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Wife's past sexual history hurting marriage
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j_5150 posted:
I've been married for 10 years and recently I've learned more about my wife's past 'promiscuousness'. When I first learned about some of her past it was after we were well into our engagement. One night we went out with one of her freinds who said girls should never let the guys their dating that they have been more with 10 guys. Later that night I asked my soon to be wife how many guys she had been with - she would not answer with an exact number but said she always had serious boyfriends. I seriously thought about ending the engagement but kept thinking this was my problem and with time I'd be able to accept it and move on. When we had our daughter about 2 years later, my wife's past no longer bothered me, I no longer obssessed over it and seemed to put it behind me.

Recently I came to realize that there was a lot more sexual liasons then just with her boyfriends. She tended to give oral sex to many guys in highschool and beyond. To her oral sex is not sex. This realization just opened old wounds and I'm struggling. I love our kids, I love the life we've built but I cannot say I love her. I did have a moment of crisis and thought that if I cheated - try to catch up to her numbers, then all is forgivin and I can move on. Glad to say that I never went through with cheating but came very close. I know that route would be more destructive and hurt her and hurt my family. I just can't do that to my family.

My wife's dad left when she was 12 and I am sure some of her behavior can be tied to needing to be accepted, needing to keep boys/men in her life happy. That if she pleasured them they will accept her. She says she regrets some behavoir and only wants to concentrate on who she has become and not who she was. I can't disagree but I'm not there yet.

We've had some blow ups lately and these arguments/fights have taken a strain. My friends say that is the typical 10 year marriage mark - with kids, more responsibilities with work, home, kids you rarely have time for yourself and never time for your spouse. I reminds me of a joke about married - 'Yeah we still talk after 10 years, we say 'F#%$K you as we pass each other in the hall'. It feels like that a lot of times.

I know we need to take some time for ourselves but life keeps getting in the way and it is driving a wedge between us. And with her past I can't even look at her, it is not intentional but I've lost repsect for her where I'm not sure if I can overcome these feelings I have - hurt, resentment, regret. I'm at the point where I can't even kiss her because I have too many images of where her mouth has been. I know I am obessessing over but I can't see a way to get this behind me.

I do not want to riun my marriage over this because we do have a good life. I'd love to insight into this - in how I am feeling and how to get through it. The only reason I am posting is because I read one of the posts her about someone thinking of cheating and I was amazed at how thoughtful and helpful the responses were.
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stevesmw responded:
You are sabotaging your marriage by obsessing over what happened before you were married. Not kissing your wife damages the relationship. A good relationship requires work
and both partners should strive to keep making it better.

Give yourself a good talking to or see a therapist.
 
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georgiagail replied to stevesmw's response:
A good therapist would help you discover whether these feelings are based on resentment or are being used as an excuse for ending a marriage you may have become a bit tired of dealing with and are now looking for a convenient way to get out of.

Gail
 
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sluggo45692 responded:
Here is a thoughtful and hopefully a helpful response. I'm a man who was married for 19 years. I knew of my ex-wife's past promiscuousness life. I never cared who she was with before me. Why you might ask, because I can't change the past and she didn't give me any unwanted gifts. (STD) The only "promiscuousness" I was ever upset about was the Maintance man at 17 years. (took 2 years to divorce the whore) I can say this, because I spent 2 years without sex during the marriage. I DIDN'T CHEAT.
You have to look at the whole picture. Your wife's father/sperm donor took off when she was 12. BIG QUESTION: How old is your daughter? Dad's are the one's who stick around and make things work. Your wife wants to put the past behind her and you need to put it there also.
P.S. I still have my son and his respect. I know my ex wife has his love, but not his respect. What are your kids going to think?
 
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fcl responded:
Please, please, PLEASE see a therapist about this. Your wife's past is her past and there is nothing you can do to change it. We all have a past. Our past is what makes us what we are today. Try focussing on the reasons why you married her. Remind yourself of what a great person, wife, mother, she is. Remind yourself that this is all in the distant past - to read your post makes one think that you are reacting to a serial cheater when, in fact, she has been a faithful wife ...

I'm not sure how much of what you claim to know about her past is actual fact or hearsay but I'm troubled by the fact that you seem to think that women shouldn't enjoy sex and want to do it as much as men. We all have different libidos. Why should having a high libido make you a troubled person?

Cheating is not the solution. Cheating would have been a knee-jerk reaction. If you do decide that you want to step outside of your marriage, please divorce your wife first. And before you even think of doing anything negative at all see a therapist who can help you deal with your obsessive thoughts. Please. For the good of your marriage.
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
 
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j_5150 replied to fcl's response:
Appreciate the response. You are right, cheating would have been a kneew jerk action and I have no intentions of following through on that end.
 
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bear62041 replied to j_5150's response:
I noticed you did not say you would go and see a therapist. You really need to do that. One cardinal rule in a relationship, you never ask about the past of your partner. You've been married for 10 years, and have a child. Be grateful for that. Did you come to the marriage bed as a virgin ?? This is the 21st century,my man, not the 19th. What your wife did, or why, before you is none of your business. She is being faithful to you it sounds like. All of us played around as a single person, but when we found the one we wanted we got married. Nothing wrong with that. I'm 71 y.o., take my advise and see a therapist as once, and start re-loving your wife before it is too late. And understand the fact that probably anyone else you might decide to meet (after your divorce) probably has a sexual history too. So, see a therapist, get your head on straight, and appreciate what you have and that she trusted you enough to answer your questions about her past. Did you trust her enough to tell her all about your past ?? I sincerely wish you success in getting past this.unnecessary situation you have created for yourself. Leave the past alone and buried, where it should be, and appreciate what you have. You can't change the past. I have been happilly married to a woman for 20 years who was married 3 times before me. And I still kiss and make love to her. By your criteria that couldn't work, she's had 3 husbands and who knows how many lovers. I should throw her out into the street !!!! Please go and see a therapist at once and get this out of your head. Please, if no more than for your own future's sake.
 
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johnbgd2 responded:
Unless it's happened to you, you don't know another mans pain. I've lived a similar type pain. . My wife, of 43 years, has been a good wife. she stopped having sex with me 21 years ago. I probably should have left then under alienation of affection. But, there was more to our lives. We have a great family and a network of spin off relatives and a good life. She swears there wasn't someone else. I think someone, probably an old love gave her the strenght to do it. She swears no one did but I don't believe her. I just started taking anti depresants and living the lie. But deep down I love her. That's why I stayed. But it drives you crazy. YOu can't sleep at night. Then 14 months ago, to top all of that, I found out she had a first marraiage when she was 15, in 1963 and it lasted 6 years. I asked her about it and she got real upset and said that h appened before she knew I was alive. I shouldn't dwell in the past and be happy with the life we have now. I told her, honey, we got married, not going steady. We belong to each other body and soul.. Said she doesn't remember anything about that marriage. Back in 1963 , when 15 year old girt got married , they were pregnant. She swears they never had any children. Well, if she can hide a 6 year marriage, probably a virgin, then what else is she hidding. You people who don't get floored by your wifes past, don't know how this hurts.LIke the gentlemen above, it's like someone hit you in the stomach with a sledge hammer. The trama passes. You settle down. But, I have no peace of mind or heart. I've started looking at porn again for sexual relief, and I'm ashamed of that. I just want to excape but I have no where to run. No one to talk to. I can't sleep at night. I don't agree that it's in the past. It would be in the past had she told me about it 43 years ago. I wouldn't have cared. But she was a virgin when she married him and she doesn't remember anything about it. You know that's a lie. Not telling a husband about a 6 year marriage is deception. Otherwise, there's something about that first marriage, had I known, she was afraid I wouldn't have married her. Yet, she's a good wife , takes care of our home and family. And, I do love her, but the pain is m ore than I can bear. We're sweet to each other and I treat her as well as I possibly can treat her. I"m awake tonight because I know nothing about her first husband and what happened. She said he drank a lot and beat her. That's all I got out of her. He must not have at first when she was 15. She got her momma to sigh for her to get married. So, I don't trust her, we' live together was brother and sister. But we have a good life. Why tear it up at 65. So, don't say this man is living in the past. The past is fine if she had told him about it. I shoulid have left my lieing decetful wife when I was 40, I can't at 65. This man needs to leave her for unreconcilable differences. It will never get any better, chances are , he and her run into men all the time she's boned,and wives will never tell you the truth or the entire store. Leave while you can. Pay whatever price you have to pay while you're young. All I can say, is I know now, why so many men have nothing to do with women. Everyone of them are lairs, secret keepers, she probably had sex with her past loves, who always call these wifes they boned in the past, and it's never going to get any better. Whatever it cost, leave. I didn't leave, and it got expoentially worst, off the frigging scale. I can assure this man, there's dozens if not hundreds of men in hiis wife past life. Let her go back to them.
 
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georgiagail replied to johnbgd2's response:
You could benefit from more than a bit of therapy yourself.

Gail
 
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airius replied to georgiagail's response:
I agree. Both of them need therapy. When you don't get along with a spouse, there is really only two ways to go in order to have some form of happiness, therapy or divorce. Therapy if you really want to get back on track and divorce if you just can't deal and want to move on. Those are the only real options.
 
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wallyh responded:
talk talk talki t over
 
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silktone replied to airius's response:
I do believe in therapy but I think it's important that we as outsiders don't assign blame. There is a life that two people have shared together that can't be distilled down to a few sentences, paragraphs or even a book for that matter. I've read a lot of posts like this and inevitably, someone or several people discount the spouse who posted about his concerns by writing something like, "It's none of your business what she did - get over it!" That's just so cold. When there is a breakdown in communication, there's a problem and when one partner with a colorful past who denies the intimacy to the other. It makes one feel foolish and negatively compared to others in the past.
I feel lucky in that respect. I'm certainly not my wife's first and her husband died tragically. She loved him very much. We've never made our marriage a competition with her first marriage - and anyone in between. She wins the numbers game. We've never denied each other affection. That's what matters to me. Yes, we've both had therapy for other reasons. If I feel concern about anything, it's that I wonder if she had enough fun in her youth. Her health has declined in recent years. There are no secrets between us. What I've seen from so many people is that the secrets were huge. Are we going to beat up on someone for having feelings about these secrets and their effect on the relationship while the other partner offers little comfort or understanding? I hope when therapy is mentioned that we mean for both and not just one.
 
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silktone replied to silktone's response:
In short, I agree with the previous posts about therapy being for both. I think if we go around the internet looking for similar posts, it becomes clear that a lot of responses are very cold.
 
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summer responded:
You can't do anything about her past and neither can she. If you love her now, you need to get over it. As a very young woman, I was desperate for a relationship. I made the mistake that many women do when they are young... If I have sex with them or do things that other girls won't, he is going to fall madly in love with me. It is not until you get older and wiser that you learn and sometimes too late, that behavior like that isn't what gets a guy to fall in love with you.

At that point you are ashamed of your past and very much afraid that the love of your life is going to hold it against you so you don't volunteer the information. Trust me... she doesn't mean to withhold information from you. We are terrified we are going to lose the best relationship we ever had. Whether you like it or not, those experiences made her the woman that she is today. And you are with her, today and now. You may not have been her first, but you can be her best and her last.
 
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SB9796 responded:
I feel your pain. I not only feel your pain, I live your pain.

I am going through something similar with my current (second) wife. My first wife (the birth mother of my three children) died unexpectedly a handful of years ago.

When I met my current wife, I had my suspicions about her sexual past, but I trusted her and believed what she told me when the topic came up on occasion. She was recently divorced and told me the main reason for the divorce was that her previous husband was an intolerable, self-centered, abusive man who did not have time for her. While I believe much of that to be true, she conveniently left out the part about the two affairs she had while she was married to him. I when I asked her about a guy she was involved with during their separation, I got the watered down version of that relationship. I wanted so badly to believe she was the person she presented to me that I na?vely accepted her answers and explanations. In retrospect, I'm mostly mad at myself for believing her.

Yes, her past is her past. However, when one's past impacts the present and refuses to go away, it no longer deserves to be kept secret. As I write this, it is hard for me to wrap my arms around the enormity and the details of what I have learned about her over the last three years. I have been lied to, intentionally misled, and made to feel that problems in our marriage were my fault.

Her past is a mess. She grew up in an incredible dysfunctional family. Her father was in and out of the picture during much of her childhood. Her older brother sexually abused her. It was all a "big secret," and she never received adequate advice, treatment, or therapy for any of. I really feel for her. She was robbed of a normal childhood. She has met with therapists for much of her adult life, and she was never honest to any of them about her real childhood. She has only just recently started to work on the damage done to her after I found a trauma therapist who specializes this this type of recovery. We have done couples therapy as well as individual therapy. It has helped some.

Since marrying her three years ago, I have learned more about her from digging through her past than I have from what she has told me about herself. From looking at her credit report, I learned that she was married at 19 (there was a different last name on the report). She never told me this. She slept with a guy who worked for her father. When it happened, she never told anyone because she said he raped her. I don't know if this was the case, or not. Two months later, she was pregnant. Her family forced her to get married. She ended up aborting the pregnancy and divorcing him. She had another abortion one year after marrying her 2nd husband. She was pregnant by a man she was having an affair with. They somehow stayed together, and two years later, she had another affair. After her previous husband learned of this, he divorced her.

I know it is easy for people reading this to tell me to leave if I'm not happy or suck it up if I want the marriage to work. It is not that simple. I fell in love with her for many reasons. I now look at her, though, through a different set of eyes. I don't believe what she says to me without first verifying it. That sucks. A relationship without trust is not much of a relationship. In some ways, however, she has come a long way, and she has made many changes. My kids have already lost one mother. I'm not excited at the prospect of them losing a second one.

I understand why she lied to me about everything, but there are days when I feel like I just made a huge mistake. I feel stupid for defending her to people who did not accept her. I think people in our town knew more about her than I did but were hesitant or afraid to tell me. Until you have been in this situation, you really can't understand how difficult it can be to navigate through it or out of it. Most days I feel hurt, angry, resentful, and very alone.


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