Infidelity--when is divorce the answer?

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I have been married for nearly 17 years. I adore my husband. He is not perfect, but he has so many good qualities. When things are good, I am happy. It is the inbetween parts that are destroying our marriage...and truthfully me.


My husband has had on/off problems with pornography. This was the biggest cause of strife in our marriage until we had been married for 4 years. My husband had an emotional affair with a co-worker. I discovered it and it stopped before things got physical. We moved out of the area and things were great (excluding occasional pornography problems) for the next several years. My husband had a full-on affair with another co-worker (which he fully admitted to). I wanted to work on us, but he wouldn't come home. He refused to meet with me and the Bishop. So after a few weeks, I packed our house up and moved closer to family for support. 2 months later, he woke up and realized what a huge mistake he had made.


Truthfully, I was mad. I had already filed for divorce. I felt like he was out playing and "honeymooning" with someone new. I was looking forward to a happy ending of my own someday. However, I prayed and fasted and counseled with my bishop. I couldn't deny the Holy Ghost witnessing to me that I needed to try and fix our marriage.


We did it though! Our marriage was really good for another several years..

Then it happened again. This time, my husband hasn't admitted to anything. He calls me "crazy" and tells me she is just a friend. On our cell-phone bill, he talked more to  this woman than he did to me. Phone calls ranged from 5-15/day. Plenty of text messages too. I noticed on his smartphone all his apps, he was following her on every app he had. (None of his other coworkers showed up except for on FB). He lied about dumb things..and once  again destroyed all trust in our marriage. I was upset and he promised I was the most important thing in his life and he would have no further contact with her. He lied...he calls decreased, but continued. I found out, he got mad and told me then if I am going to be controlling, he wants a divorce. After several days of brooding and sleeping on the sofa, he apologized and said he would really cut her out of his life this time. So, he deleted all his apps and blocked her phone number. I checked the phone bill and he told the contact. Something still didn't feel right and I found some very flirty comments online back and forth to each other. It made me sick. The love of my life was saying things I would love to hear from him to another woman. Because these were online, he feels he has honored his promise to break all contact with her... I feel so betrayed again.

I feel like the biggest idiot ever! When you add up these incidents that occured over the span of my marriage, it leaves me feeling hopeless. My husband has been sleeping on the couch for a week. He tells me he loves me and I am the only one he wants. On one hand I believe in the atonement, and there is room for everyone to repent and put their life back together, but on the other hand, I feel as if he is making a mockery of our temple marriage. When he says 'I love you", I don't believe him anymore. I know I love him with all my heart, and I could never do anything so heartless and cruel to him.


He is trying to save our marriage (which is what I was always the one to do up until this point). I don't know if it is worth saving anymore. I feel so empty and lost. How much does Heavenly Father expect one heart to take? I believe in marriage for eternity...never giving up on each other. But at what point do you stand up for yourself and your badly damaged heart? When is divorce appropriate?

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The marriage covenant is your covenant to bring your spouse and children to Christ as you come closer to Christ.  Interestingly, the covenant is between you and God - not between you and your husband.


There is divorce and there is separation - two different things. 


If you feel that the only way you can bring your spouse to Christ is by separating yourself from him - then the answer is to separate.  If you feel that the only way you can bring your spouse to Christ is by separating yourself from him and protecting yourself legally from him then the answer is Divorce.  This also goes with the children.


If your reason for divorcing is so that you can dust your feet and find yourself another guy to marry... it's not a good enough reason to divorce.


Interestingly, the only reason Christ specifically mentioned in the Bible that is an acceptable reason to divorce is adultery... (this is not to say, that the LDS Church believes it is a sin to divorce an unadulterous spouse - just saying that it's the only thing specifically mentioned in the Bible).


And in that same Bible - Christ specifically mentioned that if you desire another in your heart then you already committed adultery...

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After reading what you shared the first thing that popped into my mind was serial-adulterer.

It's not just the sex it's the thrill of the chase and getting away with it, then the challenge of getting back into your good graces that's keeping him in his behavior. 


This is your life and you need to decide if it's worth it. My wife is a Physician and was recently involved with a patient that came in with critical health issues. The women discovered her ailments were caused by aids. It was contracted by her husband and she had no idea that he had been HIV positive for many years let alone that he was unfaithful. 


I think you would be completely justified in leaving this guy. I myself have been thru this (multiple adulteries, promises and lies), after my first wife left me and the kids and moved in with some guys I filed divorce. It has been a long road and considering the toll divorce has taken on my 4 kids I can't say it was worth it. I jumped into another marriage out of desperation and it has not been easy, but the hard work is starting pay off in some respects.


A couple things to consider from my experience. 



  • My kids will always have a choice to move away from my influence and to live with the other parent. So far it's been joint custody and I have been raising my kids across the country from their mother, but my teenage daughter has chosen to move in with her mother because she hates church and rules.  
  • All the meaningful events and celebrations will be filled with tension and stress. I will no longer enjoy baptisms, weddings, graduations etc because the tension between my current wife and ex-wife make everyone miserable.
  • The concept of "Families are Forever" is no longer so cut and dry. 

Some good things - 

  • I have become more obedient in tithing, church and temple attendance.
  • I have become much more patient, loving and understanding. 
  • I have a better understanding of forgiveness and the atonement.
  • I have absolutely zero concern about anyone cheating on me. I know I'm loved. 

In my experience I don't think divorce is the immediate answer to adultery. You definitely need to pray about it. Ultimately the decision is yours and you have to accept the good and the bad of whatever you choose.


and Remember - “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7)

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Addiction and Abuse


Often times two or three of them combine....


In the OP's case I would argue that multiple bouts of infidelity, coupled with pornography problems constitute Addiction (to behaviors), Abuse (where the spouse/and family are negatively impacted), and of course Adultery. 

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