submission twenty-nine (29)

Title: Massage Parlors

Your Story: Just over a year ago, my husband of 22 years and I were lying in bed and I was telling him about some uncomfortable physical symptoms I was having. He seemed worried and started asking lots of questions. Suddenly he got out of bed, turned on the light, and told me he needed to talk to me because he had really messed up and I might hate him forever. I braced myself for what I was about to hear. My husband then proceeded to tell me that he had gone to an Asian massage parlor and received oral sex and now he was afraid he had given me some kind of disease.

I was numb. We had had some difficult times in our marriage which were compounded by caring for 2 special needs children, but never in a million years did I think he would cheat on me. Tears rolled down my face. I didn't know what to do or say. He begged for forgiveness and promised it only happened one time. I couldn't think, I just cried until the next morning.

My husband went to the local health department right away and had a complete STD test and everything was negative. It turned out my symptoms were caused by a kidney stone, but our marriage was broken. I searched bank, credit card, and phone records. I could find no evidence that it happened more than once. I love my husband and we have 4 kids. I wanted to keep our marriage together.

I started to tell myself that it was no big deal, just a blow job. I asked myself if I should really consider it infidelity since it just happened one time with a stranger. I felt like I was going crazy. I didn't tell anyone because I was embarrassed. I felt so sad and stopped taking care of myself. I gained back 30 of the 50 pounds I had just lost.  

I finally realized this was most definitely cheating and we had to work on our marriage if it was going to survive. We started marriage counseling and then we went to a Retrovaille Marriage Encounter Weekend. Retrovaille was life changing. We made so much progress during our Retrovaille weekend and we still use the skills we learned there. We are also still active with the Retrovaille community and follow up meetings.  

My husband committed to making changes. He admitted to a porn addiction which contributed to his infidelity. He stopped looking at porn and started using the skills we had learned at Retrovaille. After some hard work and difficult truths, it was like we had a new marriage. One that had a stronger foundation than the old one.  

We renewed our wedding vows at church a few months ago and things are going well for us now. I still have triggers. Seeing the Asian massage parlors in so many of the strip malls around our home is difficult. I would like to find some way of getting involved to help shut these places down. I have learned that so many of the women who work in these places are victims of sex trafficking. I have moments when I worry that my husband will betray me again and I think maybe I don't know him as well as I thought I did. But, I am choosing to move forward with him. He knows that if it ever happens again our marriage will be over. I am hopeful that I will continue to have fewer sad days and triggers and that the new vows we made will not be broken. It feels like we have come a long way in just over a year and I hope I haven't rushed the process. I just know I never again want to feel the way I did on DDay.