My partner saw a prostitute?!

In the middle of a really bad row, and I mean a 9 on the Richter Scale, my husband spat at me that he had once been to a prostitute. It hit me hard at the time, but then the whole row was hugely unsettling, and I didn’t ask when or what the circumstances were. Now it’s preying on my mind and I am wondering if this happened during our five year marriage. How do I now ask? If it was do I leave him? This is really gnawing awing away at me, please help.

Our reply – Have your say in the LoveSpace forums:

Well, yes, you really DO want to know, for one very practical, zero-emotion reason: if your husband is engaging in sexual behaviours that potentially risk your sexual health then you’ll need to take action accordingly. A full check-up round about right now could also be a good idea.

Sexual health risks aside, there is obviously a lot going on emotionally here, and there’s a lot at stake. First off, it was a row, an extremely heated row. It happens. When it does, people can tend to say things – and they might be true or not – that are designed to hurt. Usually then, when we’ve got back our senses, we reconcile, apologise, remember and reclaim all the good things we have together and move on. It’s if we’re rowing often that we need to consider what’s going wrong in the relationship, and even if we’re with the right person. It’s your call as to whether this relationship as a whole is healthy and good for you – there is a rule-of-thumb test that says something like ‘there should be five or more good times for every one bad time for a relationship to be considered healthy’.

You’re wise to wonder if your husband used the prostitute before marrying you or if this has happened during your relationship. Your husband’s sex life before you came along should generally be neither here nor there for you. It’s if he’s strayed since you made the commitment that you have issues – of trust, of the value of the relationship, of your emotional security, and so on. Clearly, for your own peace of mind, you need to talk.

So, find a time when there is enough time to talk properly and when you’re both feeling very level headed. Say you have something serious to ask and that you need him to be totally open and honest, then ask: when he said, when you were having that row, that he’d visited a prostitute, was that when he was with you?

Now if he flies off the handle at this point, you’ve got big problems – though there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get the house. If he says no, or he was making it up, then you take a view about whether you can trust him and you explain that you need to be able to trust him, that this is serious and there’s your physical and emotional welfare at stake here – flagging up that this is a relationship you value. You take a view, you move on.

If, on the other hand, he says that it was while he was with you, then step back – go for a walk, change the linen in the spare room – and consider your thoughts, feelings and options. What do you want now? Give yourself time, days, to consider that question. No doubt his behaviour and what he says during that time will influence your response to that question. Perhaps, row-material aside, he really didn’t think of it as cheating – it was only a whore – and he’ll be genuinely mortified that he really has hurt you.

People can get their relationship together again and move on after one partner’s cheated; though it may never be quite the same again, it can still be good if you both want it to be. Or perhaps this incident has changed the reality of the relationship for you and the goodness, the hope and the worth have drained out of it. And you don’t mention whether there are children involved. This is a reality-check time. See where it goes.

Posted in Relationship problems, Relationships