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Thread: Dealing with wife's sexual past

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    flipper31
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    Default Dealing with wife's sexual past

    I've been having a very difficult time figuring out how to deal with my wife's past experiences with other men. We're both in our early 30's, and have an almost rock-solid relationship execpt for this issue. My story is simple- I've had past girlfriends and was married for 4 years. The only woman other than my current wife that I've been with is my ex wife. I was taught to save sex and share it only with those whom you love, so I waited. My wife has also been married, and I have no issue at all with her past with him. He was her husband and I have no issues with it.

    My problem arises from all the other men, especially those between her former marraige and me (several years). Even though I tried to not learn about her past when I met her, the number I had heard her say was 7 guys. It was an issue for me, but I tried to get on with life and move past it. I learned several months ago that there were more than that. She described it as simply that she could "count the number on her fingers and toes." To me, that says upwards of 20, but I'm not sure to be honest. She has been with a couple rather controlling men and I know now that the numnber of men she's been with is probably related to that. We talked about it at length a few times, but she ended the last conversation about it by saying that she won't talk about it anymore. I am left feeling as if I'm to deal with this all by myself, and it's affecting my daily life.

    I've lost sleep and my appetite and it's difficult to hear her even speak about when she was younger as she travelled a lot for work and to even think about the states she lived in makes me feel ill. I feel that because she gave it to guys who didn't deserve it, what I have from her is somehow lessened or cheaped because of it. I need some advice here-- I know this may sound ridiculous to some, but this is a very real and painful thing to live. Has anyone else felt this way? Any suggestions? I've tried everything I can think of and know I need to find a way to solve this. Thank you so much.

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    A therapist perhaps would do the trick.

    This is something that maybe you should have brought up before you got married. Why now are you losing sleep and can't eat? You kind of knew this going in. Whats the difference between 7 and 20. According to you it should have only been two, you and her ex? So what about the other five guys? The first five where okay, and the next 12 were not?

    This is all you dude. The past is the past is the past. Why ruin your marriage and stress yourself out over a non-issue. And you wonder why she doesn't want to talk about it? Well, you try and pry out information from her that makes you think of her in a bad way. Things that happened before she even knew you. And normal human everyday things at that.
    Lets say 1 in 12 people in the world today will have sex. Probably about of a quarter of a billion will be unmarried, or single. Think about that: 250 million single people are going to have sex within the next 24 hours. She didn't murder anyone, she just lived her life before she met you. So why would she try and make herself look bad in your eyes about something she no longer has any control of.

    So I really think you should talk to someone who knows about human psychology way more than me. Otherwise you are going to throw your marriage in the toilet.

    Good luck with everything. Get some help. This is really something small and not worth ruining things over.

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    My ex boyfriend had the same problem with: me and the boyfriend I was with before him. My recent ex boyfriend claimed to truly love me, yet showed just how aggravated, frustrated, depressed and disturbed he was at knowing I was sexually involved with a man before him. I tried to help him explain that he was the only one for me and the past is the past and I was a different person now [at the time] but he fell into a depression and was disgusted by my past. He even felt like he was not at all special. I could not come close to understanding why he failed to see how much I loved him but I guess sometimes people's feelings on a particular topic is more important than a relationship built on shared goals. To me, his leaving because he could not solve how to accept that I was with another man before shows that he was not at all committed to me.
    If you truly love your wife, you're going to have to get past this with your own efforts; nothing will change the way you see her except you yourself. You married her for a reason. A marriage is a bond that should be difficult to break.
    No offense, but I think you're taking this too seriously. You love your wife, right? Then why don't you try putting yourself in her shoes. She must feel ashamed of herself for having to 'fess up to you about the type of life she had before you. And she married you, to PROVE that she loves you. You don't just wake-up one day and feel that you should get married. It's a serious decision that requires FULL commitment.
    A lot of time has passed from before you met her and I bet you have helped her blossom to become a better individual. Why doubt her love for you all because of her past? You're putting way too much emphasis on self-worth through sexual involvement. Let's say she remained a virgin all her life. Her saving her virginity for you doesn't prove how much she loves you, NOR is it indicative of your worth. It's the fact that she'd be willing to stay with you, even through tough times like these, that proves that she loves you and you are most important above all to her!

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    Hi, flipper, and welcome!

    We all get insecure when we can't reconcile our own attitudes about sex with our partners' pasts. We don't like to think of our partners being with other people. In a way, I think doing so somehow can make us feel as though we're less "special" to them. Are you thinking that perhaps because she has had sex with more people, because it may be that several of those people "didn't mean that much to her" in the first place, that she doesn't think that sex (i.e., with you) doesn't mean anything special to her?

    One thing to remember is that your wife's sexual past has nothing to do with you. It's hers - not yours. At this point, whoever has come before shouldn't even matter. It's obvious that you two have different attitudes towards sex, but keep in mind - she married YOU. She CHOSE to spend and share her life with YOU. And with this in mind, how can your intimacy together be cheapened, regardless of who she had been with long before you? If she chose to be with you, then obviously she values you more than anyone else she may or may not have been with.

    I do agree with Hunter - if you keep pressing her to talk about this, showing her that this bothers you, suggesting that you might be judging her for things she simply can't change now, is it any wonder that she isn't comfortable talking about it with you?

    I'd like to ask, what is it about this issue that is affecting your daily life so much? I know you said that you feel that because she had been with men who perhaps didn't deserve it (that isn't your call, though), somehow your life with her is lessened? Why is that exactly? I understand that this is a painful thing for you to live with, but this doesn't necessarily have to be an issue for you. It's HER past, HER issue. If it's not something that's a problem for her, then why is it one for you?

    The "meaning" and significance of sex changes depending on how we feel about the person we're with. I loved my ex - sex meant something totally different with him than it did with, say, the person I'd had a short fling with who ended up not meaning very much to me.

    If you think some sort of counseling would help, then go for it. But always remind yourself - she's with YOU, and she wants to be with YOU. Obviously her intimacy with you is extremely important to her.

    - Kelley
    "Are tangerines really just oranges that didn't want it enough?" - Random Greeting Card

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    flipper31
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    Kelley,

    Thank you for the well worded reply. You certainly made me think about some things and that's what I was trying to find. I'm at a loss for why I'm so affected by this. I'm a rational guy and this just doesn't make sense to me. I know we have a connection that she's never had before, but at the same time I find myself literally picturing her with these guys. I understand that men are visual thinkers and all that, but this is starting to get to me. It's very helpful to get intelligent comments such as yours to help guide me through this lovely maze we call life... Thank you

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    You're welcome!

    To be honest, I've had moments where, with my ex, I'd picture him with women he's been with before. Which was interesting, because I didn't actually know what they even looked like, so I just decided to torture myself MORE and picture women who were ridiculously more attractive than me. With that in mind, I can see where you're coming from. It's a strange form of jealousy, and a fear that we may not "measure up" in some way or another. When you look at it that way, it's natural that you'd feel insecure.

    The smartest thing I did in getting over that was changing my thinking a little bit. Instead of wondering what they had that I didn't, I turned it around and saw what I had that they didn't (sanity seemed to be the main thing, but I digress). There was a very strong emotional/intellectual/physical bond between us. The bond had lasted; sadly, the relationship could not. Either way, it would not have worth throwing away over my own personal insecurities, you know?
    "Are tangerines really just oranges that didn't want it enough?" - Random Greeting Card

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    flipper31
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    I have to say I'm rather amazed that I've already received some very good responses. This is not a fun thing to go through, but with the comments I've already received, I'm trying to look at how to go about changing MY thinking. I know I'm jealous of the men she was with and I'm not exactly sure why. For whatever reason I feel as if I'm still competing with them even though I know it's nuts. I know for an absolute fact that she loves me more than anyone in her life and I feel the same way for her. This is just a touchy subject for me... I found it interesting that two women wrote in about how they had similar problems with their ---ex boyfriends--- I in no way will be an "ex" in this relationship. We're in it for the long haul and I know truly in my heart that a long haul we will have. The mind has a way of screwing with you (please pardon the phrase) and driving you crazy over insignificant things. I'm here looking for suggestions on how to go about that and have already gotten good results. Plese keep it up!! Thanks in advance. : )

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    Hello Flipper and Welcome Here

    I totally agree with what Hunter, Ts and Kelley said before me so playing on those lines again would be useless. Instead i'm going to talk about some observations i made during my experiences, that are corelated with your problem. The "Jealousy Towards Ghosts " syndrome (or "Male Buyer's Remorse" - i preffered the first name, as i already explained the "female buyer's Remorse" one in a previos post -it's more about dating rather than relationships) is pretty common and you will be surprised to see how many men experience it, no matter their age...in my opinnion it comes mainly out of two ballancing inner male factors :

    A) a certain lack of confidence in his sexual competence towards the woman in question
    B) his current level of sexual satisfaction with that woman

    Like i said, i encountered many men talking about this ...Point A) reffers to the fact that the man in question has a more altruistic approach towards sex (as opposed to an egoistic one -"i had an orgasm -Game Over"- you already confirmed being altruisitc/compassionate by writing down how you see sex corelated with marriage), he shows more compassion and understanding , always concerned if the woman is pleased/satisfied in bed ->this will always be a draw back as thinking about it fuels your doubts about your sexual competence -> corelate this with the fact that you know she had more parteners and here you have it : the constant fear that "they/someone else" was better than you .

    Point B) reffers to the fact that even if you aren't aware of it, even you aren't fully satisfied with her behaviour in bed (it doesn't mean it's bad, it just means it not near your perfect image) ...corelate this one with the fact of knowing she had many parteners , and again, your mind starts playing tricks, in a total different direction : "She probably acted top-notch in bed and did everything to satisy the "other men she had" , but she doesn't do that with me" - you picture her doing all this great stuff with other men, and at the same time you personal low-level of sexual satisfaction with her dictates that she is not beeing involved the same with you -> hence your feeling of getting her "somehow lessened or cheaped"

    The fact that you corelate sex with marriage doesn't mean everybody does the same Flipper...in fact, sex is one of the most common acts ALL PEOPLE do on a daily basis....what is in the past should remain in the past ....what you are doing now can pe metaphorized like this : imagine you and your wife sitting close one to the other, she holding you tight (as she married you = she chosed you ), and a flatten balloon between the two of you...as you think about this more and more , you start blowing air in that balloon and it starts to inflate growing larger an larger, and thus pushing her away...she still holds you tight but that ballon causes space between you...on day the balloon will explode and it will break her grip on you , creating eeven more space

    Cheers, Mike
    "What you won't let die, won't let you live "

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    I hear what you are saying BUT my friend you are focused on a time the no longer exsists. Whatever happened yesterday is gone forever. I'm afraid that by putting so much attention on what was and is no more, your'e missing out on the here and now. Live in the present, its all we have. If you continue like this you will drive her away. Everyone is different. Love her for who she is today and how you feel in her arms.

    Everyday is a new opportunity to re-create the best version of the you, you already are. GOOD LUCK...

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    Hello Flipper~

    I have been following this thread and was hoping for an update?

    Hope all is well.

    xxSPHYNXxx



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    HUGS!

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    I have to say this...she married you!!! No the others! Forget about the past. It doesn't matter. What matters is your life together. What people did before they met one another is their own affair. They may choose to tell you - they may not. I like like to know whether a person is sexually 'safe' (eg has had AIDS tests, STD free etc) so that is why I might ask them about partner numbers...but usually I don't ask. I can pretty much work out whether a guy has had a tonne of women anyway.

    I have found though that most of my long term partners (or those that were serious about me) had no desire whatsoever to know how many partners I'd had and didn't even ask me about numbers....ever. Seems to be something that bothers men or they just don't want to know...and I respect that.

    Just let it go Flipper. It no longer matters in the scheme of things. Jealousy and insecurity will only destroy you.
    True love cannot be found where it truly does not exist,
    Nor can it be hidden where it truly does.

  12. #12
    richissa
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    Default Another fact to consider

    Each of you keep advising to leave the past in the past and I agree with that. In my situation my wife's past keeps showing up. For example, old "friends" keep showing up on her friends list. Anytime this happens, I am compelled to ask, "Who's he?" So, I have a difficult time leaving the past in the past when the past keeps showing up in the present.

    Food for thought.

    Richard

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    Hmm, interesting twist to the discussion. I definitely see how the past is much harder to not think about when it keeps "popping up" out of your control, instead of just simply your own mind coming up with things. Depending on the situation and the trust that you have for your wife, it plays in with how much it's going to affect you. I think that's where communication with your partner comes in. If they are talking to an ex or something and it bothers you, there is no problem with mentioning that and talking about it. Maybe they didn't think about it bothering you or they didn't think about it the other way around. Either way, it mostly depends on the situation and the amount of trust that is there. If there is good communication and trust then it probably wouldn't be a problem.

    As for the original topic of comparing yourself to your partner's past partner... most of the time it's your imagination running wild with you. Whether you've had many previous partners or not, doesn't make a difference if they are showing you how much they love you. Even if you have one previous partner... if you think about the situation the other way around like how you feel about your past partners and how you feel about the person you are with now... you'd probably realize that you love and care for the person you are with now and you'd feel differently about your past partner(s). So what makes you think that your partner would feel different? They are with YOU and they chose to be with YOU. If they liked their previous partners so much they wouldn't be with you. People change, so whatever happened in their past doesn't have to do with who they are today.

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