Boyfriend wor­ries about pro­mis­cu­ous past

The Daily Courier - - LIFE & ARTS - EL­LIE TESHER

QUES­TION: I’m a woman in my late-20s and dat­ing a man who’s three years younger than me, for five years.

Ini­tially, he was in­se­cure about my dat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence com­pared to his hav­ing none. Also, I’d had many part­ners but prior to meet­ing him, I got more se­ri­ous and changed my life.

I’ve told him that any re­grets I have, if any, are be­tween me, my­self and I.

Since then, we’ve grown in­cred­i­bly close and want to get more se­ri­ous. But he’s still both­ered about my past promiscuity and we’ve de­cided to ac­tively pur­sue heal­ing to­gether.

He says he needs to sep­a­rate what I was like be­fore, from who I’ve been with him.

Can I do any­thing about this or is it his is­sue to deal with?

AN­SWER: You’ve al­ready made a solid de­ci­sion to work to­gether on this, don’t di­lute it. You can’t erase your his­tory, so con­front it along with his re­ac­tion to it.

If you go to ther­apy to­gether seek­ing a stronger, health­ier re­la­tion­ship, you have a good chance of get­ting even closer.

Ex­am­ple: Per­haps he’ll learn that your “promiscuity” was re­lated to an early bad re­la­tion­ship, or a poor self-im­age, or even some­thing from your child­hood.

Per­haps you’ll learn that it makes him doubt his viril­ity when you two make love, won­der­ing if he’s “man enough” for you. Or, some other un­re­lated in­se­cu­rity in him gets trig­gered by this dif­fer­ence in sex­ual ex­pe­ri­ence.

If you’re both will­ing to be open and hon­est, guided by the ther­a­pist, you’ll both have a bet­ter chance for get­ting past this.

QUES­TION: Un­til my nephew an­nounced plans to marry this com­ing sum­mer, I was part of a close, non-is­sue fam­ily.

We adult sib­lings still share all hol­i­days to­gether with a large fam­ily meal. We have al­ways en­cour­aged our now grown-up chil­dren and their chil­dren to join us.

My nephew re­cently let each of us know that he was invit­ing my one sis­ter’s chil­dren as guests to the wed­ding, but the other six cousins aren’t in­vited, in­clud­ing mine.

His mother (my sis­ter) knew this long ago, and has de­fended the cou­ple’s de­ci­sion, be­cause they want a small wed­ding.

It’s caus­ing ma­jor fam­ily grief. My sons no longer wish to at­tend fam­ily din­ners, as this cou­ple will also be there.

I’m hurt that my sis­ter didn’t try to per­suade her son not to do this. There wouldn’t have been an is­sue if none of these cousins had been in­vited.

How do we, as a fam­ily, get past this?

AN­SWER: Any­one who has paid for a wed­ding knows that the costs can get out of hand.

The guest list is of­ten the fi­nal straw. An ex­tended fam­ily sucks up the num­bers, and either the “other side” with fewer rel­a­tives feels that it’s un­fair, or fam­ily re­la­tion­ships are put un­der a mi­cro­scope and only the clos­est ones get in­vited.

There must be a rea­son that the cou­ple only chose that one aunt’s chil­dren to rep­re­sent all. Were they closer in age to the bridal cou­ple? Or had more in­volve­ment with them?

Also your sis­ter may’ve ad­vised them other­wise, but they feel it’s their wed­ding and they’re pay­ing for it.

My own at­ti­tude to wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions: I’m happy for the cou­ple, never slighted if they can’t in­clude me, and feel they likely have fi­nan­cial rea­sons or want a smaller gath­er­ing any­way.

I’d cut this cou­ple some slack, and tell your chil­dren not to hold a grudge.

El­lie Tesher’s col­umn ap­pears Mon­day to Satur­day . Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca.

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