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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been having a really hard time dealing with my spouse's past promiscuity. We've been together for 6 years. I'm not worried about her cheating. It's not a trust issue. I know that I'm insecure, possessive, it's my problem, and I should leave it in the past. Please don't just tell me to get over it (if I could, I would).

That said, it all came reeling up recently when we went to a OB/GYN because of fertility problems. I knew that she had been with other men before me. We met when we were 23 and neither of us were virgins. We had briefly talked about our past experiences early in our relationship. She told me about some of her self destructive behavior and mentioned that she had been with a lot of men. I didn't want to know the details, and although it hurt at first, I was able to let it go and move into what has been a wonderful relationship.

Nearly 6 years later, we are married, and have been trying to have a baby for almost 2 years now. I finally talked her into getting some medical help because I suspected something was wrong. When they asked about sexual activity I found out that she has had vaginal intercourse with 23 men and 5 women. It turns out that she has severe scars on her reproductive organs due to multiple STD infections in the past. We are going to see a reproductive specialist, but it appears that pregnancy is going to be very difficult, if not impossible.

I have so many confusing emotions that I don't even know where to start. 28 sexual partners is vastly more than I had imagined. It makes me feel very insecure, jealous, and hurt.
I also have some anger regarding the infertility because of the STD scarring.

We are very open with each other and discussed the matter in detail the other night. We tried to express our feelings. I tried to understand her point of view, why & how she could have been so promiscuous before she met me. Why her values changed... ect..

Just to put things in perspective. I have had 1 sexual partner other than her and it was a 4 year relationship. Although it was painful to hear some of the details, I think it ultimately strengthened our relationship. I know more about my wife and I can, at least logically, understand her past behavior.

Yet, I still can't entirely get over it. I am going to therapy. It's not helping. Right now my problems seem to revolve around 3 things.

1. Several of her friends were once her lovers.
I wouldn't say that any of them are really "MY" friends. But I have known these people for years. One of them lives just down the block from us. Now every time I see them I have visions of them sleeping with my wife.

2. She doesn't remember the names of most of her sexual partners but almost all of them live, or have lived, near her hometown (which is where we live now).

3. The STD scarring.
This one is a huge problem for both of us. Knowing that I'll probably never be able to have children because of my wife's poor choices in the past is bad enough, but on top of that, she is also REALLY depressed about this issue and I don't know how to support her. She wants children more than anything and it's killing her. Yet, I can't fully support her in the way that I want , in the way that I know that I'm capable of, because I'm so hurt and angry. I know that getting STD's is not something that she intentionally set out to do. I know she's hurting. Yet, I can't help but feel it's her fault.
 

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First of all, it only takes ONE infected partner to catch an STD.
It must be awful to have your wife's past pushed in your face. Has your wife considered making new friends?
You cannot help your wife if you are grappling with your own issues. You will have to come to terms with the fact that she may not be able to have children.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I know that you can get an STD from 1 sexual partner. I'm a nurse. :scratchhead:

I'm not entertaining any thoughts of divorce. I really love my wife and I know that I'll eventually find a way to get past this problem.

I didn't want to know the details. I don't think most guys out there would want to know the details of their wives past sex lives. My wife didn't think she had ever had an STD. She was tested about 8 years ago and everything came up negative. However, women often don't have symptoms for bacterial infections like chlamydia. She didn't know that she ever had them. She says she should have suspected because one of her "friends with benefits" slept around a lot and was often infected.

Anyway, I'm feeling slightly better about the situation. It helps just to write about it. I'm not expecting any real advice. Although appreciated.
 

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Everything in your wife's life that she has done up to the point you met her made her into the person you fell in love with. If you can't accept her for her then you really do need to move on.
I think this is more a matter of your ego rather than the number of partners she's had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^^^ While it may, and probably does, have to do with my ego. Stating that everything that happened in the past created a person that I love is very silly. I hear this all the time. The reason WHY it's not a good theory is because following this line of logic it assumes perfection in the loved one. My wife is not perfect, my love is not perfect.

Move on? Yes, I know. I already stated that. But move on with acceptance. Leaving after 6 years over this without trying is a bit premature. Don't you think.
 

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No, it isn't silly - everything we do in life shapes how we are as a person, no matter how minor or major it is impossible to come away from it unaltered in some way, shape or form.
If you truly love her, you should stop with the guilt tripping, it's abusive in my book. Even if you don't see it as making her feel guilty what you are doing IS making her feel guilty.
You want to support her, then look her in the eye and say I love you, we can get through this together, we're a team remember? It's not the end of the world, because last time I checked the sun was still coming up and going down - the world still must be fine.
 

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I agree with softly walking about the guilt trip issue. Ask yourself if you're enough of a team player to put your wife in her proper place as the person you'll help with all your might through anything. What she needs now is your deepening support for her...not your wavering...remember, you signed up for this.:)
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
While I agree that everything that happens in your past shapes a person, I still disagree with your fundamental premise of a perfect person created by imperfect events. I've been alive long enough to know that perfection doesn't exist and Strong marriages are built on communication, trust, love, and hard work. I apologize for getting defensive about Softly Walking's post. I guess I can agree to disagree on that one.

I'm not sure how I'm making her feel guilty. Other than that one heartfelt discussion we have not spoken of her past. Although it's possible that I'm missing something here, I don't think I'm projecting any blame or guilt (although subconsciously maybe). How do I go about controlling that? All I can think of is trying to understand where her mind set was during that time of her life.

I know it's hard for strangers to give advice with so little information and I really do appreciate all your responses. It's been a couple weeks since my first post and my feelings and understanding have changed somewhat. I have less blame towards her and A LOT more guilt and blame towards myself. It's equally as silly, but as I learn and understand more about the pain she suffered as a young adult it makes me want to protect her from it. I completely know it's irrational.
 

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A history of multiple STDs was need to know information before you married her.

Everything hinges on whether or not you want kids of your own. If you do, you'll probably be better off divorcing her and finding someone new. If not, stay with her.

That's a pretty harsh analysis I know, I don't mean to sound cruel. It's just your basic options.

So sorry that you have to go through this.
 

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A history of multiple STDs was need to know information before you married her.

Everything hinges on whether or not you want kids of your own. If you do, you'll probably be better off divorcing her and finding someone new. If not, stay with her.

That's a pretty harsh analysis I know, I don't mean to sound cruel. It's just your basic options.

So sorry that you have to go through this.
I would not call your analysis harsh as much as the outcome of common thoughts that touch only the surface. If you read the post carefully she was not aware that she had an STD. This is not uncommon for women.

I feel sorry for both her and her husband. She has had past trauma and he is in emotional turmoil over her past. However, people are not disposable when there is a problem that goes for women too. They have had quite a blow and you advise him to throw her away abruptly because the nature of her infertity was an STD. Would you advice be the same if he were infertile or if her infertility was due to some other cause?

This man loves this women. He does not appear to be a shallow person concerned with his entitlements in life. Therefore his love seems to lack the shallowness common to people whose hearts are touched only by their own concerns.

In your rush to advise him to discard her you failed to consider that he could have his own child - she has eggs and a uterus he has sperm. The scaring occurs in the tubes so she can have invitro.

It is gratifying to see you are a man of depth and commitment. She is very fortunate to have a man like you in her life. She certainly deserves to have something go her way, goodness knows she did not have a fortunate teens and 20s.
There is no reason she should be treated cruelly or punished for being infertile.
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If you read the post carefully she was not aware that she had an STD. This is not uncommon for women.
It's not uncommon, but the OP said his wife had multiple STD infections in the past. He didn't say she was unaware of them. With multiple infections that were bad enough to significantly decrease her fertility, it's likely that she knew about them.

There is no reason she should be treated cruelly or punished for being infertile.
I don't think she's being punished. Sometimes, when you sleep with dozens of anonymous strangers, there are long term consequences. That's not the OP's fault. It's hers.
 

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Ok there are health concerns and that's horrible but something you can overcome. But you call is promiscuity. I would call it experience.
 

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They have had quite a blow and you advise him to throw her away abruptly because the nature of her infertity was an STD. Would you advice be the same if he were infertile or if her infertility was due to some other cause?

There is no reason she should be treated cruelly or punished for being infertile.
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It's because she withheld need to know information from him. She decived him by witholding information that he had a right to know about.

He obviously wouldn't have married her if he knew about 28 sexual partners, multiple STDs and infertility. 2 of the 3 things are easily stated and as a nurse he would have know the potential for the 3rd due to the STDs.
 

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Avos, you and I have a lot in common, especially the fact that your wife told you she had slept around before and you didn't want details. Now you are discovering the implications of your choice to avoid the information. I feel for you and for your wife, because I see you struggling with similar issues to those I face now. You love your wife and want to work through it and perhaps you can with your counselor's help. I'm sorry it doesn't seem to be working. I have no real help to offer, only empathy.

For me, I am focused on what I need to learn about myself.

Why did I want a particular situation in marriage, but close my eyes to the truth?

Why did I think I could ignore reality and have it morph to fit my fantasy?

Isn't it unfair for me to say "It's all good" and then later want to revisit unfinished business? I think it is unfair of me, but maybe your story is different.

Now that the truth has slapped me in the face so that I can't ignore it, how do I face what I should have faced a long time ago?

For years I viewed myself as a victim in love and have recently tried to step up and accept responsibility. It's much harder now than it would have been years ago because the original problem has been complicated by my own dysfunctional reaction . Instead of honestly addressing the issues effectively when they were first presented, I chose to propose marriage to her. I have married the unresolved issues of the past. I'm not perfect enough myself to stand in judgment, but I need relief from the pain. I don't want to be selfish or to serve my own best interests at her expense. Failure to deal with conflict has only compounded the problems. Now I'm ready to deal, but still no better at it. If I had dealt with it originally, I could have been in a position to end the relationship and she could have been in a position to end the conversation and / or the relationship. I chose to sweep it all under the rug and move forward with her. When you propose marriage to someone you need to accept, love and support them not attack them for their past or make them feel guilty. If I say nothing that is being dishonest and the profound emotional effect it has on me is impossible to hide. It seeps into the relationship in various ways if I try to suppress it. I do not want to be passive aggressive. I do not want to withdraw my love. I want to fight fair if it has to be a fight. I want to offer acceptance and understanding but I need answers. I've been lied to and deceived or at least I feel as though I have been. Is this how you feel?

You may not relate to anything I'm saying about my own situation and even if you do relate, it may not help. But I'm as confused as you are, if thats any consolation.

It is difficult to reconcile the desire to support your wife through a time that is tough for her and then to turn around and find a way to have a conversation about sensitive things from her past that have hurt you. It sounds like she was not dishonest in her representation of her past. You stopped her from telling you any more. Isn't that right? Now you are wishing you had understood the implications of facts you were emotionally unable to handle back when the conversation first came up. Maybe that's not how it was with you, but it is how it was with me.

In my case, much of the responsibility is on me. I have to find a way to come to grips with that before I can begin to explore how to talk to my wife about her part in it. I don't want my wife to be alienated or feel judged, but when the time comes for the conversation I need to have I must prepare for her to be offended, angry, indignant and to walk away. I don't want that, but to say nothing is dishonest also. In my case, my wife was dishonest with me about some relationships with other men, but I let it go without exploring the conversation adequately because I couldn't handle the truth. I think she knew that and that's why she lied. Some would say a woman's past isn't her husband's business. Maybe they are right. My chief concern has to do with an affair she had while we were getting back together after a breakup. She lied about it and I feel it is my business because it was during the time that we were back in communication and talking on the phone regularly after the break up.

As you can see, my response is more about my trying to make sense of my own screwed up life than it is about helping you. I wish I could help myself and also help you, but I don't think I can help either of us.

I wish you the best. Stay in counseling and I suggest you try to understand yourself before you try to have her explain herself to you.
 

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It's because she withheld need to know information from him. She decived him by witholding information that he had a right to know about.

He obviously wouldn't have married her if he knew about 28 sexual partners, multiple STDs and infertility. 2 of the 3 things are easily stated and as a nurse he would have know the potential for the 3rd due to the STDs.
You really need to read the post and not twist them to fit the issues that are sources of your anxieties. It is amazing how you comment has nothing to do with what the poster wrote. There is nothing in his post that indicates that she deceived him nor that she was aware that she had STDs or with held info from him. He did not ask about details. She was honest when they met at 23 yo, she said she had multiple partners, that does not sound like deception to me. he made the choice to marry her, he deceived her.

She told him, he proceeded with the relationship fully informed and now that they are married she is stuck with a man who suddenly switches on her. She probably thought she put her past problems behind her only to be tormented by a man who claims to love her. .

You need to isolate yourself and men like you to a little island where woman will have lines tattooed into their foreheads for each man they have sex with and a red star for STDs. This will not help with your problems with female sexuality though.
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You really need to read the post and not twist them to fit the issues that are sources of your anxieties. It is amazing how you comment has nothing to do with what the poster wrote. There is nothing in his post that indicates that she deceived him nor that she was aware that she had STDs or with held info from him. He did not ask about details. She was honest when they met at 23 yo, she said she had multiple partners, that does not sound like deception to me. he made the choice to marry her, he deceived her
Hmmm... let's see...

She told me about some of her self destructive behavior and mentioned that she had been with a lot of men. I didn't want to know the details, and although it hurt at first, I was able to let it go and move into what has been a wonderful relationship.

28 sexual partners is vastly more than I had imagined. It makes me feel very insecure, jealous, and hurt.
I also have some anger regarding the infertility because of the STD scarring.
If he had known, he would never have married her.

A sexual history of multiple STDs is need to know information. It's called a lie of omission.
 

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This thread is heartbreaking.

This woman is guilty of lying, based on the OP's post, on this I agree.

Myself, I would have pressed for details, and would advise my own sons to do the same with any woman they are interested in.

And this is exactly why.

Marriage, as a sexual and emotional relationship, it is a union formed in trust, to create something together as a couple that does not exist as individuals.

This creation, we as humans can describe it as a hope, or dream, or goal, or some other such thing, but regardless, the expectations are as follows:

Marriage is a sexual relationship.

Such a sexual relationship carries the hope of producing successfl offspring, which to many humans is our highest aspiration and most noble desire.

These are reasonable expectations of marriage.

The "lies of omission" from this woman, and yes her past behavior, has jeopardized both of these reasonable expecations.

Shaming comments, such as to accuse the OP of merely having a hurt ego in this situation, or flippantly excusing this woman's promiscuity, are not only unhelpful, they demonstrate an embarrassingly shallow and contemptuous opinion of men, women, marriage, and indeed basic shared human aspirations and dreams outright. :mad:

To the OP:

I suggest taking time to DECIDE for yourself what you want.

If this sad situation is a dealbreaker, for your benefit and the benefit of your woman, I would recommend separation and eventual divorce and not be wishy washy for many years with this wound festering resentment between you and your woman.

However, if you decide you will be fine without children, and can live with your woman's sexual past, then give your marriage 100 percent and move forward as honesty and deliberatly as you can.

I wish you well.
 

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Avos,
I often find men men ask dangerous questions that they are not prepared to handle the answers, such as; "How many partners did you have before me?" Anytime I've heard an honest answer, a number, men get hung up on it, whether it be two or fourty. What I don't hear is women saying, "I just can't handle it, my husband slept with X number of people before me." Just think about that. I find the reasoning comes from the ego as someone else said before and out of date expectations on women.

You were aware she had a past and maybe one you weren't crazy about,, but you married her anyway. Even if she does have some scarring, it does not ultimately prevent you from having children. There are other ways. Besides, past or no past, not all women can have children for many reasons. Not all men can either. Should all those people get divorced based on that? That sounds shallow and doesn't sound like a committed marriage to me. You could always adopt, but having your own seed is part of ego too. I'm saying all of this to help you put things in proper perspective. None of what you are saying are any events against you. It doesn't sound like she has violated her marriage vows and you still love her. Work it out. This is a minor issue.

I do agree that you having trouble coming to grips with this is causing her guilt and grief. Let it go. It's the past. You weren't a virgin either. Perhaps you were luckier than her that your partner didn't pass anything on it you, but it takes just one partner to give you something, so the number is ficticious.

I agree with you that nobody is perfect, so when these negative feelings hit you, try to focus on the good aspects of your wife. Don't ruin your relationship today for what mistakes may have been in the past, whether their yours or hers.

As for these "friends". She is young. I was more inclined to be still friends with my ex's at that age. Perhaps you two should consider moving to a new neighborhood for a fresh start. I will tell you though, that these visions of your wife with her exes are most likely only in your head. Once a guy is an ex, I don't think of him sexually anymore. I have thought of nice dinners we had together or walks, conversations, but not sexual moments. I only think of my husband like that. She is with you now. I am confident that it is the same for her. Besides, she married you, not them. That means she wants you, not them. Make peace with this and find the positive in your marriage to build upon. Marriage is not easy, but it has it's rewards if you work on it. Good luck.
 
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