Haunted by Boyfriend's Past

Q: My boyfriend's past keeps haunting me. About a year ago we got into this huge fight when it was disclosed to me by a close friend how many women my boyfriend had slept with in his college days. I know that was many years ago, but when we first started dating he had told me it was only with two other girls, besides myself. You can imagine the shock I experienced when I discovered it was close to forty! When I confronted my boyfriend about his lurid past, he did not deny it. He was just mad at my friend for telling me. He keeps saying it doesn't matter and that it was the past. I want to accept that and move on, but every time we get into an argument, I always manage to bring it up, usually ending with me calling him a "male prostitute" and storming off. I know I can't change the past, but is there any way I can control or calm these thoughts of mine every time they pop up. It's so upsetting.-Alicia, 29

Dr. Anna: This is definitely a tough situation. Could your strong emotions about this one topic be signaling some deeper reservations? I wonder if you might be more upset by the fact that he lied to you in the beginning of your relationship. If you're feeling a general lack of trust, safety, or security, then it might be best to pay attention to the bigger issue. If you haven't discussed his betrayal—and lying about sexual history is definitely a hurtful betrayal—start there. Tell him how it made you feel to find out that he was untruthful in a major way. Give him a chance to apologize and repair the relationship. If you feel he's the right guy for you, work with him together to move past this.

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