Struggling with my Partner’s Sexual Past

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Dear Hoopers,
I am struggling to get over my partner’s sexual past. I do not know the exact details but meeting him I had only heard stuff about how he was a “ladies man” and “can’t commit” and jokes about how he had a different girl every night. We were set up by friends and originally meeting him I was only expecting something casual or maybe a one-night stand (because of his reputation I didn’t consider anything more). I have slept with 3 men before him (2 long term relationships). I can’t get past the fact that he’s slept with so many woman, I think about it when we are being intimate and every woman I see I ask myself if she’s one of them. We are otherwise very happy together and we are living together now. But I am starting to look at him negatively because of it even though I know he cannot change the past and treats me so so well. WHAT DO I DO?
-Struggling with my Partner’s Sexual Past

Dear Struggling,
You were open to a one-night stand with him but now that the relationship is getting serious, you are having second thoughts. His past, or what you have heard about his past, is causing you grief. People can think about someone’s sexual past in several different ways. Some consider past sexual partners to be permanent and enduring whereas others see past partners as temporary and fleeting. Moral and/or religious aspects may also influence opinions about someone’s sexual history. These are all important for you to consider as you make decisions about who you want in your life and in your bed.

I would start with talking to your partner about your past and his past. You don’t actually know what his past has been and are only going on hearsay at this point. Approach this conversation in an open and respectful way. You are only attempting to share your emotional difficulties with him and not to be a judge of him. You should be mentally prepared for hearing much more or much less than you have imagined.  


The most important thing for you to consider is not what other people may think about your partner’s past but only what matters to you.

-Dr. Ryan

The most important thing for you to consider is not what other people may think about your partner’s past but only what matters to you. Someone can’t tell you who to love and they certainly can’t tell you who you shouldn’t love. This will be a process for you to consider your biggest priorities in finding and selecting a partner. While sexual history could be a priority in selecting your partner, I would encourage you to start with consideration of other factors like how he loves you and treats you.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Struggling,
Past promiscuity can be a difficult part of a relationship to manage. Many people enter relationships with previous sexual experiences, including yourself. It’s also possible that his values have changed with time and that he now values love over lust at this point in his life. So how does one move past the skeletons in the closet and enjoy a fruitful relationship without dwelling on the past?

First of all, he is with you! You weren’t a one-night stand. You have chemistry and a relationship together that automatically separates you from just another casual fling. He may have experienced meaningless one night stands before you, but you two share something more special. You can continue to play a mind game debate in your head or you can move on knowing that past experiences can help shape who we are, but they do not define us. And it seems like you really like him!


You cannot change the past, but you have control over how you feel and where you want this relationship to go.

-Kate

Listen to your own advice. You cannot change the past, but you have control over how you feel and where you want this relationship to go. It’s completely understandable to feel uncomfortable from time to time in a relationship, but you can’t let every other “woman he may have slept with” dictate your mood or view of him. You are in control.
-Kate