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Getting my love's past behavior out of my head

Tagged as: Age differences, Dating<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 March 2017) 2 Answers - (Newest, 1 April 2017)
A male Denmark age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Dear agony aunt,

Please bear with me – my story might be a little long.

But to make it short I work as an expat in a foreign country. I’m in my early thirties and about six months ago I met women who is 7 years my senior (also an expat, albeit from a different continent). We have fallen in love with each other. We both have good jobs and good careers and spend most of our free time together, although there is significant corporate travel involved on both ends, meaning that there are some weeks where we don’t meet.

She confided in me the other day that in her earlier days (this is going back 5 to 10 years), she had a tendency of dating much older married man, meaning that they were having an affair with her.

I know that it is unfair of me to judge her on the basis of something that she did 5-10 years before we ever met each other, but somehow, it is nagging away at me.

I’m starting to question what type of woman would get involved with much older married men in her past (she was in her late twenties early 30s at the time). Her reasoning for telling me this is that she loves me and wants no secrets between us.

The men she used to hook up with back then where usually co-workers in higher positions, meaning her bosses to some extent.

She has however told me that she has no desire to enter into inappropriate relationships of that sort ever again, especially now that she has fallen in love with me.

Still, I feel at unease. I don’t want to judge, but I can’t help thinking that it takes a promiscuous character to do such things, even if they occurred several years ago.

Basically I trust her, but I am just looking for methods or self-help tips on how I can stop thinking about her past behaviour. I’m somewhat jealous by nature and would much rather that she did not reveal her sexual past too much, whereas she claims it will reinforce our relationship as there will be no skeletons in the closet.

My post may sound silly, but I’m just trying to convince myself and get over the fact that she had a tendency of being the “other woman” to older men at her workplaces in the past.

On the positive note, she constantly makes plans for our future, which leads me to believe that she is serious about me. So, in the end, this might simply be something that I need to get out of my head.

Anyhow, any tips on how to deal with a slightly altered version of retroactive jealousy would be much appreciated. I’m not in a position of great power yet in my workplace (although I probably will get there), which means that I’m afraid she will fall into the same old habit, for example when traveling for conferences or when a new boss shows up.

Thank you for any pointers/tips.

View related questions: affair, co-worker, her past, jealous, married man, no desire, older men, sexual past, workplace

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A female reader, Intrigued3000 Canada +, writes (1 April 2017):

Intrigued3000 agony auntShe is being very vulnerable with you, by opening up and telling you about her past experiences. This means she trusts and loves you. In a way, it's a test to see if you will accept her even with these mistakes. Nothing feels safer than opening up to someone you care about and having them accept you as is. She wants that from you. We all want that from our life partners. This is what true connection is all about. This is what love is all about: To be accepted for who you are, warts and all.

What she did before is not who she is now. Perhaps back then she was running away from love. Maybe even felt she did not deserve to be loved, hence the reason for dating married men. She is older now, more secure about herself and wants to be in a relationship with you because she finally feels that she deserves to be loved.

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A male reader, Fatherly Advice United States + , writes (30 March 2017):

Fatherly Advice agony auntSo your desire is to move past this. And you know that that might not be the best choice. I want to give you something new to think about.

You are in love with the person she is now. What she is now is the result or the sum of her experiences. Without her past she would not be the woman you love. When you don't want to hear about her past because it disturbs you, you are not just rejecting part of her, you are also hiding away information about her that will help the relationship. We call this rug-sweeping. (sweeping dirt under the rug to hide it. This is a common relationship mistake, and your girlfriend is wise to reject it.

I am very grateful that there are many people in my life who believe that I can and will change. We all, at some time will have to make some changes. I also appreciate that when I make a change those people are ready to help me by pointing out when I slip into old patterns. You can be that person for her. She will return the favor when you need it. Trust, but verify, is my advice to you, and no more rug-sweeping.

FA

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