How to deal with a woman having affairs
Dear R' Dovid,
A woman contacted me about a married friend of hers who is acting out sexually with many men, although she claims that there never was penetration (but there was everything else up to that point). It has become so bad that she is meeting up with random men in random places, and specifically with one frum guy.
She was in SA for about 6 months and was clean, but then she had a fall and has been acting out worse than ever. She is also in therapy for her sexual addiction, but her husband thinks it's only for porn and masturbation, but he doesn't know that she is acting out live, with real men.
Should she tell her friend's husband, which will likely lead to divorce?
I discussed this with Rav Dovid Morgenstern (one of the most prominent poskim today, a talmid of Rav Eliyashiv zatza"l) by phone, and below is a partial transcript of his reply:
The problem here is that it's only one witness, and although it's something she heard directly from her (that she's acting out), she's not ne'eman to say it in Beis Din. So it's a question of Lashon Hara, where we can't prove it. So we need to ask ourselves and figure out, where do we want to get?
I think the reasonable thing to do, is to let her know that the story has become known, and people are very concerned and want to help her. And if we can't find a way to help her without getting her husband involved, we may have no choice.
But it should be done in a way that can't be construed as threatening her, but rather we're coming to help her. It's a crazy world we live in, and everything is recorded, and if anyone ever listens to the conversation, no one should be able to construe it as whoever spoke to her is threatening her, because there are probably laws against threatening. But this way, she will hear that the threat is there, but we are saying it in a more positive way. Something along these lines:
That we're worried about her, because she is engaged in dangerous behaviors, both from a halachic point of view and from a medical point of view. She's putting herself at risk, and we're concerned for her wellbeing. So we'd like to understand how she's going to take care of the problem, in order that we shouldn't feel that we have to go further and find other ways to protect her, which might include getting her husband involved. And we should mention in addition that there are support groups and that this is something that can be overcome, you just have to want to do it... (And even though she's already been in SA, we shouldn't show her that we know too much).
You can say you consulted with Rav Duvid Morgenstern and he told us this is the right thing to do.
Below is approx. what we told her:
Hi. We want to talk to you about something serious. Can you go somewhere private for 2 minutes?
Listen, we know that you are acting out with men outside of your marriage... we actually got your number from one of these men.
We are a group of askanim from the community who deal with these kind of issues, and we're calling you after consulting with Rav Duvid Morgenstern.
We are concerned about you because you are engaging in dangerous behaviors, both from a halachic point of view and from a medical point of view.
This has to stop, because you are putting yourself in grave risk, and we're concerned for your wellbeing.
There are support groups available and that this is something that can be overcome, but you have to want to.
We need an answer of how you plan to take care of this problem, in order that we shouldn't feel that we have to go further and find other ways to protect you, which might include getting your husband involved. We don't want to involve your husband, but we will if it doesn't stop and if you don't take concrete steps.
SA meetings for women in Israel.
Therapy - Sharon Elkin - 058 700 4846 (Kesharim)