My life is in limbo. A year ago, at the age of 57, I was introduced to a 58 year man who had been widowed for two years after a 23 year beautiful marriage; no children. He did not like the single life and was looking to marry. I have never been married and also do not have children. At the time I met him, I had already decided to ride this thing out all by myself. But we quickly fell in love and decided we were soul mates; destined to live out our lives together. We’ve been having a delicious, enchanting, wonderful, fulfilling relationship and have planned a wedding for April, 2017.

I didn’t have my first sexual encounter until I was a 23 year old graduate student on summer break with too much time on my hands. He loved that I had saved myself from the lure of sexually driven males. About a month ago, he blurted out that he’d had 17 sexual partners during the course of his life and apologized to me for having been so promiscuous! I told him I believe most men tend to have far more relationships than that and that I really don’t care how many females he has been with. He then asked me how many sexual partners I’ve had. I just blurted out the number 5 because that’s the number that came in my head.

The next day, he was very upset. He said he had done the math and all the relationships I had talked with him about added up to more than five. I said, “I don’t know! Maybe it’s 9 or 10. I’ve never kept count!” He said he doesn’t believe me and that I was not telling the truth. He is questioning the wisdom of getting married to me and has become very distant.

So, I took out a piece of paper and did an accounting of all of my past sexual partners. To my surprise, the total came to 53 sexual partners! This is a combination of lust, opportunity, excitement and some serious relationships all mixed in together. I feel awful about having had so many guys in my life. But I must say I was always smart enough to take precautions against pregnancies and STD’s. Now I’m in a quandary. If I don’t tell the truth, he is going to leave me. It’s a double standard that may not be fair, but it is what it is. So, what do I do?

Signed, My Past Has Finally Caught Up With Me!

You can find the full post on the Strawberry Letter Archive.

Dear Past,

Where do I begin with this?  I have to say that I am shocked that the two of you are as old as you are and acting this way.  I expect someone in their twenties to act like this.

Wooo!  I had to get that off of my chest.

I agree with you.  There is a double standard.  It’s horrible and disgusting.  You said that you have taken precautions with your sexual partners, which is very responsible.  This man seems insecure with himself, and that is not your problem.  That is something HE has to deal with.  Let me say this plainly: YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL HIM HOW MANY SEXUAL PARTNERS YOU HAVE HAD. No matter how many you say, he won’t be satisfied.  At first, you told him 5, and he called you a liar.  You don’t have to put up with your man shaming you.  He is supposed to love you unconditionally.  Well, he just put a condition on his love.  Now you have to decide what you are going to do.

Couples should discuss whether or not they have been tested for HIV and STD’s.  They should discuss whether or not they have used condoms.  They should not be shamed into sitting down with a paper and pencil counting up their sexual partners.  That is ridiculous!  Now, if you were sleeping around with married/attached partners and/or not using protection, I would suggest that you see a therapist.  You should never sleep with a partner who is already in a relationship.  If you are not in a committed relationship, you should always use condoms.  You don’t seem to have a sexual addiction, so I would tell this guy to just deal with it.

If I was in your shoes, I would just dump him.  He’s got some issues, but I’m not you.  This could play out a few ways, depending on what you choose.

  1. You could tell him that you slept with 53 partners and watch his head explode as he calls you degrading names.  Then he’ll cancel the wedding.
  2. You can keep the number to yourself and try to work things out.  Even though in the back of his mind, he will be calling you degrading names for having a sex life.  He may even call you those names to your face.
  3. Just dump him and let him find that virginal woman he has been dreaming of.

Choose wisely.  Good luck.