Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

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SamBee
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by SamBee » 13 Jun 2018, 03:24

I really wouldn't be comfortable talking about my past sex life with any future spouse.
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nibbler
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by nibbler » 13 Jun 2018, 04:00

Disclaimer, I'm not trying to judge, I'm trying to seek understanding.
mfree6464 wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 18:55
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.
Could a part of the issue be a sense of injustice you feel when you compare your sacrifice to remain pure with someone else's indiscretions? Do you feel like things would be fairer if you were on more equal footing with your spouse? Like if you were to do it over again you would have premarital sexual relations with people you refrained from having premarital sexual relations so you could gain those experiences; or what sounds like the preferred outcome, rewind the clock and find a spouse that has made similar sacrifices as you made.

I think there is a problem in our culture where we do make second class saints out of people for youthful (or even not so youthful) mistakes.

If your spouse disclosed their full sexual history before you married them, would you break off relations and find someone else, or would you stick things out and appreciate the honesty? What if the disclosure came after getting engaged but before marriage? Or between going steady and becoming engaged?

I think the whole "licked cupcake" model we prop up as a model for chastity has created lots of expectations and fears in our culture. I'd try to walk a mile in my spouse's shoes until it hurts, try to get inside their thoughts. They may deeply love you and they may have huge fears that disclosing prior sexual relations will cause the person they have grown to love to reject them, like a licked cupcake. It's understandable to me how someone would lie in a situation like that, especially if they believe they have fully repented. They risk losing everything. Disclosing after marriage is probably easier because in their mind there's probably a far lesser chance of their spouse leaving.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

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nibbler
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by nibbler » 13 Jun 2018, 04:36

mfree6464 wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 18:55
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.
You're touching on a theme that was a driving factor for my faith crisis, though my particular issue wasn't related with sexual history.

Certain behaviors can create victims. In my case I have a parent with mental illness that was emotionally abusive. Much later in life I started to realize that I couldn't "blame" my parent for acting the way they acted, a mental illness was at the root of the abusive behaviors. The thought process was - god will extend mercy to them, they are victims of the illness. It was a conclusion I needed to make in order to forgive and start the healing process but that conclusion created a new pain that I didn't anticipate. It invalidated my suffering.

In a way, imagining god extending mercy to my parent felt like god turning me into a victim all over again. All that unrelenting suffering I endured that lasted decades... and the person that caused it being forgiven as though it were nothing. It hurt. It created a massive conflict between justice and mercy in my mind, a conflict that was serious enough for me to revisit all the things I had placed on the shelf over the years.

Ignoring god and the final judgment for a moment; the important thing was me extending mercy to my parent. That process is what drove me to face my own suffering. I was well on my way to forgiving my parent but could I let go of my own pain? So far the answer to that question has been no, not entirely.

I see at least two angles from which to address things. 1) Forgive. 2) Process the pain. I think we can find ways to do #1 but I've found #2 to be much. much harder.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

mfree6464
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by mfree6464 » 13 Jun 2018, 06:08

Nibbler,

Thanks for your thoughtful responses. I'm sorry you went through (and continue to go through) the pain and difficulty of having an emotionally abusive parent. I've not been through anything like that but I do know what it's like to hurt. I hope you continue to find support and ways to heal as you go through life. Here are my answers to the questions you asked me:
nibbler wrote:Could a part of the issue be a sense of injustice you feel when you compare your sacrifice to remain pure with someone else's indiscretions?
At this point in the process, yes. But that is more a part of my journey with faith and understanding how life works. It has very little to do with the grief I experience. The grief comes from changing a way of thinking that was very comforting to me for 14 years. But I would be lying if I said I felt no injustice over the issue.
nibbler wrote: Do you feel like things would be fairer if you were on more equal footing with your spouse? Like if you were to do it over again you would have premarital sexual relations with people you refrained from having premarital sexual relations so you could gain those experiences
I absolutely do feel this way. I think I lack some of the life experience that my wife has. At this point, I see very little benefit to making such good choices in my youth. As I mentioned earlier, life is hammering me down in spite of those good choices.
nibbler wrote: or what sounds like the preferred outcome, rewind the clock and find a spouse that has made similar sacrifices as you made
100% incorrect. No part of me wants another spouse and I have not felt that at any point. Can't imagine anyone better suited for me than the one I have.
nibbler wrote:If your spouse disclosed their full sexual history before you married them, would you break off relations and find someone else, or would you stick things out and appreciate the honesty? What if the disclosure came after getting engaged but before marriage? Or between going steady and becoming engaged?
I decided long before I met my wife that any previous sexual history would not be a game-changer for me. I know I would have stayed with her regardless of her response. Again, the grief comes from being told "You're my first and only" and then having that ripped away after more than a decade. It's brutally painful. I don't blame her for lying about it, I completely understand why she did. Doesn't make it hurt any less though.
nibbler wrote:I see at least two angles from which to address things. 1) Forgive. 2) Process the pain. I think we can find ways to do #1 but I've found #2 to be much. much harder.
I couldn't agree more. The whole reason I started posting here was to seek out ways to process the pain. It's not easy. I had no idea how to handle so much hurt. I'm still figuring it out.
Last edited by mfree6464 on 13 Jun 2018, 06:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by mfree6464 » 13 Jun 2018, 06:20

Side question: Is the whole "licked cupcake" analogy still at thing? I have no idea how old the people I am chatting with on here are but the first time I ever heard that term was on this message board - and I'm almost 40. Is it generational? Is it something that is generally taught only to the young women? Is it perhaps regional, maybe a Utah thing? (I grew up in the SF Bay Area.)

I understand what the lesson is trying to communicate but wow, considering the subject matter, talking about licked cupcakes during a chastity lesson to teenagers seems very inappropriate.

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nibbler
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by nibbler » 13 Jun 2018, 06:41

mfree6464 wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 06:20
Side question: Is the whole "licked cupcake" analogy still at thing?
As far as I know it has never been introduced in correlated materials (manuals, church magazines, etc.). It was just an analogy that some teachers decided to use while teaching a lesson. Teacher roulette if you will. Some heard similar analogies, others did not, so it's mostly anecdotal.

Here's one:

http://www.ldsliving.com/Elizabeth-Smar ... ts/s/83107
It was right after this experience that Smart recalled a lesson she had as a young woman, in which she was told, "You're like this stick of gum, and if you have sex before you're married, it's like someone chews up that piece of gum, and then when you're done, who wants a piece of gum that's already chewed up? No one."

While the intention of the lesson was to teach uplifting, eternal values, the overall message failed to communicate that she was a daughter of loving Heavenly Parents who would love and want her, no matter what.
I think it's well meaning teachers trying to put the fear of god into kids without realizing what unintended message their analogy sends.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by dande48 » 13 Jun 2018, 06:52

mfree6464 wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 06:20
Side question: Is the whole "licked cupcake" analogy still at thing? I have no idea how old the people I am chatting with on here are but the first time I ever heard that term was on this message board - and I'm almost 40. Is it generational? Is it something that is generally taught only to the young women? Is it perhaps regional, maybe a Utah thing?
Licked cupcake, chewed gum, bruised fruit... the analogies are all roughly the same, though licked cupcakes are far superior to the rest.

Mcfree, it sounds like what hurts the most wasn't the past sexual transgressions of your spouse, so much as the dishonesty about it. I think honesty with those sort of things is important; not because they can't be forgiven, or moved passed, or because it diminishes the sinner's intrinsic value, but because sex is a big deal. Marriage is a pretty big deal. There are many people who might not be able to deal with the past sexual transgressions of a spouse, not because their spouse is any less "worthy", but because they are unable (due to personal weakness, if we call it that) to move past that sort of history. Most of us recognize that we'd like to be the sort of person who would be understanding, empathetic, and supportive, but some people will have a difficult time with that. Kudos to those who can look past it and move on, but they still deserve honesty and closure.

Which brings up a question I've been thinking of a lot lately: Suppose the cat was never let out of the bag. Imagine one spouse had a "sexual history outside of marriage" that they never told their spouse about. Or imagine the prophet was a pedophile, and no one ever found out. Or imagine any other deep dark secrets harbored by people we trust and look up to, that will never come to light. Is it better to maintain a lie, if people are happier and more at peace for believing that lie, than to bring the truth to light, and destroy that peace and happiness? Is it justified, if people gain more from the lie, than they would from the truth?

Because that's at the heart of the problem, with my faith crisis with the LDS Church.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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mfree6464
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by mfree6464 » 13 Jun 2018, 08:01

dande48 wrote:Mcfree, it sounds like what hurts the most wasn't the past sexual transgressions of your spouse, so much as the dishonesty about it.
I think you are close. I would say "the dishonesty caused the hurt" is a more accurate description. I'm not upset about the dishonesty itself. If I were, I would also likely be upset at my wife for lying. I am not. The dishonesty however, caused me to falsely embrace something for 14 years. When the truth came out, it all came undone in a matter seconds. Had she told me when we were dating it would have been hard, but I would have eventually made it part of our story. I'll still need to do that in time, but I need to undo 14 years of thinking before I get there.
dande48 wrote:Which brings up a question I've been thinking of a lot lately: Suppose the cat was never let out of the bag. Imagine one spouse had a "sexual history outside of marriage" that they never told their spouse about. Or imagine the prophet was a pedophile, and no one ever found out. Or imagine any other deep dark secrets harbored by people we trust and look up to, that will never come to light. Is it better to maintain a lie, if people are happier and more at peace for believing that lie, than to bring the truth to light, and destroy that peace and happiness? Is it justified, if people gain more from the lie, than they would from the truth?
I am glad I know. It's why I asked years ago when we were dating and why I asked again 2.5 years ago seeking confirmation. It was important for me to know the truth. I never find my self saying "Man, I never should have asked that question." In spite of the pain, it's the truth and will ultimately allow me to love my wife fully for who she truly is. Suffering helps us grow. Denying someone the truth because you don't want to cause pain is denying them an opportunity to change for the better, IMO.

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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by dande48 » 13 Jun 2018, 08:46

mfree6464 wrote:
13 Jun 2018, 08:01
I am glad I know. It's why I asked years ago when we were dating and why I asked again 2.5 years ago seeking confirmation. It was important for me to know the truth. I never find my self saying "Man, I never should have asked that question." In spite of the pain, it's the truth and will ultimately allow me to love my wife fully for who she truly is. Suffering helps us grow. Denying someone the truth because you don't want to cause pain is denying them an opportunity to change for the better, IMO.
Good insight, Mfree.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Roy » 13 Jun 2018, 15:19

I appreciate the questions and discussion. It helps for me to clarify Mfree's thoughts and positions on issues since I last wrote.
mfree6464 wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 18:55
Autism never came up and of the little I know about it I don't seem to fit the mold.
I am sorry for assuming autism. My 10 year old son was recently diagnosed with Autism spectrum and I suppose I am seeing symptoms everywhere now. The two things that seemed similar is your ability to hyper focus but also a more limited ability to let things go. My point in bringing it up is that there are external circumstances and there are our internal limitations. Both inputs represent part of the equation. My wife has social anxiety. If we go to a ward party she may need to plan out who else may be there, who she can sit next to, and always a seat near the exit in case it gets to be too much and she needs to bolt. If I cannot attend the ward party then she may not be able to go either (even if that may be disappointing to our children). In this scenario there is the outside circumstance of the ward party with the different personalities and past experiences with different ward members. There is also the internal limitation of the social anxiety. I accept that my wife is not trying to make dealing with the ward party difficult - she just cannot help it. To the degree that OCD, scrupulosity, your upbringing, etc. might make it difficult to put this disappointment in the past, I imagine it would be helpful to acknowledge that as part of what makes this circumstance difficult. To accept it in a merciful way that is as charitable as possible to yourself and your spouse. Again - just my thoughts - ignore anything that might not fit.
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? ....[snip].... 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.
Looking back I believe I conflated some things. There is this section that you wrote, "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." and there is also this statement from whatnow that I had misremembered as being from you, "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." Putting those statements together I imagined that you would have broken things off with your intended and that she would have nobody to blame but herself. I imagined a church culture where the ideal would be taught to be virgins upon marriage. Virginity would make all the lists of what to look for in a potential spouse. It would be a requirement and a deal breaker somewhat similar to how RM and temple marriage is treated by some/many today. People with premarital sexual experiences could largely be disqualified from first tier marital consideration and feel like "second class" marriage material. Such individuals might just give up on the gospel and the church.

To restate, I conflated and misremembered some things. You never said that you would have broken things off with your now wife. In fact, now that I go back to review, you said the opposite. Thank you for correcting my misunderstanding.
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