Have Relationship Questions? Ask a Counselor for Answers ASAP
Hello there. Thank you for seeking help. It definitely sounds like your girlfriend's past sexual activity is blocking your peace of mind. Her comments don't seem to be helping since they touch upon a sensitive issue. Rest assured, you are already taking steps not to let this issue ruin your relationship. Just by being aware of the need not to allow it to do so and by also reaching out for help, you are showing that you are in control of the situation and are willing to do the needed work to manage your feelings so that they don't consume you and prevent you and your girlfriend from having a fulfilling relationship. You said you love her so I would suspect that you would be willing to accept her regardless of her past. Remember that you two were not together at the time and that you have no control over her actions. It does not sound like her sexual history was excessive, although in your mind it may feel that way. She was not out to hurt you with her choices, although it does appear to be resulting in emotional distress. Ideally, if you two could talk it out in a non-threatening manner and agree to set some ground rules that would be helpful. Unfortunately, such situations can result in conflict because someone's actions have caused someone else to have an emotional reaction and, when discussing such an issue, it is too easy to use blame statements and cause the person to become defensive. If you do discuss the issue, try to remember to only express how you feel rather than focusing on her. Keeping out the word "you" can be helpful. Such an approach is using "I" statements to express your feelings in a non-blaming way to allow you to get the feelings out rather than bottling them up but to also facilitate communication rather than impede or block it. What is the issue really about? Are you hurt? Angry? If hurt is the main issue, you could say "I am hurt that I was not able to be the only partner." If fear or insecurity are the issue, then you could say "I am afraid that I will not compare/measure up." or "I am afraid that I will not be sexually satisfying." Those are all just examples, of course, and are not meant to indicate that I know exactly what you are feeling. It's just a different way to express your feelings openly in order to avoid conflict. Another suggestion would be to set some ground rules in the relationship. For this issue, a ground rule of either not bringing up past sexual history or not bringing up other people having seen each of you naked might be a good idea since it seems to be the central issue that is causing distress. This is with the understanding, of course, that you are making an active choice to put your energy into making the relationship work (both of you, that is) rather than allowing it to be weakened by negative energy from thoughts. You mentioned lying is something she is good at. Honesty would need to be central to the relationship. You both would need agree to and engage in openness and honesty for the relationship to thrive. Confidence sounds like it may be a factor regarding this issue. Don't allow her past actions to make you feel inferior/less than/not good enough. You are what she wants because she is with you. You seem to have good insight and a caring attitude and inner resources that will allow you to overcome this issue. Make yourself focus a mental list of positive qualities that you bring to the relationship to help with the confidence issue and don't allow yourself to focus on what you see as ways you fall short or don't compare. I wish you all the best in your relationship! Let me know if I can be of further assistance.