Revenge Whoring

10 Feb

Dear LetterBalm: I was a faithful husband for almost 30 years. We married young – I was 21, my wife 20 – and we had two wonderful children. I thought our marriage was happy, but my wife told me 10 years ago that she had had a long affair several years before. She refused to tell me anything about it. She just said it was a big mistake and she was sorry. We fought a lot, and that’s when I started going to prostitutes in retaliation for what she had done. I told her when I went the first time. She wasn’t happy about it, but she said she understood. Now, I go to hookers frequently, and I tell her when I do. She doesn’t react. We have sex only occasionally, and she seems to be O.K. with the status quo. Maybe she has other lovers, I don’t know. I think we still love each other. What can I say to her after all this time?

–Concerned Husband

What a sad, unfortunate mess. If ever there were a prime example of a lack of marital communication, this is it. How concerned can you be, pray tell, if you’ve allowed things to get so disconnected? The marriage you have now appears to be a sham. Maybe your wife cares that you sleep with hookers, maybe not. Maybe she has other lovers, maybe not. Maybe she still loves you, maybe not. Maybe she’s in it only for the money and security, maybe not. Are you willing to learn the truth? Because the only way that will happen is if you sit down and actually talk with your wife. You also have to be open to counseling because sure as shootin’ the two of you need a skilled professional to help sort things out. In an ideal world, you might say this to her – although Ms. L.B. doesn’t hold out much hope you’ll do it:

Verna, we haven’t sat down and really talked in such a long time. So, I’m sorry if I say something stupid. All I know is, I don’t want this silence between us to go on anymore. Years ago, I made a terrible mistake when I took revenge for something you did. You hurt me, but I continued to hurt you, over and over. I’m so sorry for that. I don’t know if you still love me or if you want us to stay together. I don’t know the first thing about how you feel, and I can’t live like this. I’d be O.K. about going to a marriage counselor with you so we can sort things out. Can we at least begin talking to each other, even if the truth hurts?

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