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If fiance isn't okay with your past, you're headed for trouble

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

If fiance isn't okay with your past, you're headed for trouble

Washington: I have a very close male friend from grad school. We slept together once while we were in school, it was a disaster, and we realized we're great as friends, but not as a couple.

Six years later, I'm happily engaged to someone I met two years ago. While I tried to be oblique (I told my fiance about my close male friend and that I hooked up with a friend, but didn't immediately say they were the same person), ultimately the truth came out. I'm still close to the friend, although he lives in a different city (and so my fiance has never met him), and I plan to invite him and his new fiancee to our wedding.

My fiance is nominally okay with this, but still makes comments and gets weird about talking about the friend. This really annoys me. I hooked up with my friend YEARS before I met my fiance, it was only once, and it was really a bad hookup. I don't think my fiance believes I have feelings for my friend, or that he has feelings for me, he just doesn't like the thought of being around a guy who once bedded his girl. Is there anything I can do to put my fiance's inner caveman at rest?

Carolyn: Was your fiance a virgin, before you came along?

Anonymous: Re: Fiance:

Does he have any other control issues? Being unrealistic about someone's sexual past can go hand in hand with being an abusive partner.

Carolyn: I know. That's the far end of the spectrum, but it's a spectrum with very few attractive points, even at the mild end. That's why I asked about the virginity — to see if he's fine with having his own past, and doesn't respect her enough to be fine with hers.

Anonymous 2: Re: Fiance:

Has she told him it was a disaster? This could simply be the fiance worrying the other guy was better in bed.

Carolyn: That just means he's too immature for marriage. "No no, dear, you're the BEST." Barf.

Washington again: No, he wasn't a virgin. And I think you're asking tongue-in-cheek. He has some contact with his last girlfriend, which I encourage. If they were close and he were inviting her to the wedding, I wouldn't blink.

Carolyn: I wasn't asking tongue-in-cheek, I was asking if he was a hypocrite. And the answer is yes, he is. So there's that.

You also said you tried to be oblique — so either you telegraphed to him that you're lying/still into this guy, or you were fudging because you anticipated he'd have a problem with it.

Either way, you've got a much bigger issue on your hands than an awkward wedding guest. Either you're both open and accepting of your own pasts as well as each other's, or you're creating a conditional bond — the condition here being that you spackle over this old friend. The result? He's embracing you less than fully as a person.

Marrying someone under those conditions is a common, completely avoidable mistake. Either he loves you completely, exes and all, history and all, and trusts himself to remain your first choice, or you're asking for unhappiness.

If fiance isn't okay with your past, you're headed for trouble 01/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 3:30am]
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