I’m a 24-year-old girl who feels that if cheating is inevitable, and most men have paid for sex, then there’s no way that I can ever be in a healthy relationship. While I support sex workers and want them to work safely, I refuse to marry a man who has paid for sex; I would rather be alone than do this. How can I pursue a healthy, honest relationship if I can’t trust men?
If you define “healthy” as “unrealistically perfect”, then you’re correct that you’ll never be in a “healthy” relationship. Human beings are not perfect, and men are not women; if you expect perfection, and furthermore define that perfection as men behaving like women, then you are indeed doomed to disappointment. Healthy relationships aren’t those in which both partners meet and never fall below some unrealistic standard of behavior; they’re those in which each partner recognizes that the other is a flawed human being who will inevitably do upsetting, disappointing, hurtful or infuriating things, and that he or she is really no better no matter how much he or she might like to think so. “I refuse to marry a man who has paid for sex; I would rather be alone than do this” is just as unrealistic (and, frankly, as immature) as “I refuse to marry a woman who is not a virgin; I would rather be alone than do this.” If you insist on controlling your partner’s past, you obviously mean to control his future, and any self-respecting man in his right mind should run screaming from such a danger sign (just as any self-respecting woman in her right mind should run screaming from the counterpart).
Note that I’m not telling you that all men will cheat, because that wouldn’t be true; what I’m saying is that many will, and that it’s foolish to throw out a man you profess to love merely because he has a fairly-typical flaw. I might point out that many a client comes to sex workers precisely because he is wise enough not to discard a woman he loves merely because she has the correspondingly-typical female flaw, namely losing interest in sex after a few years of marriage. Everyone agrees that good relationships need to be based on more than sex, so why is it that so many people believe that a sexual disagreement is sufficient grounds for ending an otherwise-good relationship? Even if a man cheats on you, applying some mechanistic “zero tolerance” rule like a guillotine to sever a connection you find beneficial in every other way is cheating both yourself and him.