Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Addicted to Escorts (And My Girlfriend Has No Idea)”

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I read one of your columns titled “Should I tell future partners I’ve hired escorts in the past?” and felt compelled to write in for advice on my own situation.

I am a 40-year-old guy in a loving relationship with a girl I adore and know I want to build a future with (we’ve already agreed to move in together). I lost my virginity when I was 19 to an escort on holiday while with my best friend and another friend. It wasn’t my decision and I wouldn’t have gone through with it, but already lacking confidence with women (went to a boys’ school) and not having had any girlfriends up to this time, I agreed to go through with it as I was sexually curious and thought it might help boost my confidence. Up until this time I’d already been looking at lots of pornographic magazines and this was my only release. I can’t remember how I felt after the encounter, but the experience wasn’t great, I fumbled a lot and it was over in a few minutes.

I smoked a lot of weed during my university years which didn’t help my self-esteem. Again, I was introduced to it by my best friend even though I hadn’t felt curious about it before. Coupled with this was the fact that I couldn’t talk to my family about my relationships (parents had an arranged marriage) and was still thinking I was gay (even though I didn’t have the physical feelings towards guys). I had a nervous breakdown at university and developed alopaecia; I went home crying one day, but I couldn’t tell my parents my real problem. I didn’t tell anyone at uni apart from the doctor who prescribed my Prozac.

A bit after I turned 30, having slept with more escorts since my first and still smoking weed but less regularly, I was traveling through India and found myself in a hotel where I was smoking and saw myself as that guy in university falling apart. I didn’t want to bottle up my feelings anymore, so I called my mum and told her I thought I was gay. However, she didn’t really have a conversation about it with me and we haven’t had one since; I think she’s even forgotten about.

Fast forward 10 years and in that amount of time I’ve slept with probably up to 100 escorts. I slept with one the other day, having gone without for nearly a year as I’ve been really working on my inner growth. But I haven’t been feeling fully satisfied with sex with my girlfriend, and my eyes have been straying. While last night with her was really good, I can’t help feeling guilty that I have cheated on her. I know that if she’d been sleeping with a male escort, I’d feel betrayed, but I can’t tell her about this or my past as I know she doesn’t approve of guys sleeping with escorts.

I want this predilection to be out of my life so I can love my girlfriend fully, but I have become so used to compartmentalizing my feelings and hiding things that it’s become part of me. My girlfriend never talks negatively towards me and neither do I of her, something hard to find. I’m kind and loving to her and she with me; we have a great foundation. I don’t know when the next urge will come, but I can’t give in again and look my girlfriend in the face.

P.S. I recently had an STD check and am clean. — Addicted to Escorts

It sounds like you’ve spent at least the past 21 years running away/ hiding/ escaping from something. You’ve used at least weed and escorts, two things you claim not to enjoy, as a release, when I think what would truly set you free is the truth. So, what is your truth? When you find that and embrace it and share it with the people you love and care about and trust, I would not be surprised if the urge to sleep with escorts disappears. But, you need help. Professional help. Find a good therapist and start searching for your truth.

Twice in your letter you allude to being gay. You even went so far as to tell you mother, which I’m sure couldn’t have been easy, but as quickly as she dropped the issue, you seemed to have, too. But… ARE you gay? Or was that simply an attempt to name the truth, and not necessarily accurate? What made you think you were gay?

You say you haven’t felt fully sexually satisfied with your girlfriend. Have you talked to her about that? Obviously, that’s a better solution than cheating on her. But I’m curious: Have you ever felt sexually satisfied with a woman? Do the escorts satisfy you? Have you ever had sex with a non-escort woman and felt satisfied?

You used several nice words and phrases to describe your feelings toward your girlfriend and your relationship: you “adore” her; you’re “kind and loving” with each other; you “want to build a future with her.” But you say nothing about being in love with her. Are you? Do you feel passionately attracted to her? Is your desire to build a future with her based on wanting to grow old with her, or is it based on your desire to be conventional/ “normal” and she’s a nice enough person to fulfill that want with?

You begin your letter avoiding responsibility for the first time you slept with an escort, saying it wasn’t your decision. Of course it was your decision. Unless someone was holding a gun to your head forcing you to screw the woman, you had free will. You’ve employed free will every time you’ve hired the 100+ escorts you’ve slept with, including most recently when you cheated on your girlfriend you say you’re so loving toward. It’s time for you to take responsibility for your behavior — to be honest with yourself… and with your girlfriend. She deserves to know the truth. And you owe it to her and, most importantly, to yourself, to find as much of the truth as you can. Who are you? And what is really driving the decisions you’re so obviously ashamed of? Please work with a therapist to help you find the answers to these questions and guide you to a more authentic way of living and being. The hard personal work won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

12 comments… add one
  • avatar

    zombeyonce July 16, 2015, 10:34 am

    While I agree with Wendy that the LW could really benefit from therapy, I think there’s also a lot of responsibility dodging here.
    .
    As Wendy pointed out, LW tries to put responsibility for sleeping with that first escort on his friends. Then later, he blames his best friend for getting him started smoking pot even though he “wasn’t interested” but apparently interested enough to say yes. To top it all off, it sounds like he’s blaming his girlfriend for sleeping with the most recent prostitute because she’s “not fully satisfying” him. Then he seems to blame his mother for not talking/following up about his confession about being gay for his seeming ambivalence toward figuring out his sexuality.
    .
    Besides the confusion about being gay (I’m with Wendy; what made you think that if you’re not attracted to guys?), LW needs to recognize that he is in control of his decisions and stop trying to blame the people close to him for being confused and making some bad choices that have real effects on his life. A therapist can help with that but he’s got to be willing to see what he’s doing to himself first.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo July 16, 2015, 10:46 am

    Addictions, predilections, slipups. Choices. Choices you made and continue to make, but don’t really take responsibility for. You seem to be trying to make everyone in your world responsible for your intimacy issues. I smoked a lot of weed in my university years and it didn’t affect my self-esteem, or motivation, or prevent me from getting laid, or help me to get laid. It is not an excuse for anything. (For the record, I was 14 the first time and nobody made me smoke it.) It also didn’t help me to find love. I’m curious what you have to say about that. You use words like release and satisfaction to describe sex and to justify your cheating on your girlfriend, but you don’t speak about connection, intimacy, sharing or any sick hippy crap like that. (PS – The fact that you just paid for it instead of actually finding another woman to sex you for free does not change the fact that you cheated on her, nor does the fact that you use a slightly evasive term like “escort.” You should probably set your gf free.) I’m curious what you think you are looking for out of a relationship or sex. Because ideally both involve giving. Not really taking. You can receive love and affection from another, but you can’t really take it. You have to give and hope to receive in return, and sometimes that works out spectacularly. When you have really given your love to another, you are not really moved to bang a sex worker, because you would lose something you truly value by hurting your lover. You should try it – it’s awesome. It is probably what you are looking for, but don’t know how to find, because you are looking outside yourself when the solution is within you. (And yes, i believe all that sick hippy crap.)

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  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine July 16, 2015, 11:41 am

    WWS. LW, from your letter I’m going to assume that you’re Indian and were raised in the U.S. by parents who raised you with traditional Indian/conservative values. That must have put a lot of pressure on you as a kid to satisfy your parents’ expectations while trying to fit in with your peers. I can absolutely empathize with that and how it likely stunted your emotional growth and sense of self. However, you’re 41, you are a grown man. It’s past time for you to take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Get yourself in therapy-like Wendy said it’s hard but worth it. You betrayed the trust of a woman you claim to care about. Tell her the truth, do it today. She deserves to know who you really are and what you’re struggling with. If you deceive her about cheating you will build a future on a foundation of lies–not the best plan and utterly unfair to her.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom July 16, 2015, 3:06 pm

      I’m thinking someone of Indian heritage but raised in the UK. He probably attended a dog-eat-dog type of boys school.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark July 16, 2015, 2:47 pm

    The whole repeatedly thinking your gay thing is just weird… Either you are NOT being honest about your attraction to guys or you have just a strangely skewed version of what being gay actually is. If you’ve banged over 100 escorts and enjoyed it, it would definitely seem you are NOT gay… Honestly, your letter left me baffled — I truly don’t know what to make of it…

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom July 16, 2015, 3:11 pm

      I would guess that some of the boys at his boys school decided he was gay and he was picked on for it constantly and he internalized their belief, even then, he should have known if he was sexually attracted to guys.
      This is a guess.
      .
      I could see some older boy asking LW if he liked boy X or if he liked boys. This is a sexual question but the LW was young and thought it was a friendship question. LW says yes. Everyone laughts and starts saying he is gay because he likes boys. He doesn’t understand what gay is at that point but it becomes his identity at the school.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 16, 2015, 3:12 pm

        Or he was sexually molested by an older boy and assumed it happened because he was gay, why else would the older boy molest him.

        Whatever happened, I think it relates to being sent to a boy’s school, maybe as young as the age of 8.

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      • avatar

        Cleopatra Jones July 16, 2015, 3:26 pm

        Or the first escort he slept with was a woman and the other 99 were males?
        He never actually specified the gender of the escorts so I’m wondering if he’s having sex with the male escorts but since it’s not a ‘relationship’, he’s not viewing himself as gay.

        I dunno telling his mom that he’s gay is huge. I can’t imagine that if he came from a traditionally conservative Indian family that he doesn’t know or understand the impact of his statement.

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      • Ika

        Ika July 16, 2015, 3:54 pm

        Ohhhh that makes sense. Kind of like “if it’s just a BJ/HJ it’s not gay”.

        I also feel like maybe LW isn’t like crazy attracted to women, so maybe he thought not all that attracted to women=gay.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster July 16, 2015, 3:57 pm

        It sounds like he’s a UK citizen of Indian descent (use of “mum” and “uni”, parents’ arranged marriage, traveling through India), though he could be Canadian? Or from another traditionally conservative culture? So yeah, regardless of which conservative background he’s grown up with, it was a little puzzling to me that he’d come out to his mom if he wasn’t certain that he’s gay. This letter is a head scratcher, that’s for sure.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster July 16, 2015, 3:43 pm

        I think it’s probably something like this. I actually know someone with a very similar background story to the LW who thought for a while he might be gay. On top of being exposed to a lot of homophobic ideas culturally, not necessarily hateful ones, but ignorant ones, specifically that gay men talk a certain way and dress a certain way, and that not having success with women = gay. He went to a predominantly male high school and went on to get advanced degrees in a “nerdy” male dominated field and had a speech impediment, which he thought made him “sound gay.” And despite not being attracted to men, he thought he might be gay. It was a very strange concept for me to wrap my head around when listening to it. The way I understood it, the cultural ignorance he grew up with combined with having stunted social skills and no intimate relationships with women (including few friendships) resulted in a confusing coming of age period for him. It only lasted about a month when he was maybe 19 before he talked to his best friend about it (similar to the LW, he semi came out to the friend), who helped him sort his feelings. He started online dating, and really starting putting himself out there socially. This made him finally grasp that his misconceptions about homosexuality were both bizarre and naive. The LW sounded so similar to him that if it weren’t for the ages and the living in India bit, I’d think this were my friend and I was just discovering his secret escort habit haha. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my friend I would have been completely perplexed by this LW (though to be honest, I’m still a little perplexed).

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  • avatar

    j0j03 July 23, 2015, 12:32 am

    Just as everyone is saying, therapy is obviously needed..no doubt about that. Just hope that he\you didnt take it as an insult since he\you seems to have very little self esteem to begin with. Therapy is actually a very welcomed thing now-a-days. And you best believe that most of us need it, if not all, in some way.

    I also agree that you have some much needed soul searching to do. I think that you missed the best period of your life to be able to do that. Through-out high-school and college would have been most beneficial for you I think, but Its never too late. I think that for some people its a much more difficult thing to do may that be because of family situation, peers, school, etc. I can imagine going to an all boys school would be tough. Im sure that you werent exactly given too many chances to be able to socialize with women to be able to open the door for you to gain confidence that someone gets simply by hanging out with the opposite sex and having a good time (non-sexually lol) And just trying to put together what your home life might be like seems just as sad as what school must have been. If you come from a family or religon etc that has set up relationships and havent been taught or been able to witness first hand on making choices and someone giving you the choice you will always go with the choice thats obviously the ideal choice from the giver. Also I would imagine that would rub off onto your choice of who you surround yourself with. I know that growing up and finding the right friends is almost like a never ending mission in life but i feel throughout school is when you learn the most of who you want to surround yourself with, who makes a real friend that has your best interest at heart (hard to find). I dont know if your parents ever tried to help you with all the tough lessons you run into as a teen\early 20s but it sounds like they really didnt, or that you atleast felt that you couldnt go to them for these type of things, which makes it more of a trial and error thing for you. but i can obviously see that theres still not much of a realization of the error end of what you do. its like you continue the trial while knowing this isnt something great for you,but this is where you developed what little identity you have and any type of self confidence, and self being all together. You constantly did things that you say at the time that you didnt want to do or things you didnt like but for some reason still find yourself doing..maybe less here and there but those things are still apart of your everyday life. Your stuck in what you grew up thinking was a normalcy it seems. Im no therapist and i know their could be a million reasons as to why u do this but I think you owe it to yourself to dig up that reason bc its an issue that has really burrowed its way in you and is going to need some assistance to drudge up. but like wendy said will be so worth it.

    You yes always had a choice in all these situations. So like everyone has said learn to accept that and start taking the responsilbilty for things you have done that no one has forced you to do. You had sex with an escort because you felt like your friends made you. Or maybe you felt you had no choice because you didnt think that you had any other opitions to lose it to someone else. you started smoking weed even though you dont enjoy it because your friends did it and you felt somehow that it wasnt a choice to say no. You said that before you even told your parents that you were gay that they already had thought it and in the end you end up telling her that? like she already made that decision for you. seems like a pattern to me.

    Lastly maybe to help with this escort thing you should tell your girlfriend that you have always fantasized about role play..and that you would like to pretend that you two are strangers and your this man coming to purchase her in her little hot outfit blah blah blah. youd be surprised how open to it she may be. or pretend shes like Pretty Women! Your buying her forever off the streeet but shes still your little escort ; ) lol anything could work just try!

    I think while your taking this look into yourself you should check out the web for a common thing called asexuality. Maybe you arent enjoying sex with your girlfriend because you dont find that a turn on but your natural making of your body is still going to work that way if you get what im saying. And you can have sex with escorts bc purchasing them makes them almost like an object you bought and you can use.

    check it all out, i hope you can figure it out and find yourself and can be happy with this girl..if shes that adorable shes a keeper.and love can be absolutely amazing.

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