In this counseling answer:
• He, like many people, knows that what he has been doing is wrong, but doesn’t want to admit it or take responsibility for it because he may fear to appear weak in front of himself or others.
• There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your husband how you feel.
• Take care of yourself and your emotions.
• The best thing you can do at this point is to attempt to connect with him. I know, this sounds really difficult, but if your goal is to help him admit his wrongdoing and stop him from doing it in the future, he needs support.
• Then offer him resources for help.
• Or you can seek a divorce.
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,
Thank you for sending us your question. I am really sorry to hear about the current state that your marriage is in. No doubt, what you are going through is very difficult and frustrating to you and everyone involved. May Allah help your husband sincerely overcome his addiction and improve his affairs with his wives and children.
From what you have described above, it certainly appears that what your husband has been doing is wrong and haram. I am not a Muslim scholar, however, we do know as Muslims that looking at pornography and cybersex (with other than one’s spouse) is in fact haram.
You mentioned that you confronted him about it, but he seems to be minimizing the situation and denying that he has a real problem. He, like many people, knows that what he has been doing is wrong, but doesn’t want to admit it or take responsibility for it because he may fear to appear weak in front of himself or others. As a wife, you certainly have every right to feel angry, hurt, frustrated, or any other negative feelings towards your husband. Not only did he do something haram, but he also betrayed your trust by communicating with other women for sex.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your husband how you feel. He needs to know it. But it appears that he is at the stage in which he doesn’t want to listen to anyone telling him that he is a bad person and making him feel like a monster.
The best thing you can do at this point is to attempt to connect with him. I know, this sounds really difficult, but if your goal is to help him admit his wrongdoing and stop him from doing it in the future, he needs support.
Check out this counseling video:
There is a very relevant hadeeth mentioned by the Prophet which comes to mind: “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Sahih Bukhari) This hadeeth is relevant because it shows us that we need not only to help the victims but to help rehabilitate the perpetrators. We need to help them realize that what they have been doing is wrong and help them overcome it.
First, take care of yourself and your emotions. Vent to a close family member or friend whom you trust and allow yourself to feel hurt and angry.
After you feel like your emotions have subsided, attempt to reconnect with your husband, but this time is calmer and speak with him as if you sincerely want to help him. Sincerity and kindness is the key. Try to help him realize that in fact, he did do what he did and that his behavior is haram and unacceptable.
Then offer him resources for help. I can read that you reside in the UK. I am sure that the UK has therapists or other mental health professionals who treat addictions. Look for good resources in your area, call them up and see if they would be helpful for your husband. Urge him and indicate to him the importance of him seeking help for his problem, then support him. Give it some time and then revisit the idea again.
(Editor’s note: Sister, you asked about whether you can seek a divorce. Although we should take divorce seriously and consider it as the very last option, Allah has allowed us to divorce and remarry. So, yes, sister, you can seek a divorce. You deserve to be happy and start a new page of your life, inshallah. Think through it, write down the pros and cons of seeking a divorce, imagine your life how it would look like if you divorced, pray istikharah and if you feel this is the right decision, then go ahead. May Allah open your heart and make your situation easy for you.)
May Allah help your husband overcome his addiction and help you help yourself (and him) through this difficulty.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.