You may have addressed this in the past. I’m leaving a partner of 43 years whom I’ve learned has been visiting prostitutes for years while claiming to still have loved me the entire time.
Just writing that gives me a clue, however I would still value your feedback.
I can’t claim to know the contents of your partner’s heart. It may well be that the entire 43 years he was screwing other women by the hour he thought he loved you. The real question is: Do you feel loved?
As I say here a thousand times a week — is this relationship acceptable to you?
But, but! He might have LOVED ME! is Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness. To find an exception or motivating factor that would make this crushing discovery acceptable. A scrap of humanity you can cling to. “Yes, it’s true Conrad purchased people by the hour for 43 years, but the entire time he was fucking that trafficked teenager, he was thinking of me.”
Can you eclipse the horror of that? Apparently Conrad can.
Oh so what, Tracy. Men visit prostitutes. Quit clutching your pearls. Get over it. Oldest profession in the world.
Yeah, oldest oppression in the world, right up there with slavery. Which speaking of systems of entitlement — slave owners often claimed they loved their slaves. Like family! And maybe in their twisted, paternalistic, shriveled hearts they did. Mores of the time, and all. It was what they understood “love” to be for lesser creatures. People you could use and abuse. People whose existence was status for you.
Did those owners “love” their slaves — did they see them as people, or as useful things?
(Narrator in scholarly voice: “I’m sure it was much more complicated than that…”)
And there we go down the untangling rabbit hole.
IT DOESN’T MATTER. IT WAS SLAVERY. And enslaving people is WRONG.
How black and white of you, Tracy.
As long as we’re stuck on what the Entitled/Abuser felt about the Bad Thing ABOVE what the Acted Upon/Chump feels about the Bad Thing — we’re still operating from their centrality. Accepting their entitlement as natural. Well, of course we should care how Conrad feels about fucking teenagers or how much he loves his wife.
No. We should imagine what it’s like to be a trafficked teenager. And feel horror that there are men (sorry, it’s men) who buy people and rate them like Amazon purchases. And go home to their partners and risk their health.
But you don’t know that those prostitutes were trafficked, Tracy. They might be saucy liberated ladies who enjoy sex work! Or predatory foreigners out to make a buck.
Here’s some light reading from the U.S. State Dept. on prostitution:
Few activities are as brutal and damaging to people as prostitution. Field research in nine countries concluded that 60-75 percent of women in prostitution were raped, 70-95 percent were physically assaulted, and 68 percent met the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder in the same range as treatment-seeking combat veterans and victims of state-organized torture. Beyond this shocking abuse, the public health implications of prostitution are devastating and include a myriad of serious and fatal diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
So, when anyone excuses men for buying sex, consider — they’re supporting pimps, traffickers, pedophiles (The average age someone enters prostitution in the U.S. is 13), and criminal syndicates.
But, but, the orgasms! The almighty orgasms!
Back to you, Bonnie. It’s either okay with you that your partner has a criminal, exploitative, secret double life that harms you, or it’s not.
If you had known this is what he was into when you met him, would you have committed to him? No? Then he let you invest in a lie.
Who did that lie benefit, Bonnie? You or him?
This guy only loves one person — his dick.
Untangling his skein is just keeping you from the important task of running the hell away from him.