I always told myself that I would forgive my husband if he cheated on me. Well, he had an affair for eight months. He also blew through our savings and racked up considerable credit-card debt. The college fund we started for our two children is gone. He spent all of the money on fancy dinners, expensive gifts and incredible vacations for his girlfriend. I am so angry, I can't imagine staying. My husband ended the affair and wants desperately to save our marriage. As much as it pains me to subject my kids to divorce, I don't know if I can commit to him again. Is the best option to DTMFA?
Sexual infidelity is one thing — and it's a relatively common thing (so people should go into marriage prepared to work through it) — but we're not talking about one thing here. We're talking about a whole series of betrayals. Your husband betrayed you sexually and financially. He stole from you. He stole from his own children.
Now, I can understand thinking with your dick (because I have a dick), and we can all imagine a circumstance in which we might succumb to temptation (because we all experience temptation). But I cannot even begin to wrap my head around how someone could spend his own children's college fund — in addition to his family's savings (and taking on debt!) — on gifts, trips and meals for his piece-of-shit on the side. (Not all "other women" are pieces of shit, but anyone who would allow her married lover to spend that kind of money on her in eight months is a flaming piece of shit.)
It's advice, H, not binding arbitration. You are free to make up your own mind. And while I couldn't see staying if I were in your shoes, I could see myself meeting with a marriage counselor a few times before pulling the plug — for the sake of the kids.
I'm seeing an amazing guy who I met doing sex work — as in, he was paying me for straight-up sex. It's not a Pretty Woman situation. He's my age and not wealthy, and I'm too old for that anyway. We share a lot of geeky interests and have a great connection, and the sex is awesome. When I was seeing him for pay, I would think, "I would totally date this guy." We transitioned to friends-with-benefits several months back. Then some "I love yous" were exchanged, and now we are in a monogamous relationship. For context, I did independent escorting for about six months while I was in school. (I played up the nerdy-grad-student angle, and that was crazy successful.) I keep thinking that there must be something "wrong" with the way we met, but maybe that's internalized attitudes toward sex work? Can this work? Everything about our relationship feels positive, but sometimes I think, "Really? Dating your john?" Maybe I just need your OK to feel better.
Dating My John
You've got my OK, DMJ — and Siouxsie Q's, too.
"People meet their significant others through work all the time," says Siouxsie, host of The WhoreCast, a weekly podcast about sex work. "But navigating love, sex and work can be sticky and difficult."
And when you're a sex worker, as Siouxsie is and you were, DMJ, internalized shame and social stigma can make a "workplace" relationship stickier and more difficult. "In most of the stories we see about ourselves in the media," says Siouxsie, "we end up dead, alone, or in service to Richard Gere for eternity. All terrible options. But sex-worker/client relationships occupy a wide spectrum. I have clients who I barely know. I have clients who I feel genuine love, affection, and even attraction for. And while I have never dated a client, it is not unheard of."
So instead of worrying that you met your boyfriend working, DMJ, Siouxsie suggests that you focus on what's working about your boyfriend. "It sounds like this guy meets all the criteria for dating a sex worker. He's not creepy, he's not trying to 'save' you from your work, you have a great connection and great sex," says Siouxsie. "There is no 'normal' relationship or 'right' circumstance to meet someone. But when everything feels right and the only thing holding you back is this idea that 'this could never work,' you would be foolish not to give it a shot."
Listen to The WhoreCast at thewhorecast.com and follow Siouxsie on Twitter at @Siouxsie_Qxxx.
Recent topics on the Savage Lovecast: Dan reveals the secret of how to get straight women to dive into casual sex; Lindy West talks about men who think your vagina is disgusting; tales of open relationships gone horribly wrong; and vibrator addiction syndrome — are you at risk? All at savagelovecast.com.