The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The beginning of something else

I found out Friday night that my husband, with whom I've been in a loving, committed, once-in-a-lifetime relationship for almost 20 years, has been seeing prostitutes for at least the past 4 1/2 years, since our son was one and a half.I found something odd in his email about a month ago...an email from a sender called Affluent Concierge. I've known for years that my husband is an avid consumer of pornography, via both magazines and websites. When I first found this out maybe 10 years ago or so, I was disturbed and disgusted. I don't have brothers, so I don't have a lot of experience with guy stuff. It felt like something personal - like he was trying to get something more than I could offer, and that it was objectifying and demeaning for women. But we talked about it a lot, and I decided that an interest in pornography is entirely within the normal range of male sexuality, and that it wasn't about me as much as about fantasy and sexual stimulation. I decided that, while I wasn't thrilled, I would accept it. I've definitely looked at magazines, and after discovering my husband's interest, some movies. And they can be a turn-on. But I have never really understood, other than intellectually, the need to continue to buy new magazines and web access and see new movies. Most of it seems so fake to me - but I accepted it as normal male sexuality. And I understand being interested sexually in other people. Even Jimmy Carter had lust in his heart, right? So do I. But in my mind there was a definite line. Particularly as my husband has always been very open about the fact that he thought infidelity was stupid and irresponsible. He never set limits for me. He didn't have to - I'm a naturally monogamous person. He's only the 3rd man I've had sex with in my 43 years. The first two were also long-term relationships, one in high school and one in college. But whenever the subject came up he was always disapproving and said he couldn't understand it. And he's told me many times over the years that he'd never do that to me.My husband is a wonderful, funny, super-intelligent, creative man. I can't imagine anyone else more compatible with me in the world. He gets me. And I've shared myself with him without hesitation, without any shread of emotional protection for almost as long as I can remember. He's truly magnificent in ways that are most important to me. He's the love of my life. And with him I felt the freedom to be that only the strongest sense of trust and safety can create.So when I found this thing in his email, (he'd left his browser open and up on the screen of our shared computer.) I didn't read it. I don't even open mail addressed to him. I think it's important for people to have privacy, and I knew that he'd share anything with me that was important to share. But but I wanted to see what this site was, so I typed in the web address, and in the history as I was typing in the address, one of the things that came up was the appointment request form. I was stunned. I didn't know what to make of it. So I asked him that day if he was seeing call-girls. He looked shocked, and said "No!" I explained that I'd looked up this site that I saw in his email and that one of the things that had come up in the history was the appointment request form. He said that he just visited that site for pictures, nothing else. I think at the time he said, in reference to the call-girls, "I wouldn't do that."We're not great with money. We make a very good amount, and we always talk about the fact that our money seems to get spent, no matter how much more we make. Both of us are pretty generous by nature, my husband probably more so than me. He likes to pick up the check at group gatherings - that kind of thing. And he has never told me not to do something because of money. I've taken classes, gotten headshots (I'm an actor), had my own business for 5 years which never was profitable, he assumed co-responsibilty for my hefty grad school loans when we got married (by law), and never mentioned it. I came from a mentality of scarcity, and he taught me not to live that way. It's not about being irresponsible with money (which we are in practice) but about figuring out how to make life work so that you're happy. But it's a day to day process and we're still perfrecting it. So I was working on our finances, looking for where we could curb some spending, cut back on unnecessary things, funnel more into savings, when I saw charges on the bank statement that I wanted to investigate. I was pretty sure they were from Affluent Concierge, and I didn't realize that he was paying to see this site.

So I went back to his email account and looked at the Affluent Concierge emails again. This time I found emails that looked as though they were responding to requests from him for appointments. One of them said, "I hope you enjoyed your time with Angie,” and then went on to request that he not make appointments when he ad a cold so that the models wouldn’t get sick and/or pass colds on to other clients. Below that message was what appeared to be a message from Husband. In the From field was his email address. My heart was beating so fast. It seemed undeniable that something was going on.

So I told him what I found and asked him again if he was seeing call girls. “I didn’t to it, I didn’t do anything,” he said. “I don’t know how that got in there. It’s probably spam. I just look at the pictures. “If you did,” I asked, “would you tell me. I would want you to tell me.” “Yes I would. But I didn’t do anything. That’s gross...that’s just...yuk. Just thinking about it gives me the creeps.” He looked into my eyes, his beautiful clear green eyes full of love that I’d see almost everytime I looked into them for almost 2 decadess and said, “I would never do that to you. I would never do that to you I love you.”

Husband and I are both in the internet industry. I’m pretty familiar with how email and spam work. But he looked right at me and told me he hadn’t done anything. For almost 20 years he had been truthful and honest in almost a profound way. I felt I knew him as certainly as I knew the sun would rise the next day. And so I believed him.

But it continued to bother me, because what he was saying just didn’t fit logically with what I was seeing with my eyes. I knew there had to be some explanation so I looked again to see if I could find something that would explain his version of things. I realized that if what he was saying was true, there wouldn’t be anything in his Sent mail. So I looked. As I read the emails I found, reality started to warp. “Looking for a date.” “Looking to make an appointment today.” “Could you tell me who is available this weekend including Monday. I’m interested in Brienne. Thanks.” “I am in Los Angeles and I'd like to find out about making an appointment to see Christina. Please let me know what you need from me to make this happen.” Again, my heart was racing, and I was beginning to shake and sweat. I looked back at the responses in his In box. The most recent one said, “Hi, you are confirmed for ashley at 330pm,” and gave a hotel, address and phone number.

I asked him again about what I’d found. “You don’t believe me, do you? I make these appointments but I don’t go. It gets me all excited to have this appointment. The fantasy of it. But I make the appointment and then I wack off, and I don’t go.” The fact that I’d read about a 24 hour cancellation policy on Affluent Concierge danced across my thoughts, but it was so inconceivable to me that my husband would lie to me like this, so I ignored that detail. “Okay?” he asked expectantly. I couldn’t speak. I was wringing my hands nervously. Finally, “I don’t know what to say.” I couldn’t say Okay anymore. Something definitely felt wrong. I felt like my mind was playing some kind of trick on me. “Well I didn’t to anything wrong. I make these appointments. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

So I went back on the computer and continued to investigate. I looked at the phone bills, which confirmed that he had made calls from Culver City about the time his appointment was supposed to be there, including a 17 minute call with me when he must have been on his way to the appointment. Then I followed a link to a site called The Erotic Review. There I found his reviews about having sex with about 10 different women, starting in 2003. I unplugged the laptop, ran upstairs to the bedroom where he was sleeping and woke him. I showed him what I’d found and pleaded with him to explain. He continued to say over and over again that he hadn't done anything wrong. He said the reviews were just fantasy, not real. My head was reeling – confused, scared, reality feeling completely fluid. “But it’s a review site!” I said. “Why would you write fantasy reviews on a review site? That doesn’t make sense. Please you’ve got to tell me the truth. How can you deny that something is going on when you have mail in your sent box and reviews in your name about having sex with all these other women?” There was a long pause. I have no idea what was going through his mind. Finally he took a deep breath. “Okay I’ve done it a couple of times. Mostly I make the appointments and don’t go. I’ve just gone a couple of times.” I asked how many times, and about the expense, how much he thought he’d spent. Maybe 4 or 5 times, he said. He totaled it up in his mind “About $2000, no $1500.” Thinking of the phone records I’d seen I asked, do you go and then turn around? No. I wack off and then I don’t go. I looked at him, full of emotion that I could barely contain, and for the first time in our relationship said, “I don’t believe you.”

31 comments:

Serizy said...

Wow. I can't believe someone hasn't left a comment on this already, as that was a very interesting, and moving, post. I feel for you, but I wonder if maybe you will hate me because I am a sex worker (used to be an escort, but "only" an erotic masseuse these days). I don't know. I hope not.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Serizy, I have no reason to hate you. Nobody is responsible for what my husband did except him.

My views on the sex industry have changed, however, and I no longer think it's fine for women to choose prostitution. Not because it's wrong, but because after all the research and reading I've done, I don't believe that people make this choice because it makes them truly happy and fulfilled. I belive the choice to be a sex worker may stem from pain, denial and abuse rather than from a place of empowerment and freedom.

It would be interesting, based on your experience, to hear your views on this. Your comments would be a welcome addition to the discussion here.

Mantramine said...

Wow. That broke my heart. I have been there in different ways, and always fear this way too. I have a lot of reading to do on your site. this was a heatbreaking read.

ScOuT said...

That is an amazing, brutally honest post. I'll continue to read to see how you are doing....
Peace,
Scout

Sanon8 said...

Just found your site. This is my EXACT Story. I just found out about my husband a couple weeks ago via his erotic review sites. He lied to me for years, making me think I was crazy!!! I finally found the reviews and he could no longer deny it. Its scary how you think you know somebody so well, and yet he has this private life. I so relate to your post, for this is my story and it hurts soooo much right now. I am eager to read on and see how you have delt with this.

Kellee said...

I can not believe how much your story mirrors mine. My husband gave me the same excuses yours did for 6 weeks. All the while I was finding more & more incriminating evidence. Everything was explained away & I believed it all. So much so that I literally thought I was going crazy & contimplated suicide. Finally he confessed (or as much as he could). Even his disclosure was half truths. We tried, he couldn't & now were're divorced. My story is at: http://crossingmybridge.blogspot.com/

With you in solidarity,
~Kellee

Christina said...

Your story is also my story. The way you write speaks to my heart.
I started finding out the truth 3 months ago. I’m really amazed by the fact that all sex addicts’ partners –including me- describe our relationships –before we found out the truth- as truly happy.

P.S. After I found out the dozens nicknames which the man I loved used to use in all these adult sites, I decided that I will never use a nickname in my Internet navigation and in my life….

Angela said...

Holy Cow. I appreciate your story. I'm not married. This is one reason why.

Ms Smack said...

WOW, that's some story.

I'm sorry for your pain.

sparsely kate said...

I'm with Ms Smack. I'm so sorry for your pain. That would be devastating after being married for so long.

thank you for sharing it with us.

Cyndie said...

anonymous7, I just found out 2 weeks ago that my husband has been going to massage parlors for 2 years. My heart is broken into pieces...and I am so unsure of what to do...thank you for your blog!

woman.anonymous7 said...

Cyndie - I'm sorry to hear of your discovery. I know it's very hard to find out about betrayal.

There are many different people online sharing their stories (many are listed in my blogroll), and I've found a great deal of comfort in that.

For me it was tremendously helpful to start reading (get informed about what was going on, because even Husband couldn't explain) and to get support from others.

I wish you the best as you work through this part of your journey.

will said...

I don't know if my messy thoughts would be of interest to you or any of the other posters -- especially since it seems most of y'all are women, and I'm a guy writing from the betrayer's perspective -- but here goes.

First of all, I'm so glad I came across your blog. It's been very meaningful. I know it's horrible -- I was actually thinking about calling another prostitute but then tried to convince my self to not do so by reading up on the risks of getting an STD, etc. Somehow I ended up on your blog. Thankfully, I'm no longer quite so horny, and I'm definitely NOT going to make the phone call that was so tempting (but so, so stupid) only an hour ago.

I guess the reason I'm posting is because I don't seem to be getting anywhere (in terms of improving my behavior, being a more responsible person / taking responsibility for my actions) by keeping to myself. So maybe somehow by sharing my own experiences, thoughts, and questions, maybe I'll make fewer dumb decisions in the future, and maybe my perspective will somehow be helpful to you/y'all, too.

About me -- I'm in my late 20's, nerdy, and unsure of myself around women. People around me seem to think I'm a nice, caring, generous person (at least that's what they say to me), and I certainly try to be a good person. Of course, most people don't know that I've hired call girls before (except for a few of my closest friends / confidants and my therapist -- I'm just thankful I can afford a therapist for now; it's too bad that long-term therapy is so cost-prohibitive for most -- I certainly feel it has helped me over the past several years).

Why I think I've turned to call girls in the past -- moments of weakness worse than usual, when I've been lonely for as long as I can remember, and I'm afraid I'll never find someone who will actually WANT to spend the rest of her life with me; when I'm afraid it'll be forever until I find someone who would actually WANT to be intimate with me, and with whom I want to be intimate.

Because all of that feels so far away and implausible at the moment, I convince myself that, "hey, it's not so bad to call a prostitute -- I mean, if she's the one offering to keep me company for a little while, if she's the one offering physical warmth, affection, and pleasure for a fee, even if only for a short time, then what could be so bad about such a mutually-beneficial arrangement (yes, I know that's only ARGUABLY mutually beneficial; most likely, it's NOT)."

But, in the end, I still feel something in the pit of my stomach. I know I shouldn't engage in such risky behavior. At the very least, it's illegal. There are physical risks, like getting a disease, getting robbed, beaten, shot, thrown in jail, being raped in jail, etc. There are financial risks, like being blackmailed/bribed/extorted. There are psychological risks/consequences -- guilt, doubt, fear, shame, anxiety . . . not to mention its as-of-yet untold effects on my future relationships (hopefully there will be a Mrs . . . I hope, I hope, I hope).

But do I think of those things in the moment? No. Because I feel like I'll never (or not until a very, very long time from now) get to share uninhibited, unrestrained, care-free physical pleasure with another person in my current/daily life, I convince myself that it's okay to indulge the fantasy for a brief moment, and maybe it will fill the void for a while.

It's getting late, and I'm not sure where I was going with this, so I'll stop typing soon. Anyways, I sort of understand where your husband is coming from, or at least share some of the same skewed thoughts/rationalizations, and I hope you don't give up on him. I know he's hurt you, and he might not even deserve you or your patience anymore, but it sounds like he still loves you. And his infidelity can't erase his concrete actions for you done out of love for you in the past, nor will it negate the fact that if he really loves you, he will be there for you in the future. . . . err, at least that's what I think, but I'm also young, inexperienced, and probably just naive. . . . plus, if you don't give up on him, it'll give me hope that I can still make it up to my loved one(s) (or future love ones)

woman.anonymous7 said...

Will - Thanks for your perspective. I appreciate what that adds to the conversation and to my thinking.

If you want more resources, more support, there are a lot of great blogs out there where addicts are speaking out (some listed on my blog.) And there are great support groups like SAA that are basically free.

One thing I'm really learning is that I can't do this alone, no matter how much I think I can, how much I want to, how much easier and more logical it seems. I think you're right on in your thought about sharing yourself. In doing that you'll also start hearing the stories of others which also help one figure out and process things.

Alexandra said...

woman.anonymous7, I don't have words to express how your explorations of this topic makes me feel. I feel a real kinship and a sense of not being alone. I am at a different place in dealing with my husband's sex addiction: we are late-20's newlyweds and I got the first hint of his infidelity only 10 months after our nuptuals. Like your husband, Tim tried his best to lie his way out of every revelation. What I think I know now is that he has had physical contact with 7-8 prostitutes, half of those during our marriage. I've decided to divorce him and the pain of living alone, being alone is so fresh. I really thank you for writing, for your honesty, for your brilliance. My blog is http://theendofmymarriage.blogspot.com/ for anyone who might be interested.

RockiBottom said...

first i want to say that i am so sorry for your pain. then i want to thank you for being honest and sharing your story so that others can feel a little less alone in this. i am just beginning to get the nerve to sort through some of these issues and blog about them. i am not quite there yet... but i am glad to have found others that i feel i can relate to.

poster girl said...

wow right at the moment i am feeling inspired you are still working on your marriage. I've only had a quick look - literally two hours ago I discovered my husband had seen a prostitute just two weeks ago. I confronted him on dodgy emails I discovered (he'd left the screen up) and he promised me nothing had happened. So much for that. I couldn't help myself - I checked his credit card statement today and sure enough, a brothel charge. I've rung him right away. He says it's not me, it's not our family. He's made a stupid decision and he still loves me. I know he does. But I am completely dumbfounded why he would do something so stupid. I am very very very very sad right now. Worse I've had to lie to my little girl about why I've just been crying so much.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Poster Girl - I'm sorry to hear about your pain. The pain and grief of betrayal are hard to bear.

You are not alone. There are many blogs and a great online community for partners of addicts at http://jwclub.ning.com.

You will recognize yourself in some of the stories, and may also find the stepping stones to your own path through this by reaching out to others.

My thoughts are with you.

zion said...

thank you for your blog - i found many this past weekend when i needed them the most - just like so many others, it is unbelievable to finally find we are not alone.

Valley Girl said...

Hi there. I just wanted to thank you for your blog. I found it while searching for support groups for loved ones of sex addicts.

I just found out that my boyfriend--the man I thought I would marry and have children with--is an addict. The pain I feel is indescribable and it gives me comfort to know that I am not alone. Good luck.

luvjohning said...

Ladies. This has nothing to do with love. This has everything to do with sex. I have had this conversation with almost every man I know, and can tell you that 99% of them want to do what your husbands/boyfriends did, although some would rather not pay for it and would rather sleep with a non sex worker. Sad but true. This is how men are hardwired. My feelings are that to find out your husband paid for it rather than having a mistress or girlfriend is a blessing in disguise. That basically means he is doing nothing more than satisfying his primal urges which are constant and infinite and paying for it rather than goin out there and hunting for it behind your back.I know this sounds bad, but every guy out there thinks about this stuff. EVERY SINGLE GUY YOU KNOW. Some would rather pay for it because they value their relationship too much to actually lead someone else on.

woman.anonymous7 said...

luvjohning - I can intellectualize about the primal urges theory, and even give some credibility to it on some level. But what is still hard to swallow is the fact that Husband lied to me. Trust is so fundamental to intimacy, and that was destroyed in his pursuit to satisfy primal urges.

Whether or not monogamy is natural (and I know you're not necessarily entering into that discussion) the fact is, Husband has more than a dog brain, and we made promises to each other about monogamy which I kept and he didn't. Not to say that I wasn't tempted, but I kept my promises and I didn't lie to him. I've never lied to him.

Ultimately, the whole thing is pretty complex, and the reasoning behind what a sex addict does is probably unique to each individual. It's more than primal urges, and it's more than broken promises.

I just hope that in the long run I can get close to where I was in terms of my feelings for Husband. There's a lot of good to be had if I can forgive, but trust is hard to rebuild. I still have more questions than answers, and I think peace is not to be found in answers anyway, but in my own spirit. I think only time will tell.

cluckenbach627 said...

my husband cheated with prostitutes too after a 15 yr marrige . I was stunned I just thought he was a fat and lazy thats why we had no sex life . but no i found out by accident . Im still stunned a year after the divorce. Men are mostly scum and the woman in the sex industry are pigs its that simple !! I could have given him what he wanted if he would have asked .

Ashley said...

I am so thankful to have found this blog, and think you are an amazing woman to be willing to write about your experience. I have been with my now-husband for almost 6 years. We have been married for only 2 months, but lived together for 5+ years prior to marriage. Months ago, I discovered he was paying on webcam/chat websites, then also found login information for Erotic Review and other sites. Same as in your situation, he said he only browsed these. Finally, after demanding to see his phone and credit card records, he confessed to me he had been to a massage place twice (before we were married). We will be seeking counseling. My heart goes out to you and all others in this situation. I will be reading every word of your blog in hopes of healing our relationship.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Ashley - I'm sorry to hear that you've made a discovery that I know from experience can be very painful.

I wish you well on your recovery journey. It's not an easy path, but it is definitely a rewarding path and I am stronger and more connected to myself and my own feelings because of it.

There is a lot of great support online in the form of other blogs and the Junkie's Wife group. (You can click the link on my blog to get there.)

Strength and courage to you. You are not alone.

Fast rob said...

I think the world needs more men like your husband. I've made a lot of money of those type of men.

Refindyourway said...

Recovery is a journey and at the end of it, you will find yourself.

sfieldgraphics said...

i am going through the same thing now. But i have only done the investigation part. You should look into to bestgfe.com it has hundreds and hundreds of men on it. Including mine. I am scared to confront him but i am plannning on it.

I Was Lauren said...

I've read some of your other posts but not the whole blog yet. I can feel a lot of your pain but not for the reasons you might think. Mostly I feel a lot of shame.

I think I was married to a sex addict. I'm not sure what the experts would term it but he had some unusual sexual predilections(fetish porn, cross dressing, swinging).

I know about the Erotic Review. I know because I was one of the women reviewed on there from 2005 to 2006. I was married at the time and he knew. Actually it was his idea initially. But I agreed and while in the midst of it really thought it was alright.

I know I must sound so crazy ...

What self respecting woman would do this?

Well, last year he divorced me because he couldn't take my drinking anymore (I drank daily for almost 2 years). I have been sober and in recovery since last April.

I know I can't keep dwelling on the past and since we are divorced now it is most definitely the past but I still haven't come to terms with it and all the other baggage I carry.

woman.anonymous7 said...

I Was Lauren - I'm sorry to hear about your pain. I hope you can release yourself from the shame you have. I learned in SAnon that lots of partners of addicts found themselves engaged in things they now regret.

Because of things we've learned and been taught along the way, sometimes we try to control situations in ways that are really, really unhealthy and detrimental. (i.e. "Maybe if I do X, he will/won't do Y...")

I found that through getting support, I've been able to squeeze lots of growth out of this pain. Maybe that opportunity is there for you, too. Therapy, support groups (both online and in-person,) reading literature on the topic, reading spiritual literature that I connected with - all these things helped me through very difficult times.

I wish you peace.

MomOfLu said...

Thank you for sharing your story. As I was reading I kept thinking is this going to happen to me? Will there be an advancement to prostitution? I too hear the same phrases "I would never do that!"

It is now my hope that as I read through your blog I can learn to heal.I don't know if I will ever truly forgive.