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AIBU about accepting his past?

(46 Posts)
Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 12:11:39

Hi all,

I've been dating/ been in a relationship with my bf for almost 10 months. We met through one of the dating apps. I was recently separated (not even a month) and he also had recently broken up with his long time gf. As soon as we met, within five mins we decided we should be exclusive and we have been together ever since. I moved in with him after 2-3 months. Not sure if it's relevant but he's around 15 years older than me,

We're from different countries and have completely different cultural backgrounds and we met in the UK. He's from an eastern European country but went to US at 18, so he's American when it comes to dating and relationships. I'm from a South Asian country and was married to a European Catholic. I only had two long-term bfs and I have zero experience of dating whatsoever. My 2nd bf became my husband and we were together for almost a decade. He was almost married and all his exes were Americans.

Anyway all was well and we were really happy together till one day I got to know that after his divorce when he was online dating, he was dating multiple women at once. At some point, he was sleeping with 2 women alternately, for around 2-3 months. This left me really disturbed and shocked. I used to see him as a good guy but after I got to know this, I'm completely devastated. He says that that's how people date in the US and unless you have the exclusivity talk, it's implied that you're seeing/sleeping with other people. This is so against my values that I feel physically disgusted and I'm wondering whether I can get over this. He told me many other things, that I don't know what it's like to be a man, that he was always being rejected/stood-up and that he's sexual so he has to see if there's sexual compatibility. I'm so torn because I feel I'm in love with him but I also feel disgusted by his past.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 30-Nov-17 12:17:36

That wouldn't bother me.
He's done nothing wrong.
What DOES bother me though was that you had 'the chat' 5 minutes after meeting.
And the fact that you were only 1 month out of a marriage.
Wow - you need to really slow down here.
You are going to get very hurt otherwise.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 12:17:44

I really need help as I feel that we have an otherwise great relationship and this is really keeping me from having a future with him. For me, the relationship is by default exclusive so when we talked about it on the first date I didn't know that it was a big deal but he later told me that people usually don't bring up exclusivity until 2nd or 3rd date.

I really need help to get some perspective as I feel this is consuming my whole life and all I want is to be happy with him. He has been in very long term relationships and never cheated on anyone.

About his dating experience, he told me he was always getting rejected after 2-3 dates and some women only wanted to see him once a week. And that he was only looking for someone special. Also he saw one of the women he met on a date with another person. I'm not sure what all this means as I feel everyone should have their own morals and values. I should add that he is the only person I met after separating from my ex-husband so I don't have the usual dating experience. He also keeps saying that since I'm pretty I don't know what men have to go through.

I'm so conflicted about all this.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 12:25:55

Thanks @hellsbellsmelons.

I know you're right and I'm already very hurt. As I said I have 0 dating experience and I didn't know any of the rules. So, I just did what felt right. And he was eager to be exclusive. Since we met, we have been meeting everyday and spend most of our free time together. So, I feel really emotionally connected to him but now I'm also disgusted with him. I've been trying to make sense of it though.

And you're right, I shouldn't have been dating a month out of marriage as later I went through serious heartache and depression. It's just that I couldn't stand being lonely and sorry if this sounds smug, but I always have plenty of male attention. I just wanted to feel desirable.

KarmaStar Thu 30-Nov-17 12:27:42

Hello,
I am a bit confused as to what you are asking for,if his past genuinely disgusts you as you say,there is nothing that strangers can say on here that will shake off that feeling?
I have heard that it is common in some parts of the USA(the book I was reading was solely on New York)to multi date and not to be exclusive unless both parties decide they are happy to.the bottom line is if it is something you cannot get your head around you can move out and take the relationship more slowly to give you the space and time to figure out if what you have is more important than his past.
Hope you find your answer,I expect that in your heart you do know it.🌻

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 12:31:13

Hi KarmaStar,

Thanks.

Actually I don't know the answer. At first I was so disturbed I couldn't function normally but then I started talking to some friends (some American, some from other places) to make sense of it and I felt better. I understand the logic of it that what if you're dating someone for a while and that person dumps you then you have no other options left, especially if you're in hurry to find that someone special.

I feel that if I try hard enough and talk to a lot of people, I can get over this so that's what I'm doing.

mindutopia Thu 30-Nov-17 12:31:49

I'm American living in the UK. I don't think necessarily this is 'how people date in the US.' I think this is how most people casually date anywhere. I don't see any difference here in the UK. If you are just casually dating people you met on the internet and there is no discussion of exclusivity, then that's just how it is. Not everyone is interested in a relationship the second they meet someone. Many people just want to have someone to hang out with or have dinner with or hook up with. I think that's pretty standard. Now me personally, when I've been dating, I've tended to be dating with the aim of finding a relationship, so if it's gone as far as having sex, I'm probably interested enough in that one person that I'm not as interested in dating and having sex with someone else at the same time. But that's just me. But I think most people who are single and dating (I'm saying in a Western North American/European context here) go through periods when they are seeing multiple people or may have a friend with benefits (or two) at some point in their lives. Not everyone. But I would imagine it's more common than not. I think obviously your own experiences (mostly long term serious relationships and no casual dating) and cultural background probably colour your perception of that, but I think for most people that's probably the norm. I don't think that's something you can be upset about unless it happened while he was dating you and after you'd already decided you were exclusive and not seeing other people. Then it's cheating. Otherwise, people are free to date and have sex with who they want and I don't think there is usually an assumption they aren't unless a conversation has been had about that.

But to be far, you seem pretty mismatched for each other. If this is causing this much distress, you might be better off finding someone different.

K0729P Thu 30-Nov-17 12:36:39

If you really don't think you can get over it then leave.

It was his past, before he met you - it's nothing major in the grand scheme of things. He was single and slept about.

My only concern would be if he was still sleeping with someone when he first met you - then I'd be looking to get an STI check etc.

If everyone knew the exact details of their partners sexual history, I'm sure a lot of couples wouldn't be together now. It's happened. You can't change what he has done. So either accept and move on, or tell him it's over.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 12:37:43

@mindutopia

Thanks for describing it well.

No, with me he has been exclusive from the start and he is very loyal and faithful once he had the talk. I feel that apart from this we are very well-matched though it's too soon to say. I love most things about him and he is also crazy about me.

He feels that once in a relationship, we have similar values and that he only loves me. He also told me that he wanted to be in a relationship but it was very hard to find dates and the odds are against you when you consider numbers, this was in 2012 when he around 40. We both eventually want to get married and have kids and our other aims are also similar. I'm just so upset with myself too that I'm narrow-minded and a misfit in this society. It's a terrible feeling.

BewareOfDragons Thu 30-Nov-17 12:45:41

He doesn't done anything wrong.

Dating means dating. It doesn't mean exclusivity unless you discuss and agree to exclusivity.

He wasn't even dating others when he was seeing you, so it really, really shouldn't affect you in any way.

WitchesHatRim Thu 30-Nov-17 12:48:42

At first I was so disturbed I couldn't function normally

That is a very extreme reaction.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 12:54:39

@WitchesHatRim

I'm sorry it it sounds extreme but I guess that's where cultural differences matter. Tbh I didn't know this about myself that I would have a problem with this till I actually got to know about it.

I've been thinking whether me and my bf are so fundamentally different that we should break up but he feels that since we're together we can make our own values. He's really patient with me and trying his best to make it work.

annielouise Thu 30-Nov-17 13:03:40

I'm of an age where this American style dating didn't happen when I was growing up. I'm not that old either (born late 1960s). The assumption when I was dating was unless you say you're seeing other women then you thought people weren't - so the complete opposite.

In my late teens/20s and 30s if I met someone and we hit it off it quickly became apparent whether it was going somewhere or not (i.e. a few times of seeing them). I've always felt if he couldn't wait a week so there was no overlap then he's not someone I would want to know.

I understand how you feel as it has rocked your views. It just all seems shallow to me. Up to people what they want to do but I didn't really sleep around. I went out with people in that we were BF/GF and if it didn't work out, whether that was within a matter of weeks or months or years, then I'd move on and meet someone else in time.

I wonder if both women knew he was seeing the other? That turns me off for a start and to be honest I couldn't envisage then building a relationship with them. Saying that, there was no overlap with you.

I don't accept that you shouldn't go exclusive within 5 minutes. You're not committing anything to him. You're making your mind up as is he. You find out pretty quickly if you want to be with them - days usually.

Hermonie2016 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:05:10

but he feels that since we're together

This is his feelings, listen to yours

How old are you? There are red flags here, the sudden infatuation, moving in together so quickly (why??), your instincts are telling you something and you are ignoring them.

I honestly don't think you know him at all.
Your lack of grieving/recovery for your marriage could make you very vulnerable.

annielouise Thu 30-Nov-17 13:06:41

To my mind by saying you're exclusive you just want to see if you match well without the other having other distractions. Plus you're not having sex with someone that's having sex with someone else. What's the problem with that.

Babyblues052 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:15:57

I feel like your reactions to this are really extreme. Such strong words "disturbed" "disgust" for what seems to be all adults agreeing on a casual arrangement. I honestly can't see that the situation that disturbs you so much is wrong. Everyone is consenting adults.

He's been committed to you hasn't cheated has treated you well and you're so disgusted that he dated causally and slept with the women in the past, before he even knew of your existence?

I think if you genuinely feel this strongly you should probably end it, it'll just keep affecting your relationship if you can't get over it.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:17:47

@annielouise

seems you're not that from my bf's age then, although I have to say he's quite immature for his age. The rules of dating are so confusing and I have to say if I knew this about him within the first month, I would've stopped seeing him. But then, if I think rationally, almost everyone else is doing it, except few men. At least this is what I've been told. Yes, there was no overlap with me which is why I got to know about this much later. In his long term relationships and marriage he has very faithful and tried everything including counseling to make it work.

Whenever I raise any of these points, he just tells me that I don't know what it's like to be a man. Everyone keeps telling me that I'm being fussy and this is no reason to break-up with someone. My friends love him and he is amazing otherwise so I'm really confused. He also has some form of autism which makes him very technical/mechanical and he tends to follow directions/rules.

AFistfulOfDolores Thu 30-Nov-17 13:19:40

That you have been shocked by an aspect of your partner's behaviour, and your very intense and immediate bonding, suggest that, as other posters have said, you don't really know him at all.

You are in a phase of projection, and his behaviour has broken through this idealised facade that you've cloaked him in. If you choose to stay together, then it's going to be a slow, perhaps often-painful, process of dismantling that idealism to find the real, and unavoidably 'flawed', man underneath. Either that, or you'll be expending a huge amount of effort trying to preserve that facade so you can also preserve your 'perfect' partner.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:22:31

@Hermonie2016
I'm 30, I know there was sudden infatuation and in the beginning it was all about sex. In fact we both are very sexual and have sex everyday, sometimes twice a day and we both haven't experienced this level of sexual compatibility before. Even now, when I think of leaving I feel addicted to him/his body and find it very hard to go through with it.

I moved in because we were spending all the time together anyway, I had an apartment but I was never there and the lease was up. It just seemed practical at that time. And this is what happened in my last relationship too so I thought it was ok.

I'm still very much grieving my marriage and it's been a constant struggle. Yes, I feel like I don't know him in many ways and that's why I'm trying. This is one of the reasons we started talking about this topic. I just wonder what would've happened if I never knew about this.

Bummybum Thu 30-Nov-17 13:31:47

I’m a Brit living in the US and I’d also say that’s how it’s done mostly in both countries.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:34:37

@AFistfulOfDolores
very wise words and I've read about this.

I know that this nobody can be an ideal and perfect partner and it's silly and immature to expect that. I just wish I was with someone with whom I would share values. My bf thinks that we share most values when it comes to relationships, family, career etc., so for him it's hard to fathom why I'm so disturbed. He thinks it's irrelevant to our current status and we should think about our future not past. I know this but past does matter to me.

I'm slowly getting to know him and I like most things about him, especially the ones that were missing in my past relationship. But the trade-off is that my ex and I had very similar values. Also, we met when we were very young and we formed our values together.

Shen0102 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:36:04

This guy may aswell be a rebound..youre still grieving your marriage and you've just started dating ?

You really need time alone and don't throw yourself back into the dating game.

There's no need for you to dwell in the past. Imagine if he judged you by your past and says he doesn't think he's going to marry you because you've been divorced before and now he's scared because the same thing might happen to him ??

You're being silly !!

AFistfulOfDolores Thu 30-Nov-17 13:40:08

@Kala101

Don't count on a future that hasn't happened; work with what you know. Don't focus on promises or hopes or wishful thinking; focus on how you're feeling and where you can see differences that are significant.

In other words, don't fall for the fairytale (a whole lot of trouble in relationships could be dealt with if we stopped buying into fairytales, "the One's" and princes and princesses); instead deal with reality.

All the best flowers

AFistfulOfDolores Thu 30-Nov-17 13:41:34

Oh - and don't think for one moment that your value lies in being part of a couple, when the ONLY person who is ever going to share your values completely and uncompromisingly - is you. Work on that relationship first, instead. It's a lot less romantic, but ultimately far, far, FAR more empowering and fulfilling.

Kala101 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:43:34

@Shen0102

that's what one of my friends said, that she was worried that I got into a serious relationship too soon. She actually told me to date several people and may be even sleep around. I just liked him so much that I didnt feel the need to see anyone. And since we met he wanted to meet me everyday/evening. It just happened.

He has been divorced before too, although I'm still separated so technically not divorced. He said that he hasn't dated anyone married before but I only met him after separating from my ex. I have to say that he has been a great emotional support throughout and that's why I feel so attached to him because he took good care of me. We travelled to 3/4 countries within this time and it was a great distraction.

I'm aware that I might have daddy issues as I idealized him and looked up to him the whole time. He taught me many things since we've been together. He's also very open to change. I changed his whole wardrobe and his house and he's been a great sport. We were having a really great time and now I feel my whole world is upside down.

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