I am seeking advice on a very embarrassing problem. I am currently separated from my husband for 2 years. We were married for 10 years and there are no children from our marriage despite trying via IVF.
The marriage ended suddenly and without any proper closure. Islamically and legally we are still married and despite my best attempts to reconcile my husband made it clear that he didn’t want to give it another try.
I recently found out through the community that my husband remarried Islamically and I am of the opinion this is the reason why he left me as I believe that he was having an affair with the lady.
Before we separated, I noticed changes in his behaviour towards me. He began taking regular holidays with his friends. He also began withdrawing from me and denied me any intimacy or affection. I often found myself crying to sleep after begging for affection only to be rejected.
However, before all of this, my husband only cared about his own needs and even when we did get intimate, I was often left feeling unfulfilled. Before we seperated, my hormones also began changing as a result of IVF treatment and I found myself quite aroused at times.
However my husband's rejection affected my self esteem and led me at times to watch porn and masturbate which I am deeply ashamed of.I even tried to tell him what his rejection was doing to me but it had no effect. Since our separation, I find myself going through phases and when I fall into deep depression, I am committing these acts again.
Alhumdulillah I am a practicing muslim and I am deeply ashamed of this and I beg Allah to forgive me and I stop for a while but then it starts again. Unfortunately, these feelings of arousal tend to occur during the night when I am trying to sleep or when I wake up through the middle of the night feeling aroused.
I am trying to engage in as much ibadah as I can. But I often wake up feeling filthy/ unclean due to the amount of discharge released. There have also been times, I feel bitter about my situation and I want to rebel against the cultural restrictions placed on me and I have found myself looking up unspeakable things to carry out and fulfill my needs Astagfirullah.
This includes I am ashamed to say acting on lesbian fantasies as I feel perhaps only another woman would be able to comfort me. This especially since I found out about his marriage, I feel that I am left to suffer whilst he is able to move on with his life and make his haram relationship halal.
I say this because although we are separated and I am trying to get a civil divorce, this is a long and slow process. Due to the complexity of our financial matters and because my husband is being far from reasonable to settle matters quickly. It is likely that we will have to go through the court process which will delay matters further. I have also spoken to scholars in my country and they advised that civil divorce will still be quicker than trying to get Khula.
That being said, whilst I am wanting the divorce soon, I am hesitant about rushing into a new marriage for the fear of making another painful mistake.
I did consider counselling but a I feel that a non Muslim counsellor would probably not understand the situation from an Islamic view as masturbation is considered normal and healthy in many non Muslim cultures. I feel too embarassed to speak to a Muslim counselor.
I am trying to better myself Islamically and recently began taking Quran lessons again and trying to do sports to help my physical and mental health. Please offer me practical advice bearing in mind the issues that I have raised.
In this counseling session:
- Do not rush a new marriage.
- Let go of the guilt surrounding masturbation and recognize not all agree on this.
- Consider fasting.
- Remind yourself of the dangers of pornography.
- Identify positive coping skills.
- Consider professional counseling.
- Investigate Islamic counselors.
- Always make duaa and lean upon your faith.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatuulahi wa barakatu.
Thank you for taking the time to write in and share your concerns with us. It is my understanding your husband was potentially unfaithful, did not take care of your sexual needs, left you for another woman and you were being given IVF treatments that impacted your hormones. You also mention waiting for a divorce but being hesitant about rushing into a new marriage.
To begin with, it is a blessing that you recognize the dangers of rushing into a new marriage immediately following your divorce. Marriage should never be rushed or taken lightly, nor should you marry someone you do not know their character well enough yet. While you can most certainly consider another marriage, I advise you not to do this until you feel healed from the first marriage and are truly ready for this step.
Some questions to ask yourself would be are you still upset or angry at your first husband? Do you still miss him? Would you compare him to whomever you end up marrying? Think about your answers to these. You do not want to enter a new marriage with the old one still weighing on you.
You mention being separated for 2 years; one may assume this is enough time to heal from the prior marriage but only you can truly answer that. You may want to consider personal counseling that can help you determine if you are truly ready and healed. You can do this online or in person, whichever you feel most comfortable with.
Check out this counseling video:
Sexual urges can be difficult to control and I fully understand this is a struggle for you currently, but do not feel embarrassed Sister. This is completely normal and natural! Our bodies were made in such a way that sexual intimacy is pleasurable, and this is in more than just a physical way.
I imagine it is not just the physical pleasure you are yearning for, but the emotional intimacy of being so close and vulnerable with someone who cares about you. Sexual pleasure is much more than just the physical act.
To discuss your question of masturbation. Please understand I am not an Islamic jurist; I will give you the counseling perspective. Masturbation can be beneficial for some and some Muslims would classify it as a way to help you avoid going out and doing something with someone you may later regret. You may wish to spend time reading up on the juristic opinion because this is not something agreed upon by all 100%.
For example, some scholars will tell you it is always forbidden while others will tell you that it is permissible dependent on the situation. Such as, a single woman/man who is wanting to control their desires is quite different from a married woman/man who is doing it behind their spouses back.
Please be aware Sister of the dangers of pornography. This is something that creates false expectations within our minds and shapes our view of sexuality to something more fantasy than reality.
This can actually hurt sexual relations between two spouses once if they enter their sexual life with these unrealistic and false expectations. Think of it as training your mind to find pornography as the source of sexual pleasure instead of someone you love and want to be intimate with.
If you feel that pornography has become a source of addiction you cannot curve, I will suggest speaking with a counselor. This is something people develop addictions with, and it can have lasting impacts on them sexually and emotionally.
I would suggest speaking with a female counselor if you go this route so you can feel comfortable to be free and open about your concerns. Again, please do not feel embarrassed Sister. This is not unusual, and many people are in the same situation.
You may also want to employ fasting as a way to help you control impulses and remind yourself that you do have the power to control your nafs.
You mentioned moments of depression. You have gone through a failed marriage, your husband having an affair, and failed attempts to have a child. All of this is difficult and needs to be unpacked and healed. Please understand you deserve to be treated lovingly and with affection in a marriage, you deserve better than what he gave you!
During these moments when you feel sad or plagued by the past, I encourage you to utilize positive coping skills. These are skills we employ to help us manage our emotions instead of them controlling us.
Please try to identify coping skills you can use at any moment, such as deep breathing, and coping skills you use when you have more free time, such as painting. Do not limit yourself with coping skills, think about what impacts your emotions and what you enjoy the most. Here is a list of coping skills to help you start thinking about what would help you.
- Nature walks
- Cooking favorite meals or new recipes
- Petting animals
- Watching a favorite show
- Writing poetry
- Quran recitation
- Getting a manicure
- Getting tea with friends
- Redecorating a room in your home
I mentioned counseling above, let us go a little deeper into this. It is healthy that you considered it in the past. I understand your reservations with using a non-Islamic counselor, but please take comfort in knowing Islamic counseling is available.
Many professional counselors use their faith to shape the perspective of treatment. If you are still interested in counseling, I encourage you to look up Islamic counselors in your area or if you prefer online this will provide you with more options.
Some examples are Noor Human Consulting, which is available online, and Eeman Therapy Clinic. Many of these exist online so you can look on their websites, read testimonials, and find one that suits your needs that most.
Here is a summary of your next steps moving forwards.
- Do not rush a new marriage
- Let go of the guilt surrounding masturbation and recognize not all agree on this
- Consider fasting
- Remind yourself of the dangers of pornography
- Identify positive coping skills
- Consider professional counseling
- Investigate Islamic counselors
- Always make duaa and lean upon your faith
I know this is a difficult time for you dear Sister, but inshallah you will recover from all of this and one day be with someone who can inshallah fulfill your desires and show you the best of intimacy. May Allah (swt) heal your heart and guide your choices, ameen.
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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.