Style Sex & Relationships

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Dear Mary: My husband visited an escort when I was pregnant - and then he infected me

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Mary O'Conor

My husband and I have been together for almost ten years. He is an alcoholic, but has been sober for the last two years.

When I was pregnant with our second child, I was horrified to find out he had given me a (curable) STD. He played dumb and admitted nothing. I knew he had been unfaithful, though I told myself it was likely a one night stand during his drinking days. That I could forgive. I could forgive a single, one time mistake.

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After our baby was born, the mystery of it consumed me so I decided to do a little digging. I found out, looking through an old cell phone of his, that he had been seeing an "escort".

I didn't think he could do something like that - after all he never wants me sexually. He never did, and still has very little interest in me since he got sober.

So I confronted him. He had an uncomfortable smirk on his face which I found disturbing. He told me it had only happened twice, while he was drinking.

I have a feeling that this is a lie and that he has done it sober as well but I have no proof.

I loved him, and think I still do.

Am I weak for not leaving him? Can I ever trust him again? How will I ever have sex with him again? The thought of sex with him makes me ill.

I so desperately want our family to stay together.

Mary replies: It must have been particularly distressing for you to discover you had a sexually transmitted disease while you were pregnant and I'm sorry you had to go through this.

As in all things in your life you have choices. Initially you chose to ignore the fact that your husband had given you an STD, but you subsequently decided to check up on your suspicion that he had been unfaithful and discovered more than you had perhaps bargained for.

You are now once again faced with a choice - do you leave him or do you stay?

You don't have proof but you seem to suspect that he had many meetings with this escort.

Men who use escorts often say that it is purely a sexual transaction and that in their eyes it is better than having an affair whereby they are both emotionally and sexually unfaithful. They have also told me of the actual anticipatory thrill of going to the ATM machine, taking out the money and booking the escort, but that once it was over they felt really guilty at what they had done.

While I don't know of the particular circumstances in your husband's case you have every right to be angry with him. Apart from the fact that he put your health at risk while you were pregnant he also spent your joint money on the escort.

It will take a long time for you to build up your trust. There is no quick or easy way. It simply takes time. But that is pre-supposing you had a good solid sexual relationship to begin with and this is not the case with you, because from what you say your sex life was never good. He never appears to have desired you sexually, and for you the thought of having sex with him now is abhorrent and all of this concerns me.

If you decide to have a sexless marriage you will always fear that he will once again use an escort. I feel that you need help in resolving this complex issue, and also you deserve a platform where you can safely speak about your feelings at his betrayal.

If you go for counselling then it can be discussed rationally and after that you can make your decision.

For a qualified counsellor in your area visit www.iacp.ie. If you then decide that the situation is bad enough that you have to end the marriage then at least you will know that you have tried your best to find a resolution.

You are most certainly not weak for not leaving. You are trying to do your best both for yourself and for the family and that is to be applauded.

Mary O'Conor is a sex therapist and relationship counsellor. You can contact Mary anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O'Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately

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