I stayed up all night that night, unable to sleep or work or even think. I couldn’t believe that the nice Jewish guy I was falling so hard for, the one with the high-powered job and Upper West Side apartment, who could be so sweet and tender, was doing this. I felt disgusted.
I didn’t say anything to him the next morning. I just gathered what little I’d stored at his place and left. It all felt like a dream—especially since I was so overtired. When I finally confronted him a few days later, he told me it “had nothing to do with me.” I was stunned all over again by the realization that he could rationalize it that way. If that were true, his ability to compartmentalize sex—something he also engaged in with me—made me realize we would never have worked in the long-term.
In the months afterward, I was very angry. I felt betrayed and sick to my stomach, and there are times now when I still do. In my weaker moments, I'd visit the page of the escort I knew he'd corresponded with and stare at the girl I saw on the screen, wondering what her life was like, whether they ever met, and if so, what he did with her. I was convinced that if I could just figure out why he chose this behavior, I could figure him out.
When I repeated this to a friend, she said to me, "But you would do anything." Meaning anything sexual. And, yes, that's probably true. I'm not known for my sexual reticence. But the more I pondered it, the more I realized it very likely wasn't about performing some specific sexual act. It was about doing so with someone who didn't know him, didn't care about him, and didn't want to; someone with no expectations, no strings.
Cheating with a hooker is worse than a regular affair, in my opinion. Falling for someone else is understandable, even though it hurts. Paying for random sex is not. It hurts in a different way, not so much because of the money, but because of the randomness. It's like saying that sex "with anyone" is better than sex with you, the real, live, and yes, imperfect, person he's committed to.