My girlfriend has a habit of letting details about her sexual past slip into conversation. I know there’s no malice in it, she’s just more open than I am. I’ve told her that I don’t want to know anything about it, but I don’t think she really realised how it affected me until I reached breaking point this weekend.
Over the past few months I’ve ended up being told names, ages, acts, etc and it just conjours up images in my head that I can’t cope with. I’m in a real spin – I think I even had my first panic attack last night when we were talking about it. I’ve built it up in my mind and probably assume her past is worse than it is. We’ve talked about my feelings, but it just made it more real for me and has made me feel even worse.
Normally, I would never ask about the sexual past of a partner because I know that I can’t cope with knowing. But I feel with the details I’ve been given (and my slightly over active imagination), we may as well have the conversation about numbers – so at least it’s based on reality rather than my assumptions. So far I haven’t asked because it’s clearly dangerous territory. I’m lost. It’s eating me up inside and destroying something that could be very special. I’ve always been proud of sleeping with “relatively” few people and still hope to marry before I hit double figures – I guess I always hoped to be with someone who shared that ideal. I know that how I feel is my problem, not hers, but I’m struggling to rationalise it. Any suggestions on how to move forward please? Keith
We just answered your girlfriend’s question last week so it’s interesting to get your side of the story. In the meantime, I can only tell you that if she thinks your relationship is ‘beyond amazing’ and you think it could be something very special, you owe it to both of you to try and get over this. So many of us struggle to find someone we click with. You’re there already!
And while a partner’s past can bother you, if you really love the person you need to find a way to accept them as a package deal – which includes all the habits you might not like, the things they did in the past that you don’t approve of (which could be anything from excessive drug use to sexual partners), or the niggly bits that you’ll never change about them. That’s really what unconditional love is about, in my humble opinion. Sure, you may be uncomfortable with someone’s past actions or choices, but it’s all part of their history – and actually, it’s made them the person they are today. It takes strength and courage to say, ‘I don’t love that you did that in the past, but I love and want to be with you, and let’s start from this point’.
If I were you I’d forget about having the ‘numbers’ conversation at all. It’s never going to make you feel better, and actually it’s got nothing to do with you guys as a couple. What matters is the future and the bigger picture. You’ve met a great girl who clearly adores you. So she’s not perfect. Who is? I bet you’re not either! On that note, I’d ditch the dream of the ‘ideal person’. More often than not, holding out for the dream just leads to heartache.
So, your homework is simple: she needs to stop disclosing, you need to stop over-thinking it and you both need to just enjoy being with each other and seeing where this thing goes. Good luck, and please do come back and let us know how it all goes!
Love, reality chick