He Can't Forgive Her "Past"
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I have met the woman who I am completely in love with, we both feel the
same way, it's a love so deep and intense that we didn't think it was
possible. My problem is that we have been together for almost a year
and have recently discussed our past sexual history. I learned that the
woman I love has a promiscuous past and didn't exercise the best
judgment in her decisions to have sex. I know that the past is exactly
that and that it shouldn't effect my feelings now but I am hung up on
this and can't get over it. It's not that my own past is something to
be proud of but I feel that she crossed some boundaries that surprised
me. Threesomes and casual sex that I don't find very healthy. When we
started seeing each other I went on a month long trip, while I was away
she had sex with two other guys (separately), we had not yet established
a loving relationship, but we knew the potential was there. To me that
displays a lack of self respect and I'm having a hard time respecting
her now. I love this woman but I question if she's worth it and if I am
allowing my love to forgive her for something unforgivable. Please help
me, is this something "normal" that I should get over, or is it
indicative of behavior that I should be leery of? Thanks for your time,
I'm really hurting.
You absolutely have to get over whatever past the woman you love has. I don't care who or how many - the past is the past. It's gone. There's nothing you can do about it except let it ruin the present.
People who dwell on what happened in the past are doomed to make themselves and everyone around them miserable. Sure, you can learn from the past (and probably your girlfriend has). But being happy in the present requires letting go of the past instead of dwelling on it.
Whatever she did has contributed to making her who she is today, the one you love. Also, the fact that she's had lots of sexual experience can only be in your favor. She's probably a much better lover than she would be if she hadn't had those experiences, and you're enjoying that. Also, the fact that she's already done so much means she won't worry in the future about what she missed.
The truth is, since she did it before you were committed to each other, you have nothing to forgive her for. She didn't do anything wrong. Actually, you're the one in the wrong, by questioning if "she's worth it," and thinking her past may be "unforgivable."
What I wonder is why you're trying to destroy a perfectly good relationship by being so judgmental about her past instead of enjoying what you have. Stay in the present and you'll be fine. Worry about the past and you'll never be happy.
Problems from Rushing Things
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I've been seeing this guy for the past nine months. We were dating
exclusively for 5 months and things were going well. We both agreed that we
were serious about each other and that this was the most intense
relationship we had ever been in. That's when the bomb hit. Out of
absolutely no where, he broke up with me. I was in love and devastated. I
was convinced it was the commitment. I think he thought I was ready to get
married and so he fled because he isn't or he wasn't convinced that I was
the 'one'. He didn't want me to get deeper involved when he didn't know
where he saw things going with 'us'.
We saw each other a few times after the break up and then didn't for about a
month. I then called and we talked and things started progressing normally
again, though slow. It got to a bad point however where he hurt my feelings
because he wouldn't commit to a date on a Friday night in case something
better came up, in the end however he ended up staying home all alone to
rest even though his friends went out and I did too. I then left for a
business trip for 2 1/2 weeks and called him during that time stating that I
wouldn't put up with that kind of behavior. He apologized profusely stating
that he didn't know that it hurt me so much, etc... he had no idea.
There have been times when it seems like I won't continue to see him or talk
to him and he freaks out. Saying things like, "How ironic that I would be
the one getting hurt in the end?" or " I thought I would never ever hear
from you again, thank you for calling, thank you!!" I remind him however
that he is the one that broke up with me. It was his decision and he must
live with that. He can change it however I am willing to listen and
understand where he is coming from.
When I came back from my business trip however things couldn't have been
better. He is loving and attentive and he is giving of himself way more
than I am because I'm a little bit afraid of what might happen if I get
'attached' again. But he has been wonderful. I know that I love this
individual, because I've dated a ton of men after we broke up and not one
interested me and all I could think of was him. I tried hating him by
thinking of all his bad qualities even if they were silly. None of this
worked. I thought maybe it was just physical until I went away for those 2
1/2 weeks and just talking to him on the phone made me feel better. It
hurts not to see or talk to him sometimes. I have no interest what-so-ever
in anyone else or dating.
I'm afraid that I will never get over this man if that was what was meant to
be, and I'm also afraid of this new found togetherness that we are sharing.
He wants to spend time with me. He calls me and sets up things with me. I'm
so confused and afraid. What are my next steps here to progress our
relationship without him freaking out over the commitment? I know that I
can't 'make' anyone do anything and I'm not into changing him or changing
for him. I feel like I have a healthy attitude about it but now that things
have suddenly changed, I'm frightened and confused.
I think you get the drift, so I'll leave it at this. Thank you for your
time. I really appreciate it.
The problem with this relationship is that you both rushed too much in the beginning. It sounds like you jumped into a fully committed relationship almost immediately. When you rush into a relationship too quickly, you have no history to hold you together, and breaking up is much easier. It's always better to build a relationship slowly.
On the other hand, you've done the right thing by putting your foot down and letting him know there are certain things you absolutely won't put up with.
Since men are like puppy dogs and run away when you run after them, the solution here is obvious - keep running away from him and he'll keep running after you. Be sure to give a little less than he's giving and always make certain he's the one doing the pursuing, not you - or that at least he thinks he's the one. Men are competitive. They like to think they're getting something that's hard to get, not something that's easy. So stay a little hard to get (which can be difficult when you're so much in love). Say no once in a while. Be unavailable sometimes.
I always recommend going on a business trip or vacation - just so that you can be missed. So go again. Always keep him wanting a little more of you than he's getting. And always set limits; he'll respect you for it. Unless he's a total commitment-phobic (and only time will tell), you have a good chance of keeping this relationship on track and having it develop naturally.
Male Baby Hunger
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am 32 year old single mom, I was in a very abusive marriage for 12 years
and have now been seperated for 6 months. I have been seeing this great
guy for the last several months. When we met we just connected and
everything has been great between us, my kids love him and I am deeply in
love with him. He is only 28 never been married and wants kids of his own.
Because of health issues I can never have another child and he wants
children of his own more than anything. Neither one us want to end a
relationship that seems so right, but we both know one day it will end
because I can't give him children. We have talked about adoption, but
realisticly adoption is easier said than done, we have both had friends
that have tried to adopt. We both want to continue our realationship but
at the same time why continue something you know will eventually end no
matter how good it is. I can't picture my life without him but I don't
want him to end up resenting me because he loves me and would have to give
up having his own children to stay with me. What is the right thing to do?
Hopelessly In Love
Dear Hopelessly in Love,
You have only been separated from your ex-husband for six months, and you are in no position to make lifelong decisions at this moment. As for this new love, you may be mistaking kindness and lack of abuse for true love.
Give it a year or so, and if you're still together, there's no reason why you can't think about adoption or surrogacy or any of the other ways of having children through modern medical science. Having a child is a long way down the road for you both; you'll have plenty of time to explore your options. Continuing the relationship isn't much of a risk for him, since men can have children at almost any age.
All of this assumes that he's not dead set against all of those options, and if he really loves you, why would he be?
If, on the other hand, you really don't want to have and raise another child or children, that's a different situation. If that's the case, you should own up to that right away and give him a chance to find someone who is willing to raise more children.
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