The Boyfriend Thief – Happiness at the expense of someone else’s misery.

The Boyfriend Thief – Happiness at the expense of someone else’s misery.


The Boyfriend Thief – Happiness at the expense of someone else’s misery.

The Boyfriend Thief – Happiness at the expense of someone else’s misery.


If another woman steals your man, there is no better revenge than letting her keep him. A REAL MAN CAN’T BE STOLEN.

Dear Sex/Entertainment workers,

Boyfriends are always a hot topic among us sex/entertainment workers. We are all living in a world of social media and we pour almost every bit of our personal stories online. Most sex workers are proud of their partners but some sex workers choose not to go public with their partner’s identity. Sex workers cultivate a culture of sisterhood regardless of race and we often share domestic issues among our social circles. Sometimes, much like any other relationship, we fight, get bruised, and then patch up. We sometimes start rumors about one another but we get back up together. We know that the man we are sleeping with is our friend’s partner but we do it for the money and for our job without even wondering about our friend’s feelings. We send enamored messages to our friend’s boyfriend/husband, put on a smile and pretend to give a shoulder when one is needed. Often sex workers fight with one another over partners and sometimes we face boycotts from other sex workers. Why? We are all in the same boat shouldn’t we support each other? In here I would like to share a story about myself and what I have gone through as a sex/entertainment worker. Instead of fighting against discrimination, we are discriminating one another. We talk about members of public discriminating against sex workers but let us now touch on one of the topics that cause internal strife within the sex worker community — the boyfriend thief.

I am not here to write a piteous story but to say that we are all human and that we all make mistakes. And as such, we should not allow our personal stories to affect the larger cause of sex/entertainment worker rights. We should not stand for internal discrimination based on personal prejudices. Instead of letting people laugh at us for our petty relationship issues, let us stand up for what is right. Stop fighting over petty relationship issues. Everything should remain within us and we should learn how to stop internal discrimination. Therefore, let us all be united and correct what is wrong. Just having an organization that fights for our equality is not enough. We need to stand up for the justice that we have been searching for all these years. Let us all stand up for our rights and equality be united regardless of race and gender. Because we cannot allow members of the public to discriminate us due to our own foolishness and without us, there are many rape cases.

Here’s the story:

You may have made up your mind about me from the title. However, I cannot change it and I will not apologize. I have done horrible things in life and it’s very hard to reject happiness, even when that happiness comes at the expense of someone else’s misery.

Bon and I had been friends for about three years before it happened. It wasn’t one of those slow burning “ fervent relationships”. We didn’t over-confide, share intimacies or flirt and we didn’t bitch about our respective partners (partly because both of us are still single).We were just friends. We made each other laugh with stupid jokes and silly witticisms and we talked about our shared interests. It wasn’t a secret or a big deal.

About a year in, a group of us visited a club, and I invited him along. At that time I was single and he was newly attached.

The night passed and we caught each other’s eyes for a moment too long. We laughed together about stupid jokes and it felt a little bit like a date. But, he mentioned his girlfriend many times that I knew I didn’t mean a thing to him.

Months passed, I and his girlfriend Kiki who worked two bars away from me, became friends. She shared with me the details of every good and bad experience she had with Bon. However, each time I listened to her stories, I felt something indescribable inside.

The next time Bon and I saw each other was on my birthday. I was holding court in a terrible club, downing with sex on the beach, waterfall, tequila shots and trying to lap dance a poor stranger to the tune of “GIVE ME A CALL IF YOU NEED A RIDE BACK HOME”.

All I remember from that night is a crowded table, his hand stroking my hair, the inevitable dregs and going back to my hotel room to carry on with the party. He kissed me from one end to another end of the room.

He left at about 4 am in the morning and I cried. We argued about how it wouldn’t work. There was a lot of door slamming and dramatic shouting. We finally confessed we liked each other a lot and he offered to leave his girlfriend Kiki.

The next day, I texted him to say that he had two weeks to leave his girlfriend and that we shouldn’t contact each other anymore if he couldn’t do this. Looking back, I cringe at my arrogance. He texted back “I’ll try”. That felt like a punch to my face but it served me right. I invited friends to a party and spent the night drinking and posing for photos to show what a great time I was having.

Is there any way to justify this? Probably not. Earlier that night he told me he “hated” her, that he couldn’t be around her, that her expectations were too high and that he wanted to end it. They hadn’t been together that long and in my head it was ok. She couldn’t possibly like him more than I did and therefore she didn’t deserve him as much as I did.

Months passed and Kiki became aware of our relationship. I didn’t care that much of what she felt or thought but I did feel insecure each time I saw her at the club where Bon worked.

Rumors started spreading and everywhere I went, people kept telling me that she had been talking to him when I was not around or when I was busy handling clients at work. I confronted him and we fought. Every night, we fought about money, about me sleeping with other men, about me kissing strangers whenever I was drunk and more. I tried to make him understand that this is my career, but nothing made sense to him.

Finally, he said he wanted to end the relationship. It broke my heart and I went from being hysterical to breaking down into tears and finally to silence. I simply can’t express the feelings I went through. However, nothing could change the fact that we broke up and I knew that things could never return to the way it was before because Kiki was “pregnant of his”.

Years have passed, and it’s funny to think that I could have lived in such in denial, selfish and ignorant.  I can’t  blame my surroundings.

Being in this industry, which we are a lack of love, care, and concern so when all of this thing come up to us we are drawn to it.” This impaired my judgment. I’m not justifying myself but when it come to the matters of heart everyone makes mistakes.

Now, every relationship I’m in brings me back to the same scenario. Instead of having friends to guide me through the process I am being boycotted. Should I blame karma, or should I blame myself for not putting myself in Kiki’s shoes?

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Vanessa Ho

Executive Director | [email protected]

Executive Director
[email protected]

Vanessa has been full-time with Project X since 2011, and as a result, has had many opportunities to meet and connect with sex workers in Singapore and around the world. Under her leadership, the organisation has grown from a small group of volunteers to one where there are three paid staff and a team of over 60 volunteers. Correspondingly, she has increased the annual operating budget of the organization five times, and is now recognized as the leading organization that empowers and assists women in the sex industry.

Vanessa has written and spoken extensively about sex work, human trafficking, rape culture, and LGBTQ rights in Singapore. She believes that if people can speak about sex, gender and sexuality in open and in non-judgmental ways, society will become a safer place for everyone.

Vanessa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Warwick, and a Masters Degree in Gender, Society and Representation from University College London.