How to handle your partners sexual past

retroactive jealousy


Today, we’ll be talking about the topic “How to Handle Your Partners Sexual Past (Retroactive Jealousy)”. The past 6 months have been quite revealing for me as a psychotherapist because with the onset of COVID-19 came new dimensions to marital issues. Spouses who had always spent limited time with their better halves have over the past one year come to learn a lot more about their partners. This has led many to asking themselves really honest questions about their marriage or relationship. With this questions, quite a number of them are going back to their partners past in an attempt to establish patterns.

This is causing a lot of damage in marriages.The first thing everyone needs to deal with is that there’s a high probability your partner has had sex with quite a number of people before marriage. It could have been with a few people or maybe with lots of people. Those experiences they discussed with you sort of amplified your insecurity regarding the relationship. It’s perfectly normal. Here’s my advice;

“If you want your marriage to work, DO NOT bury the past like many would tell you. Bring it out and deal with every aspect of it that bothers you together with your spouse” – Temple Obike

A partners sexual past might be colourful in comparison to yours and this could evoke some form of jealousy. My advice is that you deal with this jealousy and become better for it. After speaking to over 300+ clients over the past 4 years, i have noticed that jealousy usually ushers in an opportunity for a heartfelt discussion. An opportunity many people miss out on.

Here’s how to deal with your partners sexual past.

1) What is Done Is Done (Don’t Dwell on It):

As long as you wake up in the morning and the person smiling at you or gazing into your eyes is your partner, “You already Won”. They are with you and not with any of the people they had sex with in the past. Regardless of the number of people they have had sex with in the past, you have to move beyond it because everytime you dwell on it, you hurt both your marriage and partner. Do NOT ever judge them based on what they had done in the past because it cannot be undone. The worst part about dwelling on this is that it might affect your partner’s ability to trust you with other sensitive information regarding them.

You The One With A Past: Understand that everyone processes information differently. If your sexual history scares your partner, it could be due to jealousy, fear of being outmatched sexually or just the sadness that comes with knowing someone else may have bitten off more than a mouthful of you. Nevertheless, you need to give this some time (between the time you discussed this and 12 months). If your partner keeps bringing this up, you need to firmly ask them if there is anything you can do to help them process it faster and highlight the fact that telling them was also a big task for you. The transparency and trust required to give them the information MUST be highlighted. If it persists, seek out a professional counselor near you.

Pretence never made anything go away. Acting like your spouses sexual history does not bother you will not solve the issue, rather it could become the epicenter of distrust in your marriage. If their sexual history had a lot of very dark blotches in it, both of you would need to discuss this and various ways it could affect your relationship. The deciscion could be something as little as “Let’s round off all activities on Social Media before 7pm” to something as serious as “Cutting off from Certain Friends with whom they had a history”.The good thing is that both of you are talking about it and this also affords you the opportunity to bare your feelings as well.

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You The One With A Past: If your partner acted a bit emotionless while you discussing this sensitive topic, it’s in your best interest to ask the simple question “Honey, i noticed you didn’t have much to say or do after i spoke, is this how you truly feel? Because it would mean a lot to me if i knew what you truly thought and felt about this”. This may evoke a response or not but regardless, it has opened up an opportunity to have a discussion around this whenever they get around to it. On your own part, limit interactions with people who you shared some sexual history with as this conscious effort if made obvious is a comfort factor for your partner.

3) You are NOT Better Than Your Partner:

I remember Sunday school and how we were all taught to guard our hearts with all dilligence. 95% failed that test in life and got into relationships that didn’t work but just made onto their intimacy CV. This point is for the 5% who (maybe) passed the test. The fact that you had a “noble” sexual history does not give you the rights to throw your partner under the bus. This is not good for your marriage as you may have just given your partner the licence to distrust you or worse still put them in a dis-advantaged position where they are always trying to live up to expectations you set. Unfortunately, when you concentrate on not making a mistake, like an invisible magnet, that magnet will keep pulling you in.

You The One With A Past: You may have noticed that due to your discussion, your partner has somewhat adopted a sense of pride in the fact they lived a better life than you. Firstly, understand that our lives are where it is now based on our deciscions in the past ten,five or three years. If your sexual history has not affected your life in any obvious way that’s great but if it affected you adversely, make a deciscion today to rise above it with your partners help if available (or without it). Discuss this observation with your partner in a very civil manner because that is one of the ways to truly curb it. No one’s opinion of you matters more than what you genuinely think about yourself.

4) Watch Out For Regrets:

I have seen patners (especially females) who had done everything within their capacity to keep themselves for their future spouse and succeeded at this. Just before or after marriage, their partner then discusses their sexual history which suddenly evokes feelings of anger and regrets. Anger as an emotion can really be handled but my concern here is regrets. I have seen many unconsciously make a deciscion to level up the playing field because they felt that keeping chaste was an attempt at futility. Revenge affairs ensued from this thought process and gradually chipped away the very core of their marriage as the years progressed. You saved everything for your spouse but they didn’t do the same. Yet you saw something(s) in them that was worth falling in love with. Simply concentrate on those things and they will provide a platform for you to begin healing emotionally.

You The One With A Past: Regrets that build up in your partner after you told them about your sexual history is perfectly normal especially if they had saved up quite a lot of decency towards marriage. It could be devastating because one of the first things they battle with is dissapointment in their choice, for others, the battle is more about regrets on the futility of their actions in keeping themselves for a long time. These are simply cues for you to talk about when you do notice that your partner may have regrets. Your major activity is to re-assure them that time will heal them and also show you to be the best choice they ever made. The hard part mate is keeping to that promise. You will fail most times but always be a positive work in progress. Once your partner can see that you are genuinely becoming better with each passing day, regrets will fade away.

5) You Are Enough:

This in my opinion is the point that causes partners to keep feeding an endless cycle of reactivity. For couples who have no dark sexual history with one of the pair, this always comes up. Now imagine a partner who knows they pale in comparison to their significant other’s sexual experience. A feeling of inadequacy always haunts the partner and if not handled properly could destroy intimacy between couples and then proceed to destroy the marriage. Remember this, you fell in love with this person and they are a combination of every relationship, tryst, one night stand, experimenting and so on. My point is simply that the very man or woman who you now have has somehow used those experiences as material to create the person you fell in love with. Some of those materials may not be good (this will be expunged later) but some like building self confidence in themselves is amazing.

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