How To Get Over Your Partner's Romantic And Sexual Past
We've all been there — you meet someone new, start dating and everything's going great, but before long, you end up finding out about his or her romantic and/or sexual history.
Some people are able to just brush off revelations their partners once enjoyed threesomes or recently broke up with the love of their life.
Other people — like me — find that it's more difficult to get over their partner's romantic and sexual past with other people. Emotions aren't always perfectly logical, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. If this particular problem keeps you up at night, know that you are not alone.
"It is not at all unusual to wonder about your partner's previous romantic and sexual history," Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, tells Elite Daily. "We all need reassurance that we are The One. But wonder is different from worry and anxiety."
There are a variety of reasons you might be feeling conflicted over your significant other's past, according to Dr. Wish. "You might be picking up subtle but important clues from your new partner that his or her heart is elsewhere," she says. If your partner gets emotional or upset when talking about their ex, or is still in regular contact with their ex, you might feel particularly triggered over this issue. Not every partner who maintains a friendship with their ex is cause for concern, of course — sometimes, a friendship really is just a harmless friendship — but if your partner seems very defensive or protective of their connection with an old flame, that might create the potential for you to worry about your relationship.
It's also possible that "your hurt, disappointment, and fears from your previous relationships can intensify your worry," Dr. Wish points out. If you've been burned before by an ex who was still hung up on their ex, you might be more careful about sussing out the truth about your new partner's headspace this time around.
To combat these stressful feelings, Dr. Wish advises keeping a journal in order to better understand how you behave and think in romantic relationships. She suggests exploring your mindset by writing out answers to the following questions:
- What was going on in my life at the time I met this person?
- What attracted me to this person?
- Do I get trapped in this same love pattern often? How would I describe this pattern?
- How would I rate my urgency to find a partner?
- What can I do to "read" people better?
In addition to journaling, or if journaling doesn't provide the emotional relief you seek, Dr. Wish suggests seeking the help of a therapist who can help you untangle these emotions.
It's also worth considering your own romantic and sexual past. If you've dated or slept with other people, and you're now fully excited about and focused on your new partner, isn't it possible that your new significant other feels the same way about you?
Personally, I used to feel anxious and jealous when I thought about my girlfriend's dating history. I spent a few months exploring how to change my mindset — for me, that involved some meditation and some brainstorming about how I wanted to spend my time. Ultimately, I was able to overcome those thoughts, and eventually, my girlfriend and I got married.
As uncomfortable as these feelings of jealousy, anxiety, or insecurity may be, there's so much joy, connection, and intimacy to look forward to if you're able to focus on what you have in front of you. With some effort, you can get there.
Additional reporting by Hannah Orenstein.
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