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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Hello,I have a situation that has been tearing me up inside.

Customer Question

Hello,

I have a situation that has been tearing me up inside. I've been dating my girlfriend for almost a year now. We had the initial sexual history talk right away and didn't get into details, names, numbers, etc., which I think was a good idea.

About 2 months into our relationship we were talking casually about are first awkward sexual experiences. During this conversation, she told me about how she hooked up with a 43 year old when she was only 16 (she's 27 now). It was consensual and it wasn't in any way traumatic for her. At that point the only details she gave me were that she was hanging out with some other male friends who were 18 or 19 and this 43 year old, who was apparently going through a messy divorce, was with them. They were at a town festival and this man (who was friends with her other friends she was with) was flirting with her and she was flattered. She said he wasn't really even that attractive, but she liked the attention. After the festival, they all went to one of her younger friend's house to continue the party. After a while she felt safe and then she and this man fooled around. She said they didn't have sex and the only time after that they saw one another, they ignored each other.

At that point, I was just stunned and didn't press for any further details. I didn't bring it up for some time, but it just started eating me up. I was filling in all the gaps with my imagination and driving myself nuts. I just couldn't get those images out of my head. Finally, I brought it up again and told her I wasn't upset with her and didn't want her to feel ashamed, but it was really bothering me. We talked about it some more and she was very happy to be open with me. I asked some more questions about the situation. She told me he initiated the encounter, but she wanted everything that happened. She was flattered and excited about the experience and thought maybe this older man could teach her a thing or two. She said they performed oral sex on each other, but both felt awkward. He asked her if she wanted to have sex. She said yes and he went to get condoms. By the time he returned, she decided she didn't want to go through with it and he respected that (thank God!). After that, apparently her dad found out about what happened and flipped out (naturally). They never had contact again except for ignoring each other in a bar some time later. You may be thinking "What's a 16 year old doing in a bar?!" Well, she's from Switzerland and it's legal to drink at 16 (however, it's not legal for a 43 year old to have sex with a 16 year old there either).

So, after this second conversation, I told her she had nothing to be ashamed of and that I wasn't blaming her or judging her for what happened. What was mostly upsetting me was the older man's actions. We were all young and made less than stellar choices. She wasn't upset and said it's not something that she really thinks about or bothers her anymore. It was a good conversation. I thanked her for being willing to talk about it with me even though it was really just my own issue I was trying to sort out. I was relieved and it faded to the background for a while.

Fast forward to today..... I still haven't been able to get it out of my head. Every time I see a movie with a similar scenario, see on old man checking out a teenager, or sometimes randomly while we're having sex (that's the worst), her story pops right back into my head. I've read all sorts of articles on this topic and I get a resounding "She shouldn't have brought it up with you in the first place, but now that the cat's out of the bag, GET OVER IT!" Part of me really wants to talk with her about it again and ask more questions to get the real story instead of this movie I've created in my head.

The thing is that I have never been particularly insecure about hearing about a girlfriend's previous sexual experiences. In some relationships we've talked about everything and I've never had a problem ruminating over what I've heard. For some reason, this particular situation has really thrown me for a loop.

It isn't a problem in our relationship now (only in my head). And I don't want to create a problem for her or our relationship by bringing it up again. Part of me thinks that I can get some closure on the whole thing by talking through my thoughts and questions with her and getting the full story. I just don't want to risk making her feel ashamed of something she's not ashamed of or make myself seem like an insecure, jealous boyfriend. Our relationship is wonderful and I don't want to ruin it.

I guess my questions for you are:
1) As long as she's okay talking about it again, do you think any good could come from bringing it up again?
2) If not, do you have any advice for me to deal with this on my own other than "Just get over it?"

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your perspective.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this overwhelming experience

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What I see based on your story is that when you knew about her experience you got so impacted by it, that it triggered overwhelming negative feelings and emotions within you to the point of feeling traumatized by it. What you describe shows you have developed an anxiety disorder, where you have become obsessed to what she told about her experience.

Customer :

Hello?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Finally, for you to get your mental health back and your well-being, please you need to look for professioanl psychological treatment / psychotherapy.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You need to start your rehabilitation process as soon as possible in order for this disorder not to get worse and deteriorate your health even more.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Can you read my text now?

Customer :

Hmmm.... I don't think it's that serious. I'm really quite good. It's just been a nagging thing that I can't seem to shake. We have a very healthy open relationship and I just want.....

Customer :

a perspective on whether or not I should talk to her about it again.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry the chat interface is not working fine, it erased a whole paragraph I typed before

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am glad to know you feel this way. As I was saying before in response to your questions, I do not recommend you to get deeper into this subject, because it would fuel yoru obsession, reinforcing it with the compulsive need to know more and more about it

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then denying, avoiding or repressing your feelings and concerns, would not help either, but fuel more anxiety and the obsessive ideation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is very tricky since you need to release your anxiety but if focusing on the obsession you would get trapped in this obsessive-compulsive viscious circle

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If you feel it is not this serious at all, then wonderful, but please be very aware of my words in order for you to identify it this evolves the way I am depicting here, since this is the way these disorders use to happen

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then if you find yourself presenting more obsessive ideation and the compulsions to find out more about it, please look for psychotherapeutic support to work on it, since there is no other effective way to face and rehabilitate from this type of disorder in case it is what is happening to you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does it make sense?

Customer :

Totally makes sense. I'm pretty sure I don't have a disorder from which I need rehabilitation. It's by no means consuming my life or affecting my health. I was looking more for some tips on how to let the thoughts/feelings go when they do come up.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am ans will be here to support you, I'd like to follow up and see how this situation evolves, and based on it you would work on the best way of coping with it , while taking good care of yourself and of your relationship.

Customer :

Just to be clear, you're saying I shouldn't go deeper into the subject/ bring it up with my girlfriend again? For her sake, my sake, or both? I feel like there's really no reason for her sake to talk about it again, but it certainly is intriguing the way I've reacted to this situation which makes me think it would be worthwhile to explore for myself.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do not think it would help at all to insist on this past situation any more.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think it is not only worthy but necessary, and that's why I made previous suggestions, but you will see how it evolves and based on your concrete experience you would better know what is necessary for you to do.

Customer :

So, other than psychotherapy, do you have any other suggestion?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Do work on releasing any negative feeling and emotions you may have, do not repress them, focus on productive and enjoyable activities, and do not fuel negative ideation-thinking

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

avoid passivity, and focus on creating experiences that promote your sense of well-being and fulfillment as an individual and in your relatiosnhip

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

always learn more about stress management and anxiety control through books, classes or programs

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

focus on the present, on concrete reality happening in front of you rather than on past or future, which are only illusions happening in our minds

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That should help you.

Customer :

Thanks. Can you suggest any books?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sure

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

A good one I do always recommend is "The Power of Now".

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It sis about mindfulness, and how to take better care of yourself, your relationships and effectively cope

Customer :

Ah yes. Eckhart Tolle. I know it well.

Customer :

Any others?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Yes, that's the author

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

"The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques". This is good too for anxiety related problems.

Customer :

Great. I'll check it out.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You could review this one too: "The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living".

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Very helpful and addressing problems from different approaches

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Good.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thank you for your trust.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions since I am here willing to support you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Rafael M.T.Therapist and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist
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MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach