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I know this comes up a lot, but I feel tormented with my racing thoughts and greatly appreciate any feedback since I'm really struggling with this. I thank you in advance.

Here's the background. I'm a 30 year old male and have been dating my fiancée for almost 3 years and we've been living together for over a year. Things are great. We love and trust each other. Even though we're both strong people, we never fight since we're generally patient and easy to get along with. (Neither of us have ever been married or even lived with another person before now.) The sex for both of us is satisfying. We are looking forward to getting married in 5 months and are making all the preparations. Like almost all married people I've talked to, I have recently experienced some pre-marriage jitters (about a variety of topics). I'm a careful, deliberate person and I suddenly became a little insecure, worried and nervous about all the uncertainties and "what ifs" that a married life entails. I've come to realize that they were not "doubts", but rather normal feelings of nervousness. I'm lucky to have this woman and I want to live up to her expectations of being a great husband and father some day. And I think I will. I'm attractive, fit, well-educated and successful and I really do love her. And while I can never know what the future will hold, I have to rely on the love and trust we have for each other to get through the things that may come.

Among all the jitters and thoughts I experienced, I suddenly began to be uncomfortable with some of her past relationships and sexual experiences. This was never a problem before since she told me that she had a sexual past and I was fine with it. To say it more accurately, it's not that I was uncomfortable with the fact that she's had been with other guys, but I was suddenly uncomfortable with the fact that I didn't KNOW what those experiences were. Aren't we supposed to be able to share everything? (I realized that I knew more about the sexual histories of my previous girlfriends than I did about my future wife.) I know she's more sexually experienced than me and I don't mind that. As background, she's a few years younger and had freely told me that she was promiscuous for awhile when she was younger and had made some bad decisions. (I'm no saint either, but I've only had three sexual partners myself.) She told me that she had anal sex once and had dated older men. (One of those men was a former boss, who she had a sexual relationship when she was a college intern and he was 15 years older.) All of those facts I was fine with, but not knowing the context, reasons and details made me a little crazy and I was jumping to wrongful conclusions. I'm not saying I need to know ALL the details of the sex and number of partners, but I'd like to understand better about some of the relationships and circumstances.

For example, when we started talking more about this recently - I told her that I was experience pre-marriage jitters but that everything was fine - I told her that I had originally assumed she was into experimentation in the past and had guessed that she had been maybe 35 partners and if all that were true, which I thought it was, all of that would have been fine with me. (I told her that the truth didn't bother me, it's was the wondering and guessing about what had happened that was an issue for me.) But it turns out my assumptions were wrong and the real story was actually different than I had thought. She told me that she had actually been "talked into" anal sex in college with a frat boy and that it was never her idea. That was totally different from what I had assumed and was certainly glad she told me this.) I feel part of those experiences and feel less threatened by them in knowing them.

I also recently learned that when she had moved to Toronto after college, she initially struggled to get her feet on the ground. Being extremely attractive, a lot of guys took interest in her and she went to the clubs and never had to wait on a line. Trainers at the gym would offer to train her for free. She told me that she was a little insecure being new in the city and that she found some validation and confidence in herself by going to clubs and having sex. So even though I had assumed she was just horny before (which again, would have been okay), the reasoning was a lot more nuanced than that and now I feel like I know so much more! I honestly feel better knowing these things. The guessing and the wondering was driving me crazy. I'm not jealous of these previous guys. After all, why should I be? She chose me to marry! And she's said that's she done more sexual experimentation in my bedroom than with anyone else so why should I be jealous?

But there's still a lot more that I want to know and I'm sure that not all of the relevations will be good ones. But at least I'll know them and can deal with them. I can't deal with the unknown and my wandering mind which drives me crazy sometimes. While she's been very honest with me, she has also said that she didn't want get too deep into the details, since she was afraid that I'd somehow think less of her. I love her too much to think less of her. Now, I know some would say that none of her past should matter if we love each other, so why should she tell me all these things that make her so uncomfortable to talk about? I know that some would also say that I'm just being insecure about myself. But I also don't agree that none of the past matters. First, those things are still a part of who we are and they help form us into who we are today. And second, someday we'll have to be parents ourselves and we will guide our children based on our own shared experiences. How can we do that together if we don't know about each other's past? She was in some not-so-good relationships and we should learn from those experiences.

I love this woman and want to know everything about her, even if some of the details are a little unsavory. (I'm interested to know about some of those past relationships, what the sex was like and how she felt about those relationships.) Talking about this is uncomfortable for her and it really me feel guilty that I'm causing her to feel that way. (I cried the other day because I felt terrible that I was making her uncomfortable, even though that was never my intent.) But knowing more of the truth has definitely made me feel better and it gives me a fuller understanding of her (both the good and the not-so-good). Perhaps, I feel that I even love her more in learning about the context and details of these prior experiences. Even if some of the details are nasty, I should at least feel good that she trusts me to share them. I just have to be sure to convince her that I won't think anything less of her.

So as painful as it is for me to ask and as uncomfortable as it is for her to recall these things, I think we need to hash it out. Do you think I'm being unreasonable in wanting to know, even though it's uncomfortable for both of us? Is it okay for me to want to know these things? (Gosh, it really messes with my head not knowing the details. I feel that once I know everything that's happened, I can more easily digest it an put this behind me. But not knowing, my mind makes things up and that's harder to deal with.) Does she have a good reason not to tell me all these things? And if so, does that mean she doesn't trust me? Please tell me if I'm thinking about any of this the wrong way. Please also try to put yourself in my shoes as a guy who can't relate to all her sexual experiences since I didn't happen to go down that road myself. She's admitted she's made mistakes and I think sharing the experiences will help us be better parents some day. I know she loves me and has since said that she'd answer any of my questions about this stuff although she's not certain I'll be satisfied. Of course, I'd rather not pursue this with her if I didn't feel absolutely tormented by not knowing more about what she was going through and experienced.

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Discussion Starter #2
Sorry, if you don't mind, I'm more interested in hearing female opinions. But I also ask that you try to see it from my perspective. I think it's easy to say that "it's none of your business" but I feel differently about that. And remember, that I love this woman and don't want to do anything to hurt her. I just want to be the person that knows her better than anyone else in this world and I hope she'll say the same for me.
 

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I'm not a female
Knowing about your wife's past will just feed your insecurity. It will torture you for 5,10,20 years. Judge your wife for who she is, the quality of her as a person, her moral values etc... And then once she "picks" you and you "pick" her, declare yourself the winner, and thus superior, to all the men that came before.
 

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Also not a guy here... All I can say is that if you're going to ask questions, make sure you can handle whatever answer comes back.

C
 

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Another guy here.

She didn't argue with the 35 sexual partners part, so there's surely more. If you can handle the number, I don't see what else you could have a problem with. Or maybe you DO have a problem with the number, but are telling yourself it is the details that matter? What could she possible say that wil make you feel better?

Hate to say it man, but I don't know if you'll ever feel right with this. I couldn't. I mean, it's wonderful that she could feel good enough about your relationship to tell you anyhting, but...

Am I just a prude? Is 50 partners for a woman pushing some kind of envelope? If she's your age, she had all of this casual sex before age 27. Some implications of sex for services in there as well.
 

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I'm female and this is a public forum and I can answer any post that I care to. Don't read if you don't want to. I think you want to hear from men to confirm the double standard of other insecure men.

I'd rather put myself in her place. If she wrote in I'd tell her to consider calling off the wedding, it would be the best thing she could do. Maybe she will be smart if you keep bringing this up to do so. This is a big red flag indicating a deeply insecure man and it will not get better. She will be hounded by you throughout the entire marriage.

She should find a man who is glad she picked him to marry and does not have a double standard with regards to a woman's sexuality. It is bound to come out in other ways when she is married and it will be miserable for her. If she is attractive that should be very easy for her to do.

Some of her experiences were not good because she ran into to predatory men and made bad decisions. You should lament that there are men of that sort in the world not hound a woman you say you love.

If you loved her enough you would not want to bring them up, especially when she has already told you she does not want to go into detail.

A secure mature man capable of loving a woman would be far more suitable for her. Such a man would reassure her that he loved her and keep letting her know that she is loved and valued. He would be glad found each other and would do anything not to bring her more pain.

Instead, you selfishly pick at her wounds under the guise of values about children. It is a little late in the relationship to talk about shared values and raising children, don't you think. That is one of the first things you should have determined when you were considering a serious relationship.

This has nothing to do with children so stop dressing it up that way. You talk about intimacy that starts with be authentic and truthful not deceitful. If her past bothers you don't lie about it and don't marry her. Lies are not compatible with intimacy.

She will feel the disconnect and no doubt move on when she finds someone who can give her the emotional support she needs. This has to do with you and your inability to have compassion and empathy for her.

I hope you decide not to marry her, that would be kindest to her. She would be lucky to get rid of an apparently self-centered, insecure man in exchange for a mature, good man.

Do yourself a favor find a virgin and have done with it. If you have any ounce of compassion call it up now and let her go to be happy with someone more suited to her. You have played a cruel bait and switch on her.
 

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Am I just a prude? Is 50 partners for a woman pushing some kind of envelope?
So 50 partners for a guy would be acceptable? There shouldn't be a double standard. If it is fine for one, it should be fine for another.

Woman here. She had sex with many, many people and wanted you and only you. That tells you something.
From this post and your other, you sound insecure and a tad like you are trying to change her or rather "shame" her. That will not end up well for you.
 

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She would be lucky to get rid of an apparently self-centered, insecure man in exchange for a mature, good man.
Bit harsh, no? It's got nothing to do with maturity. It has to do with shared values. There's a disconnect in that department and its effecting him.

And get off of this "double standards" crap. I never said it was OK for a man to have 50 sex partners. I never said it was bad. 3 vs. 50 is a disconnect. My wife wouldn't have married me if I were a *****. I wouldn't have met her if I was a *****. We wouldn't have married. The disconnect would have been too great for both of us.
 

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I love my Wife. Totally and completely love her.

Her prior experiences are a big part of what made her the woman she is today. Some were sexual - some were not. They are all incorporated in who she is today.

Only thing that matters is she loves me and treats me well. Thats it. Everything else is not relevant unless SHE wants to talk about it.



I'm female and this is a public forum and I can answer any post that I care to. Don't read if you don't want to. I think you want to hear from men to confirm the double standard of other insecure men.

I'd rather put myself in her place. If she wrote in I'd tell her to consider calling off the wedding, it would be the best thing she could do. Maybe she will be smart if you keep bringing this up to do so. This is a big red flag indicating a deeply insecure man and it will not get better. She will be hounded by you throughout the entire marriage.

She should find a man who is glad she picked him to marry and does not have a double standard with regards to a woman's sexuality. It is bound to come out in other ways when she is married and it will be miserable for her. If she is attractive that should be very easy for her to do.

Some of her experiences were not good because she ran into to predatory men and made bad decisions. You should lament that there are men of that sort in the world not hound a woman you say you love.

If you loved her enough you would not want to bring them up, especially when she has already told you she does not want to go into detail.

A secure mature man capable of loving a woman would be far more suitable for her. Such a man would reassure her that he loved her and keep letting her know that she is loved and valued. He would be glad found each other and would do anything not to bring her more pain.

Instead, you selfishly pick at her wounds under the guise of values about children. It is a little late in the relationship to talk about shared values and raising children, don't you think. That is one of the first things you should have determined when you were considering a serious relationship.

This has nothing to do with children so stop dressing it up that way. You talk about intimacy that starts with be authentic and truthful not deceitful. If her past bothers you don't lie about it and don't marry her. Lies are not compatible with intimacy.

She will feel the disconnect and no doubt move on when she finds someone who can give her the emotional support she needs. This has to do with you and your inability to have compassion and empathy for her.

I hope you decide not to marry her, that would be kindest to her. She would be lucky to get rid of an apparently self-centered, insecure man in exchange for a mature, good man.

Do yourself a favor find a virgin and have done with it. If you have any ounce of compassion call it up now and let her go to be happy with someone more suited to her. You have played a cruel bait and switch on her.
 

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Catherine,
I 100% agree. It is also outrageous to suggest that you are unable to guide your children towards the future unless you know the intimate details of your spouses past, a past that appears to be painful for her. What's next? You need to know the sexual history of all the primary school teachers your children come in contact with? They most certainly guide your children.
You want to know the details for no other reason than to soothe your ego and it will come at the expense of "$lut shaming" your fiance.
 

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As a woman, I have always felt VERY uncomfortable being asked by the person I'm dating (or engaged to) to divulge my dating and/or sexual past.
In a word, it feels very invasive.
AND, in both scenarios where this happened--once with an ex, once with my current husband--the other thing I was uncomfortable with was that these interviews were conducted in order to make HIM feel ok.
That's not my job. That's his job--YOUR job.
Something about it feels icky.

Not only that...I felt like I was being asked to account for myself, answer to my current bf/fiancée, to get his approval or something.
You may not feel that you're trying to grant approval, but your fiancée may feel this way.
She wants to feel like it "doesn't matter."
Bringing it up implies that there are conditions on your love for her---like something she's done/admits actually matters enough that it makes a difference.
Does it make a difference? What difference does it make?

I remember before we got married, my H made a huge deal about wanting to know about every single guy I'd ever dated, so he wouldn't be "taken by surprise" someday when he met one of these guys and "didn't see it coming."
well, excuse me, but my past is mine, and it does not exist to pose a threat to YOU at any stage of your life.

I don't get this "need to know" what your girl has done that some guys have.
Does knowing what's already happened give you any more control over what IS happening?

Being interrogated simply doesn't foster trust or openness.

Your "need to know" is an issue of your insecurity--which is understandable and no crime.
BUT you could really do yourself a disservice if you give it the wheel and let yourself become controlling out of your anxiety.
You could alienate your fiancée.

I recommend you find some ways to deal with this anxiety and insecurity on your own, without bringing them to her.
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One more thing:

I don't judge you for wanting to share these experiences in discussion with your fiancee.

It's HOW those conversations happen that matters.
Let it happen organically and naturally, as you grow closer to each other, not as an item on your pre-wedding checklist.

It's not on your list of "pre-wedding must-figure-outs"
figure those out first, not this.
Have you figured those out?

Are they about what she's done, or who she is?

Then love her, marry her, and this kind of opening up will follow.
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I just want to be the person that knows her better than anyone else in this world.
Get to the bottom of why you so urgently want this.

What power does "knowing" have for you?
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Discussion Starter #14
Ladies (Catherine, Brennan, Credam), thank you for your input. I needed to hear that I'm shaming my fiancee due to my own insecurities and lack of similar sexual experiences. (I think you're right.) Perhaps I wish I had sown more of my own wild oats before meeting her. Then maybe I'd react more reasonably. It's not the number of people she's slept with. It's not that she had anal sex. I understand and can accept that she had sex because she found validation in herself and she's a different woman now. I was only really disappointed in the case where she showed poor judgement in having a sexual relationship with her much older boss during her summer internship in college. (At first, it made me feel better to think that he took advantage of her, but then again, she was an adult and made her own choice.) I don't want her to apologize, but I hope deep down she realizes it was probably a mistake. Certainly, I've made plenty of mistakes myself. It kills me that I'm not supposed to know these things about her past. I had just assumed there would be nothing that we couldn't share or talk about. But I can put my ego aside in this case - she's too precious and I care about her too much.

Thanks again.
 

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Hollander,
If she regrets or has misgivings about her past, being badgered to spill it will cause her pain in the beginning, then resentment and later loathing.....at you.
My husband had 1 partner before me. He was man enough to understand my past wasn't as Leave it to Beaver as his was. I told him all about my past. Why? Because I trusted him and knew that he wasn't going to shame me or toss it in my face. Had I not trusted him in that aspect, I would go to my grave with my past.
Right now she doesn't want to discuss her past. She also won't because she knows what your reaction will be. You get upset if she uses sexual slang words because you imagine somebody doing that to her. How on Earth if that is your reaction to THAT going to make her feel secure in telling you the details?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
She's told me that she trusts me enough to answer any of my questions knowing that I won't judge her, but I fear making the next step (the asking), which is why I've reached out here. (I agree that my reaction to her sexual slang is a tip off that I really may not be ready to handle her stories without bias, which didn't occur to me before.) I suppose that I'm a little sad, not that she had prior experiences - I've generally been okay with that - I'm sad to understand that there are things from the past that we shouldn't (or won't) talk about. Perhaps I had a naive vision of our marriage, but I didn't think there would ever be topics that we wouldn't be able to discuss freely, but perhaps this is one one that's best for us to leave alone.
 

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Here's what I want to tell her: If and when you feel a need or willingness to share those past experiences some day, I want you to feel that you can do so with impunity and the knowledge that I'll never judge you. Really, I want to be the husband and wife that can share everything -- past, present and future and that there's nothing we can't talk about. You'd certainly agree with this and while you're willing to answer anything that I'd ask, I know you feel uncomfortable that I'd somehow think differently of you. I agree that the time might not be now and that's fine by me. I realize that some of the normal pre-marriage jitters affected me. While none of those jitters had to with your past sexual experiences initially, I think the jitters (about the future, kids, challenges, etc.) made me just insecure enough (even temporarily) to begin to worry about your past experiences with men, when I should have known that it doesn't impact me at all and none of it reflects how you love me today. Of course, I've known this during the three years of our relationship and I'm sorry that I forgot that recently.
 

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Don't ask, don't tell. Subscribe to that same policy, if it was before you and she's not cheating let it go and enjoy the ride.

Trust me, you don't want to know, was there someone bigger, longer and lasted longer than you. That alone will bruise your ego. Then you'll always wonder was I good enough, did she really enjoy it, was she faking it....

Unless you're a pervert like me who gets turned on about his wife's past sexual encounters (lol, I'm just kidding, I hope).
 

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It's funny you say that. I totally trust her and she'd never cheat on me and she totally trusts me in the same way. But because I never had some of those "wilder" experiences, I sort of get turned on by hearing some of her experiences and get to live vicariously through her in hearing those stories. If that was the only reason (and I was 100% not jealous in the slightest), I probably wouldn't hesitate to ask, assuming of course that she was comfortable talking. But clearly, I have some other issues of insecurity and she's not entirely comfortable, so I can't be an idiot about asking since I might cause problems for both of us.
 

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>>Really, I want to be the husband and wife that can share everything -- past, present and future and that there's nothing we can't talk about. You'd certainly agree with this and while you're willing to answer anything that I'd ask, I know you feel uncomfortable that I'd somehow think differently of you<<

I think this is the point where the iceberg warnings were issued to passengers of the Titanic.



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