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Strip Club, Lies, Lost Trust - need advice and perspectie

12586 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Young at Heart
The story that’s eating up my mental downtime. I’ll start with the nutshell version in first paragraph in case you don't want to read the entirely of details below, I appreciate any input! I am 45, husband is 2 years younger. We are on second marriages after being divorced about 7 and 10 years respectively, and have been married almost 2yrs. My two girls are 15 and 12, and his daughter is 16. We have what I feel is an awesome thing going. He is positive, fun, can be silly, likes to keep things light. He works hard and adores me. He is committed to me and my girls and that goes both ways. I saw him as my rock- other people refer to him this way too. I am on the deeper side, but I laugh hard and keep an awareness of balance with everything. My family loves him, my girls count on him.
Here’s the dagger that has brought up significant trust issues for me and I can’t figure out how to resolve these feelings and thoughts after trying in many ways to process. 4 months ago while attending a national sales meeting in Austin, he went to a strip club. He lied about it until he got home a few days later.

I was on slight edge before he left town because basically he is in a male dominated, ego-driven atmosphere with this company, and he was getting the quota bonus. The theme of this thing is very ra-ra and about numbers and power. I don’t personally know any of the other and some much younger guys from other territories but there is one guy who is his partner I do know, and he goes to strip clubs on the regular. I don’t like this man for many character-based reasons. H stayed in touch with me the first night. All fine. Normal night out to dinner. Drinks at a bar. Hotel by 12. On the second night we were in touch but I fell asleep after having early dinner. When I woke after midnight I had an intuitively horrible, unsafe feeling, so I got up, checked doors and alarm, checked on my daughter, and then realized the feeling was about my H. We are on the App Life 360 as a family- I looked and it showed him going from dinner to a regular bar on 6th street, then way past his hotel and then the history just stopped in a more industrial part of town. My gut knew immediately.

His phone was unable to be located the rest of the night and he didn’t turn it back on until maybe 9am. It was a terrible, sick feeling to imagine what he might be doing. I looked up strip clubs in the area and there were two within blocks of where he disappeared on the map.

The next morning he called early, I asked how his night went and what they did. He told me they went to dinner and a bar and back to hotel. So I said where did you go after that? “Nowhere.” I didn’t push. I was too sad and tired, really. I remember thinking, well great now I know my husband lies to me, I’ll go feed his dogs now, I’ll forget about our week long cruise we were just on, I’ll forget how I celebrated his birthday this week as a family, how I held his hand and cried with him a few days ago when we put down his 14 year old dog, and he can forget about me and do whatever he wants when he leaves town. I’m not good enough. He wants something else. He got his exwife a boob job, mine are small. So many thoughts running through my head. I had multiple sporting events to get my daughters to that morning, and was so shaky mentally, just overwhelming sickness deep in my gut.

We talked again late morning when I finally caught a break by myself, He was going on and on about how he wished I was there, that he didn’t know he’d have a room to himself and how much he missed me. I got the courage up to tell him what I saw on the App and asked straightforwardly- Did you go to a strip Club and turn your phone off last night? He denied it. He said they were drunk and told the driver the wrong turn and his phone died but that he went back to the hotel.

He began to tell me how much I mean to him, that he has never felt this good in any relationship. All these things that I know are true but also made me aware of his guilt. He heard my voice crack when I asked him the question, and he gave me reassurance, told me he knows how I feel about those places and how he wouldn’t do that because he doesn’t care to go anyway. All this he has always told me. There was no explicit rule, but before getting married it was discussed as I needed to know if this sort of thing would ever be a part of his life or desires in any way. Because of what he does sales-related, and because of this partner, on several occasions before and since being married, I let him know that I need honesty, that it couldn’t be something he would do outside of our relationship, that I considered strip clubs a creepy version of infidelity -unless I am with him.

So now he is all of the sudden desperately trying to get home early to me. He has another night there but stays in touch, consistently texting and calling through the day and night. I play it very cool- kept my distance a little. I hoped he would call and tell me the honest story, and of course, a large part of me was trying to believe his made up story. Later I find out that he wasn’t able to sleep at all that last night.

When he gets home the next day (earlier flight) he acts weird, nervous, very clingy- even volunteers to run to grocery store with me which is last on his list normally of favorite things to do! Once we have a nice dinner and girls go to bed I ask him to come speak to me and quietly say, please be honest with me. Did you go to a strip club? “Yes” He goes on that he didn’t want to tell me over the phone but he was hoping I didn't bring it up again because he wasn’t sure if he’d continue to lie or tell me the truth. He said he did not touch anyone. That he was there with a bunch of guys, they sat at the stage. That he put money on the stage for the girls who were topless. I went from anger to sadness and everything in between. He said he wished he hadn’t gone, knows it was a terrible decision, but that ultimately he didn’t see harm in it other than it hurting me (although I was never supposed to know), because he didn’t care about the girls. I asked if he ever thought of leaving- NO. He said he thought about me the whole time. In previous discussions he professed that strip clubs are gross and nothing about those women were appealing to him. he went on to tell me he loves that I am classy and beautiful and thats why we are married, etc. On the flip side he said he had fun. So I asked, did you speak to any of the girls? "Yes- two of them." I said how and why? "They come sit on your lap and ask if you want a private dance." I sort of freaked out, left in my car, drove around. I came back angry. I said how do you explain “not touching” when girls dressed in lingerie sit on your lap? He was trying to explain that’s just how it is and he would say no and they’d move on to the next guy.

So forum people, I’ve never been to a strip club- I didn't know about girls sitting on laps. What I do know is about the private rooms- through personal friends and through a business associate who confided in me about a strip club addiction he had ($2000/trip 2X month) and what he got from that- certainly it is NOT no touching. Not that I think my husband is lying to me at this point, I really don’t think he’s the kind a guy to get a lap dance, he won’t even get a massage because he doesn’t like people touching him, but because he lied again and again and intended to continue to lie if I had not asked again I am periodically an internal mess.

On my best day I think he was obviously aware this was off limits for me, and nothing I ever wanted to confront in our marriage, but that it means very little to him. I think in a last-minute decision with alcohol involved, he decided to go. I think he is probably lying about how much he talked to them, I don't think he is going to tell me if they ran their fingers through his hair or rubbed his chest. He is probably still lying about how he tipped them because I hear the standard is money in g-strings. but he is not a guy who looks at porn or has porn magazines. He claims this is the first strip club he has been to since we have dated. Part of why I think I can’t get over this completely, it literally enters my thoughts on some level every single day, and I go up and down, sliding backwards after thinking I’ve worked through it is because my first husband of 12 years was addicted to porn (and pot, and alcohol) and eventually cheated on me with an old GF from college. None of this aligns with current H, except the lies and women being involved. Naked women. The trauma of the lies and the deceit and manipulation from exH, as much as I processed it head-on, was best healed when I was able to decide to divorce. I learned A LOT about boundaries and where I had sacrificed myself over and over again.

I don’t know how to heal right now, how to really move forward. We have had frequent and awesome sex and intimacy, and in general more communication since this happened, I see good things, but when I have quiet time in if I’m not in a good place my mind goes to what I don’t know about my husband, to the fact that he is capable of lying to me, and fear of where that might lead, maybe not anytime soon but later. So future scenarios play in my head and I have an excellent imagination. I had no trust or jealousy issues of any kind before that night and now I’ve questioned him about some things, probably stupid, that were not even on my radar before. It’s like I’m different and less confident and I don’t like it. I don't want to be crazy- but I guess there’s a part of me that wonders about other things he tells me were/are true or not. So I rethink things and wonder if he has lied and will lie in the future, especially about other women. Again he’s been awesome he cares so much and I don’t want to browbeat him up in anyway so I’m here at the forum asking for advice. Since that night I have talked with him 3 or 4 times on my own - I ALWAYS have to bring it up, (but that is always on me- all hard things in our relationship), and 2 times in therapy with a therapist we both know and see occasionally individually and occasionally as a couple. I do gain a better understanding and generally feel better, but it doesn’t stick. I think part of the reason is that he has not really addressed the lies other than to say he is sorry. I do think he would lie again to protect himself because he hates conflict. I don't know if internally he sees and understands this situation the way I do, but I think he is fully aware of how much he has hurt me. He obviously cannot begin to understand how my daily life is affected as I force myself to find love and let go only to be back here again.

How is it ok to pay women a few years older than our daughters to get naked for you, knowing they will come sit on your lap to ask if you will pay more money for them to grind on you with their naked breasts in your face? How would it ever be ok for me to walk into a scene of another woman sitting in barely there clothes on my H’s lap? How would he feel if the girls find out that mom is not good enough, that this man they love needs large breasts and women who aren't his wife, and he can pay for it under the guise of a fu*$ing legitimate business? How is it ok when you absolutely know the goal of the club and these women is for you do get a lap dance, so you will be propositioned for more sexual gratification? How is it ok to do all this drunk, with inhibitions down with me at home and unaware?

I don’t see my husband as a cheater, he is very conscientious, has a big heart, and when these conversations have happened I am not angry, I'm in search of something deeper, who he is and how he processes. He is remorseful and says he sees it from a different point of view than he did that night. But he says as little as possible. He has passed up going to strip clubs on several other occasions including the night before the night he went, but said after drinking all night and talking to the guys he felt like he was missing out if he didn’t go. He promises he will never go again. He says nothing in his life is worth losing our relationship. There is a part of me that forgives and can move on from whatever happened that night at the club, but there is something about the blind sighted, uninformed stick I was handed that continues to put me in a place of feeling betrayed. I know some of this is a familiar pitfall from the past, but I’m wiser so my hope was to not be the betrayed, naive woman again. But now I know he is capable of lying, especially to avoid confrontation. In general, he has an immature approach to unimportant things - this is what makes everyone love him and feel comfortable and I guess I resent in this serious, adult situation being put in a role that is not an equal partner where I have to ask repetitively for the truth. I do believe I would be in a different place if he told me the truth right away, if he had called the next morning and explained before I could ask, then I could have asked just about what happened without the lies.

Now there’s no clear path I can find- I've tried reading books and looking at other forum posts and writing and talking and meditation and leading meditation and yoga and urgggg, for me to take the visceral feelings of the weekend back— my logical processing, and what may be irrational emotions cannot find equal footing. I appreciate your experience and any advice on how next to discuss the with my H.
To sum this up, the feeling of unease continues to register with me every day. I miss the safety i felt before with him.
I wrote this a few months ago:

Being lied to hurts. Trust is broken, There is distance. He risked our marriage if he got a lap dance. He risked my trust by going. He risked me ever trusting him again by lying. To stay in love I have to stay in truth.

thanks in advance
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Wouldn't bother me if wife or girlfriend went to male club. My first wife did a couple times and found it fun for same kind of reason happyhub said. And the way some of the women acted - like they'd never seen it before - lol. In my opinion if a husband or wife is so insecure or untrusting about/with their partner they are threatened by the other looking/seeing another naked or in a sexual way than there are more serious issues in play.
It is so predictable… strip clubs or pornography or anything else like that is mentioned, and in com the hordes of people saying they wouldn't care if their spouse did something. That is irrelevant. The bottom line is that the behavior hurts this spouse, and her hurt is entirely valid. If her husband cares about her feelings, then he will be able to survive a poor bear and life without naked women shaking their parts at hom.
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