Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

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whatnow
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by whatnow » 06 Jun 2018, 14:52

hawkgrrrl and Roy

Thanks for the advice. I read all the comments from the original post very carefully, and it help me for a few moments.

I understand what you said, hawkgrrrl. It makes sense. But still, it feels like a lie. Specially because sleeping several times with his past girlfriend was not the only thing he did, he went 3rd base with a couple girls before his mission too ( and I was not aware of those either). He tells me that he KNEW that it was a issue for me (so sorry, but I do admit that chastity is a big deal for me, it aways was), and that's is exact the reason that he decide not to tell me the true, he knew that would be a deal breaker to me. Please don't judge that. please.

I believe that the mais issue is that i don't trust him anymore. When we were engage he went out of town and kissed a couple girls, apparently because he was "not sure" about my feelings (even us being engage??) and I only heard about him ( sadly, for other sources) after we were married. I was devastated, and was very, very hard for me to let this go after he apologized ( maybe I never really did inside). But I stay in this matrimony and had 4 kids with this man after that. We had a very happy marriage for 12 years, after all!

I stayed with him even after, about 1 year ago, I found out that he did not believe in God anymore, was going to church ( only to watch is phone all the time) just to make me happy, and even has already tried beer and wine in the past months out of curiosity. Promissed me never to do it again. Once again, just like the girls he kissed when we were engage, the having sleep with someone else, the drinks, I had to know by someone else but him or only after much insistence of my part.

I was devastated, to say the least, to se my dear husband, the amazing missionary, great leader, with huge heart and testimony not believing anymore. Still, after many ( MANY!!) fasting, praying and crying, I was just starting to trusting him again, building a relation all over again, forgiving him ( sorry, but I DID had to forgive him for stop believing in God. I don't know how to explain why, but it fell like a betrayal. Again).

So after aaaaaalllll this emotional roller coaster, out of nowhere, I have another bomb drop in my head. He was not virgem. He had touch ( and being touch at) by several girls. he lied for 12 years and told me SEVERAL times during out more intimate moments that I was his first and only ( clearly he was trying to convince himself too, I can tell).

And it feels that I just can't cope with all this anymore. I just have no dreams left. He took it all away.

And I CAN'T stop thinking about him sleeping with this other woman ( that, bdw, I have to see every now and then since we are from the same stake! She was not a member at the time and after the repentance process she joined the church, and is my current stake president wife. I hold nothing agains her, she looks like a great girl, was not a member at the time, and was not the one who lied to me. But still is not easy to see her now).

I just need to know, hopefully from people with similar situation, how to STOP the pain. How to stop thinking about it.

I understand forgiveness. And being clean again. So there is no need to explain that to me. Lord knows that I only survived knowing that he had cheated on me when we were engaged because the power of the atonement. I know the heal is real. But this last thing fells to much. I need to let it go, or is over, I can't handle more pain. so please, please, HOW?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Jun 2018, 15:29

Get professional counseling help, individually for your own anxiety and as a couple.

He has hidden too many things. Of course, you don't trust him right now. He might not be trustworthy. I don't know.

Get professional help - not just to decide whether or not to stay in your marriage but for yourself. There is NO shame in doing so.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by SilentDawning » 07 Jun 2018, 04:20

whatnow wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 14:52
I just need to know, hopefully from people with similar situation, how to STOP the pain. How to stop thinking about it.
I didn't have to experience dishonesty about past sexual behavior from my wife. We talked openly about our sexual experiences before marriage and they were not a concern to either of us -- they were innocuous compared to what you describe.

However, I can still empathize. I felt the betrayal aspect of what you describe. It was on what might seem like a miniscule issue to everyone else, but to me it is huge. I have allergies to animals. My wife loves cats. When we were talking about marriage, I indicated I didn't want pets. My wife looked startled, but then agreed that would be fine. Well, a year into our marriage, she started insisting on them. I kept saying that I "thought we had a deal". Well, all bets were off. She would constantly be trying to get me into pet stores, would always want to foster animals, and 25 years later we have 2 cats, 1 bunny and a dog. I did agree to these to make her happy after repeated persistence and pressure from not only my wife, but her mother -- but they make my life awful. They pee on expensive music equipment if I leave it on the floor anywhere in the house, including my music room. One cat knows its not to be in certain areas, but if I leave a door open, she goes in anyway and pees on things. So anytime I leave the house or go to a different section, I have to worry about closing several sets of doors behind me. And given the nature of the equipment, it can't be dry cleaned. I have to put up with the animal stench in the car and as I drive to music performances and in my house. It decreases the value of the equipment. They destroy our furniture -- it's all scratched and ripped because she doesn't want them declawed. I'm busy throughout the day, but when my wife is not home, I\m walking the dog so he doesn't go potty in the house. So we can't have nice things. They vomit, poop and pee throughout the house and in my office. And one terrorizes the neighborhood so she is not allowed outside. So, when moving equipment to my car, I am always trying to prevent that cat from escaping, and she always does and has to be retrieved. The dog digs up the foundation of our house when left unsupervised, and has caused all kinds of damage to the doors in our house outside scratching to get in. I am so tired of it. It makes me angry, and is a persistent reminder of the betrayal, just like the former girlfriend of your husband is.

A pre-marital agreement, I learned, meant nothing to my wife after our first year of marriage. I found there was no integrity in the verbal agreement and it was hard -- I value integrity VERY much as well as keeping my word.

I don't know what the solution is. It's terrible when you think you married Rachel (Ron) and then wake up to Leah (Lenny). In my case, I have persistent reminders 5-20 times a day that I was hoodwinked into believing I would have a pet free home before marriage.

I see no solution other than to accept it. It's part of my life now, but when I go to a hotel or am away on my own, I really enjoy the time away from all these reminders.

One saving grace is that as my wife has gotten older over a period of decades, her integrity has grown. So, I don't think she would have lied to me now about pets like she did before our marriage. Or maybe she thought she could live a life-long pet fast when she agreed before marriage, but just found it too hard. In any case, she follows through on agreements now.

So, in your situation, I don't know what the answer is. It's not the first time I've heard people be less than honest with potential spouses because they know otherwise they would lose them. It's a kind of weird perspective, but his lack of honesty is a kind of twisted expression of how much he wanted to spend his life with you...

In terms of not thinking about it, it sounds like you are "ruminating". That is the term psychologists use for stewing about things that bother you.

When issues are traumatic, I have a problem with it. for me, age wore me out. I am so sick of ruminating that the alternative, not ruminating is more attractive and I just put it out of my mind. You can replace the negative thought with something that makes you happy, take a deep breath, and then move your body into an entirely new position or set of surroundings when the thoughts get repetitive. There is a free course in how to be happy I took that suggested a teechnique called savoring. This means having a picture on your phone of something that makes you happy. Pull that out and look at it. For me it's the gorgeous upright bass finished in flat metallic blue with simulated copper metal dust sprinkled on its upper shoulders and headstock. I have other pictures I pull out and just watch to make myself happy.

I think meeting with a counselor would also help if you have access to it. There is also a site called marriagebuilders.com They use a framework of happy marriage that addresses dishonesty as a "love buster". The counselors there would encourage forgiveness on your part, but would also suggest your husband needs to really work at meeting your other emotional needs in your marriage to strengthen it.
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Roadrunner
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Roadrunner » 07 Jun 2018, 12:48

whatnow wrote:
06 Jun 2018, 14:52
But still, it feels like a lie.
...
I need to let it go, or is over, I can't handle more pain. so please, please, HOW?
Hello whatnow,
You’ll see that I’ve experienced a situation to yours which you can read earlier in this thread. It’s been 14 years since my wife shared her past with me and we are still happily married. I don’t dwell on it as much and it doesn’t bother me as much now, but some things trigger bouts of anger and resentment. I feel for you because it’s so painful to come to the realization that you wouldn’t have made the same choice of partner. I was the same way – it would have been a deal breaker. There are days or weeks that I don’t remember it. Sometimes it does surface in my mind and when it does it’s still painful.

Your situation is deeper and more difficult, however, because it sounds like there may still be a pattern of deception with the beer and wine. I agree with the suggestion to get counseling together and you individually.

I feel compelled to say that although I get the power of the atonement, that I disagree with the idea that once we’ve repented we don’t need to disclose to our potential spouses. I think we probably all agree that if a sexual relationship resulted in a STD that of course we’d have to tell our future spouse because they are directly impacted. I don’t see it much differently for emotional damage. If we know that something may emotionally scar a partner once they (almost certainly) find out, we should tell them.

Quick story. I was adopted as a young child and later found my birth father. He decided to not tell his future prospective wife about his out of wedlock child (me) because his priesthood leaders said he repented and the sin was gone. His future wife found out me after years of marriage – inevitably – and while it didn’t end their marriage, the marriage was forever different in a negative way. This woman (my birth father’s wife) won’t even talk to me. I believe that disclosure is important, especially given our LDS culture that sexual sin is a huge deal.

Whatnow – for me finding something positive and distracting during free time helps. I started exercising and I run a lot now, and when I start to feel angry or resentful I go for a good long run. It helps me get some of the negative energy out and it gives me time to work through my own issues and not bring it up and hold over my wife’s head unfairly. Running may not be your thing, but if you have a hobby or something positive to replace the negative energy with it might help.

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dande48
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by dande48 » 07 Jun 2018, 14:03

Hi Whatnow,

I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is very difficult, and want you to know your feelings are completely understandable, given all that has happened.

While your husband's dishonesty has been absolutely devastating, it's also (as messed up as it is) very human and very understandable. When you were dating and engaged, part of him wanted deeply to be someone else than who he was. He wanted to be the sort of guy who had stayed chaste. Part of him, at least, deeply wished those things had never happened. He felt that if you knew, you wouldn't have loved him. It was VERY messed up to lie, but behind the lie is a little, insecure boy who was very afraid.

What I don't like about the atonement, as it's often taught in Church, is that it feels like it gives a "free pass" to some people. "God has forgiven me, so why can't you? Now you have the worse sin". I think it's important to own your mistakes; admit to them, accept them. Forgiven or not, what has happened will always have happened. But we can move forward.

I hope you allow yourself to feel upset at what happened, without guilt. It was wrong and awful. But then, I hope you realize in spite of the worst coming to worst, you will be ok. You will cope. You will move on. Your husband does not deserve vindication. He needs pity. I don't believe there is anyone truly evil, only broken, hollow, and afraid.

I'm so sorry for what you have gone through. Everything will be ok.
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Roy
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Roy » 07 Jun 2018, 16:16

I too am sorry for your situation. it appears that there is quite a bit that is challenging in your relationship right now.

For me and me alone, I need to be admired and respected by my partner. To live as a disappointment to my spouse would be hell and I do not think that I would be able to continue in a relationship of merely "staying out of the dog house".

I know that I am not everything that my wife dreamed of. Still, I find it important that my wife frames her interaction with me by highlighting those things about me that she admires and respects. I find this motivating to do more of those things. That does not mean that we live some kind of bubble existence where negative feedback is never shared but that in general we strive to emphasize and show appreciation for the positive.

I very much hope that you can get counseling - just having someone to talk to can be a huge weight lifted.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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mfree6464
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by mfree6464 » 12 Jun 2018, 13:10

Hello whatnow,

I'm so sorry to hear you are suffering. I know the pain and hope that you have at least found some comfort knowing there are others out there who are in a similar situation. If you need to talk or ask me something privately feel free to send me a pm. Several people reached out to me in this way when I started this thread and it was so nice to be able to "talk" with someone about such a deeply personal subject. The very first emotion I felt on this journey was loneliness because I knew that there was nobody I could turn to. I don't want to air my precious wife's dirty laundry to anyone (especially when it's all been done and repented of for over 20 years.) Not a bishop, family member, close friend ... nobody needs to know those things about my wife's past. There was really no one to turn to and it was a very lonely and terribly sad time. It was so nice to have a venue like this where we all could speak candidly with each other about deeply personal subjects thanks to the anonymous nature of the forum.

I guess I'll start by quickly answering your questions and then elaborate further below.

1) No the pain still has not gone away. It has lessened but it is still significant.
2) I still think about it daily. I don't think a day has gone by that I have not thought about it at least a few times, but I think about it less than I used to.
3) I am still learning how to cope, that is a work in progress.

Every situation is so unique. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I don't think I could have gotten through this were it not for my wife and the support and strength that comes from being in a wonderful marriage like ours. whatnow, it sounds like your marriage has some external issues that need some attention. I completely understand your suffering as it relates to my post, but I'm not really qualified to speak on dealing with some of the other issues you have mentioned. I'm certain they are compounding your suffering and I am sorry you have to go through that.

Life really can be a nightmare at times. It turns out that this issue that came up in January 2016 with my wife was just the first in a series of life-altering challenges God has seen fit to put me through. I turn 40 this year and really the first 37 years of my life were blissfully pain-free. God has decided it's time to lay it on thick for me and it has been difficult to say the least. I don't want a pity party, I only offer the following details of my life as my backstory to help people better understand my current condition which I will outline here.

- January 2016 - wife tells me full truth about her sexual past

- June 2016 - my parents sat me down and told me they are getting divorced. Apparently my dad has been addicted to porn his entire life (I had absolutely no clue) and it all came crashing down. I was completely shocked but feel that as a grown man I was able to handle that well (my wife disagrees and feels that it affects me in ways I am unaware that she can see)

- fall of 2016 - begin to question the LDS church and for the first time in my life I feel my testimony begin to falter

- fall of 2017 - a business-related legal issue threatens to take everything I have ever earned (issue is still unresolved and continues to this day)

So within 18 months I lost something most precious with my wife, lost the relationship I once knew with my parents (because now all they do is bad mouth the other when I see them making time with them miserable), lost my faith, may lose every physical and financial item I own. Again, I do not want a pity party. I still have all of my loved ones in my life and I continue to thank God for that daily. I truly am sorry for anyone who has suffered the ultimate loss of a loved one. I can't imagine. I will survive this.

After my final post in February 2016 I continued to fall as the months went by. Prayer did nothing. I cried regularly when I was alone. I began to feel such hopelessness. I was not having any crisis of faith when this began (see my final post from 2/16) but found myself at this point (fall of 2016) wondering why God was leaving me to suffer so tremendously. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I, with my limited understanding of things, will never in this life fully understand why God does what he does. Just because it doesn't make sense does not mean the church is untrue. So the focus of my prayers, for the first time in my life, turned to asking God if the LDS church was true. For me, my testimony was always based on the fact that it worked. Follow the principles, live the doctrine and it works. That was my experience ... until finally it didn't work the way I was taught it should. I then began to plead with God to tell me the LDS church was true. If he would just tell me that then I could accept ANYTHING about the Gospel because who am I to question the infinite wisdom of God? Well, the answer never came and still has not. I dove into the scriptures, prayed, fasted, you name it and I did it. Still no answer. I literally felt nothing - complete emptiness. So I continue to wait. I continue to pray, but my faith in the LDS church being God's one and only true church has taken a major hit since January 2016.

As my testimony faded, I noticed that my perspective on the issue with my wife was changing. It still hurts and at times it hurts deeply. Just this Sunday at church I had tears well up as the discussion in Sunday school briefly turned to the struggles teenagers face. It's still just very raw, even after more than two years. But I now wonder if the pain is coming more from a place of upbringing than a place of innate and eternal principle (nature vs nurture.) So many people in this world have multiple sexual partners and it is of absolutely no consequence to them. Why is it such a life altering issue for me? I find myself feeling foolish for being such a good kid. I feel like I was the stupid one and all the kids who said it doesn't matter were right. I find myself now wishing I could go back and experiment more. I was a ridiculously good kid. Didn't smoke, drink, swear, no porn or masturbation. I briefly dated a non-member who had done everything sexual with multiple partners by the age of 16 and I remember praying every night that God would change her heart and allow me to be an instrument in His hands to help save her. She never joined the church. She is married happily with two small children. She is living a life much like mine and maybe even happier than I am right now. When I look back on the past objectively I see all the kids from high school who messed around and experimented, all the family members, cousins, siblings, ward members, etc who did whatever they wanted as adolescents 20 years ago. Well, they are all like me now. They didn't throw their lives away. They all have spouses and children, they aren't drug and sex addicts. They didn't all fall away from the church because of their actions. They weren't lost into a mist of darkness. They aren't yelling at me from a great and spacious building. It really, objectively looks like it doesn't matter. The only reason I can see that it matters is because of people's feelings. But people have issues. I have issues. Would my feelings be hurt were I raised in a secular home? I would guess probably not. I probably would have done much more than my wife did were I not raised in the church. 

It's hard for me to give an accurate description on how I have dealt with my feelings regarding my wife's past because life has happened to me in such a major way since then. I am a very focused and determined individual by nature. I don't take on too many tasks but the things I do commit to I pursue relentlessly until I see them through. I think this has been part of my undoing with the issue involving my wife. I was so focused on trying to fix and figure out something that had no remedy. I was caught in an endless loop that led only to hopelessness and sorrow. That same quality has also blessed me with a great deal of success in business. I had quit working at the age of 36 (about 1 year before this all came out) and we were living off of passive income streams from my investments. I was effectively retired in my mid-thirties. Well, this is a double-edged sword because everyone wants to get their hands on a piece of the pie. So I find myself in the middle of ridiculous but quite serious legal battle that threatens to take everything I have ever earned. This has really preoccupied me as I have three children aged 9-13 that still need a lot of care and I can't afford to lose it all right now. As terrible as this is, it has been somewhat of a blessing to have a reprieve and distraction from the issues involving my wife's past. It has allowed me to get out of my own head a bit and that has been refreshing.

I would like to echo a couple points made my Roadrunner. I too disagree with the notion that once repented of, we no longer need to disclose sexual sin to our spouses. My wife was told this same thing at the time she repented and I believe it is part of why she lied to me about it. My view is that while the atonement can offer full and complete forgiveness, rendering us whole, complete and clean. It does NOT undo our actions. It does NOT take away consequences. Once shared with another, those first sexual experiences and explorations can no longer be shared with a spouse. If someone has saved themselves and wants that in return they have every right to seek that out in a prospective spouse. The only way to do so is to ask. Having that painful conversation and potentially losing a mate is one of the consequences that comes with choosing to fornicate. My wife does not remember the first time we had oral sex. Why? Because it wasn't HER first time. She does however remember her first time, it just wasn't with me. The first sexual experiences we have are incredibly impactful. I went to counseling for a few months over this issue and one of the things the counselor told me is that sex creates a bond. It's automatic and part of the action. My wife tells me it meant and means nothing to her what she did those few times as a teen but the reality is that it made an impact and in some small way she will have a connection to that guy forever. He will forever be her first and they are bonded in a sexual way at some level. 

Also I agree with the counsel Roadrunner offered about exercise. I have really not stopped working out since the day I found everything out from my wife. The gym offers me a place where I can put on my headphones, listen to some music really loud and throw weight around. It feels really good to blow off steam. Take your frustrations out on the road by running or on the gym by lifting and do it until you can't feel anything anymore. It will provide you temporary relief at the very least. When you push yourself to the limit, it takes everything you've got, physically and mentally. There won't be room in your mind during those times for the negative, painful and sorrowful thoughts to creep in. It also is something you have complete control over. As I said earlier, one of the things that was particularly hard for me was that I couldn't "fix" this. Having something I could completely control and work towards (like a goal to lift x amount of weight or run a certain time) really was a welcome distraction for me - especially in those early months.

Again, I am sorry you are going through this whatnow. It must be difficult having to see the woman your husband was with periodically at Stake conferences and such. I can somewhat relate but my pain is more self-imposed. The guy my wife was with is married to a woman who keeps very active on social media. She posts typical mom stuff showing off what their kids are doing, etc. But once I found her account I haven't been able to stay away. It's like looking at a train wreck. I know I shouldn't look but I just can't turn away, even though it causes me pain. I still, to this day, am in disbelief that there is this guy out there that I can see anytime I want who has had such physically intimate experiences with my wife. It's immensely difficult.

I hope this post wasn't too long and doesn't sound self-absorbed. I haven't posted in over 2 years and I wanted to provide an accurate image of where I am now and what's happened since I was last active on this board. It's my hope that someone else who might be suffering as I was will be able to find this conversation and know that they aren't alone and they aren't crazy for what they are feeling.
Last edited by mfree6464 on 15 Jun 2018, 12:54, edited 1 time in total.

Roy
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Roy » 12 Jun 2018, 15:54

Wow Mfree,

Thanks for checking back, responding to whatnow's questions, and sharing your personal experiences.

I wonder if your ability to focus but also to fixate on a particular topic or task may be a symptom of autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum is extremely broad but if it does describe you then it may help explain why moving on from your wife's premarital sexual experiences has been so challenging. Maybe it is just not in your brain wiring to do so. Reading your description of your youth I also wonder if you have scrupulosity issues. I am not a trained professional and anything I say can be discounted as the opinion of "some guy" on the internet. You mention talking to a counselor so perhaps those possibilities have already been explored.
mfree6464 wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 13:10
My view is that while the atonement can offer full and complete forgiveness, rendering us whole, complete and clean. It does NOT undo our actions. It does NOT take away consequences.
I suppose I agree and disagree on this area. Yes, some consequences are permanent. Sometimes poor decisions result in death, dismemberment, disease, unwanted pregnancy, etc. Where I suppose I would express caution is in creating second class citizens of people who have made sexual mistakes. Even if it is just for dating and marriage suitability that could be quite damaging. The draw to be seen as a suitable marriage partner within one's own tribe and culture can be intensely powerful (can motivate young men into two year missionary service ;) ) If a young person were to be forever branded as less desirable as a marriage partner due to youthful mistakes - why should they even try to make a go of it in the church? At what point does the logic begin to condone societal behavior such as what is depicted in the classic book, The Scarlet Letter?

My hope is that you might be successful at checking your own thoughts on the subject (I know, I know, easier said than done.) I wish you and whatnow all the best in locating whatever coping strategies might be a good fit for your unique situations.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roadrunner
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Roadrunner » 12 Jun 2018, 16:41

Roy wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 15:54
I wonder if your ability to focus but also to fixate on a particular topic or task may be a symptom of autism spectrum disorder.

I suppose I would express caution is in creating second class citizens of people who have made sexual mistakes.
I'm putting myself in mfree's shoes because my situation is similar. I fear this post will be interpreted as flaming but it's not my intent. I read this response and literally winced because it hurts to read this. Perhaps that means it's partially true, I'm not sure. I see the point Roy makes but I want to make some counter points. It hurt to read this response.

Even open minded people on this forum would do a double take if their spouse came to them after 10 years of marriage and said "by the way I paid my way through college as a porn star. I've had sex with probably 1000 people. Don't worry though I repented." This is obviously an exaggeration but I think everybody has a line beyond which we'd have a difficult time with a spouse's past. I think some people's lines are different. Some people put themselves through hell in high school to live perfectly. You worry that we are on the autism spectrum - I worry that about me too. It feels a little bit like victim blaming though.

The right answer can be (and is being) debated. I'm no fan of a scarlett letter approach, but the deceit caused real damage. To me lying to a future spouse about something so important given our church's stance on "sexual sin is next to murder" (which needs to go away) doesn't compute.

mfree6464
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by mfree6464 » 12 Jun 2018, 18:55

Roy, thank you for the well wishes. It's good to be back chatting with you all and it's also nice to have a couple years of perspective behind me on the issue as well. Like Roadrunner, I'd like to offer a couple counter points and also agree with you on something as well.

First, I think many consequences of sin are permanent, or at least very long lasting. I think that is by design. Death, disease, unwanted pregnancy are givens in terms of unchangeable consequence. Also, if I am dishonest in my dealings, I can repent and come clean to those I have deceived, but they may never trust me again. If I smoke and drink, the atonement won't remove the tar from my lungs or the damage to my liver. If I commit adultery I can guarantee you my wife will never feel the same towards me ever again, and I might lose my marriage to her entirely. I could also possibly destroy another marriage in the process of committing the adultery. I've had money, bikes, stereos, etc stolen from me. It causes you to change your behavior - to lock doors and trust less. Similarly, no amount of repentance will ever make me my wife's first sexual partner. It will never change the fact that there is a dude out there who at any time can call up to memory very physically intimate moments with my wife. The atonement repairs the soul and makes it whole, but it does not undo action. If it did then we could truly act with impunity because any action and consequence could be completely undone. There would be no suffering. There would be no real accountability and probably little to no personal growth for all of us.

I'm not sure where in my writings you are getting the idea that I consider my wife a second class citizen because of her actions. Maybe you were just saying that generally and meant it as a precaution for people like me to avoid? I hope I've made it clear that I love my wife so very dearly. She is my world. I believe at this point in our lives she is the more worthy of the two of us. Certainly she is more faithful. I actually envy her experience. I often find myself wondering how she REALLY feels about it. I wonder what is it like to have been with someone else outside of marriage? Why did she choose to come back to the gospel? With my limited experience I can only speculate those things. I think her experience has made her stronger and wiser in that area. She is probably more well-equipped to counsel our children than I am on the matter. The only thing I have ever tried to express through posting here was grief and to seek out help for that grief for myself and hopefully others. I really don't think any of my words have expressed anything remotely close to calling anyone a second class citizen. If they have, I apologize. Not my intent. Not trying to be confrontational here, just want to be sure I'm being understood correctly.

I completely agree with you that it would be terribly wrong for a young person (or anyone for that matter) to be branded as less-suitable in any way because of youthful mistakes. As I said, my feelings have evolved to a point where I kind of think those "youthful mistakes" don't really matter. Are there consequences? Sure. But look around at all the adults in your life. Most of them were rebellious and probably have pretty scandalous upbringings by LDS standards. Maybe you were one of them Roy - if so, does it matter? I don't think it does. I've received many pms from people who are bishops, were APs on their mission, current seminary teachers, etc who have CRAZY backgrounds that they detailed to me in private messages. People like myself and Roadrunner who did just about everything "right" in their youth were the exception, not the rule. The world doesn't necessarily come crashing down from our mistakes. Nobody becomes a second class citizen, we all end up in basically the same place. Suffering befalls us all, youthful mistakes or not. It's part of life I am learning now. God is coming at me guns blazing right now from just about every angle and I am learning many lessons the hard way in spite of my faithful youth.

As for my counseling, I was never diagnosed with anything. Autism never came up and of the little I know about it I don't seem to fit the mold. From what I understand it's more of a social disorder. When viewed as a spectrum we probably all fall on it someplace so that's a tough way to look at it. But I know that I am acutely aware of social interaction and social nuance, more than my wife in fact. I think autistic individuals are mostly clueless when it comes to social nuance but I could be wrong about that. I will say though, that in my research of people who suffer similarly to me is that one commonality is OCD. While I don't feel I suffer from that completely, I do think I have some mild tendencies in that regard which does make sense as I could certainly be classified as obsessing over this issue.

As sort of a disclaimer I want to make sure everyone who reads my story recognizes that I am sharing opinions, not facts. My feelings have evolved over the past two years and I presume they will continue to change over time. I might be singing a completely different tune 6 months from now. God may answer my prayer in some unexpected way, restoring my faith and altering my perspective on the issue once again. I am open and certainly hopeful for that.

Again, I appreciate the well wishes and welcome with open arms the healthy debate and discussion. It's helpful to me to put my thoughts down and express them in writing. It's also therapeutic to consider other people's opinions and input so thank you for that.

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