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Why Can’t My Boyfriend Accept My Past Relationships Are Past?

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From the U.S.: A few years ago, (5 or 6 years) when I was still trying to figure out who I was and what i wanted out of relationships, sex, etc etc I became very dear friends with a couple who were open-ish (wife is Bisexual and Husband is Heterosexual). The friendship started out as just a great platonic friendship. They’re both a little older than me so I would go to them with relationship struggles or just general life advisers and confidantes.

Well, the friendship was strong and when I started running into repeated relationship problems with people I tried dating I decided to take a hiatus from dating and instead just explore what I wanted. In that time I explored my sexuality a little with them. I learned a lot about myself in the safety of that arena. It did not take long. But I discovered I am in fact very heterosexual and monogamous. I also discovered other important things. A few years later the husband was lost tragically in a motorcycle accident.
I still have a beautiful friendship with the wife/widow.

Well, fast forward to this last year. I have now been dating a man exclusively for nearly a year. (she also has a new SO whom I’ve met and enjoy the company of). I moved in with my SO about two months ago. So, one evening last fall I was in a deep conversation about life experiences with him and I feel safe enough to vulnerably share the one experience I had with said friend and her late husband as I was exploring my own sexuality.

He shut down rather abruptly and proceeded to judge the late husband and his widow as having questionable characters etc…. i was irritated by this. We sort-of just walked away from that issue and haven’t gone back there.

Well, she is still my friend and I’ve insisted upon spending time with her (double dates as couples, etc.) He claims he likes her yet every time we see her within 24 hours he makes some judgmental comment about “Well, I can’t say I’m a fan of you being so close to someone you had that kind of relationship with” or “I can’t say I’m a fan of you’re little circle you have with them”.

After the husband died the friendship dynamic shifted significantly. Even before he died there was no intimate connections at all for over a year, everything slid back into respectfully platonic.

I don’t know what to do. Please help. I feel really angry and upset like I’m constantly having to choose which parts of me I can share and what I have to keep secret.

Why Can’t My Boyfriend Accept My Past Relationships Are Past?

Answered by on -


When people get together as adults, they each are likely to have had past relationships. While young, people are likely to have tried experiences and to have taken risks they would not take as adults. Once past 30, there is also a strong possibility of having loved and lost and loved again.

You can’t erase your past. Neither can he. While developing a new relationship, the important thing is not what we’ve done or who we’ve been with but what we have learned along the way to becoming our present self.

The current situation is difficult for you both. You don’t want to live your life always feeling like he may judge you yet again for something that is past history. If he can’t accept that your experimental stage was just that — a stage — then he will always be wondering if he will lose you to another threesome. That’s not a good way to live either.

It is unhealthy for you to feel that you have to withhold parts of yourself in order for your boyfriend to feel secure. You may have to take a step back in this relationship while your boyfriend thinks this over. Another option is to see a couples therapist to help you both get past this.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Can’t My Boyfriend Accept My Past Relationships Are Past?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why Can’t My Boyfriend Accept My Past Relationships Are Past?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 16 Aug 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.