Wife's Stripper Past
Q: I was married to a young lady when I was 21 (I'm 29 now) and she was 18. We had dated for about 4 months while she was trying to end an abusive relationship. She eventually ended the relationship but two weeks after she left we found out she was six weeks pregnant with his kid. This was the love of my life so I had no problem accepting this situation, especially since the father did not want to be a part of the baby's life. We both worked full time jobs and saved every dime we could to have a better life.
This is where the wheels come flying off. We wanted to start having some nice things in life, so being completely trusting, I agreed to allow my wife to start stripping. After a few months, she started being real shady. For example, she wouldn't be home by the time I was leaving for work. She wouldn't talk about it, she said I was overreacting, and so on. I asked for a divorce, she refused to sign the papers and refused to talk about it. Regardless I filed the papers and divorced her.
We stayed in contact with each other over the years. It has now been 6 years and we have been seeing each other again for a few months. She still dances and for the first few months I was so happy to have her back in my life I forgot about all of the gut wrenching heartache that I went through over those years. Yet recently I cannot stop thinking about all her experiences over that time without me. I was good enough to be a father to her son, but when things got good financially all of the sudden I wasn't good enough anymore!! I have never loved a woman more than I do this one, but more and more lately, the past has been bothering me. -- Joe
Dr. Susan: The part of your letter that I keep getting stuck at is where you say that in order to buy "nice things," you and your wife agreed that she would expose her body to other men for their sexual excitement. And then you're surprised that this turned out badly, and now you're surprised that the past keeps bothering you. I'm aware that some of these types of dancers feel they have no better option for supporting their kids, but that isn't the case here. Trust is good in a relationship, Joe, but your amount of trust reeks of ignorance. Maybe you should have spent the money she earned on therapy for both of you rather than on so-called nice things.
No question that you were a good guy to become a father to her kid so graciously. And no question that she was a creep for exploiting you and then refusing to take you and the relationship seriously. What surprises me is that you have gotten back together with her even though she's still dancing. Haven't you learned anything? It doesn't sound like you will be able to survive in this relationship if she keeps stripping. Even if both of you have every intention of staying together, it's going to take some serious effort on her part to regain your trust, and on your part to get past the past.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.