Her past is haunting me

What you need to know:

She is my first sexual partner, I am her 9th. She had two relationships before she was 20

I am a 24-year-old man. I have been in a relationship with this girl for almost two years now. I lost my virginity to her. I love her but her past keeps haunting me. She is my first sexual partner, I am her 9th. She had two relationships before she was 20. But what bothers me is how fast she was going through men at that early age. She says she changed and that is all in her past. This is a woman I want to marry, but I fear that our different pasts will bring us many fights. I am not sure I want to leave her though. Is her past reason enough for a breakup?


Dear Anonymous,

There seems to be a battle going on in your head, and it must be causing you a lot of stress. This happens to many people, especially when it comes to intimate relationships. When we meet our life partners, it is also true that each other’s pasts will be different. It is not common that you will be the same in any way.

 Every new relationship has its new beginnings. You mentioned that your girlfriend said she has changed, indicating that you sat together and discussed her past and she might have felt remorseful.

 The good news is that it is usually possible to repair a relationship that has been damaged by feelings of disgust. Disgust is one of the basic emotions human beings have. Its function is to keep us healthy. Learning that our partner has a past of casual sex sends red flags to the brain that we are at risk of infectious diseases, a trigger set by our bodies to keep us safe.

 To address this, start with the safety tips of making sure you and your girlfriend know each other’s HIV status and any other STIs so as to free up your mind of unknown fears.

 We also learn what kind of behaviour is acceptable for men and women and what to value in relationships from our cultural setup. This learned belief can get in your way of relating if you do not evaluate how helpful it is to the present situation. Many cultures hold the belief that a woman who has had multiple partners is revolting. These repeated messages could have informed the beliefs you have about women so much that they could be outside of your awareness.

 Your mind is obsessed with the past and limiting you from seeing who your girlfriend is today and not what she was before you met. Digging into the past only cripples your mind, especially if you are preoccupied with these thoughts often. Try to value your girlfriend for who they are today. The first way to change is to be aware of these thoughts. Get in touch with your values, and sort out what truly belongs to you from what others say. A modeled relationship might not necessarily be how you choose to love someone.

 Remember as human beings we all have a past or have struggles and so, it is easier to dwell on others’ past and forget to repair ourselves. The more you tune into your own values, the more you move forward past someone else’s. It is our responsibility to unlearn what does not serve us and live according to our true values. If this obsession about your girlfriend’s past continues, it will interrupt the relationship since our actions have a lot to do with how we think at that time. It is possible to start over with your girlfriend if you are still interested in a relationship with her as you mention.

Reader advice

Evaluate the change

Amanyire Peter Araali. Change is good once it is evaluated. Change has indicators. The change your girlfriend claims should be measured by visible indicators in her behaviour not by mere words.

Is she developmental?

Peter Ogwang Simon. It is said that what you do not know does not hurt you. But if your girlfriend told you about her past herself and you did not go around snooping like some insecure man, then she has changed. Look and see what she brings to your relationship other than her checkered past.

She loves you

Vanesa Sosh Doka. If she says she changed, that is because she loves you. Do not look at her past. Look at her love for it is what will change her to what you would want her to be.

She was truthful

Suzi Atai. People change. That was her past. Love your woman and trust her and everything will move on smoothly. She is the one who told you about her past.

Forget her past

Patrick Ssempijja. Do not end your relationship. We live in a world of change. Take that experience as an advantage. I guess she cannot be taken up by several men now because she has already gone through that life. If she is your friend, and you really love her, forget her past.

Everyone has a past

Vallance Byamukama. You will be the cause of the breakup because you are living in the past. Everyone has a past but dwelling on it is childish. You need to learn how to focus on the future.

Look at the future

Bryan Katamba. There is a Luganda saying that; “bwo’ba oyagala okuwomerwa enkoko, tolingiliza biki byeyalya” (if you want to enjoy chicken do not try to check out what it fed on). Ignore her past and move on with the present anticipating for a future with her, if you really love her.

Find someone else

Poseidon Oneka K. Everyone has a past although some people’s pasts look darker than others and of course it raises ethical and moral questions. It is sensible for anyone to be in eight different relationships by mid-twenties but it is a question of ethics and morality if a person of her age has slept with nine men. I believe you treasure women basing on your yardsticks. You can find another girl with time because I am sure you cannot settle with this one. As a man, she appears unworthy for you. It makes you feel as if you settled for some kind of “docking station.” Be careful

Robert Freeman Kalulu. If you end the relationship, will you also be considered used material by other girls? Will you never marry again if you married a virgin and she died the following day? In life you can never be sure about tomorrow. You will miss a fine woman and end up wishing you did not play around with her.

Evelyn is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation