Finding Girlfriend’s Past Troublesome

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have been with my girlfriend for almost 2 years. I bought a house and she moved in with me in February. The relationship did not have the most romantic of beginnings. I met her after she had a one night stand with one of my friends, and then we ended up hooking up the next night. There was a lot of attraction to both her mind and body. We have been together ever since.

She has been the sweetest, most giving, and selfless girlfriend I have ever had. One might say an ideal girlfriend, and I love her for it, but I don’t feel ‘in love’ with her. I think it may because on some levels I don’t respect her. She has been with 4X as many people as I have, and I’m no saint. I want to be in love with her, but every time I think about getting married or having a family I think “do I want the mother of my children to be someone who by all definitions was a ‘slut’ in college?” I’ve said things and acted like someone in love hoping that the feelings would soon follow, but this is still holding me back. I’ve even tried to break up with her, but it absolutely destroyed her, so it didn’t last.

I think I wrote off a future with her from the beginning (mainly because of her past and the way we met), but she was so good to me I couldn’t come up with a reason to end it. I didn’t want to lead her on, because I thought the feelings would be there. I still think we could have a future if I could get past this, but I’m not sure how. Is this a case of her just not being “the one”? If so, how can I end it without completely devastating her?

A: Everybody has a past, but the real issue here is that you have not felt this deep connection to her since the beginning. Research shows that in relationships it is possible to cultivate loving feelings. It sounds to me like for a couple of years the relationship has been loving and trusting, and there’s been no indication of infidelity. These are good things.

If you want to stay with her, start focusing on all of her good traits — in the now. This emphasis on being able to appreciate her and the two of you sharing your mutual love, appreciation and vulnerability with each other can be the way to move forward.

In other words, I am saying talk to her about how you feel. That is how intimacy grows. By being vulnerable with her and sharing your feelings, while not blaming her, the two of you may be able to soar above the past.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Finding Girlfriend’s Past Troublesome. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/12/finding-girlfriends-past-troublesome/