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Discussion Starter #1
I wonder how couples react when they find out something bad about eachothers past.<br><br>
I'm talking about things such as having had an affair with an older married woman when he was single and 19, stole something and avoided arrest, paid for sex with a prostitute....those types of "bad" things. Not as bad as having been in prison, but still fairly shocking things to have done.<br><br>
How should/would you react if your partner confessed to you he had done those things? Would it make you leave him? Would it make a difference if it happened when he was very young like I mentioned 19-21?<br><br>
After the initial shock and disappointment, what would be the right thing to do in that situation?<br><br>
Has anyone been in this situation? (you don't have to describe the actual confession) but how did you react/did you stay with him?
 

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It would kind of depend on the nature of the 'confession' for me.<br><br>
For example, I wouldn't really find a 19 year old having an affair with an older married woman morally reprehensible - they're consenting adults, and it's really the woman who's on dodgy moral ground in that example. Stealing something - well I guess it would depend on what was stolen; a chocolate bar - I'm not going to sweat it, some little old ladies' retirement money - then I"m outta there!! Sex with a prostitute might be a deal breaker for me - I'm not sure, not having been in that situation.<br><br>
It would also depend a lot I think on the type of person he is now, and the motivation behind the 'confession'. Is he a good, upstanding guy who would never consider doing such things now that he's older and wiser, and who's confessing in the spirit of mutual revelation and trust? Or is he still a silly kid at heart who's confessing more to boast about his exploits than anything else?
 

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I would look at who the person is now, not something they did when they were young and crazy. Most people have something in their pasts they don't like to talk about or admit to other people; I would feel honored that my partner trusted me enough to tell me something about themselves they weren't proud of.<br><br>
I have gone through things like this with past partners as well as my current DP. My policy is as long as he's honest with me and we deal with whatever comes up together, I don't make judgments about his life decisions prior to being with me, because I know he's learned his lessons and that's not who he is now. He never did anything all that "bad", but he made some poor choices when it came to sex and relationships, some of which had repercussions that followed him into our relationship and caused some pretty wacky crap to happen. I can talk about it further on PM if you'd like, but that's all I'm willing to say publicly.
 

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I've been through this with my dh. But by the point in his life at which I met him he himself was shocked by some of the things he did earlier in life (as an older teen). He feels terrible and to this day is hyper-honest because of it. I think because of how young he was when he did what he did and because he's always been a "good person" (just did stupid things as a bored teen with friends who in the mob mentality got carried away), and because he is the least likely person I know to do those things now, it hasn't been a problem in our relationship (in terms of me "coming to grips" with it, or it breaking us up, if you know what I mean). His past is his burden to bear.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lynsage</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15426428"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would look at who the person is now, not something they did when they were young and crazy. Most people have something in their pasts they don't like to talk about or admit to other people; I would feel honored that my partner trusted me enough to tell me something about themselves they weren't proud of.<br></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that"><br><br>
Yes, I have been in that kind of situation twice.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">How should/would you react if your partner confessed to you he had done those things?</td>
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The first time, I freaked out. The second time, after lots of reflection on the first time, I was calm and non-judgmental.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Would it make you leave him? Would it make a difference if it happened when he was very young like I mentioned 19-21?</td>
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The first time, I did leave him. The second time, I did not. Both times, neither were younger than 21.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">After the initial shock and disappointment, what would be the right thing to do in that situation?</td>
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That is a little subjective and dependent on the beliefs of the individual. It's a matter of figuring out what is right for YOU.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Has anyone been in this situation? (you don't have to describe the actual confession) but how did you react/did you stay with him?</td>
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The first time, I was 24 years old, I freaked out internally and significantly withdrew from him and the relationship. The relationship ended pretty soon afterwards, which was unfortunate because he was an amazing man and still continues to be such a man.<br><br>
The second time, I was 33 years old. I was very calm, accepting, compassionate and understanding. I kept myself from judging him by thinking about who he is at the present moment, but I also seriously considered the actions/choices he has made since then. We were together for almost 2 years and what broke up the relationship had NOTHING to do with his confession.
 

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For me, some of it would depend on whether he actually lied about something, he didn't lie but deliberately didn't say anything, or it just never came up.<br><br>
I did not know my husband when he was a late teen, but based on what he's told me, both he and I did some royally stupid things at that age. (I shoplifted and did drugs in dumb ways. He had serial girlfriends and cheated on most of them.) We've shared a lot of it, laughed at a lot of it. The things you mention wouldn't shock me unless he confessed to it happening during our relationship, or, like a PP said, they were major (stealing something small from a store versus embezzling a retirement fund).<br><br>
I've never been in that situation--the closest I've come is my now-ex-husband confessed, six months after we'd started sleeping together, that he was actually a virgin when we got together. (We were 18, he'd previously told me he'd had one prior partner.) He was embarassed as hell and, in 18-year-old boy machismo, didn't want to admit to inexperience. So, yeah, he lied, but the reasoning behind the lie was forgivable (and it wasn't like there was any risk to my health or anything).<br><br>
But, I'm sure something could come up that, even though it happened a decade and a half ago, would shock and disappoint me...a child he knew about but never told me about? Cooking meth?<br><br>
Then, I'd have to look at all the factors and make a decision from there. I'd have to look at whether the conduct or the cover-up was the true transgression. I don't think I could make a leave vs. stay decision based on a hypothetical.
 

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Well, I am good friends with a few of my husband's ex girlfriends. One of them confessed to me that he raped her. That was uhm, challenging. I have a long history of severe sexual assault. I talked to both of them about it extensively.<br><br>
(Scenario for clarity: they had talked about how she wasn't ready to have sex yet [still a virgin] and she wanted to wait for a while. Some time later he started initiating foreplay stuff and she went with it [she says she felt afraid to say no] and things just kept going. They did a lot of making out/foreplay in general so he didn't feel he was doing anything outside the bounds of their relationship and she feels like he pushed too hard but she never told him to stop.)<br><br>
Now that's a really hard situation. I have helped both of them process it extensively. I really don't feel like my husband is a violent person who did something completely and totally evil and yet... he had sex with someone who didn't want to have sex with him. I feel that they both did a shit-tastic job of communicating. I'm pretty obviously still with him and having a second kid with him. It was pretty hard when I first found out.
 

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IMO the past is the past and should stay there. However, if he had a pattern of questionable behavior that continued into our present, then I would have an issue. But isolated incidents of past poor judgement, or whatever, don't bother me in the least. I'd be a screaming hypocrite if they did <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ProtoLawyer</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15427106"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For me, some of it would depend on whether he actually lied about something, he didn't lie but deliberately didn't say anything, or it just never came up.</div>
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This.<br><br>
My behavoir was so completely out of control at that age that I can forgive anything. But I came clean to my DH when he asked me to marry. I wanted to get everything out in the open before making a committment.<br><br>
If this is an issue in your relationship, it is something that a few marriage counseling sessions could most likely work right through. If you guys basically have a strong relationship and love and trust each other, a neutral 3rd party could mostly work through the issues in no time. He most likely has a little guilt and shame to let go of, and you may have some trust issues because he kept a really big secret.<br><br>
If his behavoir was horrid in his youth but he has changed and is flying straight, there's no reason to hold it against him.<br><br>
If anyone were going to hold past mistakes against a person, they could start with me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> But I'm not the little crazy girl with a substance abuse problem anymore and haven't been many, many years. I've dealt with my stuff, taken responsiblity for my life, and grown up. He should get to to do the same. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Forgiveness
 

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Personally, I have MORE respect for those who have made lots and lots of mistakes and pushed their limits and THEN figured out how best to choose to interact with the world. They know their boundaries in ways that those who have always done the "right" things under the "right" circumstances never will.<br><br>
DP knows to never lie to me, and knows he can tell me anything from his past without judgment. But he and I both made many mistakes and had many less-than-ideal learning experiences before we found each other, and I don't expect or want him to tell me about everything. We did, however, have a conversation outlining what we felt we each did need to know, simply to understand each other and how we each arrived at our particular points in psychological development. That would be different for every couple.<br><br>
A younger guy friend of mine asked me recently for relationship advice. He was in the beginning stages of a relationship with a woman that he really liked, but was uncomfortable with her past, even though it was almost entirely behind her. He wasn't intimidated by the fact that she was a (good!) single mama, but was bothered by her party lifestyle before-kiddo. He was too sweet and innocent to ever understand her choices, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get past it. We talked about how he could love me and respect me and trust me as a *friend* despite the fact that my history was far more colorful than his STBX's, but he couldn't relax into even that level of trust with her on a partner level.<br><br>
So...I guess what I'm saying is that to me, it's all relative. Since you describe "shock and disappointment" I guess you just have to figure out if it's worth working through. Doesn't sound like a big deal to me if he's an honest and trustworthy guy now.
 

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It would depend on the issue. Personally, I'd be less freaked out about "did hard drugs" or even "stole something" than "had sex with a prostitute".
 

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unless it was something really bad like murder, rape, beating up a gf, and moleting a child i would be ok with most things provided they were a long time ago and that it wasnt in ther character to continue that behavior. ive made a lot of mistakes in the past, i would hate for dh to hold it against me.<br><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><i>Posted via Mobile Device</i></span>
 

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Thanks for your thoughts, some good insights in these posts.<br><br>
I do feel a bit clearer about it now. Maybe some things you would be less likely to forgive and be able to get past? Like <b>smokering</b> mentioned she would be more freaked out about a guy being with a prostitute, than doing hard drugs or stealing. But how do you determine which things are too bad to forgive? It's not like you can determine it by the legallity of it, because the hard drugs are illegal but so is being with a prostitute. hmm
 

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Legal vs illegal wouldn't enter into it for me. Moral vs immoral related to my values would. Dangerous also would.
 

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It depends. For what you said...if they have changed and were honest, then no, I wouldn't be too concerned. Unless it were something like rape or murder.<br><br>
I have dodgy things in my past. My partner doesn't want to know them, but I would tell him. I think it's great that he trusts you enough to let you in and tell you.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>samy23</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15444042"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe some things you would be less likely to forgive and be able to get past? Like <b>smokering</b> mentioned she would be more freaked out about a guy being with a prostitute, than doing hard drugs or stealing. But how do you determine which things are too bad to forgive? It's not like you can determine it by the legallity of it, because the hard drugs are illegal but so is being with a prostitute. hmm</div>
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This made me smile, because I'm the total opposite - I'd take prostitution over a hard drug addiction or theft any day!<br><br>
My husband and I have both disclosed less-than-savory things about our pasts. His disclosure was harder for me to get over than my disclosure was for him, but it took all of, oh, a day. Granted, had he done these things last week or even a year ago, it would be a very different story! But most of us have done something in our young and stupid youth that isn't the greatest, and I hope that our partners generally understand that it doesn't reflect on who we are today.
 

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for me it would be more depending on if it could have anything to do with me... like prostitutes/stds, drugs/addiction issues. that kind of stuff i would to have liked to know up front so could know what i was getting myself into. also so i could support that person better or just be aware. my sis is dating a guy who used to be into drugs and he was totally upfront with her about his past and i think that its admirable. i still might not have picked him but at least she knows what she is dealing with and that he can relapse at anytime. my past is way worse than anything in dh's and we chose to discuss most things but some stuff was too much for him- he was hurting for me, all while ive already healed and moved on. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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My husband confessed to something of the magnitude on your list. He told me about it when he was thinking about proposing. I'm still not sure if he entirely told me because he wanted to or because if he hadn't his best friend would have (and did once we anounced our engagement). But he was young, stupid, and is certainally not proud of what he did. He is still after 10 years of marriage and 15 years from his mistake very ashamed and embarassed by it.<br><br>
I kinda figured that something from his past that didn't effect our here and now was his issue to deal with and not ours. I didn't feel I had anything to forgive because he didn't do anything to me.<br><br>
I love the man he is today and I love the man he was when he proposed. He did something stupid while on spring break with friends years before meeting me. It doesn't really effect me at all.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I do feel a bit clearer about it now. Maybe some things you would be less likely to forgive and be able to get past? Like smokering mentioned she would be more freaked out about a guy being with a prostitute, than doing hard drugs or stealing. But how do you determine which things are too bad to forgive? It's not like you can determine it by the legallity of it, because the hard drugs are illegal but so is being with a prostitute. hmm</td>
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I agree with a previous poster that legality isn't determinative for me. In fact, there are a lot of things that are illegal in the U.S. (and even just in certain states) that aren't illegal elsewhere. DH admitted being with a prostitute in an Asian country in his youth and it was perfectly legal there. What would disturb me, however, is something that is significantly removed from my values system. DH may have engaged in activities that I consider vices, but he has never admitted to anything that I find in direct conflict with my values. For instance, I had a casual boyfriend (we weren't too serious) back in college who admitted to being involved with a neo-nazi group before he came to school. I was sick to my stomach for my stupidity in not recognizing this (his tendency to hate specific groups of people) at the start, and I quickly broke off contact with him because I couldn't reconcile with it. Engrained value systems and beliefs are far more important to me than specific acts which may have occurred in a moment of stupidity or bad judgment. That's just me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>samy23</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15426372"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I wonder how couples react when they find out something bad about eachothers past.<br><br>
I'm talking about things such as having had an affair with an older married woman when he was single and 19, stole something and avoided arrest, paid for sex with a prostitute....those types of "bad" things. Not as bad as having been in prison, but still fairly shocking things to have done.<br><br>
How should/would you react if your partner confessed to you he had done those things? Would it make you leave him? Would it make a difference if it happened when he was very young like I mentioned 19-21?<br><br>
After the initial shock and disappointment, what would be the right thing to do in that situation?<br><br>
Has anyone been in this situation? (you don't have to describe the actual confession) but how did you react/did you stay with him?</div>
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I don't really think any of the things that you mentioned, or things within that realm, would phase me. My dh and I talk about everything and honestly, it is usually me admitting the nasty details. Past is past as far as I'm concerned. I am the model of wholesome motherhood atm...but I spent a good majority of my adult life before I met dh doing a lot of "indecent" things. I wouldn't judge him on stuff he did when he was younger, just like he doesn't judge me on my past. I would be shocked to find out, because I thought we had full disclosure, but shocked in a "really, holy crap dude!" way rather than "OMG I am leaving you, you UAV!" But the examples you gave me are IMO minor things.
 
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