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How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Other non-sexual marriage issues.
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rusty.mahler
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How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by rusty.mahler »

Here are 2 examples to introduce my curiosity.

Sue (27) & Mark (29) have dated for 10 months. They have not had intercourse. They are Christians. Mark reveals he had sex 4 years ago with woman X, for 8 months. Sue becomes livid with anger. It damages her love that had been growing for Mark. Mark throws up his hands in bewilderment, and protests that woman X was in his past, before Sue came into his life, and now has no current meaning for him. Mark asks Sue to seek counseling with him. She is so angry, things break down. Sue had it in her mind that Mark had no prior sex partners before her.

Thom (43) has been married to Beverly (40) for 11 years. Their faiths are unimportant. One afternoon the couple shares with each other their relationships from their pasts. Thom states that Beverly was his first and only intimate partner. Beverly recounts 5 sexual partners from high school until 7 months before she met Thom. Nothing comes from this information at the time it is revealed to Thom, but some weeks later, Thom becomes irritable, sullen, withdrawn, and eventually erupts in verbally explosive anger towards Beverly, saying "I thought I knew you, apparently I didn't".

1) How might these couples mend their relationships or 2) how might a counselor advise them?
David
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by David »

In the case of Sue and Mark, I'd say the ball's in Sue's court, and she's perfectly at liberty to walk away if that's how she feels. I'd say that she's making the perfect the enemy of the good, and that Mark's past sin has been repented of and should be forgiven, but if she's not happy to accept Mark as he is rather than as he ought to be then she's better to leave than to marry and regret it.
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by LuckyInLove »

This is why sexual experience must be discussed within the first few months of dating. I can’t fathom being married 11 years and not ever having that talk.

In your scenarios, the first couple should just break up. Sue sounds unreasonable. He didn’t commit a crime, so the anger is unwarranted. The second couple needs a counselor to work through the issue and how to further communication and trust. I’d guess that Thom would be concerned about what else she’s never mentioned.
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by SeekingChange »

In both cases, forgiveness needs to happen, so that the "offended" can be free and heal.

In the case of the unmarrieds, reconciliation may or may not happen. There's things that I would need to know to determine what I think should be advised. How much of the reaction is an initial shock and grieving? After some time passes, how are they feeling? I do feel it needs to be completely worked through before marriage (not that feelings can't hit at anytime.) If it's not, marrying would be foolish and a lot of heartache.

With the marrieds, a lot of talking and understanding needs to come. A formally directed process could be helpful, but not always necessary.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by David »

I think that in both cases further details would be required.

For instance, in both cases I think it would make a difference whether they were Christians at the time. If they said that they were Christians whilst living in a way clearly contrary to God's word, it would make me at least question the sincerity of their faith.
If, on the other hand, they came to faith after these events happened, then are we in any way surprised that they lived at that time according to the standards of the society around them?
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by SeekingChange »

David wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:26 am If, on the other hand, they came to faith after these events happened, then are we in any way surprised that they lived at that time according to the standards of the society around them?
Very true, in a general sort of way, but when it becomes personal and it (potentially) involves your own sexual union with this person, there are many other issues and factors that come into play. For example, comparisons, STDs, an unknown pregnancy/child, their own attachments to those people and experiences, anxiety and fear, could certain circumstances show a red flag for potential future problems, etc, etc.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by MrMarried »

rusty.mahler wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:15 pm Here are 2 examples to introduce my curiosity.

Sue (27) & Mark (29) have dated for 10 months. They have not had intercourse. They are Christians. Mark reveals he had sex 4 years ago with woman X, for 8 months. Sue becomes livid with anger. It damages her love that had been growing for Mark. Mark throws up his hands in bewilderment, and protests that woman X was in his past, before Sue came into his life, and now has no current meaning for him. Mark asks Sue to seek counseling with him. She is so angry, things break down. Sue had it in her mind that Mark had no prior sex partners before her.

Thom (43) has been married to Beverly (40) for 11 years. Their faiths are unimportant. One afternoon the couple shares with each other their relationships from their pasts. Thom states that Beverly was his first and only intimate partner. Beverly recounts 5 sexual partners from high school until 7 months before she met Thom. Nothing comes from this information at the time it is revealed to Thom, but some weeks later, Thom becomes irritable, sullen, withdrawn, and eventually erupts in verbally explosive anger towards Beverly, saying "I thought I knew you, apparently I didn't".

1) How might these couples mend their relationships or 2) how might a counselor advise them?
If Sue is a virgin, I'd advise her to break up with Mark if it is a big deal and have the talk earlier in the next relationship so she doesn't waste 10 months.

It is reasonable for a potential partner not being a virgin to be a deal breaker, unless you are dating a widow or widower. We live in an unreasonable age. Forgiveness doesn't have to be the key issue here. Maybe that needs to occur. But you can forgive someone without marrying them.

Scenario 2 seems totally unrealistic unless Beverly had lied earlier. Either couples talk about it, or one of them says, "I don't want to know." If Thom had said he didn't want to know, why did he talk about it after 11 years? If he didn't ask, and they are unbelievers, why would he marry her if he wasn't cool with her having slept around? If you care, you ask. Maybe he thought he didn't care, but it turns out he really did.
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by Ron »

When me and my wife got married, I knew she had a previous sex life. She dated a guy for a long time and they had sex regularly, so she was pretty experienced. Me, I had sex too, but with two different women and only one or two times each. Didn't bother me that my wife had sex regularly before. I don't think it bothered either one of us. She was definitely more experienced than I was.
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by SLS »

rusty.mahler wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:15 pmSue (27) & Mark (29)


If Mark lied to Sue and said he had no previous sexual partners when in fact he did it would make sense that Sue is upset. If he is willing to lie to her like that at the beginning of their relationship I would suggest breaking up,

On the other hand if the subject of sexual pasts had not come up until this moment and Mark honestly answered that he had had a previous pre-marital sexual relationship and has since repented there is no reason for Sue to be angry.

Again I would suggest breaking up since in this case Sue is apparently unable to offer grace for Mark's past failings.
MrMarried wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 11:21 amIt is reasonable for a potential partner not being a virgin to be a deal breaker, unless you are dating a widow or widower. We live in an unreasonable age. Forgiveness doesn't have to be the key issue here. Maybe that needs to occur. But you can forgive someone without marrying them.
For "not being a virgin" to be a true dealbreaker IMO there has to be some follow on consequence that would severely hinder a marriage (i.e., an STD, unrepentant behavior, etc.). In some parts of Christian culture there is an obsession about virginity rather than a call to purity. A person can sin sexually but then repent and make a commitment to sexual purity.

Before I met my wife I made a commitment that I would never reject a potential spouse on the sole basis of whether or not they were a virgin. Yes, I desired that both my future spouse and I would be virgins because that is the path that leads to less heartache and potential issues. But I was mature enough to understand that being a virgin was not a magical state of purity and that even as a virgin I committed many sexual sins in my thought life.

As it turns out my future wife was indeed a virgin but the principle remains. Rejecting someone on the sole basis of virginity is not correct in my view.
Happily married to Serafina for 7 years. She is my Venus. ::luv2
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Re: How does Person A 'deal' with Person B's prior sexual partners?

Post by MiddleMan »

There's no easy answer here, but it is my experience. My DW told me about her experience with two men after we were getting serious a few months into our relationship. The first was a two-year relationship, the second only about 3 months. She half expected me to call it off. I was mentally prepared that I might marry a woman with previous relationships. I wish I had known to ask more about it as her "first love" was a ghost I fought for many years, but was unaware that would be the case early on. The other guy was someone I know. That has it's own issues, but not as bad as the the emotional ties with the first.

I understand how it could be hard for Sue, but perhaps they could work through it. If not, it's best she breaks it off now.

The second one, 11 years! Perhaps he knew she wasn't a virgin, but was unaware of the extent of her experience. I know my wife has been hesitant to talk about her past as she is now ashamed of it. It was only this summer (after 29 years of marriage!) that I learned she met her first love at a youth Bible study the end of her senior year in high school. Previously she had been vague about where they met (the one time I asked several years ago). And that only came up because she was talking about the impact her youth pastor had on her ("... and BTW, that's actually the first time I met X. One of the guys in the study brought him.") And for years because of her emotion about X, I thought he broke up with her, but then after more than 20 years, found out she broke up with him because he wouldn't commit to being a Christian. After a few years of "backsliding" she was starting to get serious about her faith again. When I found that out I really admired her for taking that painful step.

Thom should be aware that as the pain sinks in, he needs to deal with it, but absolutely DO NOT throw it back in her face. DW and I have had some conversations, sometimes tense, about her past, but I never bring it up to hurt her, or during an argument, even though at times I've had thoughts like "She gave the best of herself to them and now she has lost interest in sex."

If anyone else is dealing with this and would like some wisdom and commiserating, feel free to send me a PM.
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