General Question

an0nym0us's avatar

Should My Fiance's Sexual Partners Bother Me?

Asked by an0nym0us (42points) July 27th, 2008

I already know that the question I am asking is narrow-minded. So, rather than being judgmental, please answer in a way that actually helps me.

Here’s my question: My fiance’ has had about ten sexual partners (that she told me about—could be more). This doesn’t include people who she might have simply “fooled around” with and not slept with. I never expected to marry someone who was a virgin (especially considering that I am not) but somehow I can’t stop thinking about this.

Sometimes I get images of her engaging in the act and I can’t stop thinking about that.

Is this something that should bother me? How can I get over this? I think she is a great girl and this should be a non-issue but somehow it is. What is this anyway? Jealousy? Insecurity? What should I do? Obviously, I can’t go into the past and change anything… and I know that this is the girl for me.

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39 Answers

cage's avatar

I recently broke up with my girlfriend. I loved her very much, and when I found out that she was now seeing another guy, I couldn’t stop picturing them.
You come to get used to it in a way and just find it acceptable. I’d say it’s extremely normal, and I’m sure she wouldn’t like the idea of you being with someone else not caring about her.
Thing is, your thoughts are irrational and they don’t mean anything now, because she is with you, and that’s all that should matter.
My thoughts however WERE rational, as I discovered that they had engaged in sexual intercourse soon after we broke up. If I got through it, you can too.

Take some time on it and don’t stress. Let her know how you’re feeling too, and she’ll show you that you and her are the only one you should be thinking about.

an0nym0us's avatar

@Cage: I am really sorry to hear that happened to you but I am glad that you are over it.

I should point out that these are my fiance’s past relationships—and that makes me feel very stupid and childish about this whole thing but as the wedding day comes closer I think about this more and more.

I have told her a couple of times that this really bothers me and that I feel stupid that it bothers me. Talking about this hurts her too because it probably makes her feel bad about something that she shouldn’t really feel bad about.

wildflower's avatar

Consider the alternative: If she’d had no previous partners, there’s a chance she’d get curious after being with you. And who knows what that would lead to…
Also, if she’d lived that sheltered a life, she quite possibly wouldn’t be the person you know and love.

With this situation, she knows what sex is and won’t need to wonder if it’s different with other partners.
Her past experiences, sexual or otherwise, have all contributed to making her the person she is today. If her past bothers you more than you can handle, you should probably have a long hard think about whether you’ll be able to share your life with her before becoming husband and wife.

cage's avatar

@an0nym0us, you shouldn’t feel stupid, it’s normal. My two tips however would be, don’t think about it to the point where it’s driving you insane and you do start to think irrational thoughts, and secondly don’t confront her enough to piss her off, because the jealousy will get on her nerves, in that she’ll think you don’t trust her.
Just calm and it’s okay, you’;re the one she’s sleeping with, making love to and most importantly, dedicating the rest of her life to.

an0nym0us's avatar

@Wildflower: You’re right. That helps a little. I guess if she were inexperienced, she might have decided to “experiment” during the marriage.

I know that this (self-inflicted) issue is childish and insignificant compared to how much I love her. I cannot imagine my life without her or with anyone else because I truly love her. So, passing up on the opportunity to marry her is not an option for me. She is the one that I want to grow old with. I know this because I physically ache for her when we are not together.

I have even googled for whether there is some kind of therapy or process for flushing this turd of a thought out of my stupid brain. If there were a way to get rid of this feeling, I honestly would—for the last few days I just can’t shake it off.

wildflower's avatar

You can’t undo what’s in the past – and neither can she. Cage’s advice to not confront her is very true. Chances are she’s not particularly happy with some her experiences, there may even be some she regrets and if you confront her, you’ll hurt her and there is nothing either of you can do to make it go away.
Just focus on the here and now and your future together. You both had lives before you met, but what’s done is done. Leave it and move on.

an0nym0us's avatar

@Wildflower: yep. that’s what I am trying to do.

wildflower's avatar

This may be entirely inappropriate, but you could consider just making sure you have lots of memories/mental images of the two of you – so your mind won’t drift to the other stuff…

an0nym0us's avatar

@Wildflower: Ha! That’s probably the best answer ever—somehow that actually makes sense to me!

I guess I was wondering if this whole thing was even normal. From the responses thus far, the consensus seems to be:“yes a little bit of this is normal, but get over it because you’re obsessing too much.”

marinelife's avatar

This is a gender difference between men and women. Here are a couple of possibilities:

1. Based on what you have said that she is the one for you, and you have no doubts on that score, think back about your sexual encounters in the past. Yours. Do those women matter to you? Are you obsessed with women you made love to in the past? Do you think your past sexual encounters make you less of a good choice for her as a marriage partner? I am betting the answer is no. When you realize that, recognize that it is the same for your fiancee. Every time you start to get a picture of her with another guy in your head, replace it with a picture of you with a woman from your past and say firmly to yourself. My past does not matter. Her past does not matter.

2. Stop the thought and replace it with something else every time. An image of your wedding day. An image of the two of you frolicking at the honeymoon destination.

3. I promise you that she never even thinks about the past and the other men. She has given her heart to you and is looking forward to being with you always. Tell yourself you are the guy she wants to marry. Tell yourself she is beautiful and good and more special than anyone you have ever known.

4. Stop bringing this up to her and making her feel bad, This is your problem to deal with.

You said you looked for something to do, but I can tell you that any competent therapist can help with this. If trying some of these suggestions does not work, go see someone. Preferably a man. Do it before the wedding.

Dog's avatar

The bottom line is that she is with YOU. Which proves that you are more important to her and more cherished by her than any other man.

At the end of the day you are the one she loves and wishes to commit to. This is awesome.

girlofscience's avatar

I realized that I have a much different perspective than most on this issue when I was reading the answers in this thread. (Check out my perspective at the bottom.)

I think Marina is right about thinking about this in the opposite direction. When you think back to your sexual experiences before your fiance, you will likely realize that those women are in the past and that you no longer (or possibly never did) have feelings for them, you may start to understand that your fiance feels the same way about the men in her past. Her past made her the person you love today.

Maybe this is so easy for me to do because I was friends with my boyfriend for three years before we started dating. We were really close friends (but platonic) for those three years, so he shared with me about the women he dated over that time. I knew how he felt about them during their relationship and how he felt about them when they broke up. When we started dating, I already knew that he didn’t have feelings for any of them anymore, so I guess this was an easy thing for me not to worry about.

You probably didn’t have the same experience of being friends with your fiance throughout her relationships before you and seeing how the relationships ended. But even though you weren’t there for it, if she has committed her life to you, you should appreciate her love for you and love her for everything she is now and everything she has been throughout her life that eventually led to her love for you.

gailcalled's avatar

No one can control where your fantasies take you. Yours’ clearly bother you. See a therapist for several sessions only and see whether you can dump the baggage. All the other tips are just that; suggestions that require intellectual effort and don’t deal with controlling your emotions (which is really difficult.)

Many times just being in a safe and nonjudgmental environment, with someone who will keep what you say confidential, is what it takes. That’s what therapy is, now that I think of it. If you keep running videos in your head and can’t stop them, find a pro for help

sndfreQ's avatar

Excellent advice from everyone! I might add to the suggestion of therapy that your woman must be incredible seeing as you are so smitten; you need to remember that a healthy relationship is one where communication, trust, and honesty are the buliding blocks. It’s completely natural for you to feel the way you do, but the fixation on her past is only the symptom of the larger issue-why you think yourself inadequate for her. Maybe you’re not there yet in your reflection process but consider that your issue may actually have nothing to do with her and her partners. A professional therapist may be able to help guide you through this, but remember to always remain compassionate, open and honest about your feelings. Love does conquer all, and the reward is well worth the effort.

augustlan's avatar

It sounds as though this thought process is similar to obsessive thought disorder (not saying you have it, but I do!) I often have mental pictures of unpleasant things and basically the way to get rid of it is to replace the mental image with something else. For me it helps to replace it with a calming and completely unrelated image. (ie: replace “my child in a car accident” with “me sleeping in a hammock in a wooded back yard”. Hope it helps!

an0nym0us's avatar

I honestly don’t know what it is causing this. Maybe its just premarital jitters or a fear of commitment. I simply don’t know. Regardless of whether it is jealousy, insecurity, being judgmental, or being obsessive, I think some professional help is in order. Either that, or I need to walk away from it because I don’t think she deserves to be tortured by my issues and doesn’t deserve to be with a guy who doesn’t think highly of her in every respect.

I Googled it and found this to be something that others have felt as well. I guess that helps because at least it tells me that I am not entirely abnormal for feeling this way. Still, I will have definitely have to figure this one out and lay it to rest once and for all.

sndfreQ's avatar

augustlan-nice one. Just reminded me of my uncle who was a habitual smoker for 20 years sought rehab, counseling, etc. But what did the trick in the end was to seek hypno motivational therapy. He has a similar kind of response when he feels an urge-and through that therapy he learned how to cope with it, to the point that he’s been smoke-free for five years!

IAC good luck with your self improvement.

augustlan's avatar

@snd Thanks, and good for your uncle! I am NOWHERE near ready to give up my smokes, yet, but…someday

sndfreQ's avatar

@anon-I admire you for your courage. It is an issue you need to resolve for yourself, lest it be carried into your next relationship (if that ever became the case).

You can do it-but it’s all up to you to take the first step to a better life…we’re pulling for you buddy :)

JH's avatar

first when I was with my g/f she told me how Many guys shes been with. At first it bothered me and I would picture her with those guys. But then it was stupid for me to think of the past when it would only bring up problems and fights. You don’t wanna think about it if you do then it will ruin what yall have now. If u love her and care about her and as long as she’s with you now ,dont be concerned about anything else. If she’s only been with ten that’s not bad at all. I know some girls that have been with over 40 guys.

MissAnthrope's avatar

At some earlier point in your relationship, you didn’t yet know her sexual history and obviously you liked her a lot. :) Well, she’s the same person she was, someone amazing enough that you fell in love with her. The only thing different is your perspective!

However, easier said than done.. though I do try to remind myself of the above, I do the same thing as you and I hate it. I do think I have a touch of the OCD, because I often can’t stop it and it causes me to feel crappy. What I’ve learned to do is shove it to the back of my mind for a while, or try to replace the image with something else, like being the one being intimate with my partner. The stuff I shove away usually gets pulled out again periodically, tested to see how I currently feel about it, then taken care of if I can deal or shoved away again if it’s still too painful.

ava's avatar

You have to see the movie, “Mr. Jealousy.” You can rent it. It is exactly about what you are talking about, and I bet seeing it will make you feel better!

dangdang's avatar

I don’t want to sound judgmental but this is one of the big reasons I think premarital sex, no matter how common place it becomes, can only lessen the success rate of marriages. The one line I would always say to my buddies was “If you have never tasted ice cream, even McDonald’s soft serve would be amazing to you.” And you would never know any different. There is something about that connection, that when you know your significant other has shared that connection with someone else, things can never be the same. Never! And for those of you that say it can’t be done, here is living proof my friend. Oh how sweet it is to say “I saved myself for you honey, only you!” Especially when they can say the same in return.

marinelife's avatar

@dangdang It’s a fine personal choice. I have no problem that you chose that for your self. I do have a problem with you making judgments about my choice, which I am proud to say was different. I would also say that since you have no knowledge of that other choice, you cannot possibly judge what it was like for me and my husband or for others.

dangdang's avatar

@Marina I was not responding to your comment. To be honest I hadn’t even read your response. I was simply stating the fact that jealousy will be in a relationship because there is something special about the connection you have with a person during sex. You are giving part of yourself to that person and can never get that part of you back. That will cause jealousy (especially among men) and strain on any marriage. If that is the life style you have chosen that is your choice. I am simply stating what I see to be true. If you disagree with my premise, refute it.

augustlan's avatar

@dang I think your choice is fine for you. For me, I learned so much about myself and men from each of my previous partners, that I think my husband has only benefitted from my past experiences. That said, neither he nor I are the jealous type.

emilyrose's avatar

I think a lot of folks on here have given some great advice. It does sound like from where you’re at it’s time for a few sessions of therapy. As someone else mentioned, this is something any good therapist can help you with. Make a few phone calls to find someone you jive with over the phone before setting up a meeting. If you don’t feel a fit with the first couple of therapists, have no fear, just keep looking and you will find someone you feel you can open up to and trust. I also HIGHLY recommend meeting with a therapist who is trained in EMDR. It’s a type of therapy (google it) that is often used to heal people after traumatic events. My former therapist used it with me for something that wasn’t exactly traumatic in the usual sense, but was causing me a lot of grief on a daily basis which it sounds like this is for you. It’s basically a therapy that kind of re-trains your brain to think of things surrounding a particular issue in a different way. It’s been very effective for people who lost loved ones in 9/11, or people who have phobias. I think it can help you too. Good luck! I also agree that you should try to work through this without involving your fiance.

Emilyy's avatar

Sigh. This is why people shouldn’t share their “number.”

I think that each one of those experiences contributed to making her the woman that you love today. I try to look at each failed relationship or “hook-up” or whatever else you want to call it as just another learning experience. You grow and change with each new bond that you form. All things in moderation——if she were telling you about her past 400 partners, that might be of more concern and might bring into question whether your morals and hers match up. But each of those ten individuals have meant something to her in some capacity contribuute to her maturity and individuality. If she’s your finace at this point that means you guys are serious about your relationship. Just cherish her for who she is.

Poser's avatar

Men are supposedly better at compartmentalizing than women, so I’ve always been told. I know I’m pretty good at it. Of course my GF’s previous partners bother me, as mine do her, but what can I do? If I dwell on it, it’ll negatively effect our relationship (not to mention my sanity).

Put it away, lock it up, throw away the key. I don’t mean to come off as harsh, but just get over it. Marry her or don’t. But if you decide you’re going to, get this thing fixed first. If you love her.

krose1223's avatar

Well with all that experience she’s probably pretty good in the sack. ha. I’m surprised to hear a guy ask this. It was all before you knew her and I’m sure if she knew she would have met you and it would bother you she would have taken a few back. She is human, as are you. Love her for it. Just one of the many obstacles to overcome in a relationship. Really in 2008 10 partners isn’t that many… My ex cheated on me with 10 girls. Just be careful and make sure there’s nothing nasty going on down there. If you catch my drift.

gailcalled's avatar

(@krose- in spite of the subtlety, I got your drift)

mnkyfeet717's avatar

Im sending this to you as both a man and a psychology major;
first off its absolutely normal to feel this way. almost everyone especially once marriage comes into the question starts to think about things like this. In fact a lot of what your thinking has nothing to do with your fiance but more to do with you thinking that she is your last sexual partner. i’m not sure how long you have been together but as you start to forget about your prior partners you will start to forget hers as well.

ddavis56's avatar

I’m not against therapy. If you think you should go, you should… However, I often think exploring feelings like jealousy, which I’ve never been able to effectively rationalize, creates more problems than it solves. I overcame this by doing what your most likely beginning to do now. You place her happiness before your jealousy. (it’s 26 years now and I still get a twinge now and then but its now only an internal annoyance rather than a overt problem) Jealousy and possessiveness are selfish. Love should more selfless than selfish.

tb1570's avatar

Should it bother you? Ideally maybe not. Is it normal and acceptble that it does? Yes. It’s how you choose to react to it and what you choose to do about it (if anything) that will define your relationship w/ her and you as a person.

Raean's avatar

It is absolutely normal to think about the number of partners your significant has had especially if you have exchanged “numbers”. With this in mind, what is your number? Does she know? Does it bother her? Picturing her with other people and having it bother you is normal. Not to mention it proves how much you care for her being as it upsets you. The bottom line is that we all have a past. Pasts that we can’t change. We have all made decisions that we later regretted. Chalk it up to experience. At the very least, you know that she wants to be with you. Think of it this way- that out of her “10”-you know you’re her “number 1”

BBQsomeCows's avatar


this is one of the many pitfalls of fornication

you WILL be compared to previous partners in more than one way

perhaps this is not the right person for you.. unless you similarly have wide fornicating experiences

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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction, you are wasting way too much brain power on that. As you say you can’t go back and un-ring those bells anymore than she can go back and erase your encounters.

I know my fiancée had others before me. There were some I knew about because she spoke of them before we were an item; there were some she mentioned afterwards because she wanted me to know—I did not ask.

The way I chose to view it as they were ex-employees, unimportant. They were given their pink slips and shown the door. I am the one with the corner office, the oaken desk, leather chair with my name on the door. I am the one that comes in everyday to her heart and put my feet up on the desk. What about the others? I am the one here now, not them. Look at it this way they were just samples she went through on the way to the one she wanted.

Are you sure you are not thinking so much about it because you feel you don’t measure up to them or that you will be replaced as easy or taken as lightly as those past lovers? Don’t look over your shoulder at what is not there anymore, look forward to all the good that is yet to come.

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