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Tuesday 2 September 2014

"Escorts 'saving marriages' make me shiver": Real-life story

After the huge social media storm generated by the story on Samantha X ('outed' as Sydney journo and mum of two Amanda Goff - read the whole story and see the clip here)…

...one woman approached me to tell her side of the story on the other side of the fence… when one woman is burned by her husband visiting an escort. This is the fall-out, in her own edited words:

"When I met Joseph* (not real name), I had been through my fair share of heartbreak. I was a single mum with a 5 year old little girl, who had little contact with her dad; and, as I was from overseas, I had no family here. No grandma and grandpa for her, no aunties or uncles. I had to be everything. I did my best to give her a happy home.

Dating as a single parent is tricky. You have to consider carefully when is the right time to introduce a prospective new partner to your little one. 

Joseph was very warm, affectionate, I laughed a lot with him. He was shy at first, but once he opened up, he talked non-stop. He made my heart sing, and I found myself falling in love again for the first time in a few years. I was excited and scared all at once. 

When the time came to introduce him to my daughter, everything fell into place. They bonded easily, she was over the moon about him and over time, as our relationship developed and we later married, she called him "daddy." He was effectively the only daddy she had known for most of her life since her biological father had little contact with her and lived in another state with his new family. 

However, not long after we married, I noticed Joseph started acting a bit differently. He seemed tense more often, and we weren't connecting the way we used to. He seemed distanced and we argued a lot. I asked him what was going on, if there was anything I could do to help; he said he was just stressed. I still felt a bit uneasy, and I asked him if he was having an affair; he was insulted and angry I could even suggest such a thing. But I felt something wasn't right. 

Time went on, and we tried to improve things; we had wanted to have a baby as he didn't have any of his own, and we wanted a sibling for my daughter. I was ecstatic when I found out we were expecting. 

Sadly, the excitement wore off, as I later discovered that my husband's withdrawal was for much bigger reasons than I expected and my heart was about to be shattered yet again.

I received a message one day on Facebook, of all places, from some mystery woman, let's call her Fiona, saying that she had met my husband on a dating site, and how stupid and naive I was that I was married to this guy while he was on dating sites and dating her and telling her he wanted to be in a relationship with her. I was stunned. 

Her Facebook messages continued, increasing with harassment and detail, and also "tell Joseph I'm pregnant". I cried. I confronted Joseph about it, and demanded to know who she was, for she kept creating fake accounts to contact me, which would not allow me to reply to any of her messages. She could just keep harassing me from multiple accounts at will and it hurt. A lot. 

Joseph denied he 'did anything' with the woman, saying that he met her before he even met me and she was 'some crazy chick' who he met for coffee once but decided not to go any further as he wasn't interested in her, and she didn't like being rejected and started to harass him to the point he had to change his number. 

But things didn't make sense. 

Her messages continued and I again demanded Joseph explain who she was so we could report her to the police for harassment. He claims he couldn't remember her full name, didn't know where she lived, or have her number anymore. I didn't believe him.

So, in light of this, I was a bit naughty and installed a key logger on our computer and I was able to find out a lot more. A word of warning: if you go looking for something, you WILL find it. And the question is: are you prepared for what you will find? I wasn't.

I discovered it went much deeper. I found out that not long after we married, he was indeed registered not on one dating site, but many, including adult sites. He was also contacting escorts on Locanto, a free website where there are a lot of adult ads. I found a number another lady he cheated on me with - let's name her Mary.

Of course, what runs through your mind? Was I not pretty enough? Thin enough? Did I do something wrong? While I was home cooking and cleaning and folding his clothes, he was out sleeping with this woman behind my back? That's how I get repaid for my love and loyalty?

I found photos of her and found she was larger than me, so clearly it wasn't size… Gathering up much courage, I called her. I had to know. 

She was actually really nice, and under other circumstances, could see how she could easily be a good friend. When I spoke to her, I was again astounded. She told me a heartbreaking story, how she was a single mother, with a 2 year old little girl; she had been with her partner for 7 years and pregnant, when she found out he was cheating on her with another woman who also became pregnant at the same time. She was understandably devastated, broke up with him and moved back in with her parents. She eventually got the courage up to try dating again, went to a dating website, where she met my husband, and told him this story, and explained to him that she really wanted to make sure the next man she is with is honest, a family man and wants a long term relationship. He looked her in the eyes (knowing he was married to me and I was pregnant) and said: "Yes, me too' and 'if you're good with me, I'll be good with you, no lies."

She was shocked to learn that he had been living this double life. I was so hurt. I couldn't believe he could lie so easily to so many of us and not even consider for one second the heartbreak he was causing, not only for us adults, but the children as well. 

Not long after I discovered the extent of his lies, I kicked him out of the house. It was messy. It was heartbreaking. It was hard. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and terrified to tell anyone the truth. I kept up pretences, when people asked about how things were going with us, I said 'fine' and kept posting family photos on Facebook for my family overseas, to pretend all was fine, when really I was falling apart.

He was adamant he wanted to 'fix things' and promised to not go on any dating sites, etc. 

During the time we were apart, it was very hard. Being pregnant, feeling your swelling belly, the baby kicking - a time that's supposed to be magical, wonderful, family. I was alone. 

I started to feel unwell later in pregnancy and was told I had an STI [sexually transmittable infection] that could effect the uterus. I had been tested regularly before I was married, and was only with Joseph for years, so I knew full well where it came from. He seemed more worried about himself than the fact he endangered me and the baby. 

Even through all this, I felt like we were Christians, married, we were having a baby, and we should try to fix things, and frankly the idea of being a single mum again now with two children terrified me. I encouraged him to get help; he went to see his GP and got a referral to see a psychologist, but he refused to go. He refused marriage counselling. He did keep coming to visit me, but the connection was dead. I kept thinking about him with these other women every time I saw him and it pierced my heart. I actually wanted to hit him, it hurt so much.

I asked him why he did it and why does he keep doing it. He said he never meets them, he does it because he is bored, or 'I don't know'. I ask 'but surely, what is the point of asking an escort what her rates are, what she does, and if she is available" if you don't have any intentions of meeting up with her"  and he replies things like "I was curious" - to which I reply, "Well, after you have an answer a couple of times, then you would know, so why keep asking others?" and asking how is that going to fix things between us, when we separated because of this? 

He was with me in the labour room the day our son was born. He cried. I thought for sure, something would click in his mind that he is a father now, and he should stand up as a man and think of his son at the very least. 

But I discovered he registered on a new dating site the very same night our son was born after he left from the hospital. He used photos of himself from our wedding day for his profile. I cannot tell you how much that hurts. 

I have been completely alone since our son was born, since no family could come and I couldn't go back home. Trying to raise an 8 year old girl and a newborn baby with a broken heart is hard on the best of days. 

Reading articles about how escorts "save marriages" makes me shiver. If men need an escort, clearly something else is going on. How about the man simply tells the wife he isn't getting enough or wants something different? Because I bet quite often the wife feels the same way - why can't people just be open and honest and say 'you know what? I don't want this life. I'm going to let you go find something else rather than tearing your world apart while I go explore my options"

People also seem to remain naive about STIs. Just because you use a condom doesn't protect you entirely, there are still skin conditions and various other ways to contract stuff, and condoms aren't 100% safe or foolproof. And just because you get tested every 3 months or however long - doesn't prevent either, because some things take a long time to show up. And lets face it, when you sleep with one person, you're not really having sex with that one person - you're effectively going to bed with many, many people. 

So, is it worth the risk? Does the ego stroking and momentary pleasure really outweigh the incredible damage you to to the partner you supposedly love, and the impact it has on the children? Anyone that tries to convince themselves that it's all ok, is seriously deluding themselves. 

As for me, facing the reality of being a single parent to two kids from two different dads is really tough. I have cried a lot. It has made me feel like I'm doomed to be single forever. It makes me feel like I can never trust anyone again. But, as I look into the eyes of my two amazing children who look at me like the most amazing woman on Earth; I know it's not really like that.  Sometimes bad stuff happens to good people, and we have to hold our heads up high and march forward, one step at a time, no matter how small they are at first. I know I'm beautiful, smart, talented. I'm a good catch. One day, I'll meet someone who sees that, and thinks I'm enough for him, and doesn't need all that drama on the side. One day.  But for now, it's time to fix the most important relationship of all - the one with myself."

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