Ancient (Non-)History Upsets Him
Q: Many years ago I found my girlfriend's personal diary. In it she described taking a boy to her hotel room and "being on the bed" when she was sixteen years old. At the time, I asked her if anything happened sexually and she said he tried but she would not even let him touch her. Now, thirty years later, I brought the subject to her, my wife of many years, just to see if her story or honesty had changed. She said she remembered the trip with her cousin but did not remember anything at all about the boy or even remember her diary. I remember the whole entry, word for word. She just laughed and said she did not remember anything about the boy. I thought she could at least respect me enough to tell the truth after all of this time. I say she had plenty of action to remember or it would not have been in the diary. A sixteen year old does not forget a hot week at the beach. What do you think about her version(s)? -- George, 50
Dr. Susan: I bet your wife is telling you the truth, mostly. First of all, it IS possible that this minor experience she had with another male was much more emotionally memorable to you, a jealous man, than to her. At 16, girls write anything and everything that happens, and having a guy come on to her, on a bed, was certainly worth writing about at the time, particularly since it was the most major thing to have happened to her thus far. But 30 years later? Surely it's possible that the specifics have blurred in her memory. So what? If you can't let this go, if you really feel your wife is not respecting you, then I suspect that something else is actually going on for you. I hope you're not looking for an excuse to resent her for some other reason. Teenage shenanigans are just not that big a deal. Or shouldn't be this many years later! If you recall the diary so well, and there were no further details at the time, then why are you so convinced she was hiding something even back then? And what if she does feel a tiny bit guilty when she thinks about her premarital hijinks, and has no interest in talking about it and making both of you feel bad? She's done so much living since then, with YOU, that this is all ancient dull history now. You're really being a bit silly.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.