In fact, they are today still good friends with several of their exes, and in fact, friends with each other’s exes.When I first started dating the man who is now my husband, I was horrified by the fact that he had dated other women before me, and been physically intimate with them.That is why I felt pain that my husband had dated and been intimate before meeting me while my husband’s cousin had absolutely no problem with the fact that her husband had dated and been intimate before meeting her (in fact she would have found it odd if she had been his first). Unless you have really good reasons to motivate you, maintaining physical boundaries in your courtship will crumble like the walls of Jericho when you really like someone and have become emotionally close to them.As I look back on the past, I can see that the pain was real.I can see also that the that pain my husband felt for having caused me pain was real.
The reality is that it would have meant something if he had been a fundamentalist or evangelical boy raised to expect sexual purity and emotional purity. Gradually, over time, I realized that the pain I was feeling was not due to any harm from my husband’s previous relationships, but rather to unmet expectations.
In some ways it’s like talking in different languages: the one partner says “don’t you see how much you hurt me? ” The problem is not actual harm, it is mismatched expectations.
I am raising my daughter to expect that her future spouse will have dated before he meets her, and that she will date beforehand too.
Today, my expectations have shifted so completely that I feel no pain at all from the fact that my husband had previous relationships.
In fact, I am now good friends with one of my husband’s exes, and I feel no ill will toward her at all.