Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Not sure how to proceed with current girlfriend
December 11, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I have a lot of concerns about my current relationship (marriage, her sexual past, and insults), not sure how to deal with all of them. Should I be staying with this girl?

To give some brief background information, I am 19 and she is 20. We have been together for over a year now.

I have a number of concerns about my current relationship. First, I have never felt this way about anyone, but that does not stop doubt and uncertainty from entering my brain. She has been discussing, in a half serious way about me and her marrying. This frankly scares me to the death. The concept of marriage alone is frightening, and the fact that she is already mentioning this quite often is a bit unsettling. I don't know if I even want to get married, and the part of me that does wants to do it in 6 or 7 years after I've established my career. I have been going along with this concept without a hint of nervousness about it, because I'm afraid that if I voice these concerns she will take it the wrong way or not want to be with me. Additionally, my experience with girls has been practically non-existent, so this would mean me committing completely to basically one girl for my entire life without ever connecting with anyone else (unless of course I want to be unfaithful, not something I'm keen on). She wants to live together at some point as well, not sure if I even want to live with anyone.

She has had 3 or 4 boyfriends, she claims she is a virgin (in her eyes), but she has done very sexual things with these other guys like oral sex and using her hands etc.. She has also hooked up with other guys at parties, made out with them. This would probably be fine with me, if I had ANY sexual partners like her. I have never made out with random girls at parties, or ever been with a girl or really had a real girlfriend in any sense of the word. I think her "number" is somewhere around 9 partners before me (excluding actual intercourse but also including making out and other sexual things). Shes done some things that literally horrify me and make my stomach drop, including some very sexual touching with more than one guy that she doesn't consider a big deal yet I think its a huge deal.

This really tears me apart inside, but I would never tell her this completely. I just want her to be mine only, but now thats not possible. Besides the fears of them being better than me at sexual things, I also feel that they each have a "piece of her". They sort of... de-value her, which I know sounds terrible for me to say. She told me they were mistakes... sort of... and that she is different now and only wants to give herself to one person (me right now), but that doesn't change what happened in her past. She didn't know me back then but I wish she was smart enough to not make those mistakes with those guys in the first place. None of these relationships were serious, I think what we have is the most serious thing yet for her and me included.

I confronted her about some of this because I couldn't take her telling me about these things shes done, and we sort of got into a fight over it. She offered to keep the rest of her past secret, but I said I wouldn't want that as then she would be hiding things from me.

I have watched the movie Chasing Amy as people have suggested before and it really didn't change my mind about things at all.

Lastly, this one is just a side note, she often insults me, usually playfully but it also sounds somewhat mean spirited. This includes little comments about my appearance and intelligence, which kind of bother me but I let them roll of my back because I think she is just joking. Sometimes she is also very affectionate and loving with compliments and flirting, but shes never very loving all the time, as I feel I am.

Do I attempt to cope with these issues or is it best for me to walk away?
posted by johnx to Human Relations (57 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you have issues with her "sexual past" that "literally horrify" you, then please do this girl a favor and don't get involved with her. Just walk away. Nothing good can come of this when you have such serious hang-ups about something that she's not that bothered by.
posted by elizardbits at 1:16 PM on December 11, 2012 [80 favorites]


Walk away. You are too young for this and have many lessons to learn about women and relationships still.
posted by greta simone at 1:17 PM on December 11, 2012 [46 favorites]


I have watched the movie Chasing Amy as people have suggested before and it really didn't change my mind about things at all.

These people in your life who are advising you watch Kevin Smith movies for relationship advice (especially Chasing Amy)? These are the people in your life you need to never take relationship advice from.
posted by griphus at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2012 [99 favorites]


Nope nope nope nope nope. Let her go. You can do better, not because of her sexual history, because there's nothing wrong with having a sexual history in general, but because she doesn't sound like a good match for you. Let her go, block her from all contact (I mean it) and move forward.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you want to walk away, walk away, but look: you're 19, and as you get older the women you date are going to have had more and more partners in their past, just as a function of having lived more years. You need to learn to make peace with the fact that people have experiences before they meet you. The fact that your girlfriend has made out with 9 people does not make her a bad person, and has nothing to do with how she feels about you.
posted by something something at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2012 [48 favorites]


Yes, what everyone else said. This is not the right relationship for you now, for many reasons.

And as others have said, you need to work on your hang ups about your partner having a sexual history before you.
posted by noonewilleverloveyou at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Gently, my friend: this is life handing you a lesson in being responsible for yourself in a relationship.

Do you want to be involved with someone who is unkind and insulting to you?

Do you want to be involved with someone whose sexual judgement you don't trust?

She is talking about marriage, you have no intention of getting married, and you're not being honest and frank about your ideas, thoughts, life plans.

Are you being honest with her?

Are you in a relationship where you don't think you can be honest because you think you will be attacked, verbally or otherwise?

Do you think any of these things are part of a healthy relationship?

I'm not trying to be insulting with these questions--it's that you're very young and not very experienced with relationships. This is the way people figure stuff out.

It's really hard to break up with someone, but I think you need to teach yourself how to do that too. Good luck.
posted by Sublimity at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2012 [18 favorites]


It's unrealistic that you'll find someone with no sexual experience. There people out there saving themselves for "the one". But it isn't YOU, it's just some generic person in the future, so don't get all flattered about it.

In my opinion, I think 20 is WAY too young to think about marriage. And you're just in no way ready. It has nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with immaturity. You want this girl to "be mine only". Most of us accomplish this through commitments, not through sexual purity.

Now, if you're not ready to be married, the fair and right thing to do is to say so.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


A. You're too young to even think of getting married any time soon. Trust your instincts there.

B. You're probably also too young to even think of having a serious relationship with anyone if you think this girl's history is horrifying and makes your stomach drop.

Just enjoy the next several years of your life and live and learn.
posted by eas98 at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


So the only bit I see as on you is you judging her for having been sexual with others. You might want to think about that. It's okay if chastity/celibacy is important to you, and something you want in a partner, but having sex isn't a bad thing objectively and having been sexually active with others doesn't make this girl a bad partner. It might make you and she a bad fit for each other, but that's entirely different.

But her insulting you? That's on her. And your not wanting to talk about marriage at your age? That's totally reasonable.

It sounds like you two are poorly matched at best, which is a perfectly good reason to end a relationship.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:29 PM on December 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


The marriage thing and the joking insults are two things worth having conversations about that might lead one or both of you to decide that this is not a relationship worth continuing, especially if she doubles down on the joking insults instead of backing off.

However... Please do yourself a favor and learn not to attach ideas about purity to the details of partners' sexual histories. At your age, depending on who your friends are and what you're consuming culturally, you may be making these associations naturally, but it's an attitude that's really destructive to you, your relationships, and the women who are on the receiving end of it.

You don't get peace on this by getting more sexual experience or by finding women who are inexperienced, you get peace by accepting that a woman's sexual past is not subject to your approval or disapproval and being grateful for whatever the chain of events was that got her into your life if she is good for you.

Cary Tennis wrote a great response to a woman on the other end of a situation similar to the one you're in.
posted by alphanerd at 1:31 PM on December 11, 2012 [26 favorites]


You're too young to be getting into a serious relationship, and still immature. I don't think you need to break up with her, but I would not be making any long term plans or commitments. Just enjoy yourself, and if you aren't having fun, move on. Just make sure she doesn't think you're looking for something serious if you're not.
posted by empath at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2012


Walk. There's no need for a relationship this new and this young to be this much of a struggle. (Life tip that nobody wants to hear at 20: spend some time learning to be an adult as a single person instead of as a co-pilot with someone else trying to learn to be an adult. Seriously. 25-year-old You will thank you for it.)
posted by Lyn Never at 1:32 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're too young for this and you need more of a variety of different experiences so I think you should let this one go and go out and have some others.

Also, heads up that a woman's previous sexual experience doesn't define her worth or indicate her character as a woman or as a partner or as a person.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:34 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Should I be staying with this girl?

...I am 19 and she is 20.


At your age, the answer to this question - without needing any backstory - is always "No".
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


She didn't know me back then but I wish she was smart enough to not make those mistakes with those guys in the first place.

I mean this in the nicest possible way but to what extent do you respect this woman? Your concerns about her sexual history and saying things like 'I just want her to be mine only, but now thats not possible' etc. have me worried that you are only thinking of her in terms of how she relates to you, and not as a capable, intelligent, responsible adult who can make her own decisions.

To be frank it sounds like a terrible relationship I had in college when I was unwilling to extend agency to the women I knew, and I can tell you that for both of your sakes, it's probably best to walk away.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


You should not be in a relationship with this woman because while it sounds as if you like and even love her, you lack respect for her. That is the sort of thing that will only grow worse under the stresses of a long term relationship. You additionally have different morals and differnt goals and different needs in terms of what you want in a relationship right now. You are not a good match.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I had some jealousy about partner's previous experiences when I was younger, thankfully that's faded away as I've grown up. It's insecurity and immaturity, and it's really important that you own that. You'll be a lot more interested in getting past it in your own head if you realize what it says about you.

You are not ready for marriage, not even in spitting distance, and it's great that you know that. Let her know too, she deserves to know what ground you're both standing on.
posted by Dynex at 1:41 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Walk away. There's nothing incredibly wrong with either of you as people but this relationship isn't really a great fit and you're going to wind up resenting her more and more, and she'll resent you too.

I think it's encouraging that you know it's wrong to want to be the only guy to have her or to be disgusted by the thought that you're not her first. I also think that these things are gut responses that won't go away until you've had a chance to do some growing. In short you kind of need to get knocked around by life a little bit. That's really the only way I've ever seen anyone abandon this weird idea of ownership - you outgrow it and then a few years later you realize that you used to think that way.

I also think that a relationship with someone who sets off those alarms for you is the wrong place to learn that lesson.

If you choose to end this with her, you need to be clear that you're not dumping her because she's done sexual stuff in the past. Be clear that you're ending things because your insecurities are not fair to her and it's also not fair to her to be asked to hang around while you try to grow into someone less insecure.

Also don't try to take away life lessons from Kevin Smith movies.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:43 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Okay, data point of one, but I can't let this go unchallenged:

Should I be staying with this girl?

...I am 19 and she is 20.

At your age, the answer to this question - without needing any backstory - is always "No".


My beloved wife of 22 years and I got married when I was 19 and she was 20. So there's that. Granted, that's probably not common, but "Always No" is always wrong.

But I totally agree with everyone urging you to move on. Not because of your age, but because of the disparity of your experiences and frankly, because of your attitude toward her sexual history. There's something between the lines of your writing that suggests a major difference in your feelings about sex - for instance, "now that's not possible" suggests that you consider her to be damaged goods. This is going to continue to bother you, you won't be able to just forget about it.
posted by jbickers at 1:48 PM on December 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


You've been with her for over a year? Is this the same girl? This doesn't quite add up to me... but if so, it sounds like you have a very tenuous, young relationship and you're right to trust your gut on the marriage thing.

"I wish she was smart enough to not make those mistakes with those guys in the first place."

The fact that you view her sexual exploration as a mistake and criticize her intelligence reflects, as you previously recognized, that you have some problems respecting women (here, in their sexual autonomy). This makes me think it's a bigger issue than just being young and inexperienced and you'll outgrow it with maturity.

If you want to "cope" (in life, not just in this situation), I would really suggest therapy where you can sort through some of these mental distortions ("judgement, paranoia" - from your old post) and logically challenge your preconceptions and responses. It sounds like you could use a safe space to go through your thoughts.
posted by Paper rabies at 1:52 PM on December 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


I just want her to be mine only

That wouldn't be possible even if she'd spent her whole life till now in a hermetically sealed bubble.

Also, when she talks about wanting a future that includes marriage, and you "go along with this concept without a hint of nervousness," that is not cool. She's basically asking how you see the future. Smiling and nodding is tacit agreement with her plan. You need to talk about this now, not years from now, after she sees you as stringing her along.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:53 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


3,5 billion women on this planet. I bet there is a better relationship waiting to happen with one of the 3, 499 999 999 other women. You can start by looking for one that will not insult you even jokingly.
posted by Baud at 1:54 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually I'm going to amend my answer.

If you've been together for over a year, then while you were with this girl you were also having concerns like these and in August you were sort of making getting-back-together overtures to another woman with whom you had a tumultuous relationship.

Previous questions indicate that you went to a therapist twice and then quit. I would suggest reevaluating that decision, because I think that the larger issues here are a little beyond the scope of what AskMetafilter can help you with.

I also still think you should probably end things with this current girl.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:55 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're fine, but lord, don't get married.

Of course you want to date other people - that's totally reasonable, and your average late teens relationship lasts for a few months or a couple of years and then ends. It's a slightly tricky thing to get your head around - both feeling "this is great! I'm so in love!" and recognizing that this kind of relationship is very unlikely to last. But that's what you have to do!

In the best case scenario, your GF doesn't actually want to marry you - she's just learned that talking about marriage is the way you express strong feelings of affection, or maybe she has some sexual anxieties of her own and if she's planning on having sex with you she may square that in her head by saying that she also wants to marry you. She may have sexual anxieties of her own - lots of partners and lots of sexual activity while still being concerned about preserving a technical "virginity" suggests to me that there's some unusual thought process going on there, or possibly a sex-negative religious background.

If you're actually having fun in this relationship, you need to talk to your GF and say some stuff like:

1. I like you a lot, but I'd like to just enjoy this relationship without worrying about big life decisions like marriage. (Which is totally reasonable! If she wants to break up because you don't want to get married at 19, she is not ready for a serious relationship.) There's no need to say "I envision us breaking up eventually" or "I don't want to marry you".

2. "When you say [things] what do you mean?" [She explains] "I know you [don't mean it/are just kidding/think it's cute] but it makes me feel [negative emotions] so I'd feel a lot better if you'd stop."

Sexual inexperience at nineteen is no big deal and will be remedied soon. Get some books about sexual methods - folks have recommended Box Lunch, which I am not going to google at work. This won't actually convince anyone that you're some kind of sexual sophisticate, but it will give you a lot of ideas and some framework. (I credit Sex Tips for Girls (which is mostly essays but also some sex tips) and Susie Sexpert with quite a lot, as it were, in my own personal past.)

This really tears me apart inside, but I would never tell her this completely. I just want her to be mine only, but now thats not possible. Besides the fears of them being better than me at sexual things, I also feel that they each have a "piece of her". They sort of... de-value her, which I know sounds terrible for me to say. She told me they were mistakes... sort of... and that she is different now and only wants to give herself to one person (me right now), but that doesn't change what happened in her past. She didn't know me back then but I wish she was smart enough to not make those mistakes with those guys in the first place. None of these relationships were serious, I think what we have is the most serious thing yet for her and me included.

This is your inexperience, anxiety and resentment talking. (I mean, I've been sexually judgy about people too, and I see in retrospect that it was about me and not them.) Ask yourself: do you really, honestly, think that because a girl makes out with some guys in her late teens and early twenties, she's "devalued"? I bet you don't really think that. I bet you'd never give that answer in a survey. I bet that you're anxious about sex, wish you had more experience, fear that you are not desirable enough to hook up with people, etc etc - and your brain is messing with you, making you project this stuff onto your girlfriend. I'm telling you, I've done the same thing.

Now, it's possible that your GF made some bad decisions or feels some [unneeded! unfair!] guilt or shame about her sexual past, but that doesn't "devalue" her or mean she's a bad person, any more than making any other poor decision would. Am I "devalued" because I goofed off a lot at my first job and really annoyed my co-workers? Or because I was kind of a jerk to this guy who wanted to go out with me back when I was 22? No, I'm just a person who made some bad decisions that I kind of regret, but that are in the mix with all the other decisions in my past.

Also, safe and consensual hooking up with people is good - as long as everyone involved is having fun and being honest with each other. Why wouldn't it be? Who does it hurt?

Ask yourself honestly: if you weren't in a monogamous relationship and you met someone who wanted to make out with you at a party, would you do it? Would you want to do it, or would you feel scared by your own inexperience and fear rejection? I bet one or the other of those things is true. I bet you would not think "here is this attractive young person coming on to me, but I won't make out with them because it would 'devalue' me".

One of my biggest regrets from my youth (the sweet bird of which has flown, sadly) is that I allowed fear and judgeyness to keep me from enjoying relationships and keep me from the various fun and casual making-out situations I could have had. Don't be me!
posted by Frowner at 1:55 PM on December 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


She has been discussing, in a half serious way about me and her marrying. This frankly scares me to the death. The concept of marriage alone is frightening, and the fact that she is already mentioning this quite often is a bit unsettling. I don't know if I even want to get married, and the part of me that does wants to do it in 6 or 7 years after I've established my career. I have been going along with this concept without a hint of nervousness about it, because I'm afraid that if I voice these concerns she will take it the wrong way or not want to be with me.

So, uh, you can and should simply tell her how you feel, and if that's a dealbreaker, she should move on. That's a good thing. A positive thing. Two great people who care about each other can still want different things and be in the wrong relationship. Don't be afraid of it; embrace it as part of having a relationship, the clear communication about each person's wants to help determine if you should be together. After all, being in a relationship isn't just about being together; it is also about working towards a life together, and setting/pursuing common goals is part of that life.

She has had 3 or 4 boyfriends, she claims she is a virgin (in her eyes), but she has done very sexual things with these other guys like oral sex and using her hands etc.. She has also hooked up with other guys at parties, made out with them. This would probably be fine with me, if I had ANY sexual partners like her. I have never made out with random girls at parties, or ever been with a girl or really had a real girlfriend in any sense of the word. I think her "number" is somewhere around 9 partners before me (excluding actual intercourse but also including making out and other sexual things). Shes done some things that literally horrify me and make my stomach drop, including some very sexual touching with more than one guy that she doesn't consider a big deal yet I think its a huge deal.

This really tears me apart inside, but I would never tell her this completely. I just want her to be mine only, but now thats not possible.


People are who they are as the sum of their experiences. If she hadn't done those things, she would be a different person, and she's a different person now than she will be six months from now, depending on the experiences she has. People are living, growing, changing creatures, and that goes for both of you. If you hate the idea of her having experiences that predate you, you shouldn't be thinking about her experiences; you should be thinking about how to get over the idea that someone you are with needs to be untouched.

Plus, it sounds like you need more experience yourself, or you're simply not ready yet, even though she is. So I say don't tell her, because this is your problem, not hers. Let her go, break up with her, and seek out other partners who are more in line with your point of view on sex (there are lots of 'em!) -- and when you're dating them, think about how your experience with this girl changed you as a person, but also how those experiences don't reflect in any way, shape or form on your value as a person to the new people you're dating.

She offered to keep the rest of her past secret, but I said I wouldn't want that as then she would be hiding things from me.

Well, you can't have it both ways. She is who she is. Either accept it or move on. Anything that isn't one of those two things is bad for both of you. Knock it off.

Lastly, this one is just a side note, she often insults me, usually playfully but it also sounds somewhat mean spirited. This includes little comments about my appearance and intelligence, which kind of bother me but I let them roll of my back because I think she is just joking. Sometimes she is also very affectionate and loving with compliments and flirting, but shes never very loving all the time, as I feel I am.

Two data points here:

First, she might be insulting you because that's just how she interacts with people -- I'm from a community where that's the norm, and it isn't hostile at all -- or she may be doing that to get under your skin intentionally. Doesn't really matter; what matters is how you feel about it, and if you don't like it, tell her. If you don't tell her, you'll never get anywhere.

Second: you're not very loving all the time. You may act it, but you are also very judgmental of her past -- not loving! -- not at all accepting of her choices -- not loving! -- and you want her to somehow not have the past she already has -- not loving! So the next time she insults you openly about something, you should think about how you've insulted her silently, inside your head, about her past, and hopefully that will give you some perspective.

Good luck!
posted by davejay at 2:02 PM on December 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


What country are you from? I think that would have a lot to do with seeing her sexual explorations as "mistakes", rather than just what they were, explorations. If you were from a western country and felt this way, the above advice is great. If you are not, then I think being specific would help in understanding your viewpoint culturally.

But, regardless:

She insults you.
She wants to get married, you don't.
You are 19.
Your viewpoint of women as whole beings seems a bit off right now.

Those are all reasons to take this experience as one of learning and growth and move on.
posted by Vaike at 2:08 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't you want someone who knows what's out there, has been through the ringer a few time, and decides to be with you -- instead of someone who ends up dating the first person who asks them out and doesn't really know what they want?

Also, if you're going to refer to the Kevin Smith cannon for relationship advice, I'd much prefer you watched Clerks. Pay attention to how much of a d-bag Dante is when he finds out how many bjs his girlfriend has given out. Don't be Dante.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:12 PM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sexual exploration still isn't a "mistake" even where it's frowned upon by social mores.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:16 PM on December 11, 2012 [18 favorites]


You seem as if you still have a lot of growing up to do.

For example, her past sexual experiences are your problem, not hers: her "mistakes" don't seem to cause her any problems, but they make *you* sick to your stomach. You also consider yourself "very loving all the time" yet you are obviously very judgmental about her past experiences that have nothing to do with you.

While people can have different sexual morals, you write "This would probably be fine with me, if I had ANY sexual partners like her." This is your own fear speaking, your own lack of sexual experience.

And of course your lack of experience also makes you profoundly uncomfortable with ideas of marriage and long-term commitment. How can you commit when you don't know what life has to offer?

You need to grow past your fears. Unfortunately I don't know how you should do this but I would try to focus more on enjoying the present day-to-day and less on long-term relationship ideals (sexual purity, marriage). You are in no way ready for marriage.
posted by leopard at 2:17 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


And go to a therapist!! Your code is all buggy. You haven't worked through your anger with your mother. You have trouble with your memory. You are in a relationship that's making you unhappy.

You know who can help you? A therapist. Go to one. Go every time. Keep going.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:19 PM on December 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


Sounds to me like you have some pretty serious issues with (and/or outdated attitudes about) sex that should perhaps be explored in therapy. On preview, what Sidhedevil said.
posted by désoeuvrée at 2:21 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just to clarify, I agree that sexual exploration is not a mistake, and OP, you do really need to find out where that belief is coming from before you can enter into a healthy relationship.

I was just trying to figure out where the viewpoint grew from in the first place.
posted by Vaike at 2:31 PM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


In answer to your question, I would say having life goals which don't line up with your partner's is a good reason to end a relationship. If she's looking to be married within the next 5 years, you owe it to her to let her know that that doesn't fit with your career aims. That said, she may just be caught up in the romance of a new relationship and be fantasy-talking about marriage when she also, if speaking more seriously about life aims, may want to wait until she's closer to 30 and more settled in her career.

That said, looking at your AskMe history, I do have to say I think chatting with a professional would be helpful to you. You're aware of your "issues with women" and you're concerned about memory loss, and recognizing that there's a problem is a great first step. That said, you're in a relationship with someone with whom it seems that there are respect issues on both sides (your respect for her, given her sexual past; her respect for you, as evidenced by her off-hand cutting remarks about your looks & intelligence). I know you're hesitant about therapy, but that's your best route to getting to the bottom of these issues, rather than chatting with non-professionals (in person or online) or watching romantic comedies.
posted by pammeke at 2:33 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also feel that they each have a "piece of her".

This is not how sex works.

That said, if you're not happy in this relationship and feel you and she have different goals, that alone is a fine reason to break up.
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:36 PM on December 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


As far as the marriage talk and the jokey digs go: learning to stand up for yourself and bring up uncomfortable subjects is crucial to success in long-term relationships. You'll need to be able to say things like "well, I don't think I'm ready for marriage in general" or "hey, when you make fun of my hair like that it hurts my feelings," and your partner will need to be able to give those things appropriate consideration and respect, and vice versa. If you go along with someone despite being uncomfortable out of fear of jeopardizing the relationship, you're just going to be uncomfortable the whole relationship through.

As for your discomfort with her sexual history: I suspect that you're well aware that your degree of disgust is disproportionate to what your girlfriend's actually done, and that you're being awfully unfair and disrespectful to her. I get where you're coming from, though. I think it's horrifying and hurtful and dead wrong, and I don't believe it, but I get it. And I think, given your posting history and the way you've worded the relevant paragraphs, that your issues with women are pretty well entrenched, and can't be lectured or reasoned or shamed out of you, but you know they're problematic. Some of this can be helped with time and experience, and getting to know more women outside of a dating or sexual context.

And, yes, therapy will help you. It doesn't even have to be you going to a therapist and saying "I have issues with women" or whatever - if you're dissatisfied with yourself, concerned that your mind's getting in your way, or just feeling kind of crappy for no reason you can tell, therapy can help. Often, going to therapy for one thing can help you in all the others. Bear in mind that your way of seeing the world took years to take root and grow, and it's going to take a lot of time and work to weed through them.

As for whether you should stay with your girlfriend? Well, I don't think it's fair for you to make her feel bad about her past. And I don't think you guys are really on the same page as far as anything else. I think it'd be best for you both if you let her go.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:40 PM on December 11, 2012


you are analyzing everything to freaking death. Just be chill, bud. Next time she rattles off about getting married just tell her you'd rather talk about stuff that could happen this decade. It kind of sounds like she wants to feel you out for long-term potential. Instead of marriage, talk about a trip to Europe. Same basic thing- long term planning.

I just want her to be mine only, but now thats not possible. Besides the fears of them being better than me at sexual things, I also feel that they each have a "piece of her".

This is super not cool. It really is your inexperience talking.

Women do not "lose value" because they've kissed others. Men don't get to "take" part of every women they swap spit with. They don't get to own a part of each women they've seen naked. The average age for losing virginity in the USA is 17. Since almost no one is with the same person they dated in high school- does that mean that all those ladies are valueless whores? of course you don't really believe that.

You should really look at your weird hang ups about sex. Hand-jobs and mutual masturbation is basically the safest way to screw around in the sack. You wanting to judge her for at some point (before you guys were together, for chrissakes) SEEING SOMEONE ELSES PENIS- is kind of telling. What about seeing penises make her lose value?

And doing "sexual" things such as random making out as a single person when you are 19? pretty standard. Your dating options are going to significantly decrease if you insist on women who never ever made out with anyone at party. When you are 30 years old you will probably have no idea how many people you kissed. Kissing is really really really not a big deal.

It is a little weird that she tells you a lot of details about this stuff. Most people just don't. That points to the fact that really she's not very experienced either.
posted by Blisterlips at 2:43 PM on December 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


My now-husband and I were in a similar situation. When we got together, I'd had (I think - it's been a long time since I counted, honestly) around 10 sex partners. He'd had one.

Tip 1: Don't ask. And if asked, don't answer.

Why? Because aside from "Would you like to have sex?", "Are you STD free?" and discussions around birth control, it's not your business. It's not. Your partner is not an object to own, or control. Her sexuality is not an object to own or control. They can't change the past, and punishing them for things they did before they met you is at best a fool's game.

It stopped being an issue. Why? Because I told him if he continued to have an issue with it, he didn't have to be #11. He could be number-on-my-way-out-the-door, because it wasn't something I could - or wanted to - change. Because my husband realized I'd known others, and chose him, and continue to choose him as my one partner. Because stuff that happened 18 years ago doesn't make a damn bit of difference to our relationship now. Because he got more sexual experience, both with me and with others. Because he got the perspective of time, and more experience in the world.

There's nothing saying you have to stay with her. There's nothing saying you can't date other women. But I'd think awhile on how you view women with sexual history. Back when I was dating, the guys that gave me the most shit about having had sex were the ones who desperately wanted to have sex with me - and you can bet they weren't giving guys they knew who had sex the same treatment. That was a huge turn off for me, because it indicated a sort of possessiveness and your-sexuality-is-an-object-for-me-to-own mentality that I just didn't want to deal with.
posted by RogueTech at 2:47 PM on December 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


On the purity issue: the people you fall for are who they are because of the things they did, and the people they knew (and maybe loved, and maybe had sex with) before you met them. That past is not necessarily a threat to you. On the contrary, it might be what gives them the skills, the wisdom, or the empathy to be a good partner now. I know I would not have been ready for, would not have known how to love and support, my current fiance, if it had not been for the men I was with before him. They did not "take" something that was supposed to be "his". They participated in my life and helped me grow into the woman who will be his wife.

It sounds to me as though you are carrying around a lot of abstinence/purity propaganda that you only apply to her, not yourself. You can either decide that sex (safe, consensual) is a healthy part of your and her development, or you can decide that both you and she ought to be pure until marriage (or whenever) because of a spiritual value you place on that.

But this thing where it would be better if you had lots more experience and she had none? That's patriarchy programming messing with you. You might want to look at where you're getting those messages from and whether (and why) you trust the source.
posted by shattersock at 2:47 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dude, you're 19. Neither of you should be thinking about getting married. Getting married to have sex is like jumping off a building to fly.
posted by trbrts at 2:53 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're worried about "committing completely to basically one girl... without ever connecting with anyone else," but you're also horrified that she's made out with people other than you... and you think you'd be more accepting of her past if you had any sexual experiences of your own. You need to figure out for yourself what your sexual standards are. Right now you're holding her up to higher standards than you hold yourself -- you don't say it would be horrifying for you to have made out with other people -- which is unfair.

A therapist, a priest, a patient friend... you need someone in your face-to-face life who can talk you through this.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:00 PM on December 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


Age has nothing to do with this. I got married at 22 and my marriage is pretty fucking awesome. Adults of any age can have happy, fulfilling relationships.

The only thing that matters here is that you are not compatible with this person. You two don't seem to respect each other at all. I suggest you get out now before she starts talking more seriously about marriage.
posted by Lobster Garden at 3:04 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be a little more constructive, I believe I had similar issues with women when I was around your age, even though I knew they were wrong. I still don't really know where they came from: I didn't hold these thoughts about sexual morality on an intellectual level (quite the opposite), but on a purely visceral level that I could barely control. I never went into therapy (largely because of trust issues that therapy probably could have helped with) but eventually I was in a relationship where I could be the non-controlling, non-paranoid person I wanted to be. In retrospect I was a pretty lousy partner in my previous relationships.

Well, maybe that's not really constructive advice, but that was my experience.
posted by leopard at 3:12 PM on December 11, 2012


Yes, you need to walk away. Why? Because you need more experience, and you need to learn that having sexual experiences with more than one person is not necessarily a "mistake". You need to figure out that this is the case even for girls. You need to live a little more, and a little longer, and break hearts and have your heart broken, and learn.

You may have your heart broken here, or break hers. Good job! You're on your way.

You have, however, a long way to go. And so does she. DO NOT get married. You're absolutely right: that would be a terrible idea.

Good luck.
posted by Because at 3:27 PM on December 11, 2012


You're worried about "committing completely to basically one girl... without ever connecting with anyone else," but you're also horrified that she's made out with people other than you... and you think you'd be more accepting of her past if you had any sexual experiences of your own. You need to figure out for yourself what your sexual standards are. Right now you're holding her up to higher standards than you hold yourself -- you don't say it would be horrifying for you to have made out with other people -- which is unfair.

This was my initial reaction as well. You seem to have some cognitive dissonance going on here - you need to resolve that for yourself before you try and resolve it for (or about) anyone else.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 3:29 PM on December 11, 2012


"You're worried about "committing completely to basically one girl... without ever connecting with anyone else," but you're also horrified that she's made out with people other than you... and you think you'd be more accepting of her past if you had any sexual experiences of your own. You need to figure out for yourself what your sexual standards are. Right now you're holding her up to higher standards than you hold yourself -- you don't say it would be horrifying for you to have made out with other people -- which is unfair."

This was my initial reaction as well. You seem to have some cognitive dissonance going on here - you need to resolve that for yourself before you try and resolve it for (or about) anyone else.

Yeah n-thing that. You're going to either have to commit to a that type sexual morality, which honestly you are going to really mainly find among the very religious, and find someone else who follows that code, or you are going to have to commit to gaining more experience so you can feel more secure about sex. Either way, neither of those options include her, it's best to end things, especially given the contempt evident from both of you.
posted by melissam at 3:41 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's just fine if purity is important to a person, but they have to focus it on the one person they rightly have control over: themselves.

If you wouldn't be proud of yourself if you had had as much sexual experience as she does, then I get why you would be worried about what she'd do in the future, but she's assured you that she only has eyes for you and it's just the two of you now. If you thought she was going to do this stuff with other while dating you, I'd agree you had something to be upset about, but it really doesn't sound like she would cheat. So that just leaves you being squicked out. If you can't get past this, then it is what it is, regardless of whether it's fair to her or not, and therefore staying with her while holding this against her is even more unfair.

You also say "she" has been discussing marriage - by herself? Have you told her you don't intend to get married until you're at least 25 or 26 (and why the heck would anyone get married younger than that, in general I agree that it's a bad idea)? It sounds like you're afraid she's going to impose marriage unilaterally, perhaps by suddenly cuffing you one day while wearing a white dress. You can't be this passive.

You need to own your own side of this and let her hold her own. You seem to be crossing boundaries a lot in your thinking.
posted by tel3path at 4:01 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


So you say this...

Additionally, my experience with girls has been practically non-existent, so this would mean me committing completely to basically one girl for my entire life without ever connecting with anyone else

...implying that you think you SHOULD have the opportunity to experience having multiple partners. And yet, you go on to say this:

She has had 3 or 4 boyfriends, she claims she is a virgin (in her eyes), but she has done very sexual things with these other guys like oral sex and using her hands etc.. She has also hooked up with other guys at parties, made out with them.... I just want her to be mine only, but now thats not possible. Besides the fears of them being better than me at sexual things, I also feel that they each have a "piece of her".

Do you see why this is hypocritical? You want to date multiple girls- and, presumably, kiss and possibly do other things with them- yet, it's not ok that she did the same thing. Do you think that if you two break up, and you find a new girl, that your new girlfriend will not be getting "all of you"?

Relationships- and even random hookups- don't TAKE anything away from you. They TEACH you more about yourself, which makes you a more fully experienced individual with a better idea of what you do and don't want. That is a GOOD thing!
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:59 PM on December 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


You are objectifying your girlfriend.

I would not tolerate your judgement of my sexual past if I was in this relationship. If I felt your judgement but was afraid to confront you about it, it might transfer over to everyday "joking insults" directed at you. Not consciously, of course. This would have been especially true when I was 20 years old and less aware of myself and my own boundaries.

You've really got to get a grip on your ideas surrounding sex. Or you've got to operate in cultural circles that stick to your own outdated ideals surrounding sex.

I've framed my answer to your question rather aggressively. I acknowledge that.

I think you should end this relationship and evaluate your own readiness for romantic involvement. I think therapy would be helpful in that endeavor.
posted by dchrssyr at 5:04 PM on December 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


'Gee, I wish I'd married that girl I was half-hearted about when I was 19!' said no one, ever.

Honestly, I don't even need to read your posting history. At the risk of being That Boring Old Person On The Internet Who Thinks They Know Everything - if you're not really feeling it, for whatever reason, and you're NINETEEN, and she wants to get married, do yourself a favour. Walk, and don't look back.

From someone twice your age: I wish I had not been so hung up on 'sticking at' relationships when I was 19, or 25, or even 30. You're missing other chances.

I agree with the people saying you have some slightly skewed ideas around relationships, but I think you need to work them out by growing and maturing and therapy and dating lots of people, not by beating this dead horse.
posted by Salamander at 5:35 PM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Re: the jealousy/sexual history thing, remember that you're 19. Not only does that affect your general emotional maturity, as many people have said above, but it means that biologically you're still in the tail-end of puberty. Things like jealousy, aggression, insecurity, and weird emotions surrounding sex are all at least in part hormonally driven, so you'll likely find it a lot easier to be calm, rational and non-possessive about your partner's sexual past in 5 years or so, when the hormones calm down.

Of course, based on your past questions, you may very well have issues with respecting women beyond your average baseline testosterone-driven craziness. So that's worth working on, as well. But regardless, in the medium-term, there's not much good to be done by sticking with a relationship that rubs on those issues. Maybe let this girl go, enjoy having the experience under your belt, and focus on allowing it to make you a better partner in the next relationship.
posted by Bardolph at 5:46 PM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not being flippant, but if you have to ask, the answer is no. Everything about your question said "no" to me, too.

I have a friend who felt as you did about his first serious girlfriend (right down to the discomfort/judgement of her sexual history and the "insults that may be insults or may be just joking, but bother me, but I don't say anything... and yeah I don't REALLY want to get married yet, but I'll just go along with it for now"), and eventually they broke up. She's getting married to someone else. He's never dated anyone else. It's been like 5 years. So you may want to consider adjusting your expectations and worldview as well as how you conduct yourself in relationships, such as communicating honestly, lest you end up in similar straits.
posted by sm1tten at 5:50 PM on December 11, 2012


You're behind the curve sexually and you're judging her for being less behind the curve. This woman is a virgin, and that's still not chaste enough for you?

Her sexual history before you has nothing to do with you. I'd bet she said they were "mistakes" because she could tell you disapprove- but the problem is you. You're jealous and insecure because of your sexual inexperience; at the same time your inexperience is leading you to some bizarre notions of sexuality: her former partners don't own a piece of her and she is on the low side of experience for her age too.

Break up; you're only dragging her into stuff that she should have grown out of, and you're depriving yourself of the chance to grow.
posted by spaltavian at 7:46 PM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


People have already said most of what I had to say several times over, leaving me just this: I'd ask that the poster (and some of the respondents as well!) really think about whether it's appropriate to call a 20-year-old female a "girl". I see the post absolutely peppered with "girl" and to me it contributes to the sense of disrespect towards her by the poster.

How would you feel if someone referred to you as a "boy"? Would you feel respected or belittled? Would you be puzzled at why they were calling someone who could vote and die for his country a child?

She's an autonomous grown-up woman. Perhaps beginning to use the correct language to refer to her will also start you on the road towards the kind of respect you need to feel towards your partner to have a decent relationship.
posted by parrot_person at 1:06 AM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Things I want to reiterate:
1. Past relationships don't "take" parts of a person and make them less of a partner for whoever comes next. Hearing you think that way really really saddens me because as long as you hold fast to that belief I don't think you are ever going to be happy in a relationship. I understand how some people want/expect their partner to be a virgin and for them to be their first. I don't really get it, but okay. Sex for a lot of people is a very intimate serious act, especially since it has the chance of producing a child in terms of heterosexual sex. So fair enough. But to declare sexual touching and kissing to be unacceptable as well is frankly unrealistic. I've known some "no sex before marriage" types, and they took no issue with kissing.
2. You need to think hard on what about her kissing other people upsets you so extremely. I think you sort of get that your disgust over her having kissed other people before she met you is unfair and irrational, so the next step is to figure out WHY you find it so awful. Is it that she found someone else desirable and you think that she'll cheat? Was it that someone at some point had found HER desirable and you worry that someone in the future could again and they would try to take her from you? Therapy will help you work through this.
3. As long as you hold these beliefs you're going to have an extremely hard time finding a partner that meets your criteria. Following some quick googling, I read from multiple sources that by age twent 70% of women have had sex. I have to guess that the percent that have kissed must be kicking around the mid 90's. That is age 20. As each year goes on the perfect of women who haven't kissed someone else and have done nothing sexual with anyone ever is going to shrink more and more and more and the likelihood of your finding someone like that who you also like and are attracted to yourself and whose company you enjoy... well, it is pretty unlikely. So rather than spending your life with unrealistic, unfair beliefs, you really should just adjust your beliefs to something more realistic and respectful. Again, therapy would help with this.


I don't think you're a bad person, and it says a lot that you recognize your feelings and condemnation of her for having kissed people before isn't healthy or realistic. I think your problems are stemming from lack of experience and youth, not from your being intrinsically sexist or disrespectful. I think you feel like you're behind everyone else in terms of experience and the fact that she is ahead of you makes you feel really insecure. Rather than accepting it as something you don't like about YOU, you've (possibly unconsciously) turned it in to a judgement upon HER. It is okay, people do that, but it is time to own up to it and realise that your issue is with yourself, not her.


I don't think you and your girlfriend sound very well suited, but even if you were I think you aren't really ready to be in a relationship. Whether you believe it or not, you're young and as much as you no doubt feel like you're "sure" about everything, trust me... you aren't. You won't even believe how much you will change in the next five/ten/twenty years! At 19 I felt like I was an adult and grown up and I knew what was what, but what we never understand is how much growing and maturing we have left to do. It is true at any age, I think we always are growing and changing, but ask around and I'll bet a lot of them will say they changed the most in their 20s. I think you're suffering from a case of "youth". I think about the things I believed when I was 19 and yeah... I was way way off base. And I didn't have to make a conscious decision to change a lot of my views on things, they mostly just matured and adjusted as I lived and experienced more and grew up.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:25 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


She has had 3 or 4 boyfriends, she claims she is a virgin (in her eyes), but she has done very sexual things with these other guys like oral sex and using her hands etc.. She has also hooked up with other guys at parties, made out with them. This would probably be fine with me, if I had ANY sexual partners like her. I have never made out with random girls at parties, or ever been with a girl or really had a real girlfriend in any sense of the word. I think her "number" is somewhere around 9 partners before me (excluding actual intercourse but also including making out and other sexual things). Shes done some things that literally horrify me and make my stomach drop, including some very sexual touching with more than one guy that she doesn't consider a big deal yet I think its a huge deal.

This is not uncommon or unusual for a lot of women - the average number of sexual partners in a woman's lifetime is something like 7. Most young women I knew at 19 were either not virgins or had had some sexual experience whether in relationships or out of it - there are many women who enjoy casual sex or threesomes, just as there are many women who only want to experience sex in a serious relationship. As you get older, the chances of your partner having had sex with people who are not you is only going to increase unless you choose to date people from, say, a strict religious background. And this is a problem for you to sort out yourself, not for your current or future partners to fix for you.
posted by mippy at 8:29 AM on December 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


You have some great advice upthread already, but yeah, you need a lot of growing up to do. Don't feel jealous, there's nothing to be jealous of. She's with *you* right now, and that's what matters. And having a partner that's had more sexual experience than you is a *good* thing if you like sex. Heterosexual sex (PIV sex and other kinds of sexual acts) isn't all about "man showing off how manly he is to the woman" or whatever, it's a two-way process of figuring out what feels good to both people. There isn't one technique that's good for everyone, she probably made your first time more comfortable because she's had some practice on how to communicate in that context.

Do you like her? Do you see yourself dating her and having a healthy relationship in the next year? If so, be more honest with her (say your honest thoughts about marriage, tell her that her joking style isn't cool), respect her, and don't let her past experience (which is more likely a plus) hurt potential sexy times. Enjoy your time together!

Seriously. Once you've had more experience, you'll realize that more sexual experience in a partner is a pretty good thing, but it's not something you should be insecure about because in the end, a whole lot more things matter on the whole more than sexual experience. And even if X random guy from her past was better than you at Y random sexual act, who cares? She's doing it with YOU, not him. Be happy and thankful for what you have!
posted by Hawk V at 1:29 AM on December 14, 2012


« Older Hey Ask, I don't know whether ...   |  Is there a smaller option for ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.