Is It Cheating If He Gets a Rub & Tug? #atwys

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): G.massage
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Comment: I have been with my current boyfriend for a year-and-a-half. It hasn’t been perfect, and in fact, we almost broke up several times due to his behavior that made me question his commitment to the relationship (i.e. not calling, relying on texts/gchat as primary communications, making a less-than-stellar effort to see me). Despite this, I know he loves my deeply and we have had some great times together regardless.

Well, I think I’ve reached my breaking point and the final straw is finding out that he had been frequenting “erotic massage” parlors while we were together. When we started dating he admitted to me that he had gone to these places in the past when he was single and lonely and I never judged him for it yet felt slightly weirded out by the fact. He is a trust-fund rich kid and constantly has money at his disposal, so buying sex for him seemed like a normal thing to do when faced with a lack of sexual options.

Anyway, call it women’s intuition or just plain-ole insecurity, but I did some snooping and found credit card statements with several charges from an Asian massage parlor aka “spa” on 14th St. Upon Googling the name of the place I discovered it is nothing more than a brothel. The rub-n-tug can translate to oral sex and full sex if the price is right and if you’re a repeat customer.

I am beside myself and grossed out. I never left him wanting anything sexually and always made sure he was satisfied. The days he went to these places were days I wasn’t available to him because I was busy and couldn’t drop my plans at the last minute to see him. I feel like I can’t confront him on it because my snooping will allow him to feel like the victim, yet I know he’ll just lie straight through his teeth when I ask him what he did that day, etc. Am I right to classify this as cheating? I feel like most reasonable people would, yet I am beside myself with what to do with this information. How do I proceed with confronting him? What do I do?
Age: 29
City: New York
State: NY

Despite this, I know he loves my deeply and we have had some great times together regardless.

Ok. Let’s start here. Personally, based on what you’ve said, I would question just how deeply this guy cared for you. To be perfectly honest, I’m way more concerned about how he relies on electronic communication to converse with you and doesn’t make a concerted effort to see you than I am the rub and tugs.

The fact that you snooped through his credit card statements (!) also tells me that even you question just how much he cares for you. Women’s intuition is a load of bunk. What compelled you to check up on him was that you knew on some level that his behavior was incongruous to your belief that he truly cares for you. It was that internal conflict, and not some oogity boogity spidey sense, that led you to snoop.

So, now you know what he’s been up to. Now what? Well, you’re right that he will absolutely use your snooping against you and you’ll lose all leverage in your argument if you tell him how you learned of his indiscretions. But here’s where things get tricky. I don’t happen to classify a rub and tug or oral sex from a sex worker as cheating, and I’m going to guess that a lot of men wouldn’t either. The fact that someone is paying for it is what helps them rationalize the sexual act. If they pay for it, then it’s not “real.” Now, if a man went out and met someone and took them home and got a hand job from that woman? That’s cheating.

I’m not sure if you watch Masters of Sex, but there was a scene last season where Masters gives his research associate, Ginny Johnson, an envelope full of money to compensate her for her participation in the study, as was the policy for all participants. Masters and Johnson had begun to participate in the sex study by having sex with each other. Of course, that was all just pretense. They both had feelings for each other, and the “sex as part of the study” idea was just their way of rationalizing what was a clear cut affair. By paying Ginny, Masters could continue to believe that what they were doing was for science and not cheating.

science

Making the sex transactional was Master’s way of distancing himself from the act. Of course Masters was being unfaithful. He was having sex with the same woman over and over AND OVER again. That, too, is what makes a situation like this cheating. In your situation, your guy is both a) paying for it and b) probably getting different women to do the deed for him. Now, if he developed feelings for one woman in particular and kept going back to her specifically, then that would be cheating in my book.

But like I said earlier, the massage parlor visits aren’t really the problem, they’re just an outlier to the deeper issue. As I was saying last week in my post about the new USA drama Satisfaction, having sex with an escort isn’t what is problematic. It’s the reasons why someone in a relationship would do that that need to be addressed.

My guess is that your guy knows that, if you found out, you’d be hurt. Which possibly is why he’s doing it. I know a lot of people in relationship who are unhappy who act out in ways that their partners are blissfully unaware of because they don’t want to face that the relationship isn’t working and they want out.

If you’re going to speak to him about anything, it should be a discussion that centers on where you two see yourselves in six months or a year. Use that conversation as a barometer, because that’s really the only one that matters.

 

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58 Responses to “Is It Cheating If He Gets a Rub & Tug? #atwys”

  1. Mark Says:

    “Despite this, I know he loves my deeply and we have had some great times together regardless.”

    Not really. Instead you convinced yourself that he loves you deeply.

    You believe this despite a whole boat load of evidence to the contrary. Not just one or two things but a fair amount of blatant activity.

    After a year and a half of this you are still allowing yourself to be a part of his life as he has defined it. If you found this was an unacceptable situation for you you could have easily made boundaries – for yourself, him and this so called relationship.

    By doing nothing, you explicitly or implicitly gave him the room he needed to show who he was. He merely took advantage of that fact. He obliged you in spades and you accepted his behavior. Can’t really blame him for being who he is with you. Nor can you really force him to change because both you and he knows what he is all about. He has already showed you. That’s who he is and you know it. Period.

    If you find this situation unacceptable, then leave this relationship. Leave it now. But in doing so you should also realize that you need to work on your self image and increase your confidence level so as not to repeat this sort of thing in the future with the same type of guy.

    Hope you make the decision that’s best for you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

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    • Lamont Cranston Says:

      Leave the rub-and-tug out of it. If he’s “not calling, relying on texts/gchat as primary communications, making a less-than-stellar effort to see [you], this isn’t a relationship, he’s not that into you.

      Guys who are into girls make an effort to see them and be with them. If he’s not, he’s not for you.

      With little more information, I’m willing to guess you are one of several plates he has spinning, or he’s using you for sex while avoiding commitment anywhere.

      You need out of this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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  2. C Says:

    “If you’re going to speak to him about anything, it should be a discussion that centers on where you two see yourselves in six months or a year. Use that conversation as a barometer, because that’s really the only one that matters.”

    Bingo!

    If he wasn’t getting a handy, your relationship would still be very feeble.

    As for whether or not getting a handy from a sex worker is a problem/cheating, that’s a personal decision. Personally, I wouldn’t care, but that’s just me.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

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  3. yb Says:

    wait! do you want to be with a guy that goes to massage parlors when he has a gf? it doesn’t matter if the world defines it as cheating or not, but is that something you are comfortable with?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

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    • Nicole Says:

      Yes, exactly. And also, do you want to be with a guy who keeps these visits a secret from his girlfriend? Personally, I wouldn’t be nearly as bothered by what he was doing as by the fact that he kept it hidden. (I wonder if the guy saw through the OPs attempt to be non judgemental about his past and realized how “weirded out” she was by his early confession?)

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Exactly. I was like – why is the OP even bothering to write in? She’s uncomfortable and unhappy – then boom, walk. I mean, sure it will hurt, but it’s not like she needs to argue an airtight case about it in a court of law.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

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      • mindstar Says:

        “He is a trust-fund rich kid and constantly has money at his disposal…” That’s why. It appears she’d rather be miserable with her rich boyfriend than alone.

        I also was intrigued by her phrase “I have been with my current boyfriend for a year-and-a-half.” Wouldn’t most women just say “I’ve been with my boyfriend”? “Current” to me implies the relationship has a shelf-life

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

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        • C Says:

          I didn’t find anything particularly bad about saying “my current boyfriend”. Its just how some people speak.

          Now calling him a trust-fund kid is pretty condescending. “Meet my rich, lazy, untrustworthy boyfriend. His mommy pays for his rub and tugs you know”. Oh yeah, this was definitely a match made in heaven.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

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      • Gabi Says:

        I address your comments and judgment in my comment below. I wrote in on a whim not believing it would get published, but I also just wanted to see peoples responses. Ending bad relationships has been a big challenge for me, one that I am currently working on in this very situation.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

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    • James Says:

      No matter whom I’m dating I always have a backup plan. When I’m horny and she’s not I go to where my needs are met. Plain and simple. Is it cheating? Don’t know and don’t care.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

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      • N Says:

        You act like if you dont get off, you’ll die…its not the end of the world man :/

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

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  4. BTownGirl Says:

    Oh, for chrissakes. No, it’s not acceptable for your boyfriend to be getting jerked off by massage therapists. (Maybe I’m old fashioned – I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about a lap dance, but a full on rub ‘n tug? No. Because…bodily fluids.) Anyway, if you’re unhappy more than you’re happy in a relationship, it’s time to move on.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 3

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  5. Akirah Says:

    That’s definitely a sign of sex addiction and she needs to do some research and see if he’s willing to get some help before his behaviors escalate. This is much more than a rub and tug.

    And I’ll disagree with the rest of you. He very well may love you deeply. But sometimes love isn’t enough. It seems he really needs some professional help. If he refuses that or remains in denial about the implications of these behaviors, then you probably have your answer.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 22

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    • Nicole Says:

      I guess it depends on your definition of “sex addiction”. I read this and thought, hmmm, sounds like this guy really likes going to Asian massage parlors, and it will may well be something he wants/needs sexually even if he has a great sexual relationship with a girlfriend or wife. Is that sex addiction? Not necessarily, in my opinion.

      There are women (I’m raising my hand here) who would be ok with that if everything was in the open and there were a few ground rules. I’d personally draw the line at intercourse, BTowngirl above said lap dances are ok but nothing involving bodily fluids.

      Professional help? If he wants to work it out with the OP, then yes, because she’s not comfortable right now. Otherwise, depends on whether this is something he can engage in and still be happy and enjoy the rest of his life.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

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    • C Says:

      There are hundreds of massage parlors in NYC. I lived in a neighborhood in Queens which had literally 2 massage parlors per block. If every guy who finds it pleasurable to get his junk rubbed by a cute Chinese girl is a “sex addict”, then there are a ton of sex addicts in this world. In that case, I must be a deep tissue massage addict.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Hi, my name is BTownGirl and I’m a spray tan addict.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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      • Akirah Says:

        You’re right. There ARE tons of sex addicts in the world. People don’t realize how common sex addiction is. And I’m not saying he definitely IS a sex addict…I just know that frequenting places like these can be a sign of sex addiction. So she needs to talk to him about it and see if that’s what they’re dealing with.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

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        • mindstar Says:

          In my experience a man is called a “sex addict” if his sex drive is higher than that of his wife or girlfriend.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

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        • C Says:

          Drinking a beer can be a sign of alcoholism but I would hardly call everyone who drinks beer an alcoholic.

          One of the other posters described addiction and it is generally not considered an addiction until it is compulsive, destructive and otherwise causes detriment to you. If you told me this guy was getting a rub and tug every day and had to live in his car to be able to afford it, then I’d agree that this is an addiction. I worked with a crack addict who described it this way: “The crack doesn’t care about your job, the crack doesn’t care about your family, it doesnt care about anything.” He described it as something in control of his life. My half brother lost his job, lost his family and once punched his mother because she wouldn’t give him money for alcohol.

          To call a bored guy who gets a rub and tug every few weeks when his girlfriend is stuck late at work an “addict” trivializes addiction in my opinion.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

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      • James Says:

        I love Asian rub and tugs. They are all over here in NYC and for very little money I can be treated like a king now and then. Why do you think they’re so popular?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

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    • Gabi Says:

      You know, I agree with you, and it’s not my denial talking. I know he loves me but I also know he’s extremely limited in his ability to be a real, present boyfriend and all the commitment (whine!) that entails. And yes, love isn’t enough. Love is great, love is imperfect, but love doesn’t justify bad behavior and unhealthy attachments. Sex addiction is something we have talked about before with regard to porn and compulsions of that sort, so I don’t think you’re too off the mark there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

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  6. LostSailor Says:

    Sorry, G, but Mark at the top nailed it and I agree completely with his assessment. Akirah, on the other hand, is wrong, and she’s selling something.

    No, G, he doesn’t love you deeply. He’s a trust-fund rich kid who has never had to face accountability; I’m well acquainted with the type. He is sparse with his communication and “effort” to see you to the point you nearly broke up “several” times over 18 months. Just because you you’ve had some great times together doesn’t equal “deep love.” That’s something you’ve convinced yourself of and why you excuse his behavior.

    I disagree with Moxie that buying sex, short of intercourse, isn’t cheating. It is. It should be a deal breaker. But snooping for credit card statements is, at least for me and I would hope any sensible man or woman, also a deal breaker.

    But it’s clear you really want to “confront” him about this. I think it’s a bad idea, but if you’re up for the drama, what I think isn’t going to influence you. But there is no happy ending (pun intended) here. If you’re going to confront him, Moxie’s advice on what to talk about is perhaps the best way to do it, but G, you really already know the outcome.

    The bottom line is that there is no commitment or “deep love” on his side and there is no trust really possible on your side. You’re clearly emotionally invested in this guy, but the real question is what you think you want as a result of “confronting” him. Do you really think that if you put your snooping and knowledge of his behavior is going to change him? That he’s going to fall on his knees and vow to change his cheatin’ ways? Not going to happen.

    Sorry, G. But you should just walk away from this one, his money and your “great times” notwithstanding, there’s just no basis for a happy, successful relationship here.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

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    • BTownGirl Says:

      I mean, I just can’t imagine what a future with this dude would be like.
      “Could you get up with the baby tonight?”
      “I would love to, but I’ve got to head over to The Happy Hands Spa for a blowjob.”
      The only way this could work is if she was into an open relationship, which clearly she isn’t. Which is okay! I’m not either! As with anything, you have to find someone that wants what you want and sees relationship boundaries the same way you do.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

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    • BostonRobin Says:

      Totally agree. There is nothing to “discuss” here. Any discussion and he’ll just manipulate you into feeling guilty for snooping. He doesn’t love you! If you are really strong and have a good support network, just walk, disappear without a word, maybe leave a note or text saying “you know what you did.” Okay, that’s the Nuclear Option and pretty hard to pull off, but seriously, that’s all he deserves!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

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  7. Craig Says:

    “I don’t happen to classify a rub and tug or oral sex from a sex worker as cheating, and I’m going to guess that a lot of men wouldn’t eithher.” – Moxie

    I somehow highly doubt you’d have such a liberal view of this if it were your man. If you have an orgasm at the hands of someone other than your partner, it’s cheating. There’s no qualification that gets you around that basic truth. The fact that someone pays for the act doesn’t make it any less of a betrayal. So count me as one man who considers it cheating. Sounds like this dude may have a sex addiction issue if it happens repeatedly.

    In this case, I’d confront him on it even though the OP discovered it by snooping. It’s okay to admit that because this relationship is already over anyway. Once you lose trust, that’s it. At least let him know why on the way out the door.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 4

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    • AC Says:

      Good point but I would amend that to having an orgasm at the hands of someone other than your partner or yourself is cheating. Masturbation is acceptable but once someone besides your bf/gf or spouse is involved, it’s a problem.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

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    • ATWYSingle Says:

      I somehow highly doubt you’d have such a liberal view of this if it were your man.

      How about you let me decide that instead of being condescending and speaking for me?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 18

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      • Craig Says:

        I’m neither being condescending nor speaking for you. You’ve known me long enough to know better than that. I’m simply offering a counterpoint to your thought. Such debate is the purpose of this blog, no? My point being, unless it has actually happened to you, it’s speculation to say what your real world reaction would be to finding out another woman jerked your man off for money. I find it unlikely most people would be okay with that. The few who truly would be are most certainly outliers.

        But what do I know? Perhaps your boyfriends get jerked off all the time for money with your knowledge, and you are in fact truly okay with it. In which case I would concede you’re not just speaking hypothetically.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

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        • ATWYSingle Says:

          You’ve known me long enough to know better than that. I’m simply offering a counterpoint to your thought.

          No, what you did was diminish my opinion.You decided to take it upon yourself to decide that I couldn’t POSSIBLY have an objective viewpoint on the subject, despite years of demonstrating my objectivity and discussing at length my views on monogamy and open relationships and sexual versus emotional betrayal. Despite all of that, you still decided I couldn’t possibly have any kind of informed opinion. But then, you call your wife “your woman” so I don’t know why I’m surprised.

          My point being, unless it has actually happened to you, it’s speculation to say what your real world reaction

          And my point is, unless your privy to my personal life (hint: you’re not) you haven’t a clue what I have or have not experienced. You’re rationalizing your bias.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 15

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    • Lisa Says:

      I totally agree w/ you. He crossed the line and if ~I~ were his gf, I’d walk away. Admit to finding the receipts, don’t admit to finding the receipts…it really doesn’t matter. The relationship is over IMO.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

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    • C Says:

      “I somehow highly doubt you’d have such a liberal view of this if it were your man.”

      Don’t assume. I told both my last boyfriend and current fiancé I couldn’t care less if they went out for a rub and tug but they are not to do anything that will bring home a disease. I know women who would leave their husband for watching porn and consider even porn-free masturbation to be cheating and I know at least one woman who said, “I don’t care what he does with other women because I know he is coming home to me!”

      The public persona that men and women put on is so different from what is actually happening behind the closed doors of an LTR, there’s little room for generalities.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

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  8. D. Says:

    Ok, a few thoughts.

    1. Re: “Is it cheating?”

    Who gives a shit if it is or isn’t? The point is whether you want to put up with it, not whether other people would be bothered by it or how we’d define it. If it’s really bothering you, that’s all you need to know.

    2. Re: “I know he loves me deeply.”

    Bullshit. First, if you did, you wouldn’t have snooped, as Moxie points out. Second, regardless of whether it’s cheating, it’s clearly something he knew would be pretty hurtful to you, and he did it anyway. How did he know? Well, aside from the fact that LOTS of people would be hurt by something like this, there’s the fact that you’ve already gotten pissed at him for not calling you and half-assing getting together. But you’d be fine with him paying for handjobs (or more?) at a massage parlor? I don’t think so. So, yeah. He knew it’d hurt. And he did it anyway. Sorry, but that’s not love.

    3. Re: “How do I confront him?”

    You don’t. What’s the point? You’ll confront him, he’ll deny it, then admit it but point out that you breached his trust by snooping, and blah blah blah. Here’s the thing: the handjob massages aren’t the point of the matter; they’re the symptom of a greater problem. That problem is that you are pretty unhappy in this relationship, and it’s not changing for whatever reason.

    There’s really only one reason to confront him about this specifically, and that’s to let him know why you’re adamant about not taking him back or staying in contact with him after you call it off. In that sense, you’re only telling him “I know you did XYZ and I can’t forgive you because of it,” so that he gets the message to not try to convince you to stick it out or whathaveyou. Every other reason is pointless.

    You want that moment of moral superiority because you caught him? It’ll be fleeting when he challenges you on snooping, unless you just don’t care.

    You want him to change his behavior? Not gonna happen. And even if it does, it’ll take a long time for him to really change. Simply stopping going to massage parlors won’t remove the desire to do so nor the underlying selfishness.

    You want to justify your reasons for leaving him? You don’t need to. “This isn’t working and I no longer want to try to make it work” is good enough.

    Just walk away.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

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    • Gabi Says:

      Ugh, I guess this is why I wrote in, I made it about the massage parlor and not the real issue. I’m afraid I’m going to cave and get back with him once he weasels his way back in. I am afraid of committing to no contact and I’m afraid of being able to stick to my word and say no more. I am a sucker for his dimples and big dick. Yes, I stayed with him because of the sex and because he’s hot. Yes, I’m a grade A idiot.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

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      • ATWYSingle Says:

        Check the post I just put up. I answered your question above.

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        We’re all idiots when it comes to love at some point or another. I’ve been in a “I’m afraid of caving when he comes crawling back” situation too and the best advice I can give is to fill your time with fun things and people. This way, you’ll see that the Wrong Dude is really does detract from your life, rather than adding to it like the Right Dude will.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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      • D. Says:

        Ok, but recognize that you are actively choosing this path. If you’re a victim here, it’s because you’re deciding to be. You have the capacity to just…walk away if the pain is too much, but you’re deciding that whatever pleasure you get from this guy is worth the pain he causes you. If you really believe that, then fine and dandy. If not, then maybe it’s time to work up the capacity to say “I’m done with this” and really be done with it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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        • D. Says:

          Also, Moxie’s post in the new thread is spot-on. None of this stuff will matter if you don’t have the mechanisms in place to help you stick to your decision. Rationally realizing any of what I said is irrelevant if you don’t have the ability to put the realization into action yet. But also recognize that deciding to start building a support network for yourself is, in a way, taking action and choosing a different path from the one you’ve been on.

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  9. Kyra Says:

    I’m sorry, but I do see going to someone else for sex when you’re in a relationship, whether transactional or a straight up affair, as cheating.

    I don’t understand Moxie’s assessment that it isn’t.

    Other than that though, she hit it right on the head. Very feeble relationship, and you’ll get more out of a conversation about your future than you will from confronting him about the parlour.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

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    • Lisa Says:

      I disagree. Who is to say he won’t lie? Who is to say he won’t tell the OP, “I see a wonderful, bright future for us together?”

      Then what?

      Who gives a rat’s ass where he says he sees them in 6 months??

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

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      • Kyra Says:

        There is a point where you have to trust your intuition more than what someone says. Either you trust them and you want to stay, or you feel they’re being dishonest and you bring up the massage parlour issue.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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  10. Chester Says:

    I think Moxie is spot on again. The massage is just the red herring. He is going outside of the relationship because things are not working inside the relationship. It’s a symptom, not a cause.
    We only hear G’s description of the man being aloof, but there is a possibility that he would describe G as too clingy. Clingy women always feel their man is too aloof.
    eHarmony has a question: “When in a relationship, how much personal space do you need? 1) none; 2) one day per week; 3)Considerable amount of time.
    If G is a 1 and her partner is a 3, then he may like her but just feel smothered at times. The fact that he is seeking service instead of a relationship with another women could be indicative that he wants it to work with G, but they are not communicating their different needs.

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    • Gabi Says:

      I get it, but I’m not really clingy. Like, at all. I value my personal freedom just as much as he does and definitely need my own personal space in a relationship. I relish my time alone, I really do. These visits went down when he wanted to see me but I just had too much stuff to do on that day to see him. I just happen to have a high tolerance for lazy behavior and a very low tolerance for cheating or sexual indiscretions outside of the relationship. Hence, why this is the catalyst for change for me.

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      • Chester Says:

        OK. I was just asking because sometimes an OP has a perspective and then adds more info and it becomes obvious that her perspective was biased. If that’s not the case then yes, he is not moving the relationship in the direction that you want, then you need to decide if your long-term goals should outweigh your short-term goals. I recall a woman seeking advice where she was waiting for the man to propose after 7 years of dating. It’s just not gonna happen. Be thankful that you only invested 18 months. Also, it sounds like you got a lot out of this relationship as well or you wouldn’t have stuck around. He’s just not going to meet your long-term goals.

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  11. Nicole Says:

    I know no one here wants to give up their role as armchair shrink, but the commenters tossing around the phrase “sex addiction” are driving me crazy. Sex addiction hasn’t been recognized in the past few additions of the DSM, and it didn’t make it into the upcoming DSM V either, due to a lack of reliable research. So it’s not a medically recognized condition. If it is a true disorder, there’s still nothing in the OP’s letter to indicate that her boyfriend is anything more than a sneaky jerk who likes going to Asian massage parlors behind his girlfriend’s back.

    From the Psychiatric Times, 2009 (old but it’s hard to find reliable sources that support the use of the term sex addiction at this point)

    “Addiction has been defined as a condition in which a behavior that can function both to produce pleasure and to reduce painful affects is used in a pattern that is characterized by 2 key features:

    • Recurrent failure to control the behavior

    • Continuation of the behavior despite significant harmful consequences

    Sexual addiction is a condition in which some form of sexual behavior relates to and affects a person’s life in such a manner as to accord with the definition of addiction.”

    We have no idea if the boyfriend has tried and failed to control this behavior. We have no idea if he will consider the OP’s leaving him a “significant harmful consequence”. Maybe he’d rather be single and free to visit massage places. Maybe he’d be happier in an open relationship than with the OP. We’re not privy to his experience here, so trying to diagnose him with a disorder that relies heavily on his subjective distress is silly.

    More importantly, there is something about saying “he’s a sex addict” that just let’s everybody off the hook here. (FYI, a concern about sex addiction becoming a viable defense in rape and incest cases is one of the big controversies about considering it an official mental disorder.) It suggests that the answer is just for him to “get help”. It’s possible he has some kind of compulsion, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a jerk for not being honest with her… And she’s not being honest with him, either, she’s snooping instead of talking to him. Lots of issues besides his sexual indiscretions.

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    • AC Says:

      The whole cheating discussion is open to debate…I tend to think it is but to each his own.

      Any reference to sex addiction is pure psychobabble. The guy gets handjobs from a women besides his gf or wife and he’s an addict?

      That’s an insult to people with real addictions.

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  12. Yvonne Says:

    Excuses, excuses. My boyfriend doesn’t make an effort to see me and only texts, BUT I know he loves me deeply. My boyfriend pays for sex outside of our supposedly exclusive relationship BUT there’s money and no emotions involved, so it maybe it isn’t cheating? My boyfriend pays for sex outside of our supposedly exclusive relationship BUT it’s only because he rich and has money at his disposal. Is he is just not that into you or he is an immature, spoiled brat?

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  13. Gabi Says:

    This is the OP. Yes, this was the straw that broke the camels back for me. Sometimes people have a hard time ending unhealthy and/or unsatisfying relationships due to their own psychology and personal challenges with relationships. I am one of those people.

    I appreciate the judgment but am not surprised by it, it’s easy to judge other people for their weaknesses while writing a comment on the internet. I wrote in because a) I didn’t think this letter would get published and b) I guess I wanted to hear from a wide array of people in the comments section as to their take on it. If I were a totally emotionally healthy and non-fucked up person I wouldn’t have written this letter. I wouldn’t have stayed with him after our previous pseudo-breakups. I spent years and thousands in therapy, and know I’m better than this and beyond settling for this treatment but here I am.

    I know it’s over and I have to accept this and take action and walk away. Doing so in past relationships has never been my strong suit, I have languished in unfulfilling relationships for years and wasted time. This is no different. A previous commenter posted about having a good ‘support system’ and at this point in time, I don’t have as much support as I would have liked. I will admit a big part of staying with him has been a degree of financial dependency. I was and still am trying to pull myself out of financial dire straights and he has helped me out with some of this, for which I am grateful. No, he didn’t pay off all my bills (I wish) but he did help me out with stuff when I needed it. I think I lacked confidence (and still do) to believe I can do it alone. It’s hard to be a single girl in the city, especially a single girl who has a habit of living beyond ones means, like many of us in this city do. (Judge away…) I believe ending the relationship will get me back to basics with regards to building my self sufficiency, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t scare me.

    Maybe he never loved me, but I know he did, to the best of his ability, love me, in his way. Maybe narcissistic, selfish, “entitled rich kids” can only love to a point and settling for crumbs is all that you will get with them. Perhaps this is the case for me. Yes, I deserve more, but I let the good times string me along and I craved the intimacy and companionship and put up with the bad parts. Maybe a degree of masochism is at play here and I enjoyed feeling wronged and getting angry at him, over and over again. I’m not proud of it, but this is where I’m at. Maybe he never loved me at all and couldn’t love anyone and I’m just a big fool who was played. Whatever it is, despite all the negatives harped on in the above comments, I did grow as a person in this relationship and got to do stuff I never did before. He introduced me to new things for which I am grateful.

    I guess the next question, or next letter to Moxie, would be the how — how to end it? How to keep it over and not get sucked back in again? How to build up one both emotionally, socially and financially? These are the foundations that I’ve struggled with and now need to finally get right. Empathetic comments welcome.

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    • Yvonne Says:

      “…I have languished in unfulfilling relationships for years and wasted time…”

      Many people in their twenties and even older have done this, so don’t beat yourself up. Some even marry and stay in marriages way too long. Actually, you seem pretty clear-headed about the whole thing. Good for you for knowing what you need to do. It’s tough work, but it will reward you much sooner than you might imagine.

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  14. Susie Says:

    First, these are NOT massage THERAPISTS, these are prostitutes!
    Massage therapy is a valuable and respectable profession that helps millions of people with pain and stress.

    Second, self-respect is the theme in the article and in the responses.
    Where is your self-respect?! If you think a “r&t” is fine, then you think cheating is fine, and that’s fine. Just call it what it is, and make sure your partner agrees that it’s fine. Betrayal= lying. You’ve entered an agreement of some kind, breaking it is not nice.

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    • AC Says:

      “First, these are NOT massage THERAPISTS, these are prostitutes!
      Massage therapy is a valuable and respectable profession that helps millions of people with pain and stress”

      Umm…I think the readers of this blog are smart enough to figure that out.

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  15. Dan Says:

    “I never left him wanting anything sexually and always made sure he was satisfied. The days he went to these places were days I wasn’t available to him because I was busy and couldn’t drop my plans at the last minute to see him.”

    Doesn’t the second sentence completely invalidate the first? Almost nobody is *everything* their partner wants sexually. Perhaps he had a special attraction to Asian women. Unless you’re Asian there’s absolutely no way you could satisfy that part of his sexuality. Perhaps he needed a different body than yours every once in awhile. There’s no way you can be anyone other than who you are, so that sexual desire could likely never be fulfilled by you, either.

    I’m not making excuses for him; if he knew that he was unwilling to give up sexual attention of other women, he shouldn’t have promised that to you or led you to believe his only sexual experiences were with you. I’m just cautioning you that your apparent need to tell yourself that you are the answer to *all* your man’s sexual needs will likely lead you down this same path again. Better for both of you to have a brutally honest understanding of which of your and his sexual needs aren’t being met in the relationship and decide together what to do about that. Talk about a difficult conversation!

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  16. Maria Says:

    For me personally the big deal here is not whether going to a prostitute is cheating or not but what it says about his personality. I simply believe that no one should think it is ok to buy someone’s body for sex it’s just wrong. This is not just a body, not an object this is human being. Don’t listen if anyone says but it’s ok it’s the oldest profession, yes as oldest as the patriarchy. Vast research has already demonstrated that majority of women end up in prostitution because of lack of VIABLE options, they have been exposed to poverty, domestic/child abuse, homelessness, a lot of them are also victims of domestic/international trafficking. Also he goes to an ASIAN massage parlour not some high end where he can fool himself that the woman is there by “choice”. He obviously gets off on power and doesn’t have a problem getting it up knowing that this woman’s life is full of misery, she is most likely trapped in this situation. Don’t listen to oh all men do that. No cruel men do it. I know men who did it once out of curiosity and after that felt so awful about themselves that they would not consider goin there again. I know men who would never consider going there again. There is no justification for exploiting someone’s misery, not his girlfriend was busy, not sex addiction, DO NOT JUSTIFY THIS, it is a horrible crime against humanity that has no justification. Read Rachel Moran’s book on what prostitution is like for those who are exploited not for those who fantasise about a happy hooker or brush this off ‘not cheating’ or don’t mind ‘as long as he does not bring desease’.

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    • Bree Says:

      I agree. Regardless of whether you think it’s cheating or not, it is a crime against humanity and there is no justification for it.

      I used to be a prostitute myself and it sucked; I would NOT have had sex with the guys if I wasn’t desperate for the money. Just because a lot of men do it and a lot of women are “cool with it” doesn’t mean it’s okay and should be acceptable. It means we live in a cruel world.

      So deluded we are, that when the OP found out that her rich, trust fund, brat boyfriend was exploiting the less fortunate in getting his balls emptied, all she cared about was whether that meant he was CHEATING on her, not what kind of person she’s in a dependent relationship with.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “I simply believe that no one should think it is ok to buy someone’s body for sex it’s just wrong. This is not just a body, not an object this is human being.”

      By that argument, paying anyone to do anything is immoral. However, you only seem to think that in the case of sex, which IMHO is more about your beliefs about sex (probably even without money involved) than about the transaction itself.

      “women end up in prostitution because of lack of VIABLE options, they have been exposed to poverty, domestic/child abuse, homelessness, a lot of them are also victims of domestic / international trafficking.”

      This is part of the problem, but the same moral issue exists with many other industries. Millions (billions?) of both men and women are forced to do things they don’t want to do as victims of poverty, abuse, slavery, etc. So why are you ONLY complaining about the relatively small number in the sex industry, some of whom really are there voluntarily?

      “Also he goes to an ASIAN massage parlour not some high end where he can fool himself that the woman is there by ‘choice’.”

      That’s my main problem with this scenario: brothels (outside Nevada) almost exclusively use slave labor, so by going to one, he is directly and knowingly supporting slavery. (We all support slavery indirectly, but it’s rarely a matter of individual choice.)

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  17. Crotch Rocket Says:

    “Cheating” means breaking the rules. However, every couple is free to set whatever rules they can agree on, so whether any particular act by any particular person is “cheating” depends on context. If the OP and her man didn’t discuss the rules, then who is really at fault–him for assuming it was okay or her for assuming it’s not?

    For the sake of argument, though, let’s say it was “cheating”. That happens either as a result of a failed relationship or a moment of weakness, and I think we can rule out the latter here since there is an established long-term pattern. So, either you work together to fix the relationship or you end it.

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  18. Maria Says:

    @Crotch Rocket
    Prostitution is NOT like any other occupation, even a difficult and a stressful one. This is totally different. It involves invasion of your physical boundaries, it is dangerous and destructive. Even in high end escort prostitution prevalence of rape is on the sme level as in street prostitution. Did you know that levels of PTSD among prostitutes is the same as among war veterans? WHY DO YOU THINK IS THAT??

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  19. Maria Says:

    @Bree thank you for speaking out! more of this need to be heard by those who defend sexual explotation!

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  20. Kayla Says:

    Okay I don’t know which jackass said this wasn’t cheating if u don’t think this is cheating then u simply don’t have any respect for yourself. This is ABSOLUTELY cheating. Do u feel betrayed by his actions and do they make you feel like shit ? That’s because he did something wrong and you should tell him you snooped and why you did and you should be THANKFUL that you did and if you are still seeing this individual please know that this kind of behaviour WILL continue and if you are uncomfortable with it then respect yourself and leave this person behind for your own good.

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