Hi Reality Chick. I found your Q&A from the guy who couldn’t accept his partner’s past and wondered if you can give me your perspective on my situation. My girlfriend and I have been together 8 months, she’s 33 and I’m 29. All was great until I found out about her past. She married at 17 and the marriage broke up after 16 years. I found out in the year between them splitting up, she had an affair with a married man for some time (and was with another single guy) and was with me. She originally told me the affair with the married man lasted 2 weeks. Then she later told me the affair actually lasted 3 months and that she lied about the time it lasted because she didn’t want me to think badly of her.
She’s had abusive messages through Facebook about it – from his wife, we suspect – and I have also received a message telling me to be careful about her because she is a b*****, blah blah. This married man is related to one of my girlfriend’s friends so all very close for comfort.
Our relationship started as a physical one and then we later made it formal, but after she told me about the affair, things inside my head have been escalating in enormous proportions. It bothers me are that she was with a married man and that she was with three guys in such a short period of time; it’s giving me second thoughts about the type of person she really is. She has shown me that she cares about our relationship, and she really wants to be with me. She assures me it’s a phase in her life she wants to forget but I worry it will impact our future as a couple.
I’m so confused and going crazy since I’ve never been in this type of relationship. Am I confusing my sexual attraction that I had at the beginning of the relationship for real feelings? Am I being too neurotic about her past and making a big deal out of it? Is my gut telling to run away now? Help. MB
Look, lies suck. I get that. But there’s a lot going on here that’s making you crazy so let’s break it down. Firstly, I don’t think the three guys in one year thing is any major biggie. She married young and possibly only ever slept with her husband before they split. And, to be honest, the sex partners conversation is one I don’t often advocate, because a) it can make any existing insecurities far worse and b) gauging a person’s worth based on a stupid number is beyond dumb.
What is more of a sticking point, I grant you, is the married man thing. Becoming a bit of a nutjob at the end of a long-term relationship is practically par for the course but that didn’t give her carte blanche to go and mess with someone else’s relationship. The fact that it’s SO close to home with people she knows well makes her little home-wrecking interlude worse and the abusive FB messages no surprise. She really owes that guy’s wife a big fucking apology. (The husband is a whole other story I won’t get into here.)
I can’t say whether it was a moralistic aberration and she’s not really that kind of person, or whether your gut is screaming at you for a reason. I do think, from the many questions I get from men who can’t cope with their partner’s past, that your choices are crystal clear: suck it up and start as you mean to go on because she’s so special you don’t want to be without her – or acknowledge that these revelations are too much for you to get past.
There’s no shame in taking either path, so long as it’s the one that’s really, honestly, utterly true to yourself.
Love, reality chick