My Boyfriend Can’t Get Over My Past

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Reader’s Question

I’m having a terrible relationship problem with my boyfriend: I told him about my sexual past and he can’t get over it. He keeps on asking very personal questions and asking for details. I tried to lie but he found out, so I honestly told him everything. And he couldn’t accept it.

It’s been almost a year already but he’s still asking, and every single thing will trigger him. He said I’m not special to him anymore and he doesn’t like me as before. He even calls me a ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’ (I only had one ex). He suggested breaking up, but I love him very much. I know he loves me too, but he just can’t treat me well because he doesn’t think I deserve it. I already told him the past should be in the past, so don’t bring it up anymore, but he can’t do it. Without the issue of my past we are really happy, so how can I make him forget about my past?

I was still a virgin when I met him, and to make him feel better I had sex with him. It was my first time and it was his first time too. He says he doesn’t feel special because he wanted to have everything with me for the first time; although I didn’t have sex with my ex, I had done other things. So to make my boyfriend feel special I did it with him too, but it still didn’t help.

We’re in a long distance relationship, and I feel so helpless!

Psychologist’s Reply

Although you may feel like you are, the fact is that you are not helpless. You are in control of your own life, and once you accept that you have this power, you probably will be happier. Too many people give away control of their lives for the sake of unhealthy relationships. They do it in order to stay in the relationship, only to find that they are trapped in something truly miserable, or that their partner will leave them anyway. Thus, I would stop trying to placate him and start thinking about what you want.

Everyone has a past. As you correctly pointed out, our pasts are over. They are done and cannot be changed. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with engaging in sexual behavior with previous partners (as long as all involved were consenting adults). People who cannot accept that their partner has a past are most likely trying to be in control and/or to deal with their own insecurities. Either way, that is their problem and not their partner’s. The only way partners can deal with such a situation is to set boundaries around the topic and make it off-limits. Once you have explored it ad nauseum (as it sounds like you have), why continue? If he wants to continue being upset about it, he can do so without your participation.

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I find it disturbing that your boyfriend has said cruel things and called you names. I also think it’s very unhealthy that, instead of having sex with him because you wanted to, you did it to make him feel better. Relationships that are healthy are nurturing and considerate of both partners, not just one. Sex should be something that is engaged in when both partners want it and feel special because of it. Although your past may be the only topic that is problematic currently, the behaviors exhibited because of it are unhealthy and probably indicative of future troubles. Consequently, I strongly suggest that you re-examine your relationship. No one, especially not someone who loves you, should be verbally abusive towards you. Nor should you do things you don’t want to do just to appease him. Those behaviors are symptomatic of an abusive relationship.

If you are feeling helpless now, chances are that this feeling will get stronger with time. Thus, I recommend talking with a qualified mental health professional who could help you with this. A good counselor can help you regain your personal power and transform your relationships into better ones.

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