Dear Andrea: My girlfriend is 19 and has had 15 partners. I'm 28, with 10. It pisses me off. I'm in love, but part of me feels that I ought to be honest about this. Is it possible for me work through my jealousy and anger or will I succumb to the stud/slut double-standard that rewards promiscuity in men but punishes it in women? Am I being too uptight? Love, Grrrrr!
Dear G: You are being crazy uptight, but the question isn't where you register on some uptightness scale supplied by your local sex expert, it's whether you can work through your resentment before you chase this girl away and have to hate yourself forever. You can, but it's going to be a pile of work and you may need her help, so you're going to have to confess eventually. At that point, you'd best be prepared to hear, "You're mad about what? Five guys who meant nothing to me, back before I even met you? What the hell is your problem?" I certainly hope she doesn't apologize for having had a life before she met you. Even if it were worth apologizing for, it's not like there's anything she can do about it now.
I have one question for you: is your problem really that your girlfriend had a 15 lovers by her late 20s, or that you hadn't? Next time, don't ask questions if you're not prepared to hear the answer. Love, Andrea
Dear Andrea: When I met my wife, I think she was reluctant to date me because I had two children and she was a very eligible bachelorette. She limited our romantic activities to a kiss and some heavy petting. Being a regular guy, I tactfully kept the pressure on her, and eventually we became lovers. I once asked her jokingly what her other boyfriends would say about such a Puritan relationship, and she laughed and told me they got the same treatment. I knew she had dated extensively but out of respect for her; I didn't pry into her past. I must admit I was curious, but she seemed a little guarded and I didn't press it.
After all these happy years together, my wife has never brought up the subject of intimacy or lack of it with her previous boyfriends other than to laugh and comment that when we met, she was a young innocent and that I corrupted her. I am still curious if I was her first lover, but out of respect I have not asked. I am not the jealous type, and she knows that, but curiosity is killing me. Do you think after all this time and mutual devotion, I am foolish to still wonder about her prior sexual relations with old boyfriends? Love, Tactful
Dear T: Very foolish. But don't let that stop you.
Got a question? Email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org
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