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I Know Who You Did Last Summer

I was pretty wild in high school, and my boyfriend of two years has a hard time trusting me because of it. I’ve explained that I outgrew my teenage need to “hook up,” and I’m a different person now at 21. He really has no reason to doubt that, but he’s still convinced I’ll revert to my old behavior. He also accuses me of withholding information when we discuss our sexual experiences, even though he’s the one who lied that he’d lost his virginity before he met me. I’ve always been completely honest with him about how many partners I’ve had, and point out that if I were lying, I’d have put the number at three instead of 12. How do I get him to see he has no reason to distrust me?

--Blasted With The Past

Like you, he’s learned from your past. Unfortunately, what it taught him was “You Tarzan, him Jane.”

Some men you date will beg for the story behind every notch on your belt. At the same time, they really don’t want to know you even own a belt. Men have an enormous capacity for sexual jealousy. Sure, there are those who can handle the whole truth. But, give the average guy an inch, and he’ll stay awake nights with a ruler agonizing that he can’t possibly measure up. When all his hate and resentment finally knock him out, it’s time for his regular nightmare: a line of men outside your bedroom door that looks like the Israelites waiting to cross the Red Sea. Of course, he’s just the bouncer standing there with one of those customer clickers.

So, how honest is too honest? Well, if you want your insecure, recently deflowered boy virgin to feel comfy about his place in your life, taking him on a sex tour of your teen years probably isn’t your best bet: “Yes, over here we have the infamous janitor’s closet, and if you look out the window, you can see the 50-yard line and the long-jump pit…and I’ll never forget that night we broke my sister’s tree house!”

Yes, let a guy know you used to be kinda wild. As for whether you were with 12 or 20, in the conservatory with Colonel Mustard or in the kitchen with Professor Plum and Mrs. Peacock, it’s really none of his business. What’s productive in a relationship isn’t total honesty, but judicious honesty -- telling somebody what they need to know to know you: what makes you happy, what scares you, and what you want from life, not a moment-by-moment replay of what went on in the back of some delinquent’s car.

Even if you were, at one point, vying to be the Charlie Sheen of teenage girls, that doesn’t give any guy the right to spend two years punishing you for having more sex than he did. After all this time, your boyfriend’s crystal clear on whether it was vanilla or Cirque du Soleil with this one or that one, but he doesn’t know you well enough to have a grasp on what matters: Will you sleep around, not did you? Clearly, it’s his insecurity, not your ethics, that’s the problem. Will that ever change? Probably only if you change boyfriends. Look for a guy who’s secure enough to see your past as part of what made you the person he loves in the present. A guy like this understands that the only must-tell sexual history is the important medical and psychological stuff: funny uncles, communicable diseases, and whether somebody’s actually lost their virginity or they’ve just been working really hard to ditch it at the mall.

Posted by aalkon at September 6, 2006 12:47 AM

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Comments

This subject always comes up at some point in the relationship and there will never be 'equity' in numbers. I advocate for the "none of your business" reply (nicely said of course!). That's what I told my future husband when he posed the question...what I said was, that none of my past mattered because I was here with him and looking at the future. I said there was no one else for me but him. I know he was initially unhappy that I didn't answer the question specifically but after that initial conversation, he has never brought it up and we've been married 18 years now.

Posted by: susand at September 6, 2006 1:31 PM

I agree with amy in that you dont need to give play by play. The first real and serious relationship I had a with a girl, she gave play by plays and while this sort of conversation would not destroy me at 19 it sure did at 17, expecially since she was younger.

I only want to interject somehting because I feel like ive been in this guys shoes, sort of. Because unlike said girlfriend from above, I had no play by plays and I was the older one. Id been warming the bench as 4th string (my own fault, but still) and she was every body's favorite cheerleader. So here I was, the 40 year old virgin dating pamela anderson. and she said htings like this:
"I get nervous dating a virgin"
"Your not gonna do well the first time"
"you'll get the hang of it"

All the while talking about that one time with the rich kid who owned a corvette. None of this proved to be much in the way of a confidence builder for me. In fact it made me a bit miserable. I basically felt like a deuschbag for not having had sex at 17, which two years later and htinking about it was freaking ridiculous. Im the guy, im supposed to be the one with all the confidence and know how. Or at least thats how I felt. Instead it was like "hey, you drive the car. You havea liscence right? Youve done this before, im hoping. Jesus christ thats NOT how you shift!"

Maybe your boyfriend is feeling the same way now, despite the age difference. So he lied about being a virgin; I was very tempted to as well at one point, to be honest. It just seems like every girl ive ever met wants a guy whose been around the block and has more experience than them. While its not fair that he doesnt trust you, maybe its because he feels inadequate himself. Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Scott at September 6, 2006 11:05 PM

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