Boyfriend’s Past Sex Life Bothers Me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hello, I have never asked anything online before but I’m having an issue that I just can’t shake. I have been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half and we have recently moved in together. We met at work. I love him very much and I know he loves me, things are pretty good between us.

There is just one problem. I can’t get over his sexual history. For starters he has been with over 25 women. He has done just about everything including threesomes and anal. I’ve been with only four guys before him and they were all people that I knew for years (one was a boyfriend). To be honest with you as much as the number bothers me I can move past that.

The thing that bothers me more than anything is that he has had sex and has received oral sex from a girl that I work with. He no longer works with us but I have to see this girl every day. He has told me countless times that it meant nothing, that he barely knows her, and has promised me that I am the love of his life and if he could take it back, he would. I believe everything he says but I still can’t help feeling sick about the whole situation. I know it happened before he met me and that I can’t change his past but every time I look at this girl all I think of is that she saw my boyfriend naked, that they touched and kissed each other, that they were intimate with one another. It makes me physically sick.

I just feel like I share a part of him with her that I really don’t want to share. Then I drive myself crazy thinking of all the little details that he didn’t tell me, like who initiated it, what was said, what happened after, etc. This whole thing didn’t bother me in the beginning of our relationship but for some reason now it is all I can think about. I feel so pathetic because I know it is something that I shouldn’t dwell on, that I should focus on the now but it still really hurts to think about and it’s so hard to block it out as much as I try. What can I do to move past this? I love my boyfriend so much and I don’t want this to effect the way I look at him or the way our relationship is.

I can’t talk to him about it anymore because he gets mad and says I keep focusing on one insignificant night in his life and I should focus on everything that we’ve been through together. Please help me, I really do want to get over this.

A: I’m sorry this situation is giving you so much pain. But I really don’t think it’s his past encounter with the girl at work that is the problem. You two just moved in together. That probably means that you are making a greater commitment to each other. Milestones like that tend to trigger any anxieties people have about their relationship.

It seems that you are with a man who has been much more adventuresome and perhaps less morally constrained than you have been. It could be that on some level you worry about whether you are enough for him or whether the differences in the way you have handled relationships is something to be concerned about. It would be understandable if you find it less stressful to be obsessed with the other woman than to deal with your doubts about whether you have what it takes to be this guy’s one and only. Another possibility is that you are sensing his anxiety about finally settling down. Such worries are normal and even predictable when people with such different histories come together.

Your boyfriend is right to be irritated that you keep bringing up that particular piece of his past. He is wrong to be mad at you for voicing your concerns. You are right to have concerns. You are wrong to be perseverating about your co-worker. What you and your boyfriend do need to be talking about is your mutual anxieties about the difference between your pasts. Can he reassure you that he is truly ready to give up his wandering ways? Is your self-esteem high enough that you can truly believe that you are the best thing that ever happened to him?

I hope you can have a loving and honest conversation about the real issues instead of getting sidetracked and going over his brief relationship with someone you know. You need to be talking about what moving in together means about your commitment to each other.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Boyfriend’s Past Sex Life Bothers Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/19/boyfriends-past-sex-life-bothers-me/