IS THE PAST REALLY THE PAST?
THE SYSTEM says that there are no clean deals but should he be worried about her, er, "experience" when it comes to dating? Read on...
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HELP! I’ve messed up a great relationship and I don’t know if I want to or should try to repair it. Here’s the story.
I started dating Sharon six months ago. She’s 50, I’m 43. She has always shown a high level (90%) of interest in me and treated me well. In fact, she asked me out first. After five great months I discovered her romantic past was much more on the slutty side than I first assumed. When I asked about her past she’d always say “I don’t like to share my history,” but at the same time she said she hadn’t dated much. Well, Doc, I hate to admit this, but three weeks ago I developed a socially communicable disease, to put it as discreetly as I can. I asked Sharon to get tested for it, and the test came back positive. At that point I asked her to be less elusive about her romantic history and came to find out she’s had 25 partners. (My own history is only three partners, since I was married for a long time, until 1998.)
It came out that most of Sharon’s liaisons were one-night stands while she was on various vacations. Her last serious relationship started in 1989 and ended in 1995. She cheated on that guy with a one-nighter in Tahiti two months into their relationship. She claims it wasn’t cheating because they didn’t have an exclusivity agreement. (To me, being intimate with someone means you are exclusive.) For the rest of the time, she says, she was faithful. She also cheated three months into her only marriage back in 1974. This revelation of her promiscuity has had a devastating effect on my interest in her. She claims everyone was playing around “since it was the 80s” and doesn’t understand why this knowledge makes me feel like crap inside. I know this sounds like how a woman would think, but I just don’t feel special anymore.
We had a big talk about how this new information makes me feel, as well as my changed perception of her. (After peeking at her vacation diary, I realized Sharon was hitting on every French guy she had any interest in during a jaunt she took before meeting me.) But I don’t know what to do.
My question is, am I being too hard on Sharon’s history? Any ideas on why this knowledge is making me feel like crapola? Is there some way of changing my perception of her back to where it was? I haven’t dated since my divorce in ’98, not that I wasn’t looking, but I just didn’t seem to elicit any interest from anyone. My looks are on the weak side (I resemble David Letterman or Tom Hanks on his bad days), but I keep myself fit and have heard more than once that I look like the guys on the Calvin Klein underwear box. The problem is that most women are interested in a cute face!
Woodsie - who hates being one of 25
DOC LOVE'S ANSWER
Of course you messed up this relationship. And the reason you did is because you haven’t memorized my rules. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in the predicament you’re in. And I haven’t even read your story yet!
So, Sharon asked you out first? I just got a nasty letter from a female saying how horrible it was that a guy waited to call her. But that girl is structured – your girl has high Interest Level. Sharon saw what she wanted and went after it. Isn’t it great, guys?
But let’s move on to your problem. You don’t really want to know about Sharon’s past, Woodsie. Because if she tells you she’s had any partners aside from you, she’s going to be a tramp, right? On the other hand, I’ve got to wonder what section of the Australian outback you’ve been living in all your life. You’re looking for a virgin who’s a half-century old? Good luck with that! But here’s the most important point: I always tell you guys that it doesn’t raise Interest Level to talk about her past.
Now you’ve gone and contracted a socially communicable disease. You messed around and you paid. Then you went back and tried to talk about Sharon’s past again. Talk about beating a dead horse. I mean, what’s the point? You already got the disease, pal. If Sharon had only one partner or she went to bed with the entire Southern Cal football team, what’s the difference? So she’s had 25 partners -- that’s not so bad. That means...
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