Life Advice



Stuck in Boyfriend's Past

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I met my boyfriend over a year ago, and he told me that he had been divorced three times, with the last one to be finalized in a month. I had been divorced for many years and had not dated steadily for a few years. I had been celibate for 13 years.

I lowered my standards for this one. I must say that he was a kind, respectful and generous man to me. He was very chatty and talked a bit too much about this last wife. He told me, in a bragging fashion, that he and this wife had nude couples pool parties at his home. I was so shocked that I could barely process this. I thought the worst: They were swingers. He told me later that it was only with one other couple that she was good friends with.

This wore on me to the point that I was almost obsessed by it. I berated him and actually broke up with him. I was more upset with him for telling me than anything.

However, I was miserable without him, and we reconciled a few days later.

Keep in mind that I had not had a boyfriend or a relationship in more than a decade. I was desperate and lonely.

We are doing pretty well now, and we try to see each other at least every other week, as we live 100 miles apart. I think we get along very well most of the time. And he has been a generous and caring boyfriend.


My question is, how can I truly let his past go? I get obsessive-compulsive disorder about it sometimes, and that triggers my thinking about it. Time has healed me, but it still bugs me at times. -- Still Thinking About It

Dear Still Thinking: This is retrospective jealously. You are looking at the past before he met you, instead of the future when you will live together. Focus on the present, where you know that you are miserable without him.

There is a reason that he is not married to his ex-wife anymore and he is with you. It sounds like he loves you. Try not to allow your mind to focus on negativity, and instead focus on how kind, respectful and generous of a partner he is to you. Yours sounds like a pretty solid relationship. If your thoughts become too obsessive, you might need to speak to a professional counselor who can help with OCD. There are different types of therapy that specialize in behavior that is obsessive and compulsive.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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