He Slept With Prostitutes


I’m a woman who has been seeing a man for about eight months. He is very nice and sweet to me. However, we went on a trip late last year to the city where he grew up, where prostitution is legal. I jokingly asked him if he had ever had sex with one of the prostitutes, and he said yes. We talked about this over the next few weeks after we came home. He said he had done this somewhere between 5 to 10 times (he can’t remember the exact number) in his 20s and 30s. The last time was 25 years ago, before he got married (he is divorced now). He now says he is sorry because he didn’t realize that many prostitutes are trafficked, exploited, financially desperate, etc., especially in this type of situation (e.g., they were not high-end escorts).

I appreciate his honesty and that we have talked this over, but I am also very bothered by the idea that he could treat women as commodities like this and just pick someone out to have sex with, even though she had already had sex 10-plus times that day, perhaps involuntarily, and almost certainly out of financial desperation, not out of desire to do this. This just doesn’t seem like the right way to think about sex, even for a young person. Especially since by the end, he was well into his 30s, old enough to know better, and many of these women may have been underage, if one believes many of the news and arrest reports in this city. This just doesn’t seem to be the appropriate way to treat people, women or men, and it really bothers me. I can see once or twice when a man is very young, but multiple times (really, every time he visited) until well until his 30s is really disturbing.

I also must admit that I wonder if he did this even more than 10 times but decided he should admit only to 10. That said, everything else is still fine, and he said he would never do this again and wouldn’t even want to. I generally believe him on this.

Should I just get over this, or should I let my discomfort about it end this relationship? If I should get over it, do you have any tips on how I can just let it go and not bring it up again? We haven’t exactly fought about it, but I don’t think he wants to continue talking about it, and honestly, he’s said about all he can say.

– Thank you


Only you can decide whether his past is a deal-breaker. Some people wouldn’t be disturbed by what he did more than two decades ago, but you are. The question is: What do you need to know to make peace with this information? What else can he say to end this conversation for good?

Really, it sounds like he’s said all the right things – that he wasn’t thoughtful enough about how prostitution works in his hometown, and that he has no interest in seeking out this experience again. You say that you “generally” believe him.

The answer to your question will be clear if you focus on that adverb. If you do, in fact, believe him, you should be able to move on, even if it takes time and biting your tongue. But if “generally” means that you don’t trust him, this is about more than what he did when he was in his 30s.

– Meredith

Readers? How can she put it out of her mind? Should she?

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