Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Slept With a Prostitute and the Condom Broke”

My boyfriend of six years, the father of our two amazing children, came home and told me that he went to a massage parlor for a “rub-and-tug,” and when the lady/prostitute offered him “more,” he said “yes,” and then the condom broke.

I have always been one of those who could not understand how women stay in obviously messed-up relationships, and even as I write this, I imagine what would I do if my friend came to me in a similar predicament, and I would say: “Get away!” But now that it’s me, how do I walk away from everything I have worked for? How do I take that life away from my kids?? My boyfriend has been saying all the right things — that he is sorry, that he wants to work on our relationship, that he will do anything to get my trust back. But how??? What could he possibly do? I trusted him more than I trust myself. He was my best friend. We could talk about anything. We are not a couple of teenagers playing house. We made a conscious decision to have a family. I mean, yes, the second baby made things more difficult, but we knew what we were in for! All we had to do was survive this first 12-18 months! This was not supposed to happen to couples like us.

How do I ever look at him and not think about what he has done? How do I start trusting him again? How do I keep myself from panicking every time he is 10 minutes late from work? If I forgive him, how do I know he will never do this again? He says one of the reasons he did this is to escape the routine. But for the foreseeable future, that routine is not going to change. And what if that damned condom didn’t break? Would he have even told me? How do I know that it was only this one time (not that it matters much)?

We have decided to go to couples therapy, but until then, how do I look at him? How do I talk to him? I can’t leave, but I can’t throw him out either. I can’t talk to anyone about this, because even if by some miracle I will be able to forgive him, I know none of my friends or relatives ever will.

I have always thought of myself as a strong woman, but I hate myself now. I hate my inability to walk away, and I hate that I let him hurt me this much. Any advice would be welcome. Broken Condom, Broken Heart

First of all, this is not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong! And you can absolutely be a strong woman and have something bad happen that shakes your foundation and makes you question everything you thought was real (like the trust you felt for your partner). Not knowing immediately what to do and not feeling like you are immediately ready to just walk away from this relationship doesn’t make you weak. You have more than yourself to think about here. You have two young children whose lives are every bit as intertwined in this family unit as yours is intertwined with your partner’s. If you leave with them or if you kick your partner out, there will be consequences, and dealing with those consequences isn’t easy. This isn’t an easy decision to make, and, just because you’re feeling confused, doesn’t make you any less strong; it makes you human.

You can get through this. You can ask your partner to leave because you can’t stand the sight of him and every time you look at him you think about what he’s done not just to you and your relationship, but to your family. You can ask him to leave so you have space to process what you’ve just learned and what it means for your future. You can get some distance not just while you wait to start therapy, but while you’re IN therapy because this man right now isn’t who you thought he was and you can’t bear to share space with him. You CAN “throw him out,” as you say. It is every bit your right — and a justifiable one, at that — to ask him to stay with a friend or family or find a motel for a few weeks (or longer) so that you don’t have him in your home when you sleep and he’s not there when you wake up and he’s not there when you get home from work or with the kids.

Space is an immediate need of yours that can be met. Once you have space — both physically and psychologically — you can begin meditating on the other issues you’re facing: how to re-build trust; how to co-parent while you try to work on your relationship; and how you can move forward if you decide this is not someone you want to be with anymore. A therapist will help you tackle these issues in-depth. On your own, you can begin thinking about what you need from your partner in order to, first, forgive him, and second, trust him. Maybe you need him to call you every hour. Maybe you need him to come directly home from work every single day. Maybe you need him to share his passwords to his email and phone and wherever else he may have a trail to various transgressions. Maybe he needs to show you his phone at will, whenever you ask him to. These are just some ideas and maybe none of them will work for you, but the point is for you to think about how your boyfriend might be able to work toward earning back your trust and then giving him a chance to do right by you. IF you decide to move forward with him.

If you decide to MOA, that’s perfectly fine too. Personally, I would have a hard time believing that my partner slept with a prostitute only ONE time and it was that ONE time that the condom broke. I’d think there were probably plenty more times before the condom incident, and that would make me pretty leery about continuing a relationship. He not only put your relationship — and family — in serious jeopardy; he risked your health.

If you haven’t yet, please go get tested for STDs. Who knows what diseases your partner has exposed himself and you to without your knowledge. And beyond talking to a therapist, call in your support network — close family members and confidantes — and ask for help. With two young children, you’ll need childcare help, emotional support, and maybe even financial support — if you kick out your boyfriend (which I recommend you do, at least temporarily) and figure out how best to raise these children now that the status of your relationship is up in the air. Stay strong.

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

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

125 comments… add one
  • Alena

    Alena May 21, 2013, 9:10 am

    Wow. That is a rough position to be in.

    WWS.

    I also wholeheartedly agree that this is likely not the first transgression. I wish I felt otherwise and could say, “I’m sure he only screwed up once LW!”

    Good luck with everything.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 9:16 am

    Great advice Wendy. I agree that he’s probably seen prostitutes before or cheated on you before in your relationship. We discussed this before on DW, but there’s the kind of person who pays someone for sex, and there’s the kind of person who doesn’t. I mean who gets it in their head “Oh I’m a little bored why don’t I just stop here for a good old rub and tug before dinner”?

    I’m sorry you are in this situation, but you seem very level headed about caring for your children/family during this stressful time.

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    • avatar

      ktfran May 21, 2013, 9:22 am

      Yeah, if this happened with someone he may have met in a bar or something, I would be more prone to think it could be an isolated event and the relationship needed serious work. Paying for sex, in my opinion, is an entirely different ball game.

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    • avatar

      savannah May 21, 2013, 10:39 am

      Exactly. I would not want to be with a man who has ever paid for sex, period.

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      • avatar

        Alex August 22, 2014, 12:21 am

        You do understand that in any relationship, commercial or not. There’s always $ involved.
        I mean like which woman want to marry down? Only thing is emotions are involved (if any, on both sides)

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  • avatar

    ktfran May 21, 2013, 9:19 am

    This totally sucks LW. I’m sorry it happened. I honestly can’t offer any practical advice because 1. I haven’t been in this situation and 2. I’m not sure what I would do.

    I think Wendy offered some very good advice. I would probably talk through my feelings with a therapist both as a couple and alone. I think you should see a therapist by yourself too.

    Also, as Wendy said, you should lean on your family and friends for support. However, if you don’t want to tell them the full story, you don’t have to. Just say you’re having problems, end of discussion. Although I would probably need to tell a few people, such as my mom, two sisters and best friend. Those are the people I trust most in the world and would never judge me. I’m guessing you have a few of those kinds of people you could talk to. Ask them to be discreet about the information you shared.

    Good luck LW.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 9:34 am

      Yes, I think that even though it is so embarrassing to admit this sort of thing happened, there are most likely people in the LW’s life who will not judge her. Maybe they even went through something similar. I had a situation where I had to tell someone so I went to my friend and she was so non-judgemental and supportive about the whole thing. People may surprise you, in the good way.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle May 21, 2013, 9:25 am

    Jeez. WWS. There are ways to make this work, LW, ~if~ you want to, & IF he’s willing to rebuild your trust in him. I totally understand & sympathize with your feelings of confusion and devastation right now. You DON’T have to make any big decisions just yet; at least, not before you get the space & time you need to think.

    With that said, I agree with Wendy that the whole “it was only one time, I swear, & wouldn’t you know the damn condom just had to break…that one time…” is a pretty unbelievable story. I mean, maybe he went to the massage parlor regularly to receive “happy endings” & the actual penetrative sex part is new, but condoms break pretty rarely. Definitely get tested, and remember that certain diseases don’t show up for months (so get re-tested after the first time). I’m sorry you’re going through this.

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  • avatar

    Something Random May 21, 2013, 9:25 am

    I am so sorry LW. WWS.

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  • avatar

    TECH May 21, 2013, 9:29 am

    Wendy gives great advice, LW, and I think you should follow it. The only other thing that I would add is that saying you went to a prostitute to get “get out of the routine” is a totally crappy excuse. Bottom line, there is no excuse for cheating, but were there things leading up to this incident? Has the relationship been struggling for a while, or did this just happen out of thin air?
    I think getting to the bottom of why this REALLY happened would be helpful for you. Once you get down to what the real reason was, maybe a therapist can help you rebuild the trust. But until you understand the reasons, I think rebuilding the trust will be impossible.
    If you find that you cannot continue this relationship, no one would blame you one bit.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 9:40 am

      For real. When I need a break from routine, pretty much the last thing I can imagine thinking of doing is cheating on my partner, let alone doing so with a prostitute. In addition to everything else Wendy is saying to do, he needs to figure out why he couldn’t handle his regular routine (which the LW is clear will not be changing any time soon).

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 10:31 am

      The thing about using “wanting to break to routine” as an excuse is that even if it’s true, it’s still a really crappy and selfish reason. I mean, what about her? She probably needs a break from the routine too, because she’s probably also bored as hell. It’s something they should be doing together. If you want to break the routine, do it with your partner. Get a sitter and go on date night. If you can, leave the kids with your parents overnight and stay at a hotel in the next town to feel like you’re getting a vacation. But mainly, do it with your partner, not with a prostitute.

      If my partner’s first reaction to being in a rut isn’t coming to me to figure out how we, as a couple, can fix it, that’s a huge problem. So while hiring a prostitute is clearly a problem and the trust needs to be rebuilt, I think the real issue is figuring out why he isn’t communicating with the LW instead of taking it upon himself to get laid at a massage parlor. Because if that doesn’t get fixed, then this will certainly happen again in the future, whether it’s one month or ten years from now.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery May 21, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Gods, for me a break in routine is reading two books at once. LIVIN IT UP.

        Also LW, as someone above said certain STDs (like HIV) can take months to conclusively pop. You AND HE (BOTH of you. BOTH.) need to get tested regularly for a while. If he balks, that’s a bad sign.

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  • avatar

    bethany May 21, 2013, 9:31 am

    WWS.

    LW, I’m really sorry you’re going through this. My gut tells me this isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time though. If he needed to “escape the routine” he could have gone away for a weekend, he could have talked to you about spicing things up or doing something different… But he didn’t, and now you and your children have to suffer.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 9:32 am

    Nothing but sympathies for the LW.

    One thing that stuck with me reading Wendy’s reply is the issue of kicking him out. Unless he agrees to leave, I’m not all that convinced she can just kick him out.

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    • avatar

      sia May 21, 2013, 1:47 pm

      That’s true. But if he is genuinely interested in fixing this, he’d recognize that he is in no position to dig in his heels, should she ask him to leave.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay May 21, 2013, 1:55 pm

        Yeah, I think kicking a spouse or partner out is more about just asking them to leave rather than evicting them.

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Yea, that’s very true. I’m not sure why I focused on such an unimportant part of the advice.

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      • avatar

        sia May 21, 2013, 3:54 pm

        I’m making an uneducated lurker’s guess on “attorney mode”.

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 4:12 pm

        haha, good guess!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray May 21, 2013, 9:33 am

    Great response, Wendy! And LW, you asked, “How do I take that life away from my kids??” but “that life” was a sham. Your children will be stronger and better in a life where their mother is strong, takes control, and builds a home of trust, love, and respect, even if that means no father in the house.

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    • avatar

      bethany May 21, 2013, 9:40 am

      And, to add on that, the LW isn’t the one taking anything away. Her boyfriend did. Her boyfriend is the one who did something wrong. She needs to remember that.

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  • Lyra

    L May 21, 2013, 9:46 am

    The biggest issue here is that he completely broke your trust. I’m not going to pretend I know how much that hurts you because I’m sure you’re so torn right now. As Wendy said, you need space to process this whole thing. It doesn’t mean that you have to break up with him right away, but you need to figure out what’s best for you and your children. It seems like you’re handling this with a level head, which is a great sign.

    He can say he is sorry over and over again but that doesn’t excuse what he did. His actions will speak much louder than his words. If you ask him to do certain things, such as coming home from work right away every day and he isn’t willing to do it, that tells you he really doesn’t value your opinions. If he does make attempts to change, you know that he’s still invested in this relationship. Good luck as you process things.

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    • FireStar

      Firestar May 21, 2013, 12:31 pm

      My husband developed an app that tracks his whereabouts through a text message and sends me his address and his map location automatically when I text him a certain phrase (of course he picked a nickname he likes for me to text- evil thing). He did it so that I can see how far out he is when he comes to pick me up and can meet up with him so he doesn’t have to find parking when he is in the car with no bluetooth…but I always thought women could use it with a spouse trying to rebuild trust. They have similar apps for sale/download. Just another tool if you want to rebuild trust.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl May 21, 2013, 1:37 pm

        There is a DWer who did that, used a GPS to regain trust after cheating. I think it worked/helped if I remember correctly.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 1:46 pm

        yeh, and that was a prostitute situation as well. But it was more of a relationship than a one-time thing.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser May 21, 2013, 9:48 am

    It’s interesting but if my husband had an affair, our marriage would probably be over but if he cheated with a prostitute, I would be more open to possibly trying to work it out. I don’t know but to me, there’s a huge difference between a strictly physical “anonymous” encounter and a relationship.
    By the way, I agree that this incident was probably not the first and there’s a lot to work out here, if that’s the path she chooses.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle May 21, 2013, 9:54 am

      It’s interesting that you say this—I think I’d feel the exact opposite. I don’t know why, but if my S/O cheated with a prostitute, I would feel as though… I no longer knew him? Or that he wasn’t the person I fell in love with? Whereas affairs, or cheating a couple times with someone he knew (or even a rando, after a mutual attraction was discovered) are a bit more in the realm of understanding for me. (And understanding can lead to forgiveness, I think.)

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      • othy

        othy May 21, 2013, 10:01 am

        Yeah, I’m with Fabelle. A prostitute would be way more of a deal breaker than an affair.

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        ktfran May 21, 2013, 10:07 am

        I’m kind of with both of you on this one too. To me, a prostitute requires planning and forethought. I honestly think I would be way more forgiving if my significant other had a lapse in judgement and had a one night stand. I really think I could work through that, depending on the circumtances of course. Also, as Fabelle said, I would understand that more than the prostititute. That’s just something I don’t get. At all.

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        kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 10:21 am

        I said before (a couple weeks/months ago), that a prostitute requires thought, but everyone got all up in arms! Clearly this guy decided beforehand to go get a rub and tug at this particular massage parlor (and he had to know that they did that at that specific place, because clearly not all spas that offer massages do). And then he had to go there, and pay them, and indicate that he would like the tug after the rub. I would be more willing to forgive someone who got drunk at a bar and had a lapse in judgement as opposed to this guy who purposefully went to a prostitute.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 21, 2013, 10:35 am

        Exactly! I would also feel the same way if he went to a bar looking to pick up some chick and sleep with her on a regular basis. But, I don’t think that’s the case every time someone cheats. I do think there are instances where people lack good judgement. I guess you just have to figure out which it is.

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    • avatar

      temperance May 21, 2013, 10:21 am

      I think I feel the opposite – I would be devastated if he pursued a relationship with someone else, but prostitutes generally have a LOT of sex and he would be putting my health and his own at risk by boning one.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow May 21, 2013, 10:26 am

      I agree. If I had to be cheated on, I would rather it be with someone anonymous and for purely physical reasons rather than an affair with someone he knew where there were feelings involved.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 10:39 am

        I agree with this line of thinking, but whether or not that person is a hooker doesn’t matter much to me. It’s all about the “casual, meaningless hookup” vs. “sexual affair with the feels” aspect here. Men fall for hookers all the time, so there’s no guarantee that paying someone takes away the emotional aspect.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow May 21, 2013, 10:46 am

        Yeah, I agree – anything casual would be easier for *me* to forgive than a full love affair, or even a one-time deal with a friend or acquaintance that he sees fairly regularly. Although if he’s dumb enough to fall for a hooker I’d be sure to MOY.

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      • avatar

        mainer May 21, 2013, 10:58 am

        Men *think* they fall for hookers….and strippers, and hot bartenders, and the girls in nurses outfits with test tube shots, and any other walking creatures with tits who gives them attention and makes them feel good about themselves. I get what the original comment was getting at: you go to a hooker just for sex, it’s very transactional. She (or he if you’re into that) takes money for a service. Having an affair with someone you met at a bar, co-worker, etc means that something must have caused it to transgress into something more than just drinks and flirting, so it would appear there is more to the situation than a transaction and the prospect of him emotionally liking someone better than you is a little higher. Granted, we’re kind of splitting hairs here on what constitutes a “total shithead” vs a “kind of shithead” but I agree with her (OAHW) point.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 11:18 am

        “you go to a hooker just for sex, it’s very transactional. She (or he if you’re into that) takes money for a service”

        This is the part that I don’t completely agree with. Yes, it’s very transactional–for the hooker. It’s not always purely business for the customer. Many guys go to hookers for emotional reasons as often as sexual ones. They’re looking for the attention they don’t feel they’re getting at home, and (if the prostitute is good at her job) she makes him feel special. It’s often the same reason many men have affairs with their coworkers or women they meet in bars. Just because the hooker doesn’t reciprocate those feelings doesn’t mean that HE isn’t having a meaningful affair.

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        mainer May 21, 2013, 11:32 am

        Going to a hooker for emotional reasons is like going to McDonalds for a salad. Some people do it, but a majority are there for the BigMac and fries. I think what you’re describing is closer to an escort in which sex isn’t necessarily going to happen, and you are primarily paying for the pleasure of a beautiful woman’s company…and if she happens to blow you after then so-be-it. But I do agree with you, an emotional affair is a big deal regardless of who it’s with (prostitute, escort, friend, co-worker, fake internet profile). But overall, speaking in a majority of cases, guys go to prostitutes to have sex because they’re either not getting it in other places or the whole “doing it because it’s wrong” thing turns them on. They do it because they know a prostitute is not going to text them, or call, or email, of Facebook tag and the chances of your wife finding out will be reduced. There may technically be *some* emotion involved, but not nearly as much emotion as a full-fledged affair in which you are emotionally drawn to another person to the point you may leave your wife or you are desiring some sort of secret secondary mutual relationship.

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        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 1:02 pm

        I’m basing my opinion off of what I’ve seen, so you could be right. I have a few friends who are/were prostitutes for some time, and they’ve all said that most of their clients come to them for more than just sex (they want the undivided attention of a woman), or develop a relationship with them that becomes more after a few sessions, even when it starts out as purely physical. They’ve each also experienced a (what I think is high) number of overly-attached customers who think what they have is “special” when it really isn’t and end up being super creepy. I’m pretty sure this only applies to their regular customers though, so comparing those experiences to the one-offs will look completely different. But knowing this stuff leads me to believe that just because the other woman is a hooker doesn’t mean the man won’t or can’t get emotionally involved, and it seems to happen more often than a lot of people want to believe.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray May 21, 2013, 10:43 am

        When you put it like that, I agree.

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    • avatar

      Samantha May 21, 2013, 12:09 pm

      I agree. There’s something about transactional sex that seems easier to get around. Maybe it’s because there’s probably not of emotional investment.

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  • Jess

    Jess May 21, 2013, 9:52 am

    I’m so sorry LW. This letter was very “real” and I think all the DW community is feeling that. I think sometimes we all like to think that if we do all the right things that we will be immune to this kind of heartache and humiliation. As if only bad people get cheated on. Some studies suggest it is much more common than we think, because people don’t talk about it. It’s not your fault, as Wendy said. It will take a considerable amount of time for you to sift through the pieces and reconstruct a picture of how you define your partner and family.

    My only advice is not to feel rushed in your decision. Take your time to sort through this with the help of a counselor. This is your family and your decision. This is your forgiveness to offer or refuse.

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  • Copa

    Copa May 21, 2013, 10:00 am

    I’m sorry. This situation sucks. WWS.

    I think you should take your time deciding what you want and need. Honestly, I don’t know how you can rebuild that trust — but I guess that’s what professionals are for.

    I also wanted to add, as someone whose parents “stayed together for the kids” and became increasingly miserable as the years passed, that it’s way, way better to MOA (if you decide that’s what is best for you) than to raise your kids in a house where there is no love, trust, or respect between partners. Trust me.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 10:13 am

      Hear me out here for a second. I know you’re right that its better for parents to split than stay together and be miserable, and that it shows the kids that unhealthy relationships are ok, and I’m sure the kids would agree with you once they are adults and would be happy their parents are happy, but when the kids are still kids, I wonder if they would agree with all of this. I had such a hard time when my parents split and honestly, I think I would’ve preferred (while I was a child, not now) that they would’ve stayed together. They never fought in front of me, so maybe that plays into this.
      Anyway, to apply this to the LW, I would be extra careful to explain to the kids, if you do decide to split, why you are splitting (generally) and why its best for everyone.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow May 21, 2013, 10:29 am

        My parents divorced when I was 13, and even at that age I knew it was for the best. Especially now – they’re both such different people, it’s hard for me to imagine what brought them together in the first place. After the initial shock wore off, everyone was much happier.

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      • Copa

        Copa May 21, 2013, 10:36 am

        I actually told my parents I thought they should divorce when I was 8. Even at that young of an age, I knew they were a terrible for one another. All situation are different, but sometimes even when you’re young, you get it.

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 10:46 am

        Wow, that is surprising to me given how young you were. Hopefully your comment will be of comfort to the LW.

        Cats has a good point too. Once the shock wore off and time went on, I knew it was for the best, even as a kid. Plus, seeing them with their new spouses definitely showed me just how not good my parents were for each other. There is still a tiny (selfish) part of me that wishes my parents had worked out, but that’s obviously also wishing that they were just different people and therefore a good match.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow May 21, 2013, 10:48 am

        Yes! I wasn’t crazy about my stepparents at first, but it did make it sink in how horribly my parents were matched.

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      • Copa

        Copa May 21, 2013, 10:59 am

        I actually don’t remember doing that, but a few years ago when my mom “confessed” to me that she and my dad were miserabley married (it wasn’t so much a confession as it was stating the obvious), she told me that it was something I used to bring up repeatedly as a kid between the ages of 8 and 10.

        They’re actually still married for a short list of really heartbreaking reasons, and now as an adult I’m totally judging them.

        I do wish my parents had a “normal” relationship for selfish reasons. I feel robbed of knowing what it’s like to grow up in a loving, affectionate family. But, at the very least, if I ever get married or have a family of my own, I know exactly what I DON’T want my household to be like. So… yay for that positive spin on things! 😉

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 11:01 am

        Very true Copa. I learned exactly what I don’t want to be like from my parents when they were together, and even after their split.

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      • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

        Brown-eyed NoVA Girl May 21, 2013, 2:50 pm

        Copa, I totally agree. My parents are still together, but live apart. My dad came out of the closet ten years ago, but from what I can remember, he checked out of our family when my brothers and I were children. My parents never showed affection for each other, never said “I love you” openly. They haven’t divorced because my mom thinks she will be fired by her employer (the local Catholic School). I also think she’s just very very sad about his lies, making it seem like her life was a lie. She’s only now seeking advice from a lawyer.

        I think growing up thinking this kind of environment was normal has impacted my relationships with men. I know it’s up to me to ‘do better’ and, like Copa said, see the silver lining and know what not to do when I have a family.

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      • Heather

        Heather May 21, 2013, 12:15 pm

        My mother and father split when I was ten years old and I knew even then that it was for the better. Both my parents would only ever fight and they both had issues with drinking. It was a toxic combination that I could recognize even at that age. Obviously this is just my personal example and it’s not true for everyone. But, for the longest time my mom struggled with not wanting to “break up the family” when, in reality, the family was already broken beyond repair.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery May 21, 2013, 12:50 pm

        My parents split when I was in 5th grade. They’d been in therapy for a while, so that obviously was not helping. Screaming matches almost every night, even now at 30 I still get uncomfortable when people around me argue (even on tv). I can’t say I would have wanted to stay in that for much longer, though if they’d been able to be civil to one another it would probably be a different story.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 12:58 pm

        yea, I guess the difference between me and the rest of you is that you all witnessed fighting/yelling.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser May 21, 2013, 10:02 am

    Fabelle, if he has an affair, then emotions are involved. He is sharing physical and emotional intimacy with someone else. Double whammy and very threatening.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle May 21, 2013, 10:21 am

      See, I think it’s a fallacy to say that sleeping with a prostitute (or just someone totally anonymous) means that nothing emotional was involved. It’s not the same KIND of emotion, no, but if it was ~just~ about physical release, he could, you know, just masturbate? But sleeping with a prostitute indicates some kind of thrill-seeking behavior that would be more disturbing to me than a run-of-the-mill affair type thing.

      I mean, I’m not debating necessarily—because obviously what’s a dealbreaker for you is different than what a dealbreaker would be for me! I just think the different interpretations of hypothetical “what’s worse?” cheating situations are interesting.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 10:48 am

      I disagree with this completely. I don’t believe that sex is always always always emotional. Hell, sometimes I have emotionless sex with my partner, and we certainly love each other. Physical intimacy does not equal emotional intimacy. You can have both at the same time, you can have just one, or you can have neither.

      Of course, some people don’t separate those two and always have both together, but that’s certainly not the case for everyone. It seems it is for you, but it’s not right to say that everyone feels the same way you do about this when many people don’t.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo May 21, 2013, 12:27 pm

      My wife have talked about this for years. What’s worse, that you threw away our marriage on some zipless bang that didn’t even mean anything? For a few minutes of fun, you totally betray your partner’s trust? Or, you actually have a real, deep, emotional affair, and feel all those things that should be reserved for your partner. Does that somehow make it more legitimate? Or more hurtful?

      Each time the discussion has come up, the consensus (by which I mean “what M tells me is the consensus”) is that if I do either, my balls will be removed with a pair pf pliers.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo May 21, 2013, 12:29 pm

        Should be “My wife and I have talked.” But an interesting freudian typo.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser May 21, 2013, 10:06 am

    Also, if it was affair, I’d drive myself crazy –is she prettier? smarter? etc. I’d feel like I had competition. With a prostitute, none of that matters.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 10:50 am

      Why? Because any sex worker is obviously not going to be prettier or smarter than you? Because no man in the history or the world have ever fallen in love with a prostitute?

      This is a really close-minded statement.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 10:54 am

        I agree with Older. Its not that she can’t be prettier/smarter, its that usually (I have no experience here, just assuming) you only get to see that prostitute once and for her, its business. She isn’t sweet talking him and they are falling in love together. I’m sure its possible for a man to fall in love with a prostitute, but usually you aren’t going to one for love, just for a quick sex romp.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 10:57 am

        To me, a prostitute isn’t ever competing with you, the wife/gf. Another woman who potentially is falling in love with your husband/bf would be “competition.” At least that’s what I took Older’s comment to mean.

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      • avatar

        bethany May 21, 2013, 11:04 am

        I don’t think that was Older’s intent. If he’s with a prosty, he went out specifically looking to get laid. If it was some girl he met at a bar, then there’s some unknown factor that drew him to her (like being prettier or smarter).

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 11:11 am

        I guess I just see statements like that as thinking that prostitutes are somehow less than other women, and that’s what I don’t agree with. Just because a man might not meet one in a bar doesn’t mean she won’t have any of those qualities, so I don’t see how it’s any different.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 11:19 am

        She’s just saying it doesn’t matter if the prostitute is prettier or smarter, because more likely than not, the prostitute isn’t interested in any kind of relationship with her partner. She’s just providing sex to him for a fee.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 1:08 pm

        Yeah, but to me how the hooker feels doesn’t matter. What’s important is how my partner feels about her, and if he fell for someone (anyone), it wouldn’t matter to me if they reciprocated or not. I don’t see how it’s less threatening to a relationship when the person in it is the one having inappropriate feelings and the one who has nothing invested is the one who doesn’t care. It would be the difference between my partner being in love with a coworker who doesn’t feel the same way, and a coworker having a thing for my partner and him brushing her off. One affects my relationship, and one doesn’t

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay May 21, 2013, 12:07 pm

        I guess, but I would be mainly thinking about how my husband broke our vows and had ruined our marriage. Not whether I could compete with the other woman. She could have him at that point…

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  • mandalee

    mandalee May 21, 2013, 10:11 am

    I’m really sorry, LW. This situation is just awful. I couldn’t imagine being in this position, especially because there are children involved. I get it, it’s difficult.

    However, I agree with Wendy that I highly doubt this was a one time event. Not only does your boyfriend seem to think “rub and tugs” (can I just say yuck to that wording) are something that are okay, he also had advanced to sex with a prostitute. I can’t say anything from experience, but I can imagine someone doesn’t go from a first massage with a happy ending to straight up sex in the span of a few minutes. It definitely seems like something that progresses over time, and he freaked this time because the condom broke and told you out of panic for the STD/pregnancy risk. Also, you just don’t stumble by accident into these massage parlors. I know of one such place in my town and that’s only because I have some gross single guy friends. No one enters one of those places assuming they are some above board spa. So, I don’t know how much I believe him in this case.

    I would think of your own mental health and your children’s, before even considering his feelings or your relationship. Unfortunately, he did something shady and shitty and sometimes there are consequences for that. It sucks when someone’s actions force you into a place you don’t deserve or want to be, but the only thing you can control is how you react. Is this someone you can trust again? If this turns out to be a habit of frequenting places like this, is this okay? Can you get past this and stay together in a healthy way that won’t affect your children? These are questions only you really know the answer to. I wish you luck and strength in figuring it all out.

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    • avatar

      Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 10:52 am

      In my experience, most places won’t offer those “extra” services until they know they have a customer they can trust. You usually have to be a regular for some time before they offer you more than just the regular old happy ending.

      (This may not be the case everywhere, especially if prostitution is legal where you are. Just what I’ve seen in my area.)

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      • mandalee

        mandalee May 21, 2013, 11:34 am

        No, I agree. I meant places by me who offer the “regular old happy endings” aren’t these above-board spa places. I can’t speak for everywhere, but the happy ending massage places by me are clearly “those types of places”, and not a place where you would go for a regular massage with say your mother or something. Meaning that the LW’s boyfriend clearly set out for a happy ending massage, which is sketchy and sleazy to start with and gets worse from there. I agree with you that anything beyond a happy ending is probably reserved for regulars so they can build up trust and not get shut down or arrested, which makes me think the LW’s boyfriend is a regular.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 1:11 pm

        Yeah, I got that and agreed with most of your post, just wanted to add to your point about it progressing over time and not going straight from massage to sex the first time, even in an obviously seedy place like that.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 1:35 pm

        How do people even know this stuff!? I feel so naive.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 1:44 pm

        I made a lot of really, um, “interesting” friends as a teenager, and they’ve turned into equally interesting adult. Plus, I’m nosy as fuck, so I’ve gotten some really unnecessary but useful information by prying into people’s sex lives.

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      • mandalee

        mandalee May 21, 2013, 2:27 pm

        I wish I didn”t know this stuff. I have mostly guy friends and they feel the need to over-share the gross shit they do. Honestly, I thought most of them were upstanding guys until they’ve felt the need to spill their guts over beer and football.

        Two of my guy friends who seem like regular nice guys who frequented happy ending places often, dated prostitutes, and done a bunch of other gross stuff. And then they wonder why I won’t introduce them to my single girl friends.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl May 21, 2013, 2:47 pm

      So do handy’s not count as prostitution? We live near a big trucking highway (I-75 in FL) and the adds for the “spa’s” are all over the place. It’s pretty clear what their real intention is.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie May 21, 2013, 9:31 am

    It isn’t difficult to imagine how he would get excited during a massage and have a lapse of judgment. A more effective action would have been to get tested and bury to memory, however he obviously loves her and wants to take responsibility for his actions. None of that is her fault but with the kids and whatnot it’s optimal to come to terms and agreements with him. Please don’t let a few minutes of bad behavior overrule 6 years of commitment. Seek compromise/compensation.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 9:42 am

      Hmm, I usually always agree with you Eddie. I can’t here. I’d be shocked to find out that this man was faithful for 6 years leading up to this. Not to mention the fact that getting a “rub and tug” from a prostitute is generally looked upon as cheating.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck May 21, 2013, 10:35 am

        Yeah, I have pretty loose boundaries on what constitutes cheating, and even I have to say that this isn’t something you can assume is safely in the “not cheating” camp. I don’t think I’d be all the phased if my partner tried something like that (to be clear, just the happy ending massage part, not the banging of the hooker part), but he’d better clear it with me first.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie May 21, 2013, 11:20 am

        Yes he did most defiantly cheat, no getting around that, but he confessed when he didn’t have to. Had this been reoccurring I’d say throw him to the ditch, but there’s nothing in the letter indicating that. I think/hope that she can salvage the relationship.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 11:27 am

        That’s certainly true. At least it shows he seems to be regretting this, is somewhat honest, and wants to salvage it.

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      • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

        Brown-eyed NoVA Girl May 21, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Maybe, just maybe, he’s trying to use this event to get her to break up with him?

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie May 21, 2013, 7:19 pm

        I hope not, that would be even worse then the event.

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    • avatar

      temperance May 21, 2013, 10:20 am

      Except, regular massages do not include a tug job at the end. He knew exactly what he was doing when he paid for a hand job, and when he paid for sex, too.

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki May 21, 2013, 11:45 am

        That’s what I was thinking as well. He went in with the expectation of SOME kind of sexual contact. (Thus the “tug” part of rub and tug).

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    • avatar

      MsMisery May 21, 2013, 12:45 pm

      Yeah, he would have had to purposely sought out this type of establishment. You can’t go into a legit massage place and ask for a happy ending just because you got excited. You won’t be indulged. So he either already knew where to go for this or he googled it or whatever you have to do and not one brain cell said “BAD IDEA, BUDDY.”

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  • avatar

    Boosker May 21, 2013, 9:36 am

    Oh man, that really sucks. One thing I will caution is that if you tell your support system–particularly people like your mom or close friends–the details of his transgressions (which are really gross) and THEN you decide to get back together with him, you might get a raised eyebrow or quite a bit more. If my sister’s and best friend’s husband cheated on her with a prostitute, I would have a serious issue with her choosing to continue a relationship with that person. As much as I’d like to imagine myself being supportive, I would not be able to treat their husbands the same. You are the person that they love and are protective of, so it may be very difficult for them to get past this violation even if you eventually can. I would recommend getting brutally honest in therapy and speaking in generalities with those who are close to you IF you really feel like there’s a chance you’ll stick it out with this person.

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    • avatar

      Michael Lombardi May 22, 2013, 10:27 pm

      I agree completely. With you and most other comments here. But I pinpointed your response to say, that’s a pretty big thing. I recently had a friend that was going through divorce. Well, somehow or another, they decided to stay together (being vague is intentional). Presumably their relationship has never been stronger, but I have lost all respect of the one asking for the divorce and even some of the one that took the partner back. My wife now says I can’t be mad at this person forever and that he/she is “trying” (as in “trying” to win me back?). But to me, when there is forethought in a decision (as opposed to someone getting raped, for example) you have to live with the consequences. Unless you are actually a victim, you don’t get to play the victim.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser May 21, 2013, 10:39 am

    Fabelle, I hear you and it is interesting. Wish some men would weigh in.

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  • avatar

    ktfran May 21, 2013, 10:44 am

    Ok, here is my interpretation of the difference between actively seeking sex with someone and a one time, stupid mistake.

    Actively seeking sex with someone else – you are choosing to ignore the problems you have with your significant other and instead of working on those problems you say fuck that and go fuck somebody else.

    A super stupid mistake – you’re at a bar or on a business trip, you had a few drinks, somebody flirts with you a little bit, you feel good and you haven’t felt that in a while, so you cheat.

    I think both are crappy situations, but for me, I would be more willing to forgive the stupid mistake. My reasoning is that for a one time cheater, there is most likely something wrong with the marriage that needs to be worked on. The cheater went about figuring that out in the completely wrong way, but shit does happen and nobody is perfect. The person who is actively seeking sex is worse in my opinion because they know exactly what they are doing and they don’t give a shit.

    But I realize everyone is different and this is just my opinion on the matter.

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    • avatar

      Rangerchic May 21, 2013, 11:20 am

      I agree with you. I feel the same way though thankfully I’ve never been in this situation. And also, I didn’t know “rub and tug” was a thing….I guess I’m just naive. And the LW made it seem like maybe this was a regular thing with her bf?? It’s kind of how I read it. That’s not something I could just be okay with my husband doing at all.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo May 21, 2013, 12:21 pm

      Exactly. Just for sheer good manners, aren’t you supposed to say, “Sorry, honey, we wuz just so drunk, we couldn’t help ourselves?” As opposed to, “Well, I ONLY went in there for a rub and tug, but that whore upsold me! After all, we men have very weak sales resistance!” There isn’t even a veneer of “plausible deniability” in the story. I mean, I know i’ve only been married for 20 years, so I’m a bit of a rookie with this stuff, but I’m fairly sure my wife would get all bent out of shape about the rub and tug. I wouldn’t even get to the part where I bought the “add-on” and then banged her hard enough to break the condom.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl May 21, 2013, 11:12 am

    I’m wondering why the condom breaking is relevant unless the “masseuse” winds up pregnant. I’m betting that she has tugged and pulled on him before and the sex is a new addition to their “relationship”. I don’t like this and I don’t like him.

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC May 21, 2013, 11:20 am

    I’m shocked that he even told the OP. My concern is that he only told her because there’s more to come and he’s trying to soften the blow (i.e. – the prostitute is pregnant. or it’s really not a prostitute but someone he’s been sleeping with). Poor OP, whatever’s going on it’s just so crappy for her.

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    • avatar

      Datdamwuf May 21, 2013, 11:28 am

      I am having trouble with how the letter begins, did the LW and her spouse agree he could have sex without penetration and he went all the way? or was that part of his confession that also was a surprise? If the former, she is OK with part of this. That makes my earlier post inaccurate. If the latter, I agree with you Lily, he’s only told her part of it.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 21, 2013, 11:26 am

    Sometimes you can’t see the dog for the fleas. Forget the prostitute. Forget the busted condom. Forget the infidelity… Two “amazing” kids together and still? NO ring? Seriously? So many of you breeders have no concept of how life should be lived…

    PS — Everybody thinks their kids are “amazing”… or would it somehow change the situationif your kids were just, you know, “so-so”…?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 11:29 am

      I’m actually surprised to hear you think people who have kids together should always be married.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark May 21, 2013, 11:40 am

        Um, really? If you aren’t ready for REAL commitment, then you aren’t fucking ready for kids. I’m so sick of lame ass breeders dropping litters of kids as they move from one partner to the next in a desperate stab to legitimize each and every (soon to also be failed) relationship.

        The world is fucking overpopulated. Have kids with ONE person already. Straight people of this generation are the most obnoxiously self absorbed parents ever. Never before in society has ANY ONE ever so routinely put their kids dead last. It’s fucked up, people. Its just fucked up…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 11:45 am

        Hmm, I agree that if you are ready to commitment to have children, why not commit by marrying too. Obviously one can only do that if the kids are planned kids. It is sad when people think they can “lock down” their relationship by having kids, as though that will guarantee a commitment.

        But, I don’t get your argument that having kids with one person will somehow help overpopulation. I mean, look at the Duggars.

        Do you think people who have kids to lock down commitment are only using their children? I’m guessing that’s what you meant by putting kids dead last.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 11:48 am

      I am also confused about why people purposefully create families without getting married (i.e. the LW says these children were planned). Like having a kid with someone is practically a bigger commitment than getting married to them. You can divorce someone and never see them again, but if you have a kid with someone you are most likely stuck with dealing with that person for the next 18 years (at least), but more likely for the next 30-40. Unless they are a deadbeat parent or someone who doesn’t spend time with your child. But still!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 11:56 am

        Well, when you put it like that, it definitely is a MUCH bigger commitment than marriage. Its guaranteeing 18 years of contact.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle May 21, 2013, 11:56 am

        Yeah, I agree. “Confused” is a good word for it, I just don’t understand why planning a child together is somehow on the radar before marriage even is?

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 12:00 pm

        It’s also really detrimental to society. Straight couples who have children together and are living together are much more likely to split than married couples with children together/living together. They also don’t build as many financial assets and don’t save as much money together. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons people purposefully have children together without getting married, but I don’t agree with most of them.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary May 21, 2013, 12:02 pm

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 12:08 pm

        I’d be very interested in hearing the LWs reasons for this.

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      • avatar

        Rachel @ Reality Chick May 21, 2013, 10:06 pm

        She’s probably got enough on her plate right now…

        Also, how relevant is this marriage question is to the letter-writer’s dilemma? That he’s her boyfriend or her husband is immaterial – I don’t think it has anything to do with what she’s dealing with right now.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson May 21, 2013, 12:16 pm

        I agree. I get that accidents happen – but this isn’t even an accident! Why would you do that? Kids are a way bigger commitment than marriage – so if you’re not even ready for marriage why have kids?!

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet May 21, 2013, 12:27 pm

        Some people just don’t want to get married. It’s not always about commitment. My boyfriend’s sister has been with her “husband” for 16 years and they have 2 kids together (7 year old and 3 year old), but they aren’t married. They have all the benefits of a domestic partnership at this point. Apparently his sister was always against getting married because growing up, her religion told her that getting married was the only thing for women to do. That she would basically burn in hell if she didn’t get married and her relationship would fail. She likes to prove how wrong that line of thinking is.

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  • avatar

    Datdamwuf May 21, 2013, 10:31 am

    LW, Wendy gave good advice that MOA is probably what you should do, as someone who’s been there done that I hope you MOA, it’s less painful in the long run. My ex cheated on me 5 years into our relationship. I forgave him, he “rebuilt trust” with me by being open, sharing passwords, etc, etc. After a while I didn’t need that any longer and all seemed well. Fast forward 10 years, my Mom died and I went into a deep depression for nearly a year. When I “emerge” I discover he’s cheating on me again. Did he continue all those years? I’ll never know. What I do know is that I spent the best years of my life with a liar and I’m far happier with him out of my life. I only wish I hadn’t stayed with him after the first transgression. I could have spent those years with someone who truly respected and loved me.

    How can you trust him again? You can’t, do you want to live like that?
    Please visit and read some of the stories. It may help you, I wish she’d been around when I went through my discovery.

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    • Heather

      Heather May 21, 2013, 12:19 pm

      I’m sorry that happened to you. And I totally understand why you are feeling regret. But I think it says a lot about you that you were willing to work through it and forgive him. As someone else said above, it sucks when someone forces you in a position you never wanted to be in, but you can only control YOUR actions. Hope that things have been better and that you have a more successful relationship future.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet May 21, 2013, 12:37 pm

    LW, I don’t have experience with cheating, but I DO have experience with a boyfriend breaking my trust. You didn’t ask for this. You weren’t prepared to have your whole life flipped upside down. The decision is in your hands, but it doesn’t really feel like it because you didn’t choose this. He dropped the bomb on you and now you have to decide if you can deal with it, or if you need to leave the nice little life you’ve built over the past several years.

    Your boyfriend needs to be willing to do whatever you ask of him at this point. Going to counseling is not enough. If you need him to move out, he better do it without hesitation. If you need more details, he better give them up. Figure out what you need from him right now. He may seem apologetic right now, but that will be your first test to see if he really is willing to do whatever it takes to re-gain your trust.

    I know you say that you can’t talk about it with anyone, but you can! Here! In the forums! Or write about it in a journal. The quicker you get your feelings out, the easier it will be to make a decision. It’s okay that you don’t know what to do yet. Life is rarely black and white.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser May 21, 2013, 1:15 pm

    I”m back and just read some of your comments. I think men go to prostitutes for anonymous sex,possibly for attention, to fulfill their fantasies (including doing something forbidden). But unless the prostitute is Julia Roberts, I don’t think you have to worry about them falling in love.

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    • avatar

      BreezyAM May 21, 2013, 2:30 pm

      Exactly. And honestly it just never happens. And this is actually why a lot of men will go to one. They just don’t want to deal with that part. Just want some nice friendly sex and smiles, with a woman who isn’t going to guilt him into a relationship after. For these guys (not all guys, these guys) sex is sort of like sneezing, just something they do. Good strong exercise. They don’t mean it insultingly, as if to “use” the woman. It’s just, that kind of sex for them is very physical, not a bonding or mental thing. It’s like going to the hairdresser for them. I’m not saying therefore LW should not think it is a big deal. I’m saying the guy does not see it that way, in the overwhelming majority of cases.

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  • avatar

    ChemE May 21, 2013, 1:43 pm

    It feels like you are ok with him getting jerked off by a masseuse but are pissed about the sex? Am I missing something here? I mean, you started the letter so nonchalant about that part.

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    • mandalee

      mandalee May 21, 2013, 2:30 pm

      Yeah, I was confused there too! Like either happy endings are okay, or because the sex with a broken condom is such a big deal the happy ending is kinda meh at this point.

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  • avatar

    BreezyAM May 21, 2013, 2:25 pm

    Before you do throw him out, which, yes, you have every right to, think long and hard about what you will gain from that. I am not saying you should not. But… the fact is, you have children with him and will never, ever be free of him. You will always be interested that he is well and not acting out sexually because he`s messed up in the head, or exposing himself to disease, or exposing himself to potential arrest, because of the kids. That will not change. Every time you see him? Yeah you`ll have those feelings of shittyness and betrayal come back. The research on spouses of sex addicts (and I am not saying your husband is one, but going to a rub and tug is a whole step above a regular affair with one person he met somewhere, and the trauma is different when you find out because it involves a whole lot more than a regular affair, which is trauma in and of itself) has shown consistently that the PTSD-ish symptoms do NOT absolve simply by leaving the sex addict. In fact they can get even worse.

    And even if you’re not suffering from PTSDish symptoms, and are just plain old mad… personally, and this is just anecdotal… I’ve never, ever met one single woman who dumped her cheating husband, and isn’t still flaming pissed at him years later. It may not occupy her every thought but even when they remarry and are moved on, she still is cranky she has to see this jackhole and just loathes him and resents the hell out of the fact he can’t just DISAPPEAR. I mean even decades later. These are the women who make their daughters’ weddings hell. The women who roll their eyes and sigh at the idea of having to go a grandchild’s birthday party when HE will be there, worst of all with his @#(@(*@#* new wife!

    To leave or not is a really personal decision. I know people who stayed primarily because they could not imagine being able to function as a single parent. As in the sheer volume of work caring for very young toddlers and preschoolers. I know others who stayed because frankly, the economy sucks and they had no income. I know others who stayed because despite being very annoyed with themselves for it, they still loved him and wanted to believe. Some regretted their decision. Others were glad. But recovery sucks and it takes a long time. A really long time. And it’s never fully complete. In 10 years you might see a scene in a movie where someone says “rub and tug” and your stomach will invert itself. But… here’s the thing… even if you leave, you’ll also have that feeling.

    Your feelings now are all very normal. Try therapy, talk, talk some more, and keep talking. Figure out what’s right for you and your marriage. You’re not alone. You’re not the only one this has happened to. But be slow and let your mind stop racing like you’re in guerrila warfare mode (this is again a very normal reaction) before making decisions. He can change. Or he might not. But most of the time, once you choose to work through it, day by day, eventually you’ll remember and focus on the fact this one incident is not the sum of your relationship. He’s more than this and so are you.

    That said, leaving is also perfectly valid. But take time to decide. I know it hurts. And I am so sorry this happened to you.

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      lets_be_honest May 21, 2013, 2:41 pm

      I’ve never, ever met one single woman who dumped her cheating husband, and isn’t still flaming pissed at him years later

      I’m only thinking of one woman I know who did, and yep, almost 20 years later still angry. Its sad.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ May 21, 2013, 6:29 pm

    LW, I am sorry that this happened to you. However, you are justified in asking for space. You are allowed to say that you want him to move out for a while.

    The thing is, Mark is right. There is no ring. You are not married. The only thing that ties you together is 2 children and some bills. It is very easy to walk away from. Seriously. He could walk away at any time and burden you with full custody and support of those children and bills and never communicate with you again.
    He wanted a break in the monotony? How about planning a date night? A vacation? A guy’s night out? Buying a few select toys for the two of you for the bedroom? These are things to “break up the monotony”. Knowingly going to an establishment euphemistically known as a ‘rub and tug’ means that he is tired of being pleasured by one woman. He had what is referred to as the “7 year itch”. Also commonly known as “he just needed some ‘strange'”. Of course a woman who jerks a guy off for money is going to offer more. It PROVIDES HER THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHARGE MORE MONEY. When a guy is already aroused and getting a handy, they don’t turn down the opportunity for sex, especially when they are paying to get their jollies off anyways. Please trust me when I say this – I know what I’m talking about.

    This isn’t the first time. That is a lie. The truth is: This is the FIRST TIME THE CONDOM BROKE. Or, alternatively, this is the first time he didn’t use a condom, and felt it was safer to claim that the condom broke in order to make you feel better about the incident (“honey, I tried to use protection!”).

    I am sorry that he did this to you. Forgiveness needs to be sincere. If you cannot be sincere in your forgiveness, do not give it. Period.
    Having said that, do not mistake forgiveness for forgetfulness. Never forget what he did. Don’t let it color other relationships, but never forget his dishonesty in regards to your relationship with him.

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    Jacquelin May 21, 2013, 9:40 pm

    I think you are in a bad position. Maybe you could have him move into a apartment nearby and then, once you trust him again, he will move back in. It just depends if you believe that you will ever have a better relationship and if you think you will trust him again. You have to think of the pros and cons of the future of this relationship and know that things will get better in times. There are millions of more guys out there who won’t do what he did!!!!!!! 🙁

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    Rachel @ Reality Chick May 21, 2013, 9:46 pm

    Omg, you poor thing. I’m so very sorry you’re going through this. Wendy’s advice is spot on. I too would ask him to go just to give yourself that time and space to process what’s happened. And to make what is a really difficult decision.

    Finding out someone has cheated on you is a world-imploding moment. I’ve been there. We were together over four years. Everything, and I mean everything, crystallised for me in that moment. It was over, we were over, I never wanted to see his face again. The clarity I had was quite bizarre; nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I was devastated but also propelled by the knowledge that kicking him to the curb was absolutely the right and only thing I could possibly do. However, we didn’t have kids. My friend did (she had two-year-old twins). When her husband had an affair she stayed. They worked on it. They had another baby. She seems okay with it, but she once told me if they hadn’t had kids, she would have walked out and not looked back for a second.

    I have to wonder how that knowledge infects their relationship now, or whether it’s something you can get past with time and years and therapy and rebuilding of trust. I don’t know if I could. I know it’s just the type of person I am. I’ll give 100% until someone betrays me. But when they do, that’s it. The betrayal kills any love or desire in me to want to be in that person’s orbit.

    Whether what he’s done is a dealbreaker is an entirely personal decision that only you can make. But can you believe him when he says it was just that one time? Do you want to be with a guy whose idea of ‘breaking with routine’ is lying to you and going to a hooker? Are you the type of person who can get over something like this and not be always wondering?

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    SasLinna May 22, 2013, 9:17 am

    I have two questions. 1. How was this relationship going before you found out about the cheating? Would you never have thought of leaving him without this information or was the relationship already in bad shape? 2. Do you think your partner cheated under extreme circumstances and wouldn’t usually do so or is it part of a pattern that could have been going on for a long time?
    I’m asking the first question because I think it’s important to focus on the whole picture of the relationship and not just the cheating incident, as shocking as the latter may be. At least once you’ve moved beyond the initial shock. The second question is important because the answer to it says something about how you view your partner’s character.
    Definitely talk to someone about this. I don’t think people will judge as much as you might think. You’re not necessarily weak for staying with him if you decide to do so – sometimes in real life you will end up making decisions that you might never have considered in theory. Just because it was a prostitute and that’s icky shouldn’t mean that it’s beyond forgiveness. (Not saying you should forgive, just that it’s not necessarily a weak move).
    It’s very important for you to get some support right now. Also, let yourself feel the rage and disappointment before you make any decisions. It’s a normal reaction to have.

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    Miss T May 22, 2013, 10:07 am

    I’m so sorry this happened to you, LW. Nobody deserves this. Wendy got it absolutely right–none of this is your fault and you definitely deserve time and space to decide how to deal with this. But I also echo what many comments have said about feeling guilty if you “take this life” away from your kids. If you go to therapy and you work things out and truly believe that your bf has seen the error of his ways and will never do something like this again (no guarantees, of course), you’re still the same strong woman–if not a stronger one–that you were before. But if you don’t end up staying with him, you have to know in your heart that HE is the one who set this all in motion, knowing what the consequences could be, and that if he didn’t want to risk losing his family, he would not have done what he did. He could have given you (or even the kids) a disease, he could have knowingly or unknowingly given one of these people personal information that would make it easy for them to find him or you, he could have gotten all of you into a million harmful and potentially fatal situations. Unless he does some serious making up, that’s not the type of man you want around your kids and you don’t have to feel guilty for that.

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    michele June 9, 2013, 8:23 pm

    our lucky my 49 year old husband slept with an 18 year old hooker in my bed with no condom when I found out 2 years later I went to the doctor and had contracted hpv from him and has cervical cancer its so hard to deal with I feel like my life is just one big decieving joke haha! I dont think I will ever trust him again Im sorry for all the women that have to deal with these pigs I know how much it hurts and its truly degrading

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    Kint Verbal March 8, 2014, 5:03 pm

    So what? Look, his only mistake is in telling you instead of making sure he is healthy and moving on.

    Allow me to demonstrate: if someone hits you in the head with a stick, you will know and suffer. If your boyfriend has sex with another woman, you won’t suffer because it has nothing to do with you. If he tells you, then you go into society programmed mode of “suffering”, which you actually have no right to. If you have a baby you can be sure it’s yours and that’s nature’s gift to you – exactly so that you have zero need to worry about this kind of situations.

    Get on with your life, nothing changed, he is still the same man you know & love – if you did in the first place, that is.

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