Husband calling escorts but probably not seeing them. What should I do?
November 13, 2011 7:53 AM   Subscribe

My husband is calling "escorts" but I have no evidence he is meeting them and actually doubt he is. What do?

Me: 30's. Him: 10 years older.

First marriage for both. He is the BEST husband. He is loving, affectionate, considerate, respectful, clean, hardworking...I don't know how to quantify or qualify how wonderful my wifely experience has been.

Upon dating seriously, he immediately introduced me to his entire family and friends. He begged me to marry him (in a romantic, not pathetic way). We spend 99.9% of our free time together.

Caveat: Please understand that using "fat" in the perjorative is his terminology, not mine. I am reflecting his assesment of women to me, not mine. I hate that term.

We both work about 50 hrs/wk, across the street from each other. He can't leave his desk and asks me to drop by anytime (so I'm guessing he isn't leaving for lunchtime trysts) We have no kids and earn six figures each so have no inequalities or money stresses. We both are into fitness but not crazed We have not had sex in about a year because he thinks I am "too fat," but I am only about 10 lbs over my weight when we are dating (I was very skinny) and I do get hit on by other men all the time We have been married 3 years.

So, I went to the computer to look up miniature donkeys or some shit, which I always do. It was sleeping and I moved the mouse and it woke a search for personal services in our local rag online. I'm like, WTF. It seriously took like 15 min to set in, and am am not stupid. I have a Ph.D., for fuck's sake, but apparently I am too dumb to choose a husband. So I decide to close it and confront, but carefully, ego-sparingly.

So I go to him and say the dreaded words, "We need to talk." He is so awesome that he immediately says, "Honey, anytime, I love you so much, what do you need?" I melt. Anyway, I ask if he has ever felt the need to go outside the marriage sexually (by the way, we are monogamous by explicit agreement). He is all, god no. So then I push, ask, suggest, tell him I'm okay as long as we talk about it, because honestly, I am. Oh, no, no.

So then I start to look at his phone occasionally. Let's not devolve into a snooping convo here, because fuck that, and also, he gives me his phone and asks me to answer it daily when he is running. I look at the numbers and google a couple. Bam. Some fucking escort site for a fat African-American woman. Nothing wrong with that, but I am married and hope he would not bang anyone else of any ethnicity. Also, she is huge and his reluctance is stated as my weight. The call was a couple of minutes long and she's saved as a contact (her name is something like "Fantasia"- I can't remember).

So I have no evidence of anything, no missing hours, and a coupla minute call. Okay, maybe the call gets him off?

Months pass, nothing happens.

Friday, he tells me he is going to run an errand. He gets back and I get a feeling. While he is outside, I look at his phone and google the number he called during the errand. It is an escort. She is fat. I sack up and call her. I am nice and say it isn't her fault, I'm not mad at her, but did my husband call her at noon? She claims she was sick all day. She offered to block all calls from this number (nice of her) but I told her it was my cell so it was irrelevant.

WHAT THE FUCK should I do? I tried being open and honest. I have no evidence he has actually DONE anything other than call. I do NOT give a shit about porn or even other stuff as long as we talk about it. I offered a 3some with my hot friend (who I know would). Help, please.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (84 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Are you interested in staying married? You need to be in therapy together, starting yesterday.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:58 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Let's pretend your relationship is communicatively as open as you say it is. You confront him again with, "We need to talk." then you proceed to say, "I know you are calling these escort services. Have you hooked up with any of them?"
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 7:59 AM on November 13, 2011 [18 favorites]

Your husband does not sound like a nice person. This: We have not had sex in about a year because he thinks I am "too fat,"

does not match up with this: He is loving, affectionate, considerate, respectful

And, based on what you've described, I think it's clear he is lying to you. Honestly, I'm not sure what the next step is for you because it sounds like it's too late for therapy. If it were me, I would be looking to get a divorce.
posted by Lobster Garden at 8:00 AM on November 13, 2011 [79 favorites]

"He is the BEST husband."

does not equal

We have not had sex in about a year because he thinks I am "too fat"

You have a nice roommate ("loving, affectionate, considerate, respectful, clean, hardworking) who is probably at least having phone sex with other women, if not more.

"apparently I am too dumb to choose a husband"

This is not true. Your husband is being an asshole, and his actions are not your fault.

Counseling for you, immediately. Counseling for the two of you if you both agree that you want to salvage the marriage.

You deserve a million times better than this.
posted by HopperFan at 8:00 AM on November 13, 2011 [48 favorites]

You haven't had sex in a year. If you're content to be roomies with this guy, then why bother to chase down his outside recreation? if you want to be married, DTMFA.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:03 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

What the hell. 10 pounds? This guy has some sort of problem - you probably should not go a year sexless in a marriage without resolving the issue, like ever, but that is lame. A real husband would not be looking at/for escorts, regardless of the issues. Massive breach of trust. Dump him - life is too short to spend it with assholes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:06 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

There are glaring red flags all over your post, but honestly? You don't need to confirm anything about escorts, lying, "fat" fetishes he may or may not have, phone conversations, or even whether he's a loving husband and partner.

He doesn't want to have sex with you, his wife, because you're "too fat." Done. There is really nothing more relevant than that. DTMFA and find a partner who wants you and respects you.
posted by lydhre at 8:06 AM on November 13, 2011 [23 favorites]

I'm so glad to hear that. You are totally not insane. Your husband is being a complete bastard.

This is clear DTMFA territory. You sound fantastic, you can do soooo much better. There's a wonderful man out there who wants you and will be clean, hardworking, considerate, affectionate, and will not pathologically lie to you and make you feel sexually not good enough. You can do so, so much better.
posted by clockzero at 8:21 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

This guy has been altering your reality by LYING. Because he is a closet asshole. You have been being honest with him and he refuses to be honest with you. Also the weight thing? WTF?!?! I already tend to think that if a guy can't handle sticking his dick in you if you weight 10 pounds more, life is going to be difficult for him and maybe he shouldn't settle down with any woman, but in this case, the guy is just flat out lying to you about something/everything. You can't trust him no matter how loving he acts.

It's not you! It's him!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:23 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yeah, nthing everyone on the, We have not had sex in about a year because he thinks I am "too fat," but I am only about 10 lbs over my weight when we are dating (I was very skinny). How as that not a red flag for you? Two years into your marriage and he stops fucking you and you don't think anything is wrong?

I think your husband prefers BBW women and doesn't want to admit to it because of the societal view of large women. And he simply lied to you about why he's not sleeping with you. No man stops sleeping with his wife over 10 pounds.

You need to have a serious and honest talk with him, yesterday, where you let him know that you know he's been contacting BBW escorts and that a sexless marriage is unacceptable. I don't think you can save your marriage, people get turned on by what they get turned on by, and you are not what turns your husband on.
posted by shoesietart at 8:25 AM on November 13, 2011 [24 favorites]

I just wanted to note that the question shows up as anonymous to me, if being outed as the asker isn't something you want I'm sure the mods would be happy to delete your comment if you ask.

"We have not had sex in about a year because he thinks I am "too fat," but I am only about 10 lbs over my weight when we are dating (I was very skinny) and I do get hit on by other men all the time"

This is pretty much a lot of kinds of not ok. Not only are you not having the copious awesome sex you should be having, but he is blaming you for it, not addressing the issues he has that are behind it, and not talking to you about those issues.

You can do so much better than this asshole, DTMFA
posted by Blasdelb at 8:26 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, you've mentioned a bunch of stuff that registers on this classic mefite list (NSFW-ish tasteful sex toy add) It might be worth looking at to see if you identify with any more.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:29 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Red flags: he had to beg you to marry him. No intimacy for a year -- he blames you for this. A discovered Internet search sends you spiraling out of control, promising threesomes to keep you together. You don't need to be with this guy. You need therapy for yourself. I don't know what is wrong with him but there's something really not right. I'm not sure why you would want to salvage this.

I'm married and I don't think I live in an alternate reality. Neither my spouse nor I would be happy with that.
posted by amanda at 8:30 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: OP, we anonymized your question for you, your follow-up comments will NOT be anonymous, please email them to the contact form if you want us to post a follow-up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:30 AM on November 13, 2011

You want to stay in this relationship, am I correct?

I am going to give him the benefit of doubt and say He is ashamed of what he's doing and he thinks that he can get over on you with lies because you let it go.

Tell him you'd like to go to marriage counseling to address issues of intimacy and honesty. If he starts to sing, great. If not, it helps to have someone else tell you two what is necessary to repair the marriage.

There is something terribly wrong when there is no sex in a marriage, agreed?
posted by Yellow at 8:31 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

My "alt reality" comment addressed OP's comment that has been removed. I'm so sorry you're going through this, anon. It really sucks. But, I think I'm not alone in saying: this is not what marriage is about. There's a certain thinking: you take the good with the bad in a marriage. But there has to be good faith on all parties in their actions toward each other. Your husband seems to be playing some kind of game with you. I'm tempted to speculate but that wouldn't be fair to you. It's not right what he's doing. Full stop.

Only a therapist can help you two get to the bottom of this. But what then? If it were me, I don't know that I could trust the guy again - not about escorts but about his ability to fully love and accept me. Good luck. Take care of yourself first.
posted by amanda at 8:38 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how much saving there can be of a marriage where (a) the guy is lying, (b) she points out to him that she knows he's lying and offers him honesty, i.e. I won't throw a fit if you tell me the truth, and (c) he would rather keep on cheating and lying. And (d) he is flat out telling her something that makes her feel guilty/wrong/like shit and blaming their lack of sex life on her fatty mcfatfat 10 pounds. No matter how sweet and affectionate minus sex he acts otherwise, there is enough seriously bad behavior going on here that makes me think this guy is a giant liar and thus not savable for marriage.

That kind of thing is what prompts a DTMFA.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:41 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

It took a year of couples therapy, and separate therapy for each of us, for me to come to the conclusion that my marriage could not & should not continue. There were so many things wrong, but I believed in him, and I believed in marriage. Later, the realities set in. See a really good marriage therapist. Maybe he can find a way to be a full participant in your marriage, and be kind to you. Maybe you can learn to value yourself, and to see that a man who declines to have sex with you, blames it on you, and calls you fat, when you aren't, is being unkind and manipulative. He is actively lying to you. His sex with prostitutes may even put you at risk for STDs.

This must be incredibly painful for you, and certainly not easy, but there are some big issues here that need to be sorted out, and I think a really good therapist is the way to go.

You are at high risk for divorce. Protect your assets. Everybody thinks the money doesn't matter before the divorce, and during a divorce, and after, it does.
posted by theora55 at 8:43 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

OP has already, in a roundabout way, asked him what was going on, and he wasn't forthcoming. She can be more direct, but may still get the same response, and not be satisfied because a) the no-sex for the gaining weight thing and b) an escort's number that he has programmed into his phone list. Couple the above with the fact that there are already Gift-of-Fear-worthy red flags about the background of this marriage, and I understand why there are so many calls to DTMFA.

This is a cycle of emotional abuse, and abuse often continues because the abused partner turns the other cheek, doesn't want to not be nice, gives the abuser the benefit of the doubt, etc. The degree of abuse ramps up but because the abused one is deep into it, s/he doesn't notice what would be appalling to a third party.

Healthy, adult, long-term relationships don't involve the sort of nonsense outlined by the OP.

She can confront him directly, then proceed into individual and/or joint counseling, but the bottom line is that she needs to protect herself emotionally, physically, financially. Putting up with lack of trust isn't going to accomplish that.
posted by SillyShepherd at 8:50 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

The no sex in a year because you're "fat" was a red flag way before the sex line. I don't like to say this often but DTMFA.
posted by radioamy at 8:53 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

So I go to him and say the dreaded words, "We need to talk." He is so awesome that he immediately says, "Honey, anytime, I love you so much, what do you need?" I melt. Anyway, I ask if he has ever felt the need to go outside the marriage sexually (by the way, we are monogamous by explicit agreement). He is all, god no. So then I push, ask, suggest, tell him I'm okay as long as we talk about it, because honestly, I am. Oh, no, no.
I would re-do this conversation. Don't tell him you're OK with having sex outside the marriage if you're not (and it doesn't sound like you are, and why would you be?). Do tell him what you have seen and what you suspect instead of just sort of hinting and hoping that he'll come clean. See how he reacts and what he says and take it from there.

I don't know if he will have a believable story or if he will come clean, or if he is even doing what you suspect.

But really, what I suspect? He's a bastard and your marriage is or over.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:54 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Dump him. Do not try to fix it. He's emotionally abusive and manipulative, given that he called you fat and that he's capable of blatantly misleading you while appearing open, nice, supportive, etc. Who knows what it is, but he is getting something out of this marriage at your expense. I cannot think of an explanation for those two behaviors put together that don't add up to "personality disorder", and those cannot be fixed, only contained, plus the person who suffers from them has to want to contain it, and no one ever arrives at that conclusion from an outside source. Maybe he's a sociopath, maybe he has NPD, maybe it's something else entirely, but this is not just a case of your husband having a thing for fat black ladies and going behind your back for phone sex. He has no compunctions about hurting you in order to manipulate your emotions and keep you in a state that is desirable to him. DTMFA, cut off all contact, and get therapy for yourself. Run the hell away.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 8:56 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Adding to others that this is emotional abuse. There are tons of marriage and sex issues where I would suggest counseling but this ain't one. Your next call should not be to his newest escort it should be to an accountant (yours not his) and then to a divorce lawyer.
posted by boobjob at 8:56 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Mod note: Few comments removed. Folks - please do not turn this into an argument with other commenters. If you don't like it here or don't like it in these threads specifically, no one is making you stay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:01 AM on November 13, 2011

I think you need to be even more explicit the next time you talk to your husband, and provide enough in your conversation that he can't weasel out of it with a simple denial.

With phone records in front of you both: "You are calling Fantasia and this other person, who are both fat escorts. You refuse to have sex with me due to my weight. We have a monogamous marriage. Why are you calling escorts? Why are you calling fat escorts? And why are you not having sex with me?"

I think the way he handles that very honest assessment and set of questions will tell you what you need to do next. You might also think about why, when being rejected so hard, you are resorting to throwing your friends into the mix, accepting a year of no sex, etc. I know you love him, but there should be limits as to what you will accept from any person. Has he not crossed those limits yet?
posted by Houstonian at 9:03 AM on November 13, 2011 [31 favorites]

WHAT THE FUCK should I do?

Ask yourself this: What would make you happy? What popped into your head right after you read that question? Now ask yourself, is that scenario viable, is it one that keeps you safe and secure, one that would have your best friend smiling and hugging you as they exclaimed how happy they are for you?

It's ok to want be in this marriage, to still want to love your husband and to work towards that goal.


You need honesty and communication. I'm not talking in the generic sense, but about YOU, the person who wrote this question, i.e. this part: "I do NOT give a shit about porn or even other stuff as long as we talk about it".

Whether you realize it or not, you've stated your boundaries, what you want and what you need. It's what one of your anchors for happiness. Are you getting this in your marriage? If not, is it possible to do so?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:06 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Based on what you tell us about him, this guy is a loser, or worse. Based on your assessment of him being "awesome" and "loving, affectionate, considerate, respectful," your ability to judge character seems to be really terrible to the point of total delusion.

Sorry to be blunt, but that's my read of the evidence you present here, and I think it might be helpful for you to consider these two points.
posted by Philemon at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

To be honest, I am *shocked* that he won't sleep with you over 10 pounds. It sounds like he's a sleaze who wants a trophy wife and is really good at manipulating people. It also seems like he's using the no-sex to control you. You assert so many times that it is a fantastic marriage -- it comes off forced. Do you have to reassure yourself of that all the time? Because if you do, it's not.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

You seem to be accepting a lot of interalised blame. Ignore everything else and focus on the lying. Does anyone ever deserve lying? Is his lying your problem to solve? Can you stop anyone from lying to you? These issues are all out of your control. I'm sorry, i'd make one appointment with a couples counsellor, give him the chance to be honest and if he can't be, accept that he is that way by choice (and as someone in his forties he basic character is a lot less flexible than someone younger). I am so sorry.
posted by saucysault at 9:09 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am glad you have a good job, I am glad you caught your husband. Now it is time for you to get a divorce and have a chance at a good relationship with a partner that will treat you with respect and accept you for who you are (10 pounds extra and all)!
posted by sandyp at 9:20 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Your husband's actions are not in your best interest or that of your marriage. He is being sneaky, manipulative and emotionally abusive. The fact that he programmed the escorts number into his phone makes it really clear to me: this was not a spontaneous one-off; he fully intends to pursue /communicate with this escort again. It's good that you know what's going on (as painful as it must be) but it also strikes me as odd that your husband wasn't more careful with regard to the computer and his phone. It makes me wonder if he wasn't hoping you'd come across this information (all I can do is speculate, but this is exactly what would cross my mind if I were in your shoes--why wasn't he more carful? Is he testing you or playing games? Is trying to torture you?). I'm sorry you are going through this. If I were you, I'd get individual therapy for myself first. Talking this out will help you decide whether pursuing therapy with your husband is in your best interest. Good luck.
posted by marimeko at 9:29 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think it's really unlikely that he would be calling escort services just to call them. Also, a prostitute is not going to tell you who their clients are if you call them
posted by delmoi at 9:35 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Holy crap. Pitchforks, they are so trendy this time of year! I don't think we're in DTMFAville here, but I think you need to be really concerned and insist he treat your concerns witht he same urgency.

What you do is confront him with your concerns. The appropriate response to "Honey, anytime, I love you so much, what do you need?" is not melt but rather "The escorts, what is that about? Spill."

Also, Mr. Melty and you need to be in marriage therapy pronto, regardless of his answer to that question. Not having sex for a year because you have gained 10 pounds is huge red flag. You not confronting him with the actual evidence of his searches months ago is a huge red flag. The calls are also a flag but honest to God, I don't think they are as important as the things we all know rather than suspect
posted by DarlingBri at 9:35 AM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Another thing occurred to me.

The call was a couple of minutes long

If you mean, 2-3 minutes that's probably not long enough to get anyone off, and phone sex may not be the main income for an escort? It is long enough to make an appointment. In addition to talking, therapy, dumping, or whatever you choose, I'd do the practical thing and get an STD screen just in case. I know it's been a year, but maybe he's been into this for the entire time you've known him. I would not keep it a secret from him that you are getting screened.
posted by Houstonian at 9:38 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes, do something like what Houstonian says. Discuss it all, including your quite justified, imo, snooping on his phone. I really don't agree with "Now it is time for you to get a divorce" type of advice because, despite the problem you have here, you've stated that "he is the BEST husband" and you should know. Marriages that last are often marriages that can cope with this kind of stuff.
posted by londongeezer at 9:42 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You have to be brutally honest, want the truth, and give the truth. Reality has to shine some light into the shadows here.
posted by jade east at 9:47 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I read through your question, and I am left feeling completely ungrounded. I cannot tell what would count as good advice for you. And here's why:

Where are you in all of this?

You mention your husband thinks you're fat, but you do not say how this assessment makes you feel. You say you have not had sex in a year, but you do not say if you want to be having sex, if you're upset you're not having sex, or if you're happy with it. You try to spare his ego when you talk to him about the escort service on the computer, but did he try to spare your ego when he told you you're too fat for sex? You told him that you're fine if he gets sex elsewhere, but you don't make it clear if that's how you really feel. You go so far as to tell the escort on the phone that she's not to blame, but you don't say how you feel. You've given us so much information about the situation, without saying a single thing about yourself. So, where are you? Who are you?

I think you should work on figuring out why a question about your husband potentially cheating on you has so few references to your feelings. I think you should ask yourself why you would write a question that focuses on your husband calling you too fat for sex without actually mentioning how that makes you feel. A counselor or therapist could probably help you with this. Maybe even just keeping a diary could help. Get out a piece of paper and pencil, then go through this question: for every declarative sentence you have written here, write down how that sentence makes you feel. Are you happy? Are you neutral? Are you angry or sad? (Here's a hint: if you feel totally devoid of feeling about the fact that your husband thinks you're too fat for sex, you really should see a therapist.) Only after you've gotten a good hold on how you feel, should you talk to your husband.

Now, you want advice about what to do about your husband. I haven't given that. But, here's the thing: we can't tell you what you should do when you're not clear on how you feel. You won't be able to understand what to do unless you acknowledge your feelings, own them, and let them guide you. Emotions are good things. Emotions tell us what our standards are, what's in our best interest, what we need. If you don't pay attention to how you feel, you will not be able to ensure you get what you need.

Oh, and one last thing... If your husband ever tries to tell you how you should feel, don't listen to him. Your emotions are your guide to what you need; if he tells you your emotions are wrong, what he's doing is denying your needs. Don't double guess your emotions -- even if you think you might be feeling "irrationally," that's okay. Irrational feelings should be worked out with a therapist, but they're still there for a reason. Even if your needs involve things you don't (rationally, cognitively) think you should need, they're still your needs. In short: your emotions are you, and they matter.
posted by meese at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2011 [54 favorites]

Stop letting this guy manipulate you. You "melted", really? Because he cynically knew which buttons to press to exploit your good-faith caring for him? Come on, think about this for a minute. He tells you he won't sleep with you over 10 pounds, really? You deserve better than this. Being alone is better than this. The calls to escorts are the icing on the cake, but there is plenty of manipulative, emotionally abusive, lying asshole cake underneath. There are actual nice guys out there, your husband (and I use the term in its legal sense only, since this person is not acting like a real husband would) is definitely not one of them. He has your number, and you are letting him have it, it is time for you to get your shit together - see a therapist and GTFO. Marriage does not have to be like this. At all.
posted by biscotti at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2011 [9 favorites]

No, no and no. He is trying too hard to be the conciliatory husband: affectionate, seemingly open, saying he wants to make you happy in every way. You want him to be the perfect husband, as anyone would. You believe him, and it sounds like you shouldn't.

Let's look at all of the bright red flags.
1 - NO loving husband would ever say you're fat. EVER.
2 - A year without intimacy is a huge indicator of bad things.
3 - He has the escort's number in his phone. Now you're looking at a deliberate act, not just a phone call out of curiosity. (Not that I think that's a good idea.)
4 - He's making himself out to be the perfect husband.
5 - "Begged" you to marry him? You say it was in a good way, but your word choice negates that.
6 - You feel so strongly about this that you offer a threesome, and you still sound like you'll do anything to make this work. It sounds like you've invested your feelings and he still hasn't.

He can say he cares about you without caring about you. I'm sorry to say it, but DTMFA. This is not the way a loving person behaves. You don't have kids, so when you divorce him, you can move on. Then you need to go to therapy, because you're looking for something and this has probably warped your expectations.

You can do this. It will be better, because you deserve someone that loves you; you don't deserve to be a cover.

Full disclosure: I missed your response, but really, nothing good can come from this. If you want to talk, memail me.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 9:55 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was just talking with my GF about this question and she pointed out how un-noticeable 10 pounds of weight gain is. I think that was a pretty good point.

This is definitely odd. I think your husband has issues that you can't begin to sound the depths of without the help of a licensed professional psychologist. He may think he's not attracted to you because of the weight (I'm skeptical) while at the same time being turned on by the filth of dabbling in fat prostitutes ... It could be a perversion that is sort of separate from what turns him on about you. Does that make any sense?

In any case, he sounds like a gross loser.
posted by jayder at 9:58 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

1) "Fat" is not a pejorative term. It's a descriptive one. It would be awesome if everyone could knock off the, "OMG HE CALLED YOU FAT?? THAT'S THE WORST THING EVER!". There are worse things to be called, I can assure you. Also, who cares that the escort is black? The fact that she is fat and black has nothing to do with the problem here.
2) DTMFA, like most others have said. Even after counseling, I'd have a reeeeal hard time trusting/loving/liking/having sex with a man who was trying to buy sex from someone, regardless of their race or weight, unless that was something accepted in our relationship.
3) You can do way, way better. I'm sorry this happened.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 10:09 AM on November 13, 2011

1) "Fat" is not a pejorative term. It's a descriptive one. It would be awesome if everyone could knock off the, "OMG HE CALLED YOU FAT?? THAT'S THE WORST THING EVER!".

Fat is a pejorative term in modern society to most people, whether it should be or not. Politics are not an excuse for bad behavior like this. The OP is clearly and explicitly unhappy with the label, finds it insulting, and her husband is certainly aware of that and aware that the term is insulting to most people. The reason people keep citing it as an issue is because he is behaving in a cruel and unusual way. OP, please do not fall into the trap of excusing or downplaying his behavior to you this way, or downplaying his deception because you didn't come up with the right magical phrasing to get him to answer your question fully and honestly.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 10:20 AM on November 13, 2011

I'm in the DTMF camp, too, but I want you to please, please not blame yourself or fret over what you've wrong or what you can do to "fix" the situation. Truth is, he's probably always had a fascination with/fetish for overweight black women. (There's nothing wrong with that, unless said fetish hurts an innocent party.) An insatiable one. But being in a respectable 6-figure-type of job, he probably didn't think that a wife of that description would "acceptable" to his co-workers, clients, and maybe his family. Maybe he is incapable of monogamy in any case and just thrives on the thrill of a different escort at every encounter. I just get the vibe, per his falling all over himself to get you to marry him and his saccharine-sweet "Honey, anytime, I love you so much, what do you need?" response, that he needs you for appearances' sake. That sounds terribly harsh, and I apologize, but I hate to see you waste any more time with a man that might well be "using" you. He was in his 40s when he married you, you are his first wife....his family had probably been badgering him about "when are you going to find a nice girl and settle down" and he wanted to allay their fears that there might be something "wrong" with him.

Again, I apologize for being so blunt, and I pray that you don't feel bad or feel like you were naive or stupid or anything else - this wasn't your fault. Many, many highly intelligent women have found themselves in similar situations.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:20 AM on November 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

Write down date and time of calls, duration. When you searched for the number online, print that page from your browser. It will be dated when you print it.. Photocopy cell phone bills and highlight those numbers. Write down when you called that woman and spoke with her.

Keep these records updated, and keep them at a friend's house. This is not the time to feel embarrassed about this with friends or family. You can keep these logs on a locked box, if you want, but keep it at a friend's place.

When you have enough, file for divorce. Always keep those files at your friends house and don't tell anyone else about them, only a lawyer.

If for some reason he refuses divorce, or makes the divorce difficult, now you have something that will give you leverage.

Oh, no, I'm not a lawyer.. but this is what I would do in your situation.
There is no maybe, you need to leave this marriage. I don't know you, but, if this was your best friend, or your sister, we are talking about, what advice would you give them? Would you tell them to stay with this man?

It happened, and it's not your fault, you couldn't have known better. But you have to leave, for your sake, for your happiness.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 10:25 AM on November 13, 2011

I find it interesting that nobody here has done the usual MeFi thing of saying "You found a row of severed heads in the fridge and you use that as an excuse to snoop on his phone and computer?!? You are just as bad for snooping as he is for serial murdering! DTMFYou!!!"

Instead, only one person has even mentioned the snooping, and that was to tell you you were justified.

You also mention that you have a certain amount of access to his phone and computer so I think it's likely he left those clues there for you to find. Either to security-test you, or (and this is what I think is more likely) because he wanted to manipulate you into jumping through hoops, offering threesomes, accepting that you're not his type so he can get permission to indulge his "fetish" and still remain married to you.

He's only paying lip service to being respectful, wonderful, whatever. His actions tell a completely different story, as others have already pointed out.

Now, in addition to feeling fat and undesired, you are feeling "stupid" for choosing the wrong husband. It is not "stupid" to marry someone who talks and acts like they love you and who continues to do that for two years of marriage. The way you phrase it suggests that you think the whole marriage was an act from the very beginning, which may be why you think yourself "stupid". But if it was an act, you could hardly have seen it coming could you? Most people fall in love and get married in good faith, why wouldn't you believe the evidence he showed you that he was just doing what normal people do all the time? Engaging in this kind of emotional manipulation is completely bizarre and out of the normal range of human experience so no wonder you weren't expecting it, because who in their right minds would?[1]

But I do think it's bizarre emotional manipulation/abuse, we all do, because he conditioned you by saying you grossed him out by gaining 10 pounds. This isn't even like run-of-the-mill cheating to indulge some kink; he's enacting a plot the target of which is you. It doesn't really matter what he's "really" up to because I personally find it unimaginable that a person of his age who would engage in this kind of weird manipulative plotting is ever going to start relating to you like a sane person.

Although I don't want to be flippant about a marriage, adultery is sufficient grounds for divorce in a "legalistic" sense, but adultery is actually the least of your worries in this situation.

[1] Only someone who'd experienced anything like it themselves, and you hadn't.
posted by tel3path at 10:27 AM on November 13, 2011 [11 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
Thank you so much for your kind answers. I am clearly in an alternate reality and truly believed my weight gain forced him to solicit escorts. The only reason I asked was because they were, themselves, overweight. I suppose if they were thin I would have not questioned it.

Your comments are helping me understand emotional abuse and investigating my options.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:32 AM on November 13, 2011 [13 favorites]

Plus, the only way you could have verified that the weight gain was not the reason why he lost interest was to lose those ten pounds, which is very difficult to do when you're already really thin - in all likelihood you would never get back to your original weight and put him on the spot by saying "I lost those ten pounds, let's do it!!!"
posted by tel3path at 10:34 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Meese's answer seems to resonate with me, only because I at least am not sure of the outcome you seek. Most people on this thread, for valid reasons are in the DTMF camp for reasons already discussed. But is your question should I DTMF? How should I confront him better? How to specifically resolve this?

You might not know right now what the best resolution is, in a marriage, emotional crisis like this who would, ergo,

perhaps if counseling, counseling for yourself, or a counseling equivalent that would help you come to a decision as to what you want. After that the practical matters of how to get what you want will (with some difficulty) follow.

If what you want is no call girls, sex, and no passive aggressive hatred of you gaining ten freakin' pounds, but to preserve the marriage, then things like couples counseling, some seriously frank talk, and maybe even "supervision" of his accounts until you can trust him is on order.

If you decide that DTMF is the course of action, then it is a question of who gets what, where to live, how to divide assets, etc., etc.

But (and I hope *I* don't sound judgemental) it seems to me, from your post that you are not 100% sure of what you want - which is fine and expected when confronted with this, hence primary answer to the question of "What do?" is to get help, either professional, or friends, guri, etc., to help you answer what you want done.

I also think it is likely DTMF is the inevitable result no matter what only because my gut tells me he wants to be dumped - i.e. - he wants out but can't muster the courage to do it, (which BTW is why he is so passive aggressive sweet on the outside) so if he pulls shit like this long enough, you will get exasperated enough to DTMF which I think is what he really wants.

Life is too short for that.
posted by xetere at 10:46 AM on November 13, 2011

The no sex in a year because you're "fat" was a red flag way before the sex line. I don't like to say this often but DTMFA.

I want to favorite this and all the other comments that say the no-sex issue is the red flag, except that I don't think it's automatically DTMFA grounds. You won't know that until you find a way to squash the lying and have a real conversation about what's really going on. He could be lying for any number of reasons. He doesn't want to hurt your feelings, he's mortified but can't stop himself, whatever. Some of those reasons are dumb, but they can be real to the person doing the lying.

When you offered honesty-amnesty that time... he knew. He knew you knew, and he was too embarrassed or afraid to have the conversation. So if I were you, I'd try to find a way to get him into the conversation, preferably willingly. So Houstonian's plan is probably good, but how you open it up probably is going to make a huge difference how it goes. An hostile opening of "can you explain these phone calls" is going to go differently from "You've hurt my feelings. I think I know what is happening and I don't know if I can live with it. I know I can't continue having it be left unsaid."

Here are some topics that "the talk" might end up ranging over, just so you can kind of prepare your thoughts:

What would HE say if you suggested that you want to go out one night and hook up with some guy you find more physically attractive than him? Would he encourage that? How would you feel if he did go along with that? Is an open marriage acceptable to you? Would you feel better if he had sex with you, but still made appointments with escorts? What would happen if you really did get fat?
posted by ctmf at 10:49 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

You definitely should see a doctor and get yourself checked, pronto. And again in a few months. And again in a few months. You may have no evidence that he has seen these women, but you have no evidence that he hasn't, either.

Now, do you want to save your marriage? Then you need to communicate with him that you have a)snooped and b)seen these things and c)you want to talk about where the two of you should go from here. Don't pretend to be okay with anything less than the marriage you want to have. And neither should he.

If you don't want to save your marriage (and you're in shock, hurt, and distress so it's natural to not be sure what you want right now -- seriously, think about it), DTMF and don't let him gaslight, guilt, or charm his way back in. Awesome husbands don't act this way, but marriages can be fixed and strengthened if both people are willing to work at it. This is up to the two of you.
posted by sm1tten at 10:51 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Therapy could be an option but for that to happen he'd have to admit that they have a problem. He has to stop lying.

I didn't see your follow up but I caught your username that was mentioned by someone else. You sound like a person who takes care of her body (in a fit and healthy way not a vain way), you know that you're not fat. You know that even with an extra 10lbs you're not even on the upper end of 'healthy' let alone overweight. That right there should have had you calling BS on him when he gives that as a reason for lack of sex. Its very likely that your weight gain is not the issue. He may or may not know the real reason but it seems like his libido is not the problem. If he can't be honest with you, you can't even begin to address the problem (as a couple).

No-one deserves to be treated like that. OP, you're young, fit, smart and you make a very respectable wage. I don't know you but on paper you sound like a real catch. You can do so much better.

It seems like you maybe have some self-esteem issues? You're bending over backwards to please this guy while he lies to you and insults you. You've been more than understanding - but you need to consider, if all he's after is phone sex, why is he looking up local prostitutes not a phone sex line? He either has or is considering employing the services of one of these women or he gets off on the idea that he could.

"Honey, anytime, I love you so much, what do you need?"
That right there is a weird thing to say in response to "we need to talk". Too gushing. I might expect "what did I do?" or "what's wrong, hun?". Does he normally talk like that? To me that's either a deliberate manipulation and/or he meant for you to find that page. If nothing else you need to straight up confront him about that. No beating around the bush, no protecting his ego. Don't accept his BS either. You know he has called at least 2 of these women.
posted by missmagenta at 10:53 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

True love is acceptance, and trust is at least as important (if not more so) than love in making things work out in a marriage.

Anytime someone else's lying gets put back on YOU when it's questioned, that's a red flag. Seriously, the words "I love you" are like... they're like a "gateway phrase" to some people. You hear those words, believe them, and then when the behavior from the person saying it doesn't match up, you give them WAY too much benefit of the doubt because you want to believe the words instead of the actions.

A lot of people answering are telling you to be cautious because they've been there; the least you can do for yourself is get temporary peace of mind by getting an STD test and asking him if his refusal to sleep with you for a year was to protect you from possibly suffering due to his extramarital escapades.

Even if he's not having sex with these escorts, he could be having them sit on him to induce mock suffocation or he could be a feeder (you can google that, I'm not posting links) or some other similar, non-sexual but still-fetishized activity involving women of a particular size that gets him off that he's too ashamed to ask his wife to do for him. Maybe he's got a secret life and he wanted the perfect "arm candy" wife to throw off people's suspicions at work, or whatever. You sound like you love him and want to work through this; however, if he can't talk openly about what's going on, you need to realize that you cannot fix this by yourself.

Until he starts being honest with you, your marriage is a lie. Decide how much work you're willing to do without him doing the same, set a deadline, and protect yourself from being manipulated any further by seeking therapy - both individually and couples counseling if he will agree.

It can't hurt to consult a divorce lawyer to see what the options are in your state, but don't discuss that with anyone until you've made your decision - and obviously don't look up divorce lawyers on your home computer if you're worried about that.

You have my deepest sympathies, but you're smart and will find a way to get through this. You're just facing a different kind of problem than you've encountered before. Good luck!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:54 AM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I second this answer, and add that if you two share a home computer profile and he uses that to browse personal ads, and has saved escort contacts on the phone he allows (and, it sounds like, requests) you to answer, he isn't covering his tracks very well.

"I have a Ph.D., for fuck's sake, but apparently I am too dumb to choose a husband."
Unless your PhD is in fortune telling, his actions are not a reflection on your intelligence or personal judgement.
posted by variella at 11:03 AM on November 13, 2011 [12 favorites]

I agree with the person who said to make copies of the cell phone records and keep them in a safe place. A friend of mine used such records in an ugly divorce and won- got everything asked for.

Please don't be too hard on yourself, most of us have been sucked in by people who ended up letting us down badly. Get some counseling for yourself, reach out to friends and family, and take good care of yourself.
posted by mareli at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You say you have no evidence that he's actually patronizing these prostitutes, but actually, you do. The calls are only 2-3 minutes long -- that's not long enough for phone sex, but it is long enough to set up an appointment. He has their numbers programmed into his phone, so he's calling the same people repeatedly; this isn't some crank call "hurf durf I called a prostitute" adrenaline-rush thing. Honestly, what else WOULD he be doing, finding out movie showtimes? There is not a single logical explanation other than that he is seeing them professionally.
posted by KathrynT at 11:07 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

I hope that you'll find yourself a therapist to discuss what's been going on in your life before you seek marriage counseling.

You're not stupid, but your sense of normal has shifted. You've believed in this relationship for so long that even though you're able to understand that something is wrong, I don't think you can see the unhealthy dynamics that are playing out.

So, I'm suggesting that before you try to work on the relationship, you focus on yourself: take some time to talk to a therapist about your feelings and desires. Sort out what you want. Talk about your assumptions about relationships and get a sanity check. Strategize your next steps with regard to your marriage. Ground yourself in a healthier sense of normal.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:14 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

KathrynT: Or that he has somehow platonically befriended one or more of them, or has some sort of other reason. (stupid bachelor party organization? research for something at work?)

Not that any of those are likely. But they are possible and logical.
posted by ctmf at 11:16 AM on November 13, 2011

Just to share, there is a terrible book called "Jemima J" that has a very similar plot: a guy gets a very thin girlfriend and rags on about weight gain, but turns out to have a fetish for obese women and needs the thin girlfriend for status and to deny his true feelings. The tawdry behavior of your husband is predictable enough to be a trope in a cheap chick-lit book.

I was left totally disoriented after I read the beginning of your question and then hit "we have not had sex in a year." I'm really sorry that this is happening, and I echo others that therapy is a good plan. I know it's hard, when you love someone, to see big flaws, but you honestly could have stopped the question at "we haven't had sex in a year because he thinks I'm too fat" and there would have been outrage here, regardless of the escorts. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, but it sounds like your husband has a lot of issues that he really needs to work out, and that his shame and self-hatred and being projected right to you. Don't let him make you feel inadequate because he's afraid.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:25 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

He is the BEST husband.

Boy is he ever not. My vote is skip the couples counseling, DTMFA, get some therapy just for you, and stop blaming yourself for this shitty situation.
posted by naoko at 11:31 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Get a lawyer today. This afternoon. Document EVERYTHING. And maybe stepping away for a week to think on your own might not be a terrible idea? Do you have close family or friends out of town that you can go visit and pow wow with while your own feelings settle? It can be hard to make good decisions about your future, your own feelings, and what is best for you when you're trapped in an emotionally abusive situation like this.

It sounds, frankly, like you are being lied to, manipulated, and gaslighted. Loving your wife means looking out for her happiness and best interest. No man who was truly a good, loving husband would ever do this to you.

Good for you for taking a hard look at this situation.
posted by anonnymoose at 11:36 AM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think your husband did stop sleeping with you because you gained those ten pounds, but that the mechanism involved is very different from anything you and or other answerers have so far suggested.

Your husband regards his own fetish as a terrible, obsessive affliction he must do everything in his power to suppress.

Those ten pounds have turned out to be enough to trigger that fetish, and he feels compelled to avoid sex with you to avoid giving that fetish even more power.

I'd guess that not only is he obsessed with obese women, the sex he can't help wanting to have with them is not consistent with their dignity as fellow human beings, if not their physical safety and well-being, and he can't bear to think of subjecting you, his beloved wife, to that sex, whatever it is.

I'd also guess he was so anxious to marry you because at first, he was attracted to you and able to have sex with you without awakening his fetish.

But no longer.

Such sexual obsessions are not so easily escaped, however. If it hadn't been the ten pounds, it would have been something else, probably sooner rather than later.

Your husband needs to see a therapist who specializes in helping people deal with paraphilias
posted by jamjam at 11:37 AM on November 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

If you mean, 2-3 minutes that's probably not long enough to get anyone off, and phone sex may not be the main income for an escort?

Just as a point of information, escort and phone sex worker are two totally different jobs. "Sex worker" is a very diverse group and it would be both rare (and odd) for those jobs to be done by the same people.

2 - 3 minutes is a perfectly sufficient amount of time for someone to get off. It's a recurring problem in phone sex; guys get themselves to the edge and then call a phone sex service, at which point they get off from the dipatcher's voice before the call has ever been patched through to a phone sex operator or any credit card information taken. Usually the fact this is going on is transparent to the dispatcher, and this is part of the kick for the punter.

This is not a pattern seen with escorts. Escorts would hang up on you if you pulled this since they are not in the business of giving orgasms away for free. For a 2 - 3 minute call, I would guess he's maybe ringing and asking something - it could be explicit or it could be generic, and there is no way of knowing if he's using these calls to (really discreetly) masturbate for free or to fuel future fantasies or for some other reason entirely.

I offer up this information because the mechanics of various sex work seem to be something of a mystery and I don't want to OP to get snowed by her husband's potential lies. Of all the explanations, "I am calling escorts and storing their numbers to get off on the phone for free" is IMHO very unlikely.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:55 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

I completely disagree with jamjam.

Other people have said it up-thread, but this:

We have not had sex in about a year because he thinks I am "too fat," but I am only about 10 lbs over my weight when we are dating

IS A LIE. The ten pounds is NOT the reason you have not had sex in a year. I can guaran-damn-tee you that if you lost ten pounds, your husband would not suddenly be interested in having sex with you.

I'm so sorry this is happening; he truly sounds, well, awful. I agree with the others who have said that you need to document everything, and get some support via therapy.
posted by Specklet at 11:57 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: From the OP:
I am learning so much from my question, and I thank you for making that possible. Cheers, and again, sorry I was a pain in the ass - it was not my intention and the iPad thing kinda threw me off. I owe y'all all beers.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:59 AM on November 13, 2011

So sorry. This is not your fault. He's lying and being emotionally abusive. You're not supposed to put up with any of this. He's not a wonderful husband.

You have two options.

To stay, this is well into ultimatum territory: he has to, has to stop lying to you. Show him that you know he's been lying and make it clear that any further lies are the line that means "end of relationship" to cross. Then he has to accept a schedule to enter therapy to work through the abusive behavior (laying this on you is totally unfair) and the fat-paraphilia.

To leave, well, you leave. Document what you know to be the proximate causes, get a lawyer, and initiate a separation. You have ample justification to feel that way; you had it with "no sex for a year because you're fat".

You're getting strong reactions here because a lot of people are hearing you asking for help having drifted into territory they would not let themselves get to. You have to learn to set and defend your own boundaries much more firmly. You can do that now, before confronting him, or later. But it's work to do.
posted by ead at 12:01 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I recently dealt with a guy like this. He said the right things to make himself sound sensitive, genuine, a bit shy, was so eager so answer questions, had his story all laid out: divorcé with three young kids, hadn't been with a woman in a year (since his divorce), had been working on himself and his view of relationships, was delighted to "finally" have met someone like me...

It lasted a year. I thought I'd finally found a neat, down-to-earth, genuine guy I could see a long-term future with. Then he phoned his "new" girlfriend from my house. Claimed he'd been dating her for two months. He was soooo polite and sad and contrite about it. Except that he never actually apologized. He said it was my fault because I should have known better. Then hugged me(!) and said he still wanted to sleep over because he thought I was wonderful. Then texted me for three days straight after I kicked him out, with such charming things as "I still think you're more attractive than the woman I'm seeing!" (I had told him, specifically, no contact whatsoever, fwiw.)

I contacted his "ex-wife", who'd tried to email me a year earlier. Woops! It was actually his mistress of three years. Woops! The "new" girlfriend was his mistress of one year. Oops-a-daisy, he had two women in two other cities!!!

What worries me is similar to what meese said upthread: you haven't said a word about your feelings. I was like that too until recently. Thought that relationships were based on open communication, believing the person, respecting them, giving them equal importance, hearing them out, not being "demanding" or "overbearing" or "playing games" – do you see anything about my feelings there? Just as you, in your post and your responses, have focused on being a Good Wife. Which is, yes, highly important. All of those things are indeed critical to a good relationship.

So are your feelings. What do you feel about these things he's done? Not his words, but what he has done. Does he show any regard for or curiosity towards your feelings? With his actions, not just his words? Do you know, in your heart, that you are cherished by him, or does he, in fact, hurt you and never effectively apologize for it?
posted by fraula at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
I am a successful, I think, product of an abusive home and I have spent a lot of time reading and seminaring about what is "healthy" in a relationship. I continue to learn and this OVERWHELMING response allows me to realize I am putting up with "abuse" - I never would have realized it was abusive. The members of ths community have given me faith in humanity.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

IANAL. I do not know much about your situation - i.e. how financially dependent you are on each other, if you signed a pre-nup, etc. That being said, I would suggest that if you are considering divorce, and you can arrange for the services of a private detective without his discovery of such, you should do so. The detective can help build a case against your husband that may be helpful to you in divorce proceedings, and/or provide you with information that may clarify your feelings on the matter.
posted by muirne81 at 12:37 PM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

One more thought from me, OP. My perception is that lots, if not most, women your age would view no sex in a year as a huge problem. That you're leading with "he's a wonderful husband" and only later reveal the no sex thing, is rather telling. You've lost touch with what makes a great relationship.

I think some guys, your husband too, maybe, enjoy the whole magnanimous/caring/tell-me-anything-I'm-here-for-you act when it's really a sham. It's almost a paternalistic thing, "come to Daddy, tell Daddy what's bothering you, baby," and your comment that you "melted" is really super-telling that you're getting played. No woman I've been with has ever "melted" when she confronted me with something that bothered her and I said "sure, let's talk." Melting under such circumstances is an odd dynamic and suggests you're in a vulnerable place (perhaps from past abuse?).
posted by jayder at 12:46 PM on November 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

I disagree vehemently with jamjam. OP, especially if you are a product of an abusive situation as a child, do not under any circumstances buy into the line that your husband's issues surrounding his fetish/infidelity/whatever matter, and that he's going to see escorts behind your back and refusing to sleep with you because he loves and is trying to protect you. It may or may not be what he tells himself, but that reduces you down to a passive actor to be "protected", and is a fundamentally and profoundly flawed way of relating to another person. Do not let yourself be tempted to "get to the root" of his issues, or excuse them with some kind of rationale, he will just use that to keep manipulating and lying to you. His issues about sex and fatness and what's behind them do not matter, what matters is how he relates to you and how he treats you.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:46 PM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Okay, so you should leave this relationship. If you stay this not really going to work out in any way that will be of benefit to you.

Chalk this up to a bad/weird experience and move on with your life ASAP.
posted by mleigh at 1:00 PM on November 13, 2011

Yep, jamjam's scenario is plausible but please don't stick around to find out all of the ins and outs of your husband's fetish. Seriously, no sex, he's a liar and can't be trusted, you're highly educated with a well-paying job-LEAVE. But do it right with excellent lawyers, therapists and records of the calls. Good luck, you can totally do this. Next week you can ask the classic 'how can I start over' and you will hear so many stories of people overcoming things and moving on to an excellent next chapter in their lives.
posted by bquarters at 1:12 PM on November 13, 2011

The idea that he would be calling prostitutes( for a year?), saving their contact no's into his phone, and not ever meeting up with them, is magical thinking indeed. You do need an STD sceen, ASAP.

Also let me tell you, I have been down this road, and the lying will not stop. Trying to protect the status quo can go very far - when I sat with my ex and showed him emails he'd written to other women, he denied he had - someone else got into his account and done it! (Except of course they mentioned his name, old workplace, family etc). He's too used to getting what he wants at your expense by being superficially "nice" and getting out of situations by being charming/using strong enough denial - playing on how much you love him. There will always be some new awful shit to find out. Life's too short to be looking over your shoulder all the time, second-guessing yourself and being made to feel worthless (and a little crazy) by someone who sees you as a means to an end. You are a smart, capable woman who acted in good faith and you have nothing to be ashamed of. 30 is not too old to find someone who will love and respect you. The sooner you free yourself up so you can be open to that, the better.
posted by everydayanewday at 1:14 PM on November 13, 2011 [14 favorites]

I am a successful, I think, product of an abusive home and I have spent a lot of time reading and seminaring about what is "healthy" in a relationship.

Oh, OP.... So have I. So have I.

I'm a lot like you, I think. I have a PhD. I've been in some pretty messed up relationships. Everything I said in my message above, about how I read your question? Everything I said applies to me, too. And, lastly, I had a bad childhood. My therapist keeps bringing up the words, abuse and neglect, but I sometimes have trouble applying them to my situation. I spent all of my high school and college years thinking, "Things were bad, sure, but look at how successful I am! My parents must've done alright, given that I get such good grades and have never broken the law." I understood my healthiness as nothing but a function of my external success, and that let me really downplay what I went through as a kid.

What I've been struggling to come to terms with lately is that this is a defense mechanism. When I was growing up, if I had needs, no one would meet them. So I stopped admitting I had needs. I wasn't emotionally distraught, broken, and struggling to even breathe... Oh no, I was getting good grades! I took the fact that I didn't rely on others for emotional support, that I do not express anger, that I hide sadness from everyone -- I took that as a strength. And, for a long bit of my childhood, it really was a strength, because it was what helped me survive. I put on the mask that said, "I'm okay! I am a success! Things sucked, but I have no problems!" because that's what I needed at the time; but now, as an adult, I'm learning that it was just a mask.

My therapist has been helping me understand this. She's been helping me see that, while totally ignoring and denying my emotions as a child was an important key to my survival, now days it is actively hurting me. She is helping me see that I was wrong when I used to say that I turned out okay; yes, my successes are awesome, but I am also an emotional wreck with little sense of boundaries and a tendency to let people walk all over me. Just like, from what you say here, it sounds like you are letting your husband walk all over you and have taken this as a successful relationship because he says "I love you" -- nevermind if you are unhappy, or discontent, because that's all just that icky emotion stuff that gets in the way. I survived, and I think you survived, as a child by hiding away all that messy, painful emotion-stuff and taking for granted that I didn't have painful emotions. But now that we're not children, and we are not in conditions of abuse or neglect that we cannot escape, denying those emotions does nothing but hurt us.

Does this sound right? Again, I am saying this all because so much of what you say, and how you describe yourself, sounds like how I talk and describe myself. I could be wrong. But, if it sounds remotely correct, please see a therapist. There's a better way of life. Abuse gives us scars; and I think much of how you understand yourself and how you are reacting to your husband is due to those scars. Life is better once you work to make them fade.
posted by meese at 1:27 PM on November 13, 2011 [35 favorites]

YIKES! This is not good. Your marriage is a sham. You and your husband either need to divorce or couples' therapy. Good luck!
posted by wandering_not_lost at 1:31 PM on November 13, 2011

Melting under such circumstances is an odd dynamic and suggests you're in a vulnerable place (perhaps from past abuse?).

This is a good observation.
One of the key differences between my abusive relationship, and the healthy ones I've had, is the heightened emotionality of the abusive one. Don't get me wrong - the boyfriend makes me super twitterpated - but there is a key difference between the tone of our conversations, especially the difficult ones. It is a difference between:

ME: I am upset and concerned about X.
NICE BF: Oh no! I'm sorry. I didn't realize. When I did that, I was really trying to do Y.
ME: Maybe next time, in a similar situation, we could do Q.
NICE BF: Sure. Or how about R?
ME: That's good, too. *hug*


ME: I am upset and concerned about X.
ABUSIVE BF: Oh, of course you are; you're too sensitive. What's the worse that could happen? You know I love you, don't you, and will take care of you for the rest of our lives, no matter what happens. You are the most amazing woman I have ever met, and it just KILLS me that you are worried about this. So let's not.
ME: Yeah, but...what about X?
ABUSIVE BF: God, you're so GORGEOUS and it's just KILLING me to see you upset like this. Maybe this is just too much for us to handle right now, so let's not think about it. We'll deal with it later. It's not a big deal, at all, and it's really just ridiculous that you're getting so worked up over it, especially since I will NEVER hurt you and will ALWAYS take care of you. Here, let me buy you Shiny Expensive Thing to get your mind off it.

Every conversation filled me with such intense emotions; most of the the time I was all melty because of his response, it was because I was afraid that he was going to do something else (much scarier) and was so relieved to hear him say such "nice" things about me...even though he was just turning the conversation around so he wouldn't have to actually answer my questions.

By contrast, even the emotionally sensitive conversations in my healthy relationship feel kind of...boring and low key in comparison. We can talk without having to always make Big Declarations. I can ask him something without him acting as though merely responding is doing me a huge favor, or without him performing some saintly-patneralistic lover schtick.

Consider that.
posted by sock puppet of mystery! at 1:33 PM on November 13, 2011 [42 favorites]

Just stepping in to say this guy is sick, and he's got you thinking he's the best husband ever after denying you physical intimacy for a year? AND blaming it on you? AND kisses your ass into a foggy lovey-dovey state until you forget about what you are really worried about?

what possible explanation could he have for putting you through the emotional attack of telling you that you're too fat to fuck for a YEAR (which is frankly way more than enough to get out) but then call a bunch of obese escorts? He is a piece of garbage. His respect and empathy for you is about as deep as a rain puddle.

run. no fixing. no letting him back in to fuck with you some more. run. the fuck. away.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:47 PM on November 13, 2011 [9 favorites]

It will probably take you a while to realize this, but your best course of action is to DTMFA. And I say that as someone who is almost never in that brigade. If he's actually as nice as he seems to be (and that is not precluded by his bad behavior in other aspects), this doesn't have to be an incredibly antagonistic process. Upsetting, yes, drag-out yelling and hatred? Not really required.
posted by wierdo at 1:51 PM on November 13, 2011

...even the emotionally sensitive conversations in my healthy relationship feel kind of...boring and low key in comparison
Yes, this. Healthy conversation about a sensitive topic means understanding emotional needs are serious, paying attention, and keeping your cool and not diverting the topic, so you can hear all that needs hearing and say all that needs saying.

The work of adapting to one another looks and feels routine when it's working right.
posted by ead at 1:56 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am clearly in an alternate reality and truly believed my weight gain forced him to solicit escorts. The only reason I asked was because they were, themselves, overweight. I suppose if they were thin I would have not questioned it.

I think you've probably already figured this out from the thread, but it's not part of a healthy marriage for one party to be calling escorts without the other's knowledge or consent. Weight, race, gender and possibly species of the escort don't have any bearing. I am just telling you this to add to the cumulative reality check.

Where weight does come into it is that if sexual intimacy is an important aspect of your and your husband's senses of well-being as individuals and as a couple (and it isn't, necessarily, for every couple), simply dismissing you as unfuckable because you've gained weight, whether 10 or 100 pounds, devalues you and the marriage. Again, cumulative reality check. If it mattered to him to have sex with you, he'd work with you to find a way to stay turned on, even if your body had changed a lot more than putting on a few pounds. I can't say what matters to him, but it's not sharing a sex life with you. Maybe there are aspects to this marriage you find super-rewarding, and that's a good thing, but if having a sexual partner who values you sexually is high on your priority list, you need to consider if and how you can get that from this marriage, and if you can't, whether you can live with that.
posted by gingerest at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

What do you usually do when you discover someone is lying to you?

I think you should not tip your hand to your husband until you have thoroughly dug into his phone records and such. You need a baseline. He could be lying a little, ad he could be lying a lot. I think you need to know what the lies are before you confront him, suggest therapy, or consider more serious action.
posted by jbenben at 4:03 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've never suggested therapy before because I've never been to therapy and don't really know what it's like. BUT, I wish you would talk to someone about this, some outside observer (aside from us). Because it sounds to me like your husband has done a number on you. Your idea of what a good relationship should be like sounds seriously skewed to me, especially in that you are accepting all sorts of things that devalue you in this relationship. I hope you can get some outside perspective and realize you are worth more than this.
posted by chickenmagazine at 4:25 PM on November 13, 2011

Nothing in this question adds up. Is it his phone? Is it your phone? She was sick all day? Did the professional woman actually say he never called?

He not only didn't cover his tracks in the 21st century, but left the browser open to a personal services search? Like a local paper or something? I surf some crazy shit, but I've never had any interest in "personal services". As the poet said, "knowing how way leads on to way..."

You're able to reverse phone search the numbers he calls and you find a large pro. AND he's saved the number in his contacts on a phone (his phone?) he lets you use.

You're ten pounds over skinny? He's in his 40's? Did he actually SAY you were too fat while not under duress?

Let me be apparently the first to suggest that there might be an amazingly unlikely but true and reasonable explanation for this. I won't begin to suggest why a man in his 40's might go without sex with his desirable wife for a year. Or what that condition might mean to a desirable wife in her 30's and how that could be interpreted.

I will suggest that you come clean about the information that you have. You can protect yourself with the methods described above. It's really scary to air your deepest fears with the one you've trusted with your life, but maybe it's worth it to try.

"Who is Fantasia? Why did you call an escort? Why did you save that contact on your cell phone? Tell me the truth. Why aren't we having regular conjugal visits?"
posted by stubby phillips at 7:44 PM on November 13, 2011

I think your husband is being emotionally abusive and I won't go on about that, as others have done a good job.

But I have to wonder if he wanted to get caught. This might be part of the abuse (alone), a turn-on or some need to get help.
- left browser open to search
- saved numbers on your phone
- saved numbers on his phone

Wanting to get caught does not mean he's a good guy. But it seems to me that he's either clueles about covering his tracks or he wants to get caught.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:36 PM on November 13, 2011

« Older Cut this person off OR stop being so judgemental?   |   Pantech Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.