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CES2005

s/o: When your spouse struggles hearing about your past...

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and random things bring back memories (a song a group of friends danced to and you happened to date one of the friends later on, for a hypothetical example--no air quotes).  We are not talking about gory details--simply references, platonic anecdotes, etc.  And for the record, said bothered spouse does not have even remotely similar history.  Bothered spouse was much more straight-laced and innocent. 

 

What's the balanced solution there?

 

And I guess a s/o of the s/o question is: if at least part of your past is a mix of serious regrets and fond memories, how do you view that within yourself?

 

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I would not mention who I dated or whatever.

 

Honestly, I struggle with parts of my husband's past. This is largely because his parents are very evil. And things came out additionally that they did that are not even suitable for this board. And then he will talk about some memory that is fond for him and I just feel the anxiety and anger and upsetness in me. He has a right to feel good about his past. But his past was all about perception. He thought something was funny that his parents did, but when we met, he saw nothing wrong with their horrible and evil behavior and it took a while, and counseling, for him to realize that what they do is not normal. It is a trigger for me when he speaks about that, and I am not talking a snowflake style trigger.

 

But with normal stuff..like liking this song or dancing with friends, well, just don't mention you dated anyone from that group, or don't mention the memory or whatever. But maybe there is something else bothering him. Maybe something else in the story bothers him, other than that you once dated someone before him. Or he just doesn't want to hear about who you once dated.

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As for your first question...I am not quite sure I understand.  So.....spouse A hears a song on the radio, says "oh man this brings back memories.  The gang and I used to love this song."  Spouse A's ex happens to be part of the gang and Spouse B gets upset just hearing any reference to the gang because of that?  Is that what you are saying?

 

 

If that's what's going on....gosh, I don't know that I could have married anyone who gets upset at the idea that I had any sort of relationship prior to meeting him.  But then, I had a kid when I met DH so that was kind of an automatic indicator.

 

 

As to your second question, I work hard to own all my choices and not have regrets.  One way I do this is by going over the "other path" in my head and what things I would have missed out on.  For example, I could regret getting pregnant in high school, but then I would have gone to a different college.  Since I was in college when I met DH, I probably wouldn't have met DH.  I wouldn't have had the younger kids.  Etc etc etc. 

 

 

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This made me realize that my dh and I don't talk much about our past, unless it is appropriate or closely pertains to something at-hand.  Other than that, usually things feel too trivial to bring up, or have the potential to mildly shut-out the other person.  If I really want to talk about stuff from my past that have no relevance to the present, I'll talk about it with the friend or family member who experienced it with me.  

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As for your first question...I am not quite sure I understand.  So.....spouse A hears a song on the radio, says "oh man this brings back memories.  The gang and I used to love this song."  Spouse A's ex happens to be part of the gang and Spouse B gets upset just hearing any reference to the gang because of that?  Is that what you are saying?

 

 

If that's what's going on....gosh, I don't know that I could have married anyone who gets upset at the idea that I had any sort of relationship prior to meeting him.  But then, I had a kid when I met DH so that was kind of an automatic indicator.

 

 

As to your second question, I work hard to own all my choices and not have regrets.  One way I do this is by going over the "other path" in my head and what things I would have missed out on.  For example, I could regret getting pregnant in high school, but then I would have gone to a different college.  Since I was in college when I met DH, I probably wouldn't have met DH.  I wouldn't have had the younger kids.  Etc etc etc. 

:iagree:

 

I was married before and he was like that, didn't want me talking about friends, didn't want to imagine I had a life before him.  He was very controlling and I was very young and did not know how to fix it so it ended in divorce.  My husband now is the opposite, doesn't try to tell me how to behave or care that I had past experiences (other than he'll mention "yeah, I heard that one before" because after 17 years you've heard all the stories).  

 

If he's always been like this then I'd look into ways of helping him 1. realize it and 2. retraining himself to deal with it.  If he's only recently become this way then I would see what has triggered the behavior shift.

 

As for owning regrets, absolutely. We make choices that lead us to this very moment in time, I'm really happy with this moment in time, I really like me at this moment in time and I wouldn't be me if I hadn't screwed up monumentally along the way. 

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I know exactly what kind of thing you're talking about, and have no idea what the balanced solution is. 

 

In my house, I'm "not allowed" to like a certain musical band, because at one point or another I mentioned listening to that band with the one serious ex boyfriend I had before my now husband (keep in mind, we're high school sweethearts, so "serious boyfriend" is a bit different than, say, a post-college, we were engaged, kind of thing would be). 

 

In my now-husband's mind, songs by that band are linked forever with my dating of the boy I mentioned, so if I sing along to a song by this band on the radio, my husband assumes (wrongly) that I'm reminiscing about the boy.

 

But, in my mind, it was my cousin who first introduced me to music by this band, I listened to them throughout my earliest teen years, with a slight surge/resurgence while dating the boy, but songs by that band do not in any way call to my mind the boy in question. Other songs, by other bands, do, but I've apparently never mentioned those connections to my husband, so those other bands are, thankfully, still "permissible." 

 

In our house, how the "balanced solution" plays out is that I don't have music by that band on my iPod, and I try not to obviously sing along if dh is in the car; it just really, seriously bugs him. A lot. I don't understand it, and I've failed at any attempts to help him see the unreasonableness of his response, and while I know he's wrong in his interpretation of what's going on, likewise I wouldn't necessarily want to, say, watch with him the movie that he watched the 1st time he kissed his ex-girlfriend (possibly the 1st time he kissed a girl, period), for fear that he'd be remembering that moment...however irrational a fear that might be. 

 

As far as different pasts; yep, that too. And fond memories mixed with regrets; yep, that too. I tuck away the fond memories in places where they won't come to light, happily forget the regrets, and focus on the fond memories built with my now-husband, whether before or after we were married. 

 

I've reached a place where I don't feel guilt about the fact that certain memories will forever remain fond memories; it's not a betrayal of my husband to remember with fondness things that happened before he entered my life, especially if those things were pivotal moments for me, or shaped me in some way, helping to make me into the person I was when I did meet my husband. I've chosen to be grateful for those things and view them as stepping stones on a path towards what became my truest love and deepest joy, and to feel unashamed at privately remembering them if or when circumstance (a song, a movie, whatever) calls them to mind. 

 

I don't spend time "wallowing" (what's a word that means wallowing, but with a positive connotation?) on them, I don't dwell on them or daydream about the past...but I don't shame myself if the memories come unbidden. Some songs will always call to mind certain memories. I acknowledge the memory and then move on. 

 

Same with regrets; they also shaped me, and so I don't hate myself for them, and I try not to dwell on those either. There's only one that really still haunts me in a palpable way these days, and less and less so every day, thank goodness. But I chose a long time ago to not assign any more guilt, shame, pain, etc, to those events based on the very different past of my husband, if that makes sense or is what troubles you. I experienced what I experienced, made the choices I made, did what I did....all before he was in the picture. Sure, it's a lot more than he did, but I refuse to feel more guilty about any of it just because it's "worse" than his past. 

 

Not sure if that's what you mean with your last sentence/question or not, but that's some of my thought process on that. 

 

As far as balance, goes, though....I'm off to read the thread and see if anyone has ideas on that. I'd love to feel I could openly enjoy the musical band in question again.....

 

ETA: I want to make clear that my husband is not, at all, controlling as it might seem from my use of words like "not allowed" and "permissible." DH and I have, by more or less mutual agreement, come to terms with the status of that band in our house, and it's truly the one and only thing that bugs him about my past, and so it's fine. I don't want anyone jumping to wrong conclusions, thinking I'm being controlled, abused, emotionally abused, gaslighted, or anything crazy like that. I accept that DH is bugged by those songs, and I choose to give them up. I promise I'm not being manipulated, controlled, etc. even if there is, obviously, a part of me that would love for him to one day not be bugged by those songs. As long as they do, I choose him over the songs. 

Edited by TheReader
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I just try to leave off the references and people and speak generally, because though my husband isn’t weird about my past, he doesn’t really relish hearing about it either!

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Thanks for the responses so far.  I had to take a lunch break, but to clarify some points from upthread...

 

Well the hypothetical scenario truly is hypothetical.  The actual anecdote directly involves the specific individual as the target of friend-group shenanigans (at a time when everyone really was just friends).  No direct references to romantic history, but the history is known because we opted for more disclosure than less (which with this particular individual in the anecdote, is relatively little).  But still, the individual is mentioned by name...on a date night, so bad timing for sure (impulsiveness is being worked on :leaving: ).  Maybe there's more of an issue than timing, though, when dealing with the past?  Or to each their own?

 

This doesn't occur often, but it seems like a valuable area to explore to avoid future missteps.  It's actually my pattern/attitude that's changed, because I threw the baby out with the bathwater, and now want to reclaim the good and innocent bits from among the very bad and stupid bits...if that's possible--maybe it's not?  But clearly there are (huge?) blind spots in how to share either the process or those spontaneous memory moments, hence the thread.  :)

 

Reader, the last question is basically asking if your past is distinctly checkered, do you accept it all, reject it all, compartmentalize (ie: remember the part of that camping trip before everyone got plastered, etc.), other?  Sort of clueless here (obviously).

Edited by CES2005

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I can't seem to put myself in those shoes.  My past is important to me.  Dh's past is important to him.  We've been married 17 years (today) and are already WELL into repeating our stories, lol.

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But, in my mind, it was my cousin who first introduced me to music by this band, I listened to them throughout my earliest teen years, with a slight surge/resurgence while dating the boy, but songs by that band do not in any way call to my mind the boy in question. 

 

Why don't you tell your DH this? I understand what you're saying in the rest of your post, but if I loved a song enough to sing along with it, I would tell my DH I wasn't thinking about the other person, just enjoying the song. I read the rest of your quote, but if something as minor as a band can bother my SO, I would let my SO know that disallowing the band was wrong. If, as you mentioned, you want to listen to the band one day without judgement, then let that day begin now.

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Why don't you tell your DH this? I understand what you're saying in the rest of your post, but if I loved a song enough to sing along with it, I would tell my DH I wasn't thinking about the other person, just enjoying the song. I read the rest of your quote, but if something as minor as a band can bother my SO, I would let my SO know that disallowing the band was wrong. If, as you mentioned, you want to listen to the band one day without judgement, then let that day begin now.

 

Oh, I have. Believe me. It mostly doesn't come up in conversation, I mostly don't hear this band on the radio (our town just got a new station, which does play this band, which is why it came up again recently), so it's mostly a non-issue. 

 

But, he's explained his thoughts/feelings, I've explained mine, and together we've decided it falls under the category of "the one with the stronger emotions on the issue wins" -- we use that criteria for any number of things (parenting decisions, vacation destinations, foods, TV/movie standards, etc.) where if one of us is more or less indifferent or only mildly opinionated, but the other is hugely passionate about the same thing, we defer to the one with the stronger opinion. :shrug: It works for us. I have plenty of odd quirks that bug me that he defers to; this one, I defer to him when he's around. 

 

He doesn't want to be reminded of my past.....I respect that. Even if wistfully so, in this case. It's truly okay. 

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Hypothetically speaking, if something happened and I were to become single again, pretty much any guy I dated would have WAAAAAY more "history" than me. I married the guy I lost my virginity to and while we've had an enjoyable TeA life, it's fairly "straight-laced" by secular mainstream U.S. society's standards.

 

I wouldn't want to hear about hypothetical new man's past except when it could affect our future. I would presume that any man old enough to be a plausible date for me has probably slept with a lot of women (and if he has to use more than 1 hand to count his past # of partners, that's "a lot" to me) and done some kinky (by my standards) stuff. I don't want to know. I won't ask, and I would prefer him not to tell. What's past is past and I would want to worry about the here and now.

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Thanks for the responses so far.  I had to take a lunch break, but to clarify some points from upthread...

 

Well the hypothetical scenario truly is hypothetical.  The actual anecdote directly involves the specific individual as the target of friend-group shenanigans (at a time when everyone really was just friends).  No direct references to romantic history, but the history is known because we opted for more disclosure than less (which with this particular individual in the anecdote, is relatively little).  But still, the individual is mentioned by name...on a date night, so bad timing for sure (impulsiveness is being worked on :leaving: ).  Maybe there's more of an issue than timing, though, when dealing with the past?  Or to each their own?

 

This doesn't occur often, but it seems like a valuable area to explore to avoid future missteps.  It's actually my pattern/attitude that's changed, because I threw the baby out with the bathwater, and now want to reclaim the good and innocent bits from among the very bad and stupid bits...if that's possible--maybe it's not?  But clearly there are (huge?) blind spots in how to share either the process or those spontaneous memory moments, hence the thread.  :)

 

Reader, the last question is basically asking if your past is distinctly checkered, do you accept it all, reject it all, compartmentalize (ie: remember the part of that camping trip before everyone got plastered, etc.), other?  Sort of clueless here (obviously).

 

Hmmm. Most of what we disclosed to each other, we disclosed early on. We've been together since highschool, and married 20 yrs as of today, so there's really nothing at this point we don't each know. We didn't have a whole lot of "before (the other)" between us, me more than him, but most of what is there, is known. 

 

One thing I do in dealing with a husband with the sorts of insecurities you're talking about is to affirm him, and my choice of him, often. Not in an over-the-top, fake-sounding way, but to make sure he knows I chose him, and why I chose him, and that I'm happy with that choice. 

 

As far as reminiscing....I honestly don't tend to do that with my DH about my past that doesn't involve him. If you're wanting to reminisce, maybe leave names out of it. "Some friends and I..." or "once in high school...." or something like that, if you feel the story of the event needs to be shared. With my DH, there is really only one or two people in my past that he just doesn't like to be reminded of, and so a generic story with no names mentioned kind of lets him know that I am both respecting his wish not to be reminded, yet also lets him know it may involve people he doesn't want to ask about. By not naming them, he is free to imagine the event taking place (having taken place) without the offending person, and I am free to share the story, and in that way it generally works out. (although, at this point, we don't usually reminisce, because we have so much more shared history than "before you" history; our reminiscing these days is regaling our kids with stories of our shared history). 

 

As far as how to deal with a checkered past....I guess I tend to compartmentalize; the memories I'm fond of are distinctly separate from the ones I'd rather forget, even if they happened in close succession, with the same people, or on the same occasion. 

 

But, I mostly live in the present these days, or in the shared past I have with my DH, not the before him past. So while those memories are there, and some I'll hold onto forever, the ones that stick are fewer and fewer as the years go on. I suspect this is something you and your spouse will figure out, even if it takes a few uncomfortable conversations. 

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I can't seem to put myself in those shoes.  My past is important to me.  Dh's past is important to him.  We've been married 17 years (today) and are already WELL into repeating our stories, lol.

 

Happy anniversary!   :party:

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I just accept it and file it away. I live in the now and not the past. If it comes up I don’t best myself up over it, I just try to be honest and express things I’ve learned from those experiences, good and bad.

 

My philosophy is that struggle builds empathy and character, and isn’t something to shy away from just because it is ugly. But neither do I need to give gory details unless it actually has a purpose and edifies the hearer :)

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I don't talk about details, ever.

When DD was in her teens she became intensely curious about my romantic life before DH.  I would theatrically say, "Your father has driven ALL memories of other men completely out of my mind!"  She knew that wasn't the exact truth but that it was the position I was sticking to for loyalty reasons.  Once she was 20, I told her just a little bit, no details, just a few stories.  

 

I just figure, why dwell on that stuff at all?  I'm MARRIED, for heaven's sake.  I'm loyal.  I don't want my head in that other place.  I have forsaken all others mentally as well as emotionally.  I PROMISED to do that.

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Oh, I have. Believe me. It mostly doesn't come up in conversation, I mostly don't hear this band on the radio (our town just got a new station, which does play this band, which is why it came up again recently), so it's mostly a non-issue.

 

But, he's explained his thoughts/feelings, I've explained mine, and together we've decided it falls under the category of "the one with the stronger emotions on the issue wins" -- we use that criteria for any number of things (parenting decisions, vacation destinations, foods, TV/movie standards, etc.) where if one of us is more or less indifferent or only mildly opinionated, but the other is hugely passionate about the same thing, we defer to the one with the stronger opinion. :shrug: It works for us. I have plenty of odd quirks that bug me that he defers to; this one, I defer to him when he's around.

 

He doesn't want to be reminded of my past.....I respect that. Even if wistfully so, in this case. It's truly okay.

Now I’m dying to know what this band of infamy is :p

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I don't talk about past relationships.  I don't feel a need to. 

 

I would avoid doing so in particular if my spouse was upset by it.   The exception would be if I were remarried.  Especially if my kids had the prior spouse as a father.  It might be impossible to avoid talking about some of those things.

 

 

 

 

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I don't understand. Our past shapes us into the people we are. We would not be who we are without our past. Our childhood, families, friends, lovers, the mistakes we made - they all played a part. To truly understand a person is to accept their past as well. I can't fathom not talking about the past with the most important person in my life.

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I don't talk about past relationships.  I don't feel a need to. 

 

I would avoid doing so in particular if my spouse was upset by it.   The exception would be if I were remarried.  Especially if my kids had the prior spouse as a father.  It might be impossible to avoid talking about some of those things.

 

Right. 

 

You can't avoid talking about your XH/father of your child especially when you were married 26 years.  

 

My dh and I don't seem to be particularly bothered by discussions of x spouses...

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Isn't the spouse being upset about the casual mention of an old relationship a sign that the spouse does not feel secure in the marriage?

I assume we're not talking about somebody dwelling longingly on the good old days

It would not be reasonable for DH to be upset about the mention of a guy I dated 32 years ago. 

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oh, ha! Guns 'n Roses.

That’s it?! Now I’m sure he is being silly. They’re pretty tame and neutral and your memories of the band are your own, no matter who you shared them with. I have a few albums and artists who really exemplify a time in my own life or a particular person, and being nostalgic when listening to them is pretty far from insensitive to my husband ;)

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I don't understand. Our past shapes us into the people we are. We would not be who we are without our past. Our childhood, families, friends, lovers, the mistakes we made - they all played a part. To truly understand a person is to accept their past as well. I can't fathom not talking about the past with the most important person in my life.

 

Yes, this is very true. In my case, dh and I talked about those things before we married, but since any past relationships literally happened when I was 15 and younger, discussing them now would be silly/irrelevant. Most of our past is shared, and there's not a real reason to talk about the goings-on of teenage relationships that happened before DH, not as far as specifics go, at least not now. We discussed all of that at the time, when we started dating, but there's not really a lot of reminiscing either of us does that doesn't already involve the other since we've been together so long. 

 

Isn't the spouse being upset about the casual mention of an old relationship a sign that the spouse does not feel secure in the marriage?

I assume we're not talking about somebody dwelling longingly on the good old days

It would not be reasonable for DH to be upset about the mention of a guy I dated 32 years ago. 

 

Also yes to this; could be due to general insecurity of the spouse, or due to actions or events during the marriage that make one insecure, or due to perceived opinions, feelings, etc. that were formed a million years ago (or 20-something years ago) that have lingered, or any number of things. 

 

For instance, it could be that a song triggers in him the feelings of being the first boyfriend after that ex-boyfriend, of those initial teenage competitive male feelings of jealousy at not being the first person to......(fill in the blank with whatever fits here)...., of not initially being the longest relationship you'd had, of the typical adolescent male jealousy of feeling like his girlfriend was still overcoming feelings for the ex.....those feelings could have been so deeply ingrained in those early months of dating that still to this day, 20+ years later, those songs still evoke those same feelings. Just, you know, switching to the hypothetical here....

 

But in general, I agree with you; it's not totally reasonable a reaction. In individual cases, it might make sense &/or be understandable by the parties involved and not be as huge as a problem as it seems from the outside. 

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That’s it?! Now I’m sure he is being silly. They’re pretty tame and neutral and your memories of the band are your own, no matter who you shared them with. I have a few albums and artists who really exemplify a time in my own life or a particular person, and being nostalgic when listening to them is pretty far from insensitive to my husband ;)

 

 

Well, see my reply to regentrude. Hypothetically speaking, it just brings up a lot of feelings deeply ingrained in him from the time we started dating. I get it. I still think it's silly, but I get it. 

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If this is his only "thing" is be inclined to give it to him (within reason). For some people, making them your whole conversational world is too much pressure. Save the drawn out stories about old boyfriends for friends. We should all be allowed one weird thing.

 

If it's so extreme that you can't mention ANYTHING even if it's on topic, it's probably time to find a solution to this problem.

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I have been in relationships with an incredibly eclectic assortment of people. A reoccurring theme is that the new partner wants me to become an appendage of them, and a past, especially a past as complex as mine, interferes with that. The new partner sometimes doesn't want me to BE who I am, even more than having interacted with anyone else.

 

I've got a shallow no-big deal thing going on, that had some sour moments yesterday. This person seemed to want me to BE less complex far more than being jealous of any person or experience.

 

I'm 50, and life has been an adventure. I am who I am because of a lot of people and a lot of hurt and a lot of good times and just a LOT. And I am not simple, and I won't be anyone's appendage ever again. My reaction was to be annoyed. Maybe even angry. The appendage-making goals of people feel like attacks on me, now, and I'm pretty sick of it.

 

Sometimes there is a ton I don't share, because I know I won't be believed. So I just don't say much. An exboyfriend got unexpectedly yanked into some of the drama of this summer, and he was just staring at me, eyes wide as saucers, and laughing, and said something like, "I had NO idea!" and I told him, "And you didn't want to!" He just nodded. He knew he hadn't wanted to know at the the time and had shut me down and pretended experiences and people had never existed, or were so much less than they were.

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My story is so similar to HappySmileyLady it seems almost funny. Pregnant in high school, which lead to a certain college where I met my DH and had my three children now. He also came into the relationship though with a child the same age. I think because of this we couldn't really hide discussing our past because it came complete with 3 year old children and exes that would be a part of our lives until the boys were 18. We got really good at not being bothered by any of it. We have talked about everything, good and bad and neither of us are even remotely uncomfortable with it. I have brought his ex wife to my extended family functions and hung out with her as a friend alot. My ex needed a place to crash once and my DH let him crash on our couch for 3 days. One of my very best friends in the world I happened to date in high school for a while long before I knew DH. He was in town and stayed with us a number of years back.

 

I much prefer to have this level of transparency with my spouse and I am not sure how I would handle it. Maybe I just would choose not to ever mention anything but that would feel like walking a bit on eggshells. I guess every couple need to respect the other's comfort level and if not a big deal, adjust accordingly. If you are someone who likes to share all aspects of your life with your spouse then it could be problematic.

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I don't understand. Our past shapes us into the people we are. We would not be who we are without our past. Our childhood, families, friends, lovers, the mistakes we made - they all played a part. To truly understand a person is to accept their past as well. I can't fathom not talking about the past with the most important person in my life.

 

Ignorance is bliss. I wouldn't want to think about my new squeeze being intimate with someone other than me even if I knew that it had happened. If that memory-wiping device from the Men in Black movies were real, I'd be tempted to use it on new squeeze and myself so that we could start fresh.

 

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I don't understand. Our past shapes us into the people we are. We would not be who we are without our past. Our childhood, families, friends, lovers, the mistakes we made - they all played a part. To truly understand a person is to accept their past as well. I can't fathom not talking about the past with the most important person in my life.

 

This.  Very much this.  I'm coming around to this mindset, whereas before it was denial that 4 years of my life had any value at. all. (for so many more reasons than exes).  Recently I've been reclaiming bits, here and there, as they come up.  A poetry book, tie dye, music.  This was a random thing that came up--there was nothing romantic in the memory triggered (though because I'm an awful storyteller, I guess it could have appeared that way at first, if one was already sensitive).  And exes in general has been a tacitly taboo subject.  I guess before I was comfortable with it, but now I'm not.  Now that it's not taboo in my mind, I can look at things in a more nuanced manner and sort it all out for real.  It's not absolutely necessary to share that process, but I'd like to.  /shrug.

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My Dh and I were immediately VERY transparent about our lives. We even discussed how much we needed to share....because we were mid 40s and lots of stuff happens in that many years. We both came out of long term marriages though so it wasn't like there was a bunch to tell about previous partners.

 

Our big deals were like big deals......were you ever unfaithful, have you ever been arrested ( I about fell over when he asked me that) how serious are you about our Faith and religion....and I asked him things about his visitation with his kids....I didn't want a deadbeat dad. Then I verified his version with third parties....

 

His sexual positions with previous wife? Um, no.

 

Oddly when we were dating I didn't feel jealous...now once in a while I do feel some jealousy about his previous life....I think the longer we are together the more I love him and can't tolerate the thought of him with some one else. But I do recognize my ridiculousness and keep it to myself.

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I don't understand. Our past shapes us into the people we are. We would not be who we are without our past. Our childhood, families, friends, lovers, the mistakes we made - they all played a part. To truly understand a person is to accept their past as well. I can't fathom not talking about the past with the most important person in my life.

 

This! How often do new people not want to understand us?

 

I cannot tell you how many times I thought an issue of communication was the problem to later find out the person didn't want to know. The excuses I made for people were as varied as thinking they didn't want to press me, to English not being their first language, to an autism-spectrum over-literal tendency, to being too busy. I'm really good at making up excuses for people, who truly do not want to get to know the real me. They want to box me into what they wish me to be. They want me simple, submissive, to exist only in the moment – their moment.

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Such hangups can only come from a place of jealousy and selfishness. As such, I would tell the partner to deal with their own hangups because I have a right to my own life and memory, including the part before they were in it, just as they have the same right to their own memories and lives before I came along.

 

But then, I do not grok jealousy, never have.

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Such hangups can only come from a place of jealousy and selfishness. As such, I would tell the partner to deal with their own hangups because I have a right to my own life and memory, including the part before they were in it, just as they have the same right to their own memories and lives before I came along.

 

But then, I do not grok jealousy, never have.

 

Sometimes people actually want to erase part of us. It is that part that makes me feel like I am being attacked. I feel like something is being stolen from me.

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I may have certain regrets about past actions, but it's my past. I wouldn't trade my past for anything since it's shaped me into the person I am. I would not love my family as fiercely as I do, or be the wife that DH loves, I wouldn't be me.

 

I know most of DH's past stories as well as I know my own now. Same for him - his past shaped him into my wonderful husband. He wouldn't be the person he is without those experiences. 

 

I'm sorry you're dealing with this, op. 

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and random things bring back memories (a song a group of friends danced to and you happened to date one of the friends later on, for a hypothetical example--no air quotes). We are not talking about gory details--simply references, platonic anecdotes, etc. And for the record, said bothered spouse does not have even remotely similar history. Bothered spouse was much more straight-laced and innocent.

 

What's the balanced solution there?

 

And I guess a s/o of the s/o question is: if at least part of your past is a mix of serious regrets and fond memories, how do you view that within yourself?

Hm. This is a challenge because he's never know that any song would have special meaning to me because of an ex boyfriend, kwim? It isn't the sort of thing one would say or at least not me.... I cannot fathom saying,"Wow, I used to love this song. So and so and I listened to it together so often." That would be so uncomfortable.

 

We had pretty traditional, non conservative lives. My choices in high school play a pretty big role in embracing homeschooling for my teens. I have a lot of regrets from the old days but I have also come to accept that, by the grace of God, I am a different person. Sure I have regrets that young Kelly made stupid choices. But current Kelly needs to keep her head in the present and who I was is not who I AM. And, I've also extended young Kelly a lot of grace. She didn't have a whole lot of guidance and had a lot of rocky relationships, aka, I lived to make my mom miserable and succeeded.

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Such hangups can only come from a place of jealousy and selfishness. As such, I would tell the partner to deal with their own hangups because I have a right to my own life and memory, including the part before they were in it, just as they have the same right to their own memories and lives before I came along.

 

But then, I do not grok jealousy, never have.

 

It's not jealousy. I am very glad that I have a clean past and wish that were the norm rather than the exception. Realizing that it is the exception means I wouldn't want to hear about my new squeeze's past mistakes (as I would consider them).

 

Edited by Crimson Wife

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