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Pre-Marital Sex

Question:

As a child, I was brought up very strict. I was taught that pre-marital sex was wrong. I stuck to this rule. Being a male, I’m sure it’s hard to believe. I would never voice my opinion on this subject for concerns of being ridiculed. My problem is that 11 years ago, I met a woman with whom I fell in love and eventually married. She told me about her past (9 guys including a one night stand). While it always upset me, I tried to keep the hurt to myself. In the past month or so, I let loose and have begun to question; WHY? She gets very defensive and the answer is always that she had low self-esteem and didn’t want to be lonely. I feel this is just a bad excuse to try to get me to feel sorry for her and leave the subject alone. She swears she never enjoyed any sexual experience before me. But these aren’t the answers I’m looking for. I’m not even sure what I’m looking to gain by asking “why?”. I just know that it hurts, and the situation is putting a big strain on how I’m feeling about her and our marriage. I was hoping that maybe you had some thoughts on the subject of “pre-marital sex” that might help me understand my pain a little better.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

What is it you expect her to tell you when you ask about her past? Is there something you would like to hear? You probably have a lot of ideas about the kinds of reasons people have for engaging in pre-marital sex. Are you dissatisfied with her answer because it doesn’t fit with what you expect to hear? Although you are asking “why,” it may not be an explanation you are after, but some response that will reconcile your idea of your wife with your idea of someone who would have pre-marital sex. Perhaps you are looking for some other response, but regardless, I suggest a different approach. First of all, let your wife know that you are not going to judge her as a person, even if you feel compelled to judge her actions. Her defensiveness most likely stems from fear of losing the one good relationship she has had after a string of bad ones. Tell your wife that, although it may be difficult for you to understand, you want to know more about why she related to men is such a self-destructive way. Ask her about the other things that were going on in her life so you can better understand what she was going through. Believe her. This will probably be very difficult for her to talk about, not only because it was probably a very painful time for her, but also because she knows that it is important to you and doesn’t want to mess up your relationship. Try to be as patient with her as possible. If you find that it is too difficult to communicate with her about this, or if you find that either or both of your feelings on the subject are too strong to deal with, you may want to try couples counseling. Whatever you do, though, I am sure that you can work out these difficulties and find that your wife is still the same wonderful woman you married, even though she is imperfect. Best of luck, – Anne

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