I know who you did last summer
I was pretty wild in high school, and my boyfriend of two years has a hard time trusting me because of it. I've explained that I outgrew my teenage need to "hook up," and I'm a different person now, at 21. He really has no reason to doubt that, but he's still convinced I'll revert to my old behavior. He also accuses me of withholding information when we discuss our sexual experiences, even though he's the one who lied that he'd lost his virginity before he met me. I've always been completely honest with him about how many partners I've had, and point out that if I were lying, I'd have put the number at three instead of 12. How do I get him to see he has no reason to distrust me? Blasted with the Past
Like you, he's learned from your past. Unfortunately, what it taught him was, "You Tarzan, him Jane."
Some men you date will beg for the story behind every notch on your belt. At the same time, they really don't want to know you even own a belt. Men have an enormous capacity for sexual jealousy.
Sure, there are those who can handle the whole truth. But give the average guy an inch, and he'll stay awake nights with a ruler agonizing that he can't possibly measure up. When all his hate and resentment finally knock him out, it's time for his regular nightmare: a line of men outside your bedroom door that looks like the Israelites waiting to cross the Red Sea. Of course, he's just the bouncer standing there with one of those customer clickers.
So, how honest is too honest? Well, if you want your insecure, recently deflowered boy virgin to feel comfy about his place in your life, taking him on a sex tour of your teen years probably isn't your best bet: "Yes, over here we have the infamous janitor's closet, and if you look out the window, you can see the 50-yard line and the long-jump pit . . . and I'll never forget that night we broke my sister's tree house!"
Yes, let a guy know you used to be kinda wild. As for whether you were with 12 or 20, in the billiard room with Professor Plum or in the conservatory with Colonel Mustard it's really none of his business. What's productive in a relationship isn't total honesty, but judicious honesty telling somebody what they need to know to know you: what makes you happy, what scares you, and what you want from life, not a moment-by-moment replay of what went on in the back of some delinquent's car.
Even if you were, at one point, vying to be the Charlie Sheen of teenage girls, that doesn't give any guy the right to spend two years punishing you for having more sex than he did. After all this time, your boyfriend's crystal clear on whether it was vanilla or Cirque du Soleil with this one or that one, but he doesn't know you well enough to have a grasp on what matters: Will you sleep around, not did you.
Clearly, it's his insecurity, not your ethics, that's the problem. Will that ever change? Probably only if you change boyfriends. Look for a guy who's secure enough to see your past as part of what made you the person he loves in the present. A guy like this understands that the only must-tell sexual history is the important medical and psychological stuff: funny uncles, communicable diseases, and whether somebody's actually lost their virginity or they've just been working really hard to ditch it at the mall.
Can you have true intimacy with your partner without showing all? My friend thinks her marriage is better than mine because she's "able" to let her husband in the bathroom when she's, say, waxing her upper lip or bikini line. I say her marriage is just uglier, not necessarily closer. Private Side
Your husband isn't going to love you more if he knows you have a mustache. I call this sort of thinking "Grossest is Closest," the mistaken idea that intimacy means leaving the bathroom door open so your partner can see you hunched over on the pot. People like your friend believe "real love" takes accepting how utterly ugly, smelly, hairy, and disgusting their partner is, and lusting after them anyway. Of course, they could just remove ugly, smelly, hairy, and disgusting from the equation, and lusting after them wouldn't take so much work.
If you love somebody, don't you want to look and smell as nice as possible for them? There's really no need to clue them in on how you get that way. If you're 12 to a room in Kandahar, maybe you just can't help it. If you're two to a large split-level in suburbia, close the door.