I've been having a really hard time dealing with my spouse's past promiscuity. We've been together for 6 years. I'm not worried about her cheating. It's not a trust issue. I know that I'm insecure, possessive, it's my problem, and I should leave it in the past. Please don't just tell me to get over it (if I could, I would).
That said, it all came reeling up recently when we went to a OB/GYN because of fertility problems. I knew that she had been with other men before me. We met when we were 23 and neither of us were virgins. We had briefly talked about our past experiences early in our relationship. She told me about some of her self destructive behavior and mentioned that she had been with a lot of men. I didn't want to know the details, and although it hurt at first, I was able to let it go and move into what has been a wonderful relationship.
Nearly 6 years later, we are married, and have been trying to have a baby for almost 2 years now. I finally talked her into getting some medical help because I suspected something was wrong. When they asked about sexual activity I found out that she has had vaginal intercourse with 23 men and 5 women. It turns out that she has severe scars on her reproductive organs due to multiple STD infections in the past. We are going to see a reproductive specialist, but it appears that pregnancy is going to be very difficult, if not impossible.
I have so many confusing emotions that I don't even know where to start. 28 sexual partners is vastly more than I had imagined. It makes me feel very insecure, jealous, and hurt.
I also have some anger regarding the infertility because of the STD scarring.
We are very open with each other and discussed the matter in detail the other night. We tried to express our feelings. I tried to understand her point of view, why & how she could have been so promiscuous before she met me. Why her values changed... ect..
Just to put things in perspective. I have had 1 sexual partner other than her and it was a 4 year relationship. Although it was painful to hear some of the details, I think it ultimately strengthened our relationship. I know more about my wife and I can, at least logically, understand her past behavior.
Yet, I still can't entirely get over it. I am going to therapy. It's not helping. Right now my problems seem to revolve around 3 things.
1. Several of her friends were once her lovers.
I wouldn't say that any of them are really "MY" friends. But I have known these people for years. One of them lives just down the block from us. Now every time I see them I have visions of them sleeping with my wife.
2. She doesn't remember the names of most of her sexual partners but almost all of them live, or have lived, near her hometown (which is where we live now).
3. The STD scarring.
This one is a huge problem for both of us. Knowing that I'll probably never be able to have children because of my wife's poor choices in the past is bad enough, but on top of that, she is also REALLY depressed about this issue and I don't know how to support her. She wants children more than anything and it's killing her. Yet, I can't fully support her in the way that I want , in the way that I know that I'm capable of, because I'm so hurt and angry. I know that getting STD's is not something that she intentionally set out to do. I know she's hurting. Yet, I can't help but feel it's her fault.
First of all, it only takes ONE infected partner to catch an STD.
It must be awful to have your wife's past pushed in your face. Has your wife considered making new friends?
You cannot help your wife if you are grappling with your own issues. You will have to come to terms with the fact that she may not be able to have children. Posted via Mobile Device
Yes, I know that you can get an STD from 1 sexual partner. I'm a nurse.
I'm not entertaining any thoughts of divorce. I really love my wife and I know that I'll eventually find a way to get past this problem.
I didn't want to know the details. I don't think most guys out there would want to know the details of their wives past sex lives. My wife didn't think she had ever had an STD. She was tested about 8 years ago and everything came up negative. However, women often don't have symptoms for bacterial infections like chlamydia. She didn't know that she ever had them. She says she should have suspected because one of her "friends with benefits" slept around a lot and was often infected.
Anyway, I'm feeling slightly better about the situation. It helps just to write about it. I'm not expecting any real advice. Although appreciated.
Everything in your wife's life that she has done up to the point you met her made her into the person you fell in love with. If you can't accept her for her then you really do need to move on.
I think this is more a matter of your ego rather than the number of partners she's had.
^^^ While it may, and probably does, have to do with my ego. Stating that everything that happened in the past created a person that I love is very silly. I hear this all the time. The reason WHY it's not a good theory is because following this line of logic it assumes perfection in the loved one. My wife is not perfect, my love is not perfect.
Move on? Yes, I know. I already stated that. But move on with acceptance. Leaving after 6 years over this without trying is a bit premature. Don't you think.
No, it isn't silly - everything we do in life shapes how we are as a person, no matter how minor or major it is impossible to come away from it unaltered in some way, shape or form.
If you truly love her, you should stop with the guilt tripping, it's abusive in my book. Even if you don't see it as making her feel guilty what you are doing IS making her feel guilty.
You want to support her, then look her in the eye and say I love you, we can get through this together, we're a team remember? It's not the end of the world, because last time I checked the sun was still coming up and going down - the world still must be fine.
I agree with softly walking about the guilt trip issue. Ask yourself if you're enough of a team player to put your wife in her proper place as the person you'll help with all your might through anything. What she needs now is your deepening support for her...not your wavering...remember, you signed up for this. Posted via Mobile Device
While I agree that everything that happens in your past shapes a person, I still disagree with your fundamental premise of a perfect person created by imperfect events. I've been alive long enough to know that perfection doesn't exist and Strong marriages are built on communication, trust, love, and hard work. I apologize for getting defensive about Softly Walking's post. I guess I can agree to disagree on that one.
I'm not sure how I'm making her feel guilty. Other than that one heartfelt discussion we have not spoken of her past. Although it's possible that I'm missing something here, I don't think I'm projecting any blame or guilt (although subconsciously maybe). How do I go about controlling that? All I can think of is trying to understand where her mind set was during that time of her life.
I know it's hard for strangers to give advice with so little information and I really do appreciate all your responses. It's been a couple weeks since my first post and my feelings and understanding have changed somewhat. I have less blame towards her and A LOT more guilt and blame towards myself. It's equally as silly, but as I learn and understand more about the pain she suffered as a young adult it makes me want to protect her from it. I completely know it's irrational.
A history of multiple STDs was need to know information before you married her.
Everything hinges on whether or not you want kids of your own. If you do, you'll probably be better off divorcing her and finding someone new. If not, stay with her.
That's a pretty harsh analysis I know, I don't mean to sound cruel. It's just your basic options.
So sorry that you have to go through this.
I would not call your analysis harsh as much as the outcome of common thoughts that touch only the surface. If you read the post carefully she was not aware that she had an STD. This is not uncommon for women.
I feel sorry for both her and her husband. She has had past trauma and he is in emotional turmoil over her past. However, people are not disposable when there is a problem that goes for women too. They have had quite a blow and you advise him to throw her away abruptly because the nature of her infertity was an STD. Would you advice be the same if he were infertile or if her infertility was due to some other cause?
This man loves this women. He does not appear to be a shallow person concerned with his entitlements in life. Therefore his love seems to lack the shallowness common to people whose hearts are touched only by their own concerns.
In your rush to advise him to discard her you failed to consider that he could have his own child - she has eggs and a uterus he has sperm. The scaring occurs in the tubes so she can have invitro.
It is gratifying to see you are a man of depth and commitment. She is very fortunate to have a man like you in her life. She certainly deserves to have something go her way, goodness knows she did not have a fortunate teens and 20s.
There is no reason she should be treated cruelly or punished for being infertile. Posted via Mobile Device
If you read the post carefully she was not aware that she had an STD. This is not uncommon for women.
It's not uncommon, but the OP said his wife had multiple STD infections in the past. He didn't say she was unaware of them. With multiple infections that were bad enough to significantly decrease her fertility, it's likely that she knew about them.
Originally Posted by Catherine602
There is no reason she should be treated cruelly or punished for being infertile.
I don't think she's being punished. Sometimes, when you sleep with dozens of anonymous strangers, there are long term consequences. That's not the OP's fault. It's hers.
They have had quite a blow and you advise him to throw her away abruptly because the nature of her infertity was an STD. Would you advice be the same if he were infertile or if her infertility was due to some other cause?
There is no reason she should be treated cruelly or punished for being infertile. Posted via Mobile Device
It's because she withheld need to know information from him. She decived him by witholding information that he had a right to know about.
He obviously wouldn't have married her if he knew about 28 sexual partners, multiple STDs and infertility. 2 of the 3 things are easily stated and as a nurse he would have know the potential for the 3rd due to the STDs.