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Boyfriend's Past Prostitution Usage

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Hi there,

This is my first post on this site so I'm a little wary and nervous. I have come here for help since I'm in a country where English is not the local language and professionals who speak English aren't readily available. I would appreciate advice from those who have been in my situation, from counselors, therapists, or anyone with much knowledge and understanding of this issue.

I'm an Asian 28 year old female working as a teacher and an artist in Asia. I come from a large family of 9 children with parents of a secular Christian adherence. I grew up in an unconventional lifestyle which gave me many unique opportunities to travel and learn much outside of traditional educational institutions. I chose to go my own way in life at the age of 17, departing from almost all friends, family members, and what was familiar to me. I describe myself as an atheist or a very hard-nosed agnostic. I'm in my second long-term, serious relationship with a man whom I love very much. I'm explaining my background as I hope it may help in a clearer "diagnosis" or getting a shot at some helpful advice.

My main problem: I am having trouble with many issues dealing with my boyfriend sleeping with prostitutes before he met me. ( I have only found out about this 6 months ago although we've been together for 2.5 years. He's from North America and is also of no religious adherence even though he also grew up in a Christian family. We met online, started out in a long-distance relationship for a year, and then moved in together.) When I found out he had visited prostitutes multiple times in his past, it was in the middle of a conversation with another friend and was not in a private/intimate conversation. I felt very hurt because it had taken him 2 years to tell me. I felt betrayed because he only brought it up when someone else asked him. I was in shock because I thought he had told me all about his sexual history after asking him many times about it.

Another problem: When I asked him why he had never told me before, he said I should have asked the specific question, "Have you ever slept with prostitutes?" I know this means he didn't want to be open about it, yet he's told me he feels fine about it and not guilty or shamed at all.

If he feels totally fine with this part of his sexual history, why has he taken 2 years to haphazardly tell me? (My gut tells me he's uncomfortable about it regardless of what he says.) It most definitely would have changed how I thought of him at the beginning of our relationship. But, I feel even more betrayed that he never brought it up in any of our intimate times together.

If it never came up in friendly conversation, would he ever have told me? (My gut tells me no, again! Instead, I would have found out even later, putting more of the time I committed to our relationship into question.)

It's been about 6 months and I'm still dealing with all of these conflicting and upsetting thoughts and emotions. I've tried to talk about it with him but haven't gotten very far. He is either dumfounded by the amount of questions I have or he's knowingly trying to shut down the topic. I've been blamed, seemingly, for being too emotional, thinking too much, holding on to a grudge, and bringing up the past too much.

I still have so many questions about how he views women, what he thinks and feels about our sex life compared to his bought sex, how providing for a woman in a loving relationship is different than paying for a woman for sex, why it took so long for him to tell me, etc etc etc etc... And he does not want to, or know how to, talk with me about it.

I cannot get over it because we haven't been dealing with it. I am still in pain and it's at the point where I can no longer ignore how I feel. I'm afraid to admit to him and myself, that this might be a breaking point because we cannot seem to talk about this issue, or other issues regarding our sex life. I need some help, until I find a counselor or therapist. I need to hear a different perspective or some wisdom to shed light and a bit of comfort during this difficult time.

He is a considerate and caring person from a loving background. However, I am his first girlfriend and I am the only non-prostitute sexual partner he's had in more than a few years. He's also not understood my issue with him watching porn. (This may or may not be related, and I'm willing to explain further on this subject if asked.)

Thankfully yours,

Thoughtful Female

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Welcome to the community, Thoughtful. :)

I'm sorry you are hurting. :( We don't offer professional advice here, and I have not been in a similar situation myself, but I did want to say hello and offer my support.

I hear your distress about the situation with your boyfriend. I agree that open and honest communication is the best way to work through any issues that might arise in relationships. Trust is very important and I can understand how you would feel concerned if he has been less than honest and upfront with you about his past. Would he consider going to couples' counseling, do you think? It might help to get things out in the open and begin rebuilding trust in your relationship.

Does it help to engage in activities that you find relaxing? I find my anxiety lessens when I take the time to take care of my needs.

I hope you feel better. Take care.

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Hi Irma,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply! After explaining my need for help through a long letter and by showing him how I felt on this post, we ended up having a long discussion. He said that he really is a simple person with unhidden agendas. We talked about the issues I had with his past. It made me wonder why I sometimes fixate on things, but nevertheless, still have to respect my emotions and thoughts.

I'm happy to say that because we both want to stay together, we're working on being more trusting. Being open and honest has always been important for me so I'm trying to find a balance between what I can expect from my partner, and what is just too unrealistic(?). Sometimes, I have to stop myself from being too suspicious and cynical when reacting to truths.

I'm moving on, past the past. We talked and we are closer because of it. I only want to try to make the next session less intense. :)

Thanks so much for the support, Irma! It meant a lot even though it was short. I am going to find more ways to relax more regularly.



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