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Husband Cheated with a Prostitute, Get Divorced?

Question and answer details
M (female-Germany)
2013/01/02
Salam Aleikoum, I´ve been married for more than one year and from the beginning of my marital relationship we used to have problems with my husband. Being engaged, we understood each other pretty well and as far as I am concerned, I don´t remember any fights. My husband is a convert and before Islam he had many women and then he converted to Islam and just one year after his conversion we got married. We made the Islamic marriage and one month after we were going to do the civil one. But just 2 weeks before the civil marriage he cheated on me with a prostitute, he told me that he didn´t want to go further, but she has pleased him with hand nothing more. Anyway he told me about it and I wanted to leave him...but in that time his mom helped a lot to save the marriage and he promised not to do it again and repented from his sin. The following month I had to leave our house for 4 days and when I got back I found by mistake internet history full of porn and advertisement for sex etc. and I got really angry and he just answered me that he had to do it in order not to cheat on me...just 4 days and even didn´t want to admit it in the beginning telling me lies! Then he got back to do it every month for 6 months and then he stopped, realizing that it was grave. I am a person for who the fidelity and more in the Muslim marriage is very important and after one year I find it difficult to live with it...what should I do? Concerning that our marriage is about infidelity, fighting every 3 days, there was also some kind of physical abuse (that he kicked me etc.) And his jealousy, accusations and suspicion from his side (absolutely unnecessary). For the moment we don´t stay together, because he can´t maintain us. What should I do? I´ve made Istikhara many times, but it still seems the same, nothing changes. Should I divorce him and seek someone more religious with those qualities like faithfulness to live my life with, because I am already very young or should I stay with him trying to fix it and get him more into the religion? Jazzaku Allahu khayran.
Heena Khan
Answer

Assalam Alaykum dear sister,  

It seems like you’ve been going through a difficult marital life. I’m sorry to hear that you are so stressed and overwhelmed with all of this.

From your question, I understand that you are currently living separately from your husband. Given the information you have provided such as some physical and emotional abuse, I do believe you made the right choice to live separately for the moment. The most important factor here is your safety; you must do what you need to in order to be safe. I know this may be very difficult for you but hopefully by the time you complete reading my response you will have some idea of what direction you would like to take.

You mentioned that your husband cheated on you shortly after you had an Islamic marriage, then he continually engaged in watching porn and advertising for sex on the internet. He did initially repent his mistake but ended up doing it again.

With limited information provided in this question, I cannot make a diagnosis or a confirmed statement what I can say is what might be the case. I’m sure you have heard of addictions. There can be several different kinds of addictions, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling etc. Another kind of addiction is sex addiction; people who have uncontrollable urges and a repeated pattern of hypersexual behaviors, which includes compulsive masturbation, compulsive sexual activity, etc.

This could occur due to a number of different reasons. The cause is something we would have to deeply look into as it is not obvious. It could be a symptom of another underlying psychological condition or it could be due to some other distress. It may also be due to his own personal desires and fantasies that he believes he will not be able to satisfy at home.

Now the question is what to do next? You need to ask yourself and your gut, whether this marriage is worth fighting for? If you believe that there is a chance of hope that things will get better between both of you, then I strongly recommend seeking marital counseling.

Martial counseling will help both of you talk about how your current situation is affecting both of you, it is a non-threatening way to voice your needs and feelings. If even after a few months of marital counseling you don’t see any change that promises a brighter future, then you need to make your final decision of perhaps ending this marriage and beginning a new life and new search for a more compatible partner. Marital counseling will help you make a sound and logical decision from the mind and not the heart about how to go about this situation.

At the end of marital counseling you will have either decided to end the marriage for the sake of both you and your husband’s happiness or stay in the marriage for the sake of both you and your husband’s happiness. Keep in mind, I mentioned in both sentences “you and your husband’s happiness”; marriage is not about only one person’s happiness; you both need to be happy to be in it otherwise something needs to change.

You need to ask yourself what is the most important thing for you in a marriage and if you are not getting that from your current marriage, you need to discuss it with your husband and a counselor. Your mother-in-law is very kind and tried to help save the marriage, however, as a parent she is doing her job, but you and your husband are living this life every day.

My understanding of Istikhara is that once you perform the prayer to do Istikhara, life or rather Allah SWT takes you in a certain direction, automatically. You either find yourself feeling a certain way and making certain choices because of the way you feel and the circumstances you are in. For example, you sending a question to OnIslam may perhaps be one of those directions that Allah is guiding you, as part of your Istikhara.

Above all, keep the faith that Allah SWT will eventually take you to a place or a solution that will bring you peace, provided you make the conscious efforts to reach it too; which I believe you are doing.

I hope this response was helpful in helping you make the right decision for your life.


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About the Counselor:

Heena Khan is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern (LPC intern) in the State of Texas. She also holds the credential of National Certified Counselor (NCC). Mrs. Khan has worked with children and adults in various settings and has experience in individual, group, family therapy and diagnostic assessments. All of the Mrs. Khan's cases are reviewed and supervised by her supervisor, Jennifer Jenkins, LPC-S.

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. You are strongly advised to seek face-to-face counseling and consult your physician or therapist when making a drastic change in your lifestyle in terms of behavior, medication or diet etc.

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