Jealous of Her Past
Q: I'm not exactly the 40-year-old virgin, but pretty close to it. I now have a girlfriend. The problem is that she has much more experience than I do at dating and in the bedroom. I keep wondering where she learned that stuff from. I wish I could be freer and roll with it. God knows I enjoy her and love being in a relationship and she's very understanding. And granted, the sex is great, but is it wrong to wonder about her past? We had the talk about STDs and all is good, and I really don't want her to give me a list of her previous boyfriends, but at times, my mind wanders during sex. Should I share this with her? — Russ, 38
Dr. Susan: I think, with time, you'll get over your retroactive jealousy. I know of a relatively inexperienced man who flipped out when his girlfriend told him she'd had 100 lovers before him. Eventually, though, his in-the-moment feelings overcame his useless jealousy about her past. As there's nothing your girlfriend can do about her previous experiences, it wouldn't make sense to hold them against her or to keep bringing up your uneasiness. Give the relationship some more time and see if your jealous feelings don't begin to diminish. Remember, your feelings are a product of society's telling us that men are supposed to have more experience (and be taller, richer, older, more aggressive, etc.) than their mates. Most of that doesn't make sense anymore.
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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.