that at no point is that what God wants. The Bible says that the only reason he “allows” divorce for adulterous spouses it is because of our hardened hearts. And while it doesn’t say who has the hardened heart it is easy to assume that it is the adulterous spouse but that does not line up with the rest of Scripture. Scripture tell us to be like the father of the Prodigal son. THAT is our example – Christ is our example. Our example is forgiveness, another chance. We are the community of not just second chances but 3rd, 4th, 5th chances. We take all the forgiveness that God can give us because let’s face it we all need it, but then we refuse to give that forgiveness and reconciliation to others because it bloody hurts and it isn’t fair. (And it really really does hurt, and it really really feels like it isn’t fair). The problem is that we are told the measure that we forgive is the measure that we will be forgiven. There are no levels of sin with God at all. He doesn’t go “ok well Sarah over here only told a white lie so she doesn’t need as much forgiveness as Mitch who stole a couple of notebooks from the company provisions” Every single sin we do does exactly the same thing to our relationship with God. So who are we to say that enough is enough and I am not going to forgive my spouse? And forgiveness means restoration. The world tells us we can forgive but not forget. That is NOT how God forgives (thank goodness). Ultimately the reason we say that divorce is ok is because we want to justify getting out of the pain, and getting out of the situation, We want to be able to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough and then move on to something that is more rewarding to us…… people are dying in the Middle East for their faith and we want to get out of a relationship because our spouse doesn’t love us the way they should….. BUT what is worse to me is that because I say this, I will have so many people telling me that I am judging. That I have no right to speak into someone else’s situation because I don’t know all the ins and outs. I have no right to JUDGE and condemn but here’s the kicker – why does anyone who reads this think that I am actually condemning them? Because it doesn’t agree with what they think? We need to learn that if we feel condemned that feeling is more often than not coming from the enemy NOT from God. God does use people to tell us off when we are doing the wrong thing. All through the Bible this format is used. It isn’t a hate it’s how we talk to our children – I love you, I can see that you are not thinking clearly, I care enough to risk getting yelled at when I tell you what I think is wrong. We have confused people who care with people who tell us what we want to hear. I want people to tell me when I am going off script and out of Scriptural waters. We should all want this. We should all also be humble enough to admit we may be wrong – not based on how we feel but what the Bible says. I am saying this because I care. I am saying this because I know of many people who have chosen to stick to their marriage vows in the face of adultery and all sorts of other things and are blessed beyond comprehension – not in worldly things bu in God’s presence and understanding. It is not only for some people. The vows don’t change because someone else changed their mind. Did we make a vow before God? If we did I’d be more concerned with the fact that we are not living up to that vow than the fact that we might be lonely or feeling under appreciated. If you have found someone else – are they Christian? do they have a faith? 9 times out of 10 we find someone who is further away from our faith than we were to start with simply because we think that God has failed us in not helping us with our relationship…. anyway long rant but please guys – read and pray it through. We don’t need more justification for divorce, we need more understanding of covenant, of fearing God and of God’s provision and care for us ALL – yes including your adulterous and mean spouse. NOT a judgement call on anyone – that is not my intention instead a call for us all to perhaps understand the depth of God’s love for us, and his love for ALL wayward sinners – cheaters, adulterers and even abusers…..

    1. Thankful,

      Your friend reminds me of my exchange with another pastor ( This mindset is the status quo as I have seen it with evangelical Christians. I can relate to her as I held similar views only three years ago prior to going through my own adultery discovery and being divorced by my cheating ex-wife. In fact, I might have written a very similar thing at that time sadly.

      Divorce can be sin (e.g. when an adulterer divorces his wife to marry the OW). However, divorce is not sin ALWAYS. In fact, her stance suggests the writers of the Bible characterized God as a sinner as God divorced Israel (Jeremiah 3:8 and Isaiah 50:1). Furthermore, if God “‘allows’ divorce for adulterous spouses,” does that mean God is allowing people to sin then? That’s what follows logically if divorce is sin.

      Her “rant” (as she describes it herself) actually makes the point of my post. She is SO focused upon avoiding divorce that she spends very little time talking about repentance from adultery, etc. Divorce seems to be more problematic to her than adultery. It is as if God prohibited divorce in the Ten Commandments and NOT adultery. Her focus on avoiding divorce is so much the case that she makes no comment about how those who chose reconciliation following adultery have seen real repentance in their cheating spouses. The point she makes with them is that THEY DID NOT DIVORCE! (By the way, I will note here that many do not get a choice in the matter with the advent of “no fault” divorce. The adulterous spouse may just divorce them as it was in my own case.)

      Furthermore, she is calling ALL divorcees “hard-hearted” by her interpretation of Scripture on divorce. That IS a very harsh judgment on ALL divorcees. Ouch. Double ouch for those who were cheated on and abandoned.

      Such interpretation is followed with her view of what forgiveness means, which includes a view that forgiveness excludes choosing divorce. I disagree. I forgive my ex-wife for cheating but am glad we are divorced. A rape victim can forgive her rapist, but she does not have to remain his girlfriend, and in fact, that would be unwise. Forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation or restoration of the relationship. That takes two people and repentance in the case of the adulterous spouse. Furthermore, the prodigal son CAME BACK and by that action, he was turning from his ways plus humbly approaching the Father knowing it was a gift to be forgiven. (By the way, I encourage restoration of a marriage if repentance is ACTUALLY happening from the adulterous spouse’s side evidencing such humbleness as the prodigal son exhibited.)

      I doubt she will receive any of the points I have just written here. Her writing suggests that she has made up her mind on the matter and will just dismiss any Scripture or argument that says otherwise. While claiming not to be judgmental, she strikes me as VERY judgmental towards divorcees. Her arguments and interpretations suggest divorcees are sinning, unforgiving, and hard-hearted for getting divorced. They have violated their vows before God by divorcing. However, I really do not totally blame her for holding such positions. This is the party-line in conservative, evangelical Christianity. However, I can see how this might make it difficult to stay friends with her, Thankful.

      A way forward might be to name how her arguments suggest such negative judgments about all divorcees and how that impacts you personally. What I am suggesting is explicit and direct communication. For example, “When you say divorce is sin and talk about forgiveness, I hear you say that I am unforgiving and sinned by divorcing my adulterous ex-husband. I feel hurt when I hear such things and feel like this is exactly the unjust divorce prejudice I fight daily in Christian circles. Can you explain to me how divorcing an adulterous spouse is allowed by God if I am then censured as sinful, unforgiving, and hard-hearted by doing so?” The key is I statements relating how her stances impact you as well as following it up with open-ended question(s) for her to ponder.

      Hope that helps, Thankful!


  7. Dear Divorce minister,
    I moved to Africa 8 years ago to join my African husband (married 6 yrs, no children). There was no way he would have moved in my direction as he was passionate about his job in Africa. I accepted that and gave up my job, house & country with friends and family nearby.
    My husband wanted to be married by a minister and although I was an atheist I agreed. I started reading and learning more and more about Christianity since then.
    One year into the marriage he had an EA with one of his students in my presence (he was an instructor, the OW stayed in our camp for a month). His response: “we’re just friends but yes, we have an emotional connection. But I’m not going to pursue it because I’m married”. It was probably the most horrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. The whole group was talking about it, as their ’emotional connection’ was so obvious. He denied having an affair, since he ‘didn’t have sex with her’.
    When she left I asked him not to contact her again and he said he wouldn’t. About 2 hours later I saw a text message from her on his phone replying that she was looking forward to seeing him again soon and would be waiting for his call. I felt devasted and confronted him. He said he thought I would be over it some time soon and by that time he and the girl could have a coffee. In my presence he wrote her back to never contact him again and that her text message might cost him his marriage. A few weeks later our employer received a complaint letter from one of the other students, that my H had been putting all his time and energy in this one particular woman compared to the rest of the group. My H denied everything and said the other (male) student was just jealous.

    There were often other female students that he was flirting with. But he said it was just me being insecure. We had huge arguments about this and the fact that he was living his life as if I wasn’t there. He said that if I wanted to spend more time with him I needed to come on activities with him and the students.
    During our arguments I often felt so cornered by his blameshifting that I would often lash out at him and erupt my frustrations like a vulcano. Everything was my fault. He never took account for his behaviour, nor did he ever apologize. According to him his wrong behaviour was “just a reaction to my behaviour”. And the effort he put into the marriage was to quote “tolerate me”.
    My H started using physical violence more and more: throwing me against the wall, dragging me outside by my hair, bruising my hands and wrists etc. He said I was crazy and needed medical help. The marriage deteriorated further when I found a file on his laptop with pictures of all the female students I had asked him about along with pictures of the chest of a vet-assistant, busy with her work. His answer: “sorry you have to see this but it doesn’t mean anything”. Meanwhile I went to several doctors thinking my H (and his mother…) might be right in that there was something mentally wrong with me. At least that was something I had control over. They said I was suffering from depression.
    The fights continued until he gave me a black eye (H said it wasn’t his fault, that it was an accident). It resulted in us both leaving our job. I went back to Europe for 4 months to recover.

    After 4 months I came back: my H said he missed me and that we could work this through, my life was in Africa and I had hope/hopium for my marriage. Just before my arrival my H had a job interview with our soon-to-be employer. He told her I had gone home to get treatment for “emotionally abusing him”. I only heard this months later.

    For a while everything seemed fine. After a year the problems came back: the blameshifting, lack of accountability, me lashing out and him becoming physical again. I told him to leave our house. He got another bungalow on the property in april 2013 and we have been seperated since. We have tried to mend things until I received a letter from his lawyer January 2014 requesting a settlement agreement.

    I have got a permanent visa which becomes null and void when the marriage is dissolved within 2 years after issuing the visa. In my case that would mean we’d have to stay married for another year. Divorce means no visa means and work permit so then I’d have to go back to my home country.

    Initially H agreed with delaying for the sake of my visa and he has done so for the last year. Now he says his new relationship (we’re still married!) is getting more serious and he no longer wants to stall. My lawyer says we could probably stretch the process for a year.

    The thing is: In 8 years I have build up a life here, it’s my home, I like my job, my friends here so I’d like to stay where I am. In all honesty though: I still have a shred of hope which plays a part in this. Not that he gives me any reason to have hope, he checked out a long time ago. I just can’t believe that the Christian of us two wants a divorce! Besides, he was the one that cheated! It does not make sense to me. He says that I damaged his ‘temple’ with my angry outbursts and for that, God takes him away from me, to protect him. It makes me feel like an awful villain while he pretends to be the poor victim.

    Working for the same company and living on the same property makes it extremely hard sometimes but I presume that will get better when I start trusting that he is not right for me (head is there, heart is not, not by far). He performs like nothing ever happened while I struggle to even get to work every day, devastated as I still am.
    Apart from that: going back to Europe now with an 8 year work experience gap…in these going to be a tough one. My H’s response: “sorry your visa didn’t work out. You can go back to your country now”.

    So, it’s either divorce (which I resent) and leave my home base again or stay and delay.
    Please help me to create some clarity in this mess.
    Thanks so much.

    1. Karen-oy, I’m sorry you had so much dumped on you.
      “My H denied everything and said the other (male) student was just jealous.”
      “But he said it was just me being insecure.”
      “He said I was crazy and needed medical help.”
      That’s gas lighting. Not okay. You’re not crazy. Run far, run fast.

      “One year into the marriage he had an EA with one of his students in my presence.”
      “A few weeks later our employer received a complaint letter from one of the other students, that my H had been putting all his time and energy in this one particular woman compared to the rest of the group.”
      “I found a file on his laptop with pictures of all the female students I had asked him about along with pictures of the chest of a vet-assistant.”

      And how does he still have a job? You have a list of 3 ethical violations and his employer received a complaint letter about them. I’m pretty sure having pictures of his female students and the chest of a vet-assistant on his laptop falls under some form of a sexual misconduct/harrassment. There’s enough evidence to label him as a predator of his female students. He should be fired. Period. Is this a U.S. based company or a local one? Do they have any sort of HR process for dealing with ethical misconduct? He needs to be reported and fired.

      “He said that if I wanted to spend more time with him I needed to come on activities with him and the students.” Umm you’re his wife for goodness sake! He’s got it backwards. As his wife he should be making you a priority above everyone else. “Everything was my fault. He never took account for his behaviour, nor did he ever apologize. According to him his wrong behaviour was “just a reaction to my behaviour”. And the effort he put into the marriage was to quote “tolerate me”.” Wow. Red flag after red flag after red flag. His effort was to “tolerate” you? WTF??

      “He told her I had gone home to get treatment for “emotionally abusing him”.
      “He says that I damaged his ‘temple’ with my angry outbursts and for that, God takes him away from me, to protect him.”
      That’s all DARVO. Read more about that here.

      “It makes me feel like an awful villain while he pretends to be the poor victim.” That is how DARVO works. You are NOT the villain, HE is. Don’t let DARVO win you over. Identify when that sentence is holding ground as “truth” and then smash it to pieces. That sentence is not truth. Your truth is that you are valuable, your life matters, you’re not crazy, he’s a ****((W**T$@(W lowsy *&&@(^*$&$ jerk (^@#*^%*(!pile of horse manure(@*$*@(#**.

      “My H started using physical violence more and more: throwing me against the wall, dragging me outside by my hair, bruising my hands and wrists etc.”
      “The fights continued until he gave me a black eye (H said it wasn’t his fault, that it was an accident).”
      “After a year the problems came back: the blameshifting, lack of accountability, me lashing out and him becoming physical again.”

      Read those lines again. He physically beat you, you left and then went back to him, he continued to beat you and then you write: “We have tried to mend things until I received a letter from his lawyer January 2014 requesting a settlement agreement.”

      Run far, run fast. There is no “trying to mend things” with him. He is an abuser on multiple levels and he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. He is not your friend, he does not respect you and from his actions I don’t think he actually values your life. Do you realize you are lucky to be alive and not more seriously physically wounded? He is a ticking time bomb and your safety depends on getting as far away from his as possible. He doesn’t see a problem with physically beating you, he flat out said it was an “accident.” Cue scene from the musical Chicago where she says “and then he ran into my knife. He ran into my knife 10 times.” Him beating you is as far from an “accident” as you can get. He doesn’t comprehend human decency or life and the fact that there are lines he’s crossing/crossed that he should have never crossed to begin with. There is no reason to believe that he won’t cross the lines again or actually stop himself before getting to the point where he actually kills you or whoever his current girlfriend is. She’s not safe either. Physical abuse especially, is a fire that you don’t mess with. You don’t wait around to see if the bonfire will become a forest fire. This isn’t a fire that you can put out sadly. What you do control is getting yourself away from the fire to safety.

      Your work experience in Africa is still work experience. I think your work experience abroad will be something of value to future employers. It would show you have cross cultural skills. Is the notion that the past 8 years of work experience will count as nothing from you or is that your husband or his mother talking? (Get as far from his mother as well btw. She’s not good company to keep either it sounds like).

      It’s absolutely not fair. It doesn’t make sense why the “Christian” wants a divorce. It doesn’t make sense that he cheated. Nor does it make sense that he’s okay with physically beating his wife. I’m sorry this has been your experience with this “Christian” guy. Not all Christian men are like him. NONE of it is your fault. He’s a complete loser with a lump of coal where his heart should be. I know you have a lot to lose, it’s not an easy or fair decision. There are many lost dreams that you will need to grieve. I think your best bet is returning to Europe. You have a chance to get far away from a physically and emotionally abusive husband that’s also openly cheating on you. Many chumps would trade and arm and leg to have the chance to get away to another country. Neither of the paths in front of you will be easy. I think getting the divorce asap and getting the hell away from him will be wiser and safer for you in the long run. You need space for your physical and emotional safety and healing. Distance and no contact are going to be key for you in getting your heart and your head to agree. I don’t know what the work policies are in your company but I’m pretty sure that here in the U.S. (and probably the UK), it’d be a violation of some policy to have you working in the same place as the man who beat you.

      If your company does not know about his behavior they need to know, though I’d suggest finding a trusted advisor in when to go about that first. If they do know, it doesn’t sound like that’s really the company you want to be working for. Is there any sort of domestic abuse shelter set up near you? If not, find one in the U.S. or the U.K, they usually have hotlines you can call. Run your situation by one of their counselors. Outing your husband’s unethical and harmful actions may cause him to retaliate towards you. Your safety is the first priority. The abuse counselor would probably have some insights for you on how to go about it. Maybe it’s something that you don’t do until you’re safe in Europe.

      Please keep us posted. We will send prayers your way.

  8. Is withholding sex from your spouse sexual immorality and therefore grounds for divorce? 3 of the 4 years of marriage have been sexless…she had sex long enough to get pg and have a much wanted baby, and has refused sex ever since. She refuses to even share their bedroom and instead shares a bedroom with the child. Both spouses are professing believers.

  9. DM,
    Thank you for your encouragement. It has given me strength along with other Christ centered people around me to see my X Husband for who he really is.
    So 14 months post d’Day and my Ex stated to me today that he has moved on (with a woman) and is the happiest he has ever been. In the midst of the discussion stating that he does not need to ask my forgiveness as he asked Gods and the Churches ( the pastor and elder not the church as a whole) and that is all that really matters. He stated he had said he was sorry to me and that is all he has to do. I have two problems with this and would like your comment. 1) here in Australia you need to be seperated 12months and 1 day before filing for divorce (which I did) he began his relationship with the new woman before being served the divorce papers, it was approved last month and will official as of the 6th March. Is his new relationship adultorus by nature even if they are not sleeping together?
    2) have I misunderstood scripture when it says if you have wronged someone you should seek to make amends to that person?

    You have heard over the past year how I myself have been treated by the church he is in so it should come as no surprise that they condone the new relationship and his manner towards me. I am seen as in the wrong, I spoke the truth when they wanted me to lie, I stood up for myself when they expected submission, I chose to end my marriage instead of showing forgiveness and turning the other cheek without any repentance or remorse from him.
    I am happy with my life. I have returned to study to gain better employment. My children are doing ok. The only anguish in my life is where my life is still entwined with him.
    Can I look at this as to Gods blessing?

    Your input would be appreciated.


  10. I am cheating with a married man who is my pastor. I am a wrenched woman, I know I am wrong and am in sin. After reading several of your blogs, I need your help to end the affair the Godly way. I am not afraid of the consequences because I made these stupid, destructive choices.

  11. DM,

    Do you know a good resource the elaborates on what “sexual immorality” (Ephesians 5:5, etc,) really is in the eyes of God? Of course adultery would fall under this but I feel it’s much broader than just adultery. I was very bullied and belittled in this area of my marriage and feel this is hindering some of my healing. Godly wisdom on this would be so helpful. Thank you in advance for any recommendations.


    1. I believe certainly there is more to sexual immorality than just adultery, although that is bad enough. Legally in Britain adultery is consensual sexual intercourse between a man and a woman one or both of whom is married to someone else. So if you were raped or below the age of consent you would not have been committing adultery, or if you were defrauded into the act, maybe believing the man who slipped into bed beside in the dark when you were half asleep you was your husband would be an example of that. But there is much more in the way of sexual immorality. Sex with someone of the same gender for example, sexual activity with someone of the opposite sex stopping short of penetration , these could both lead to STDs and if untreated could be passed on to you, and if you were pregnant, your baby, these are obvious ones, but other things such as forcing you to do sexual acts that you do not feel happy about, and then mocking you because you did the degrading act, raping you – sex without your consent, maybe if he has drugged you or you are asleep, taking and sharing private photos of you even if you do not want them taken or even just threatening to share them, insisting on sex after he has deliberately hurt you, being derogative about your body or clothing, and trying to control both, being a letch around women and seeing them all as sexual objects, accusing you of infidelity, making you pregnant when you do not want to be, refusing to make sex an enjoyable time for you. Maybe he sexually assaults children or animals. I’m sure that there is more but don’t like to think about it. Not adultery in a legal sense but very certainly sexual immorality and abuse. Jesus broadened the definition of adultery didn’t he when he said that anyone who had looked at a woman with lust had already committed adultery in his heart, and am sure that it applies vice versa. If things happened that made you feel like you describe above, then it sounds pretty much like sexual immorality to me.

    2. BHB,

      Sorry that it’s taken me a bit to get back to you. I have to report I am not totally thrilled with any of the resources I have read on the matter. It takes discernment. Most have blindspots and are not always as sensitive to faithful spouses as I wished. That said, probably the best is a chapter from Derek Prince’s book, God Is a Matchmaker, chapter 10. You can pretty much ignore pages 140 onward in that chapter, and I do NOT endorse the rest of that book as it promotes some rather rigid gender stereotyping. Prince does makes some excellent and healing statements/analogies regarding divorce plus discussion regarding sexual immorality from pages 129-140 or so. It helped me. Hope it helps you!


  12. Mr and Mrs Divorce Minister:
    I truly thank God for your website/ministry. I wish it were in existence when I went through my separation in 2013 and divorce that was finalized St Patrick’s Day 2014. My ex and I were both leaders in the church when we met and throughout our 16 year marriage when I discovered her adulterous affair with an ex boyfriend, also in church leadership, also married with children. I discovered it when it was at the “emotional” affair point, and her response was textbook. Denial, blame shifting, lying, and the affair continued to the physical. We attempted marriage counseling while the affair remained unknown to me. Upon discovery, I gave her the option of stopping the affair, or leaving our home. She chose to leave, and I filed 4 months later, filing the divorce decree the day before our 16th anniversary. She has remained unapologetic, unrepentant, and states that she is the mistreated party. During counseling, as you noted, the failure of the marriage and her failure morally, was blamed on me as the Head. In front of our (then) 12 year old son, she blamed me for destroying our home, pushing her to another man, invading her privacy by going in her laptop. I agree that the church is far too lenient, as I exposed her, and she remained in leadership, and I was accused by her family of a smear campaign. I’ll simply close and say thank you, and may God continue to use and bless you.

    1. Deacon B,

      Bravo for sticking to your guns while going through all of that! For what it is worth, I think you made a VERY reasonable request of her in asking her to stop her infidelity or leave. Her choice to continue cheating and leave is upon her. The best you can do is stand on the truth. “The Devil made me do it” is not going to fly on Judgment Day. Or is “The husband drove me to it” either!

      It is truly sad to see how the church community has bought Satan’s lies on these matters so deeply. This is doubly sick when it involves leadership. How incredibly selfish of your ex and her adultery partner! If they really had cared about their families and kids, they would have obeyed God and not committed adultery (or at least, repented!).

      Thanks for your kind words about the blog! It is encouraging for me to read as it reminds me this ministry is having a positive impact for God’s Kingdom even in the midst of such darkness.


  13. Just found your blog through another site. I am currently separated from a cheating spouse. He did it not once, but twice. He is a master of manipulation. He claims that ‘we were discussing separation anyway, so it’s not cheating’. Oh barf. His first affair happened about 5 yrs ago. I took him back. Why? Because it was the ‘godly’ thing to do, according to my christian friends and pastors…just forgive forget and move on. I was even told at one point that divorce is never an option, even if your spouse molests your kids.

    …I should have listened to God a long time ago when he let me see, through various circumstances, things my husband was doing. But I got so much ‘just focus on your own sins’. My sins justify his? Where is that in the bible? I got the famous ‘have more sex, submit more, never question him, show him more respect etc’. I did all that, and now he has moved on with his girlfriend, leaving me to pick up the pieces as I have to move, had to give up my new kitten, see my son move across the country because he can’t come with me and struggle with a depression that landed me in the emergency room last week. He left me with no car, no money, nothing. I am so glad a minister of the gospel actually get it!!! Thank you for what you do.

    1. lyndie,

      My heart weeps with you! And I am righteously angry with the pastors/Christian friends who advised you so poorly.

      Glad you found your way here. And thank you for your kind words. Stories like yours is an important factor as to why I write this blog. A sea-change is needed and someone needs to point out that reconciliation at all costs is not healthy OR godly.


  14. Thank you, DM. At just 6 weeks out for D-day I am still dazed and tormented. I found Chump Lady and you within 24 hours of the discovery. I could not begin to fathom explaining this to my pastor. I still can’t. One of my strongest feelings in the past few weeks has been that God is telling me to run, not walk away, from this situation, that he will be there for me, no matter what. The man I called my husband has had an ongoing affair for at least three years and he is unrepentant about it. He will not admit to the affair (there is a heap of audio, video and photographic evidence) and won’t work to save our marriage. His only concern is what other people think and that I not tell anyone “our business” which of course was not even my business for at least three years. I digress, what I’m trying to say is your words kept me from making that tragic mistake where something big and bad happens in life and we either blame God or let it rip us from him. I hope to find the strength to loop my pastor in on this situation someday.

  15. My husband is a senior pastor in a Presbyterian (PCUSA) church. He has been having an affair for at least 2 years with a woman in our former church, about 10 hours by car away.

    I told 2 elders and they have done nothing but keep his secret. Meanwhile, I left and am filing for divorce. I have stopped going to church there, although my children still go. People in our church here think I am a cold hearted, unsupportive person for leaving him. Nobody really knows why I did.

    I’d like not to be front page news. I’d like to keep it quiet for my children’s sake. But what is my obligation to the church? He is not fit for ministry, yet he is still in the pulpit. He is still having an affair. And that whole community thinks badly of me.

    But…if I cause him to lose his job, to lose his ministry, he will be less able to provide child support. He has no other skills.

    I am at a loss.

  16. Dear Divorce Minister,

    Thank you for this website. I will be reading over it further. I found it actually through looking up John Piper’s stance on divorce after adultery. Trying to find a “excuse” for me to stay again so I won’t have the hard road of divorce. My husband had an off and on affair for about 7 yrs with another married woman who was his right hand girl at work. I had a bout with melanoma and 7 months later found out about the affair (which had physically gone on for about 3 months but emotionally for at least a yr) When I discovered it, I was in shock, he was sorry and she was sorry. She asked for my forgiveness and I allowed them to continue to work together, trying to be the forgiving, good Christian wife. After that, they “got back together” at least 4 more times over the 7 years, I couldn’t handle them working together (and felt guilty for that) and she left (and came back and left) and I ended up having a nervous breakdown and PTSD. He had chosen to move out twice to “find himself”, which really hurt my kids at the time. He was supposed to be a good Christian man (had Monday morning bible study at his office, etc…) After the 3rd time he went back with her, I knew I should divorce him but I was such an emotional mess that I couldn’t do it. But I always swore that one day I would be strong enough to leave, We had been to counselors, accountability groups, etc,.. The last time was 4 yrs ago and we were in counseling and I found out that he was seeing her again and even the counselors couldn’t believe that he could pull one over on them. He was so repentant again and promised me the world and I stayed because I didn’t think I could handle things on my own. Things were ok for awhile but then he started to pull away emotionally (which he blames me for) and I was getting stronger and stronger (bought a gym and had a source of income) and finally filed for divorce. He says its not biblical because he hasn’t cheated in 4 yrs now. But I am still recovering and haven’t recovered because my healng as been on hold. I am still terrified of being on my own. My lifestyle will decrease by a huge amount. He says that me divorcing him is worse than an affair. So that I feel guilty. If I stay, I don’t know that I can emotionally be whole. But I still feel guilty. .Thank you again for all your help and info! Blessings!

    1. Shannon-biblical grounds for divorce following adultery do not have a time limit where they’re disqualified if not acted upon within x time. That’s total BS coming from him. He hasn’t cheated in the last 4 years? He’s repeated cheated even after he’s repeatedly “repented.” And yet you’re supposed to take him at his word that he’s “honestly” been faithful the last 4 years? Yea right. If he had truly repented 1) he would have completely stopped his affairs 2) he would have 100% owned his sh**, not blame shifting and pinning it all on you 3) he wouldn’t be pulling out some lame excuse that there’s a time limit on adultery 4) he’d recognize that you have every right to divorce and respect your decision, not try to put you through a guilt trip. He only thinks divorce is worse than an affair because you’re taking away his cake supply and he’s actually having a consequence rightfully imposed on him. Further he doesn’t know the pain of an affair since he’s been the one actively cheating and not truly repenting of it. He hasn’t lost anything from having an affair. You’re the one that’s suffered. He does not know your pain, nor does he seem to genuinely recognize the pain he’s put you through.

      You can do this. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but you will get through it. Make a list, write down all of your successes, no matter how small. Maybe you went to bed 5 minutes earlier, maybe you finally let out that cuss word you’ve been holding in and feel better, maybe you successfully ignored his phone call. Track your successes and post it somewhere where you can be reminded of how strong you are, what you have done. You FILED. Write that down! That took guts. Check back here, check out Chump Lady. You’re not alone.

    2. Shannon,

      My heart goes out to you. Sounds like you have been living in hell for the past seven years! I cannot imagine how I would be able to function if my ex had treated me like that for such a long period of time.

      Divorcing him is not worse than committing adultery. God divorced Israel over unrepentant adultery (see Jer 3:8). Even Jesus allows for such a divorce in his teaching in Mt 5:32 and Mt 19:9. Plus, the last time I checked the Ten Commandments does NOT say, “Thou shalt not divorce.” It DOES say, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Adultery is always sin. Divorce is not.

      Like Mrs. DM, I want to encourage you. Look where you have come despite the PTSD and breakdown. You have found a way to be economically independent and have filed for a divorce. That’s incredible! Way to go!!! You’re an overcomer.

      Finally, you do not have to agree with his lies or narrative. He blames you. So what? He’s the one who blew up the marriage by repeated infidelities including while you were sick! I would add that there’s no shame for a faithful spouse in choosing divorce after adultery (see Mt 5:32 and Mt 19:9). He had his chance…multiple times (when he didn’t even deserve one second chance)…and he blew them sucktacularly! Plus, I would add that him claiming not to cheat on you in the past four years holds no water. It is not wise to trust a proven–and apparently rather accomplished–liar.

      Keep your chin up…yes, the finances will take a hit…but you have come this far already and may soon be free of this crazy dance!

      Blessings and hugs from Minnesota,

  17. I first learned of you from the Chump Lady site and I am so happy to have found your blog. My ex-husband left 5 years ago to be with his affair partner. They are supposedly getting married sometime in the next year. I am struggling so very much with how it seems they are getting away with their wrong. Everything seems to be just falling into place for them and I am so angry about it.

    1. Andrea,

      I can relate. It did not seem fair that my cheating (now ex) wife would prosper in her career while I struggled at the time. It felt incredibly unjust.

      That said, I would remind you that one cannot outrun one’s character. They are starting a marriage built on lies and infidelity. And even if it survives with such a suspect-foundation, God still sees and will one day judge accordingly.

      Finally, I would encourage you to let him go in your heart. She is NOT getting a prize here. He is an unrepentant cheater. This man has demonstrated coldheartedness to the wife of his youth. And if that does not bother him, then even more reason exists to stay away from such a disordered dude.

      We cannot control what happens to them. What we can control is how we respond or allow ourselves to dwell upon in our minds. You have exited this relationship with your integrity…he has not. Personally, no amount of money is worth giving up that. What good is it to gain the world and forfeit one’s soul, after all?

      Blessings and hugs,

      1. In my case, no papers have been filed but we’re on our 3rd separation and this time my husband says that he knows 100% he wants a divorce. It’s clear that he’s had emotional affairs or at the very least has been having inappropriate friendships with other women. I’ve only known about these flirtations for about a year and I have repeatedly asked him to stop. Partly through accident and partly through snooping, i discovered that he was going to erotic massage parlors (he denies any sexual contact and says he really only got appropriate massages during his lunch breaks as this place is down the street from his work); he was going to lunches and dinners with groups of women at work, including the woman he told me had developed feelings for though he also denied they ever were together alone and that he never told her how he felt; and the straw that broke the camels back is that he told me he was working late and I found out that he went to a concert with another woman from work. In all cases he continues to deny ever having physical affairs and I’m not sure what to believe. Part of me wants to know if the infidelities were physical or if they stopped at just emotional. He’s lied so much even in the face of evidence about other things and I’m not sure what the truth is.

        I went to church for counseling and guidance on several issues. I was told that I was looking for justifications to divorce my husband instead of praying for him. I’m a believer and he is not. I was willing to stay with him even though we are unevenly yoked as I was told repeatedly by church that this is what happens when a believer marries a non-believer. But he’s left our home and through a year of me asking him to break off all inappropriate friendships with other women, he still hasn’t and has no wish to. He says he just wants to be happy now and wants me to move on and heal. I get so confused as to whether I should be praying for my prodigal to return or if it’s okay for me consider letting go because he’s not shown any remorse. And with the extent of lying I’m not sure I could ever trust him again. Forgive him of course. But trust? I doubt it.

  18. DM,
    I look forward to your replies on the Chumplady website. I wonder if you could address something that struck me from Thursday’s post. The OP whose husband left her for the rich OW was caught up in the idea of justice. Specifically, that her cheater husband and AP were happy, healthy and wealthy while she felt like a rejected loser.
    You referenced Luke 9:25 but what came to my mind was the laborers in the vineyard parable from Matthew. The laborers who came early in the day received the same wages as those who showed up at the eleventh hour. Outraged at this obvious unfairness, the early laborers grumbled to the householder, chiding him for his actions. The householder did not adjust the wages. He rebuked them and asserted his right to “do what I choose with what belongs to me.”
    I realize that cheater husband and OW are not laboring in the kingdom of heaven but I think this parable speaks to Chump Nation’s desire for fairness, for justice, for equity. CN’s cry is not “why do bad things happen to good people like me” but rather “why do good things happen to bad cheaters?”
    Poster after poster assured SuperChump that cheaters lack integrity, morals, character, values, etc. and will SOMEDAY inevitably suffer the horrible, drastic consequences. This was their comfort to her and to themselves.
    I find this biblically unsound. Cheaters may or may not suffer. They may, in fact, live the rest of their life happy as a clam. But that life is between them and God; our human desire for human justice has been explicitly rejected.
    What does the Lord require of me? To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with Him. How will the Lord deal with cheaters? That is up to God, not me.

    1. Eve,

      I agree that the ultimate judgement is up to God.

      However, Scripture is clear that our actions have consequences on an eternal scale. I will point you to the I Corinthians 3 passage about building with proper material. The person escapes as through the fire but suffers loss.

      A desire for justice is proper in these situations. God is concerned about justice and righteousness. So, God’s people ought to have similar strong feelings on such matters.

      That said, forgiveness looks like giving that thirst over to God and trusting in His Providence, IMO. God might totally forgive the cheater as God is VERY generous as in the parable you cite. However, that does not undo the damage already done by that sin plus the consequences that follow like making the STI go away.


      PS The Psalms are full of David calling for justice and judgment on his enemies. God welcomes our honest sharing of feelings regarding such matters always.

      1. DM,
        I appreciate your thoughtful reply. You make a good point about whiny workers vs. the truly suffering. I did not mean to sound dismissive about anyone’s pain. I find the laborers in the vineyard parable to be comforting because it relieves me of the burden of measuring out justice.
        I, too, have divorced a cheater, with the added bonus of a protective order for domestic violence. I absolutely trust that he sucks. But if I make my recovery DEPENDENT on him suffering horrible consequences, I won’t get very far down the healing road.
        I, along with the rest of CN, know very well that the cheater is my enemy who has done me great harm. Can I then live the tenets of the faith I profess? Jesus has many lessons on how we are to treat our enemies. If it was my XH set upon by robbers on the road to Jericho, would I stop and help? If I only love those who love me, what reward do I have?
        To be a Christian is hard. We are called to follow Jesus’s teachings, even when others don’t. I am grateful for Tracy and all the Barnabas chumps who speak words of encouragement; surely, they are doing the work of the Lord.
        I thank my God for you too, DM. Your experience and empathy are valued in the new reality we are all living. Thank you for letting me work out some hard issues.

        PS. David is a very interesting person for chumps to study. On the one hand: a man after God’s own heart. On the other hand: a man whose lust resulted in adultery, pregnancy, deceit and murder,finally ending with a completely broken and rebellious family. What about Uriah’s call for justice and judgment? The story of David is a complicated one.

        1. Eve,

          I do think to trust God regarding how He judges others is a good lesson to learn–i.e. He is God, and we are not. And I don’t think you were being dismissive of pain.

          That said, I don’t think the parable was meant to say God does not level consequences for sin–especially sin that is not repented of. It is good to remember that God judges, yet it is also good to remember that this is a justice issue as well that concerns God. God is merciful and gracious but also just.

          I’ve written on the blog about King David before as well. He suffered SEVERE consequences for his sins of murder and adultery I would say. Mercy from God meant that God did not strike him dead for such sins.


  19. DM

    I have been trying to reach you by occasional email (passing on resources you might be interested in) and not sure you are receiving them can you let me know either way?

    Thanks DM

  20. I came here looking for answers to an issue I have had with a cheating ex and why God continues to bless him with the girl he cheated on me with, as well as he has cheated on her, too and she knows nothing about any of it. I came here for advice and answers, but I read your response to one of the people who already wrote in and you quoted a passage from the Bible that says there will be fiery consequences for those who ask for forgiveness yet continue to sin. Does that mean that saved people, those who have become born again Christians can still go to hell if they sin after asking forgiveness for sins they already committed?

      1. Your blog is really helpful. Being a Christian, I really need an honest unbiased minister’s opinion on this. In, 2009,my husband had an affair with a colleague, when I was expecting after a loss of a child and when I discovered it I opted to leave him. However, he apologized and promised to change and ib the hope that he had truly changed I returned so that we could build a home. Through the years, I have always felt some emotional disconnect and each time I tried to ask him about the distance and his lack of concern for me and yhe children, he blamed me for looking for trouble and never appreciating anything good he does. I tried explaining that I didn’t just want a good relationship but the best we could have as a family. He is the nice type but not a kind man. Last year, after a really nasty argument he admitted to sleeping with several random women (prostitutes) over the years the last one being in 2014. He also keeps on watching porn and it bothers me a lot as I view it as sexual immorality. This time I told him we’re through. The pastors at our church tell me that I am wrong to do so but I have stood my ground and we’re now separated. I feel horrible. How can they not see the pain he’s caused me? I tried making this work. Even told him what he needs to do to get us back but he’s refused to show true remorse and treats my demands of honesty, accountability and transparency as an undue punishment. Please minister, I have no idea how to deal with this emotionally. The other women are faceless, people that I don’t know and one night stands. How do you tell if someone won’t do that again? How about porn? How do you get an assurance on that? I don’t think I can reconcile ever again. The parameters are too wild. I also don’t want to play marriage police. I want my life back. We have four children and I am terrified of single parenthood as it is. Already I am being treated as a
        bad person. No one cares of what I have been
        through. Don’t I count. Doesn’t my heart count?

  21. Dm first thank you Catholic Christian. Now her is my story my husband asked divorce last June said he loved me but was’nt in love red flag I question him asked if there was another woman . Come to find out yes she is married with two young girls . I was godsmacked married 28 years had 3 back surgeries and haven’t worked and do to pain I do go pain management chronic pain . Now he argued with doctors never believed funny after he left ssi kicked in so please if l was a liar like he thinks how did I get it . Now he has indruced her to his family i think its disrespectful what they are doing i feel sick . Please pray for me they haven’t even called see if i’m okay . It hurts now he is pissed because he has 2 pay support and 9 years alimony . Why do i have 2 take back seat to his married woman. I’m isolated in our marital home while he roams free where is the justice ?

    1. Sadly, we do not control what others say or think of us. We only control ourselves. His parents and family will likely take his side even though he is in the wrong here. “Blood is thicker than water.” But you know the truth and do not have to agree with any of the lies about you or your marriage. Blessings and hugs on your journey, Karen. It does get better even if it does not feel like it will right now.


  22. Thank you divorce minister ‘ its just a lot of pain sadness . Thank you best you . Mrs .Dm . I get What your saying . He is the one cheating they broke up 2 family ‘s my children are with . God as I had 2 eptopic pregnancy ‘s I place him in God ‘s hands as I was hoping we would see our children one day i pray he repentant one day as i am frightened and yes it was a soul rape adultery deception hurts like a death . I am thinking of going on a spiritual retreat . Hugs to you and your family xo

  23. I have been married for 26 years. 22 years ago I found out my husband was going to prostitutes, massage parlors ect. At the time we had 2 children in diapers. I was completely destroyed, but because of our kids I agreed to work it out. My husband isn’t an easy person, he was raised by terrible parents who have modeled abuse, mysogyny, and narcissism. I have always thought he had a good heart underneath it all, and a deep desire to change the trajectory of his beginnings. He has actually become a kinder more thoughtful person as the years have gone by, and I thought we had a fairly good marriage. Active sex life, good communication, the works.
    Well, a week ago I felt something wrong (I have felt it before with no real evidence )I found out he has been going to massage parlors again. I told him straight away that I am done. He is beside himself, he seems totally broken. He is begging me not to leave, but I don’t see how I can stay. I don’t have young children anymore. I really want to leave, but I don’t want to do the wrong thing. I want to be in God’s will. Can he change? Can I trust him? I feel great pity for him.

  24. I would like to hear DM’s counsel on letting go of the need for revenge! It is very hard to do when you have been systemically lied to and abused for a number of years. And the court system sort of says…Yawn.

  25. What an important ministry you have here.
    I’m a divorced pastor myself. My wife divorced me 14 years ago, leaving me, the faith and soon moving in a with another man.
    I found that both during the seperation period, after the divorce was finalized and when I was blessed with a new wife, God was there, with his peace, his mercy and his love. He renewed and he strenghted, and he’s used my broken marriage to bring his hope and restoration to others who grieve, who fail and who feel condemned.
    Keep up the work you are doing. You are a blessing!

  26. My wife and the pastor, they are sending their private parts to each other,how to deal with that situation,I’m so hurtful v

  27. It has been a blessing to find this site. In looking for Christ based resources most of what I found was doing nothing but encouraging reconciliation. Nothing about my pain. My husband has cheated on me twice. I left him after 20 years of doing the best I could in fulfilling my marriage vows.
    Hardening of heart is why God allows divorce for the innocent spouse, but I don’t ever hear that preached. Secondarily the severing of the marital bond happened when he brought in the third party without my consent (spiritual rape, thank you for the term). I had no choice in that.

    Divorce papers are just a formality of the severing that occurred when he cheated on me again.

    In any case it is a blessing that I found this site. Thanks to you!

  28. Dear DM,

    I read you article about the movie “Fireproof,” which I confess I have never seen. I have been hurt by another’s serial adultery (physical, not counting porn), but I am emailing you for another reason: from the context of your article, you seem to believe that masturbating to pornography does NOT count as adultery (and yet, you believe in emotional affairs!).

    Let me ask you, how is deriving sexual gratification from a person other than your spouse NOT adultery? To be explicit, how is a man ejaculating to a woman other than his wife (or reverse the genders) NOT adultery? You are Christian so you understand that spouses vow to “forsake all others” in matrimony. Why are you making excuses for porn?

    There is no difference between sending or receiving graphic pictures (dick pics, boob pics) from strangers (via Snapchat, Tinder, even from a new coworker you just met) and sexually gratifying oneself, physically and mentally, to graphic videos of strangers from a porn website—to their bodies, to the noises they make, to sex acts they perform or perform in. In either scenario the physical and mental attention that should be directed at one’s spouse is instead lavished on other partners, and then the whole affair is shrouded in lies and secrecy.

    I have heard people claim claim that pornography isn’t cheating because it isn’t physical. Just because it happens through a screen doesn’t mean that it isn’t physical: on one side of the screen are REAL women and men (porn stars) and on the other side of the screen is a watching, participating viewer bringing his genitals to a point of ejaculation with his hand. Although, even if pornography weren’t physical (impossible because we just established it brings about a physical release), you acknowledge that emotional affairs are real. To what degree is porn different from phone sex? How is getting sexual gratification from someone else’s body (other than you spouse) more innocuous than exchanging flirtatious messages with a person other than your spouse [an emotional affair partner]? I just want to know why you deem porn the exception to adultery.

    I am so tired of Christian men making excuses and exceptions for porn in marriage. I am sorry that your ex-wifehad an affair and deceived you in such an evil, treacherous manner. Given that you know how a person’s world is shattered when their spouse carelessly tosses aside you, your family, the marriage that was supposed to be sacred before God, the promises you two vowed to keep to one another, how do excuse pornography from the definition of adultery? It’s the same pain of discovering that the person who you thought was your beloved spouse never existed because you were repeatedly lied to from the beginning. It’s the same action of being tossed aside by your spouse in favor of other people. So what, if, in the case of porn, your spouse doesn’t know the real name of the extra person (or people) in the marriage? They still check out of your relationship for them. It still destroys your self-esteem and your view of the world.

    I don’t care about the movie “Fireproof” or its plot. I agree that emotional adultery is adultery, but you write, “The movie fell into the typical evangelical/fundamentalist trope of railing against the ills of pornography while missing the elephant in the room–i.e. adultery.” I am trying to communicate to you that pornography is adultery. I would like to hear your explanation of why it doesn’t count.

    I am rambling because I cannot sleep thanks to dealing with PTSD from adultery AND pornography obsession. I learned about you through chumplady’s website, but I am writing to you because we are both Christians, although I am not evangelical/fundamentalist. I was searching for resources to help myself when I stumbled upon your article. My whole life is derailed, and I am tired of hearing how women/wives need to forgive and understand. I am tired of the minimizing and blame-shifting. I am tired of the hypocrisy.

    (I tried to email this. I could only post it as a comment.)

    1. Maria,

      I do not have time tonight (here in Minnesota, it is getting late) to write a full response. However, I want to point out that I see porn use as wrong. My point about the movie is that both were not treated as wrong (i.e. the emotional affair AND the porn use). I am not defending using porn. Caleb was in the wrong for doing that. AND his wife was in the wrong for engaging in an emotional affair.

      In my Christian subculture, much is made about the wrongness of porn use (and it is wrong!). However, I heard few–if any–sermons or teachings about the wrongness of adultery…let alone emotional affairs. That’s my point. All ought to have been treated as very wrong.

      Whether they are all the same thing as adultery? That might be a good question to answer in its own post.

      Hope this clarification helps!

  29. As hard as it is, I have been reading your posts as an offender against my husband. I have taken full responsibility for my actions, I believe I repented and worked for years to make amends. He says he has forgiven me, yet why do I feel as if I’m being constantly punished? I acknowledged his freedom to leave/ or rather throw me out. I understood fully why he might do this, as the wound has cut so deep. Yet he chose to stay, saying it was because he loved me and wanted to ‘ sacrifice’ his life for me and the family. The context ( not excuse) in which my affair took place was him being devoted to work and business before family and myself. He now says work is his way of coping for all the hurt he is in…nearly 20 years later. Even though I feel neglected, have to put up with major stresses around his business I remain committed. I feel like he has me under his thumb in my indebtedness to him for his forgiving me and choosing to stay with me and provide for me. He says I wouldn’t cope alone. Daily he talks of loving me yet I feel I’m going crazy about these mixed messages. I have no intention of leaving, but is this really forgiveness and love when he wont change anything in his life to make a better marriage? Do I just keep sucking it up because it’s what I deserve?

  30. I’d like to hear your thoughts on Isaiah 54. When I read it, I want to believe that it is a promise from God to restore me. I know it’s not…I know it’s to the city who has been adulterous, not a specific person.

    But yet I can’t help hope that somehow it is to all of us who were abandoned by the husbands of our youths.

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