I provide for my daughter through paid sex, will she love me less?

My daughter does not know that I make my income by providing paid sex in a very discreet way. She thinks I go to work. She’s seen me with strange men in five star cafes and I’ve told her that these are business meets with potential clients for my insurance agency. I am worried that she will soon catch up with the truth as she looks suspiciously at me. Will she accept me if she knows the truth? I’m divorced and I give her a lot of goodies with my income and we live a good life with all the money. Will she understand me or love me less? Please enlighten me.

Ans: This is a question that can best be answered by your daughter if there comes a point where you can discuss the matter with her openly. It’s going to be tricky for you to explain this to her. Prostitution carries with it severe social stigmas and the revelation may prove embarrassing and even downright excruciating for her. Families that trust each other come closer by communicating with each other. Nothing happens automatically in this world.

We are all products of our circumstances and the values we have learnt to hold close to each other. Sometimes dire situations make us act in ways that we would not have acted in. Have you ever introspected on what made you turn to a life that you are required to hide from your daughter? Was it the need for money or were there other reasons that you had? Without adding any moral colour to the act of providing paid sex services, what is more, concerning is the lack of honesty with which you have chosen to handle this situation so far. Does this make you a bad or immoral person? I choose to steer clear of such labels.

Let’s talk about the facts. It would indeed be quite a challenge for you to win the trust of your child if you continue to live this kind of double life. It would merely be a matter of time before your daughter discovers what you have been up to and then things can get pretty messy pretty quickly. What do you think is worse? Option 1: Your daughter learns about your parallel life by catching up with the narrative and you are subjected to moral judgement or Option 2: You talking to your daughter (woman-to-woman) about your parallel life and the various choices you have made and how you feel about them. I believe Option two will go a long way in helping her understand what made you choose such an unconventional and socially frowned upon a way to make a living. As a mother, it is imperative for you to offer your trust to her when she steps out and learns to make her own decisions but winning her trust is also going to prove challenging especially since you’ve been hiding this from her for so long.

Without further delay or speculation, you need to ask yourself whether you would like to risk her getting estranged from you because you lied to her or whether you’d rather risk her disapproval based on what she now learns about you. Both these choices will no doubt bear unpleasant outcomes for the time being in your relationship. A smart way to go about it would be to include a mediator (like a counsellor, close friend or relative) so that your daughter is comfortable and able to process what she hears from you with a third party witness so help ease her through the shock she is likely to feel when she learns about you accepting money to have sex with men.

In such a situation, do you think the goodies you’ve given her will hold up? People deserve the truth even when it makes them uncomfortable. Life is full of uncomfortable truths that can cause us to feel aggravated and beat but the truth is what finally gives us perspective and the freedom to choose a path based on the complete information that we now have about whatever it is we are dealing with. A good life based on a ‘great lie’ can often collapse pretty bad since most people don’t like the fact that they have been blindsided or cheated. Your mother-daughter relationship is precious. Perhaps it’s time for you to liberate it by offering up the complete truth to a daughter who deserves to know her mother well so you both learn to completely empathise with each other.

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