I’m a woman in my late-20s and dating a man who’s three years younger than me, for five years.
Initially, he was insecure about my dating experience compared to his having none. Also, I’d had many partners but prior to meeting him, I got more serious and changed my life.
I've told him that any regrets I have, if any, are between me, myself, and I.
Since then, we’ve grown incredibly close and want to get more serious. But he’s still bothered about my past promiscuity and we've decided to actively pursue healing together.
He says he needs to separate what I was like before, from who I've been with him.
Can I do anything about this or is it his issue to deal with?
You’ve already made a solid decision to work together on this, don’t dilute it. You can’t erase your history, so confront it along with his reaction to it.
If you go to therapy together seeking a stronger, healthier relationship, you have a good chance of getting even closer.
Example: Perhaps he’ll learn that your “promiscuity” was related to an early bad relationship, or a poor self-image, or even something from your childhood.
Perhaps you’ll learn that it makes him doubt his virility when you two make love, wondering if he’s “man enough” for you. Or, some other unrelated insecurity in him gets triggered by this difference in sexual experience.
If you’re both willing to be open and honest, guided by the therapist, you’ll both have a better chance for getting past this.
Until my nephew announced plans to marry this coming summer, I was part of a close, non-issue family.
We adult siblings still share all holidays together with a large family meal. We have always encouraged our now grown-up children and their children to join us.
My nephew recently let each of us know that he was inviting my one sister’s children as guests to the wedding, but the other six cousins aren’t invited, including mine.
His mother (my sister) knew this long ago, and has defended the couple’s decision, because they want a small wedding.
It’s causing major family grief. My sons no longer wish to attend family dinners, as this couple will also be there.
I’m very hurt that my sister didn’t try to persuade her son not to do this. There wouldn’t have been an issue if none of these cousins had been invited.
How do we, as a family, get past this?
Anyone who’s paid for a wedding knows that the costs can get out of hand.
The guest list is often the final straw. An extended family sucks up the numbers, and either the “other side” with less relatives feels that it’s unfair, or family relationships are put under a microscope and only the closest ones get invited.
There must be a reason that the couple only chose that one aunt’s children to represent all. Were they closer in age to the bridal couple? Or had more involvement with them?
Also your sister may’ve advised them otherwise, but they feel it’s their wedding and they’re paying for it.
My own attitude to wedding invitations: I’m happy for the couple, never slighted if they can’t include me, and feel they likely have financial reasons or want a smaller gathering anyway.
I’d cut this couple some slack, and tell your children not to hold a grudge.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who didn’t want to have sex, yet accepted being “friends with benefits” (March 25):
Reader - “She finally gave in. You said she should examine her attitudes towards sex before marriage, and whether she was testing his commitment to her.
“Excellent advice, but an added recommendation for therapy was essential.
“She needs to understand why she’d want to continue with a man who broke up with her because she denied him sex. Then he pressured her again and she gave in.
“Now he doesn't want her. He got his revenge and drove away from her.
“You want her to crawl back to him? She needs a therapist and a look at her self-esteem issues and those related to sexuality as well.”
Ellie – No way do I want her to “crawl back.” “Re-thinking” why she gave in was meant as a step towards getting therapy. I regret that I wasn’t clearer.
Tip of the day:
Sometimes the things about a partner that feel upsetting may relate to our own past as much as theirs.