I was previously married and had an affair with a co-worker/boss. He was/is married. It went on for a few months. No one ever found out, but my marriage ended. The boss remains married. I am now dating a new man whom I love very much. Wanting to be open and honest, I told him about this. We no longer work with this man, but my current partner knows him. We all worked at the same place. My boyfriend says the boss is old and ugly and cannot figure out why I did that. He is disgusted with my behaviour and with the man I chose to do this with. He cannot get it out of his head. It eats at him daily. We talk about it a lot. I don’t know how to help him handle this and move on. We really love each other and are committed to this. I have forgiven myself for what I did, but it kills me to know that it hurts him. How can he get over my past?
A: It can be very disconcerting to have the person you love hold back because of past indiscretions. What seems clear here is that you have learned something from the affair, have been open about it, and have done the hard work of forgiving yourself. Don’t let your boyfriend keep you from being liberated from guilt. This is his issue to cope with and the best way for you to help him is to explain that his behavior will keep the two of you from getting closer, and that while you understand his reaction, he needs to find a way to deal with forgiving you. If he can’t do this the future together can’t be what you hoped for.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Sep 2012
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Promiscuous Past. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 9, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/09/23/promiscuous-past/