10 Things To Know Before Dating Someone Who Has Had Many Partners

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It’s not easy dating someone who has had many partners. The past can wear you down. It’s already painful to deal with your traumas from the past. Now you feel burdened and jealous of your significant other’s romantic history. There’s a term for that. It’s called retroactive jealousy. When you obsess about your partner’s past, it can lead to a lot of trouble.

You might not know the full story of what happened in your partner’s past. Did the two of you sit down and talk about this subject in order to get a little clarity on what happened in each other’s lives and how to not let it affect the current relationship? If yes, then that’s one of the mature ways of handling your emotions.

Even though you can’t go back in time and change what has happened, it may still bother you. Isn’t acceptance the key to inner growth and happiness? Why not give new relationships a fresh start? You deserve it. So does your partner. But how exactly do you do that? We’re here to help you figure out, in consultation with counselor Ridhi Golechha (M.A. Psychology), who specializes in counseling for loveless marriages, breakups and other relationship issues.

Speaking about dating someone who has had many partners, she says, “First, there are a few things you must clarify with your current partner. Are they in this for the long term or is it just a fling? And how serious are you? Once that’s established, you must address each other’s past. Not to incite curiosity or jealousy but to let each other know that they’ve been through some tough times.”

10 Things To Know Before Dating Someone Who Has Had Many Partners

When two people meet for the first time, they focus all their energies on getting to know each other. They fall in love and it’s all rainbows and sunshine, at least during the first few months of the relationship. But when the honeymoon phase is over, you both unravel a lot of things about each other that might be difficult to digest.

Ridhi says, “There are certain things you need to keep in mind. Your partner’s past is their past and you need to keep it where it belongs. Whatever happened in the past shouldn’t be brought up in the current relationship. This will only lead to unhealthy comparisons. The comparisons will pave the way for a lot of insecurities and self-doubt.”

Holding on to intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past sexual relationships will take a toll on your mental health. If you are currently dating someone who has had many partners in the past, then this is the perfect time to understand how to navigate this equation:

1. How many are too many partners?

First, you need to ask yourself what does it mean to have many partners? Be clear on the terms. Has your partner had too many sexual encounters or too many relationships? If your boyfriend has had a lot of partners, ask him if it was purely sexual, or were they actually serious, or was it just casual dating? Different emotions come into play when you segregate the above-mentioned things. 

Ethical conundrums come into play as well. Some are orthodox in their beliefs and don’t like dating a man who has slept around too much. That isn’t true for women alone. Even some men don’t like to date a woman who has had many sexual encounters. So you need to be sure of what it means to you if you are dating someone who has had many partners. Are we talking sexually or in terms of exclusive dating? Clear this up before you plunge into the deeper details.

Related Reading: Why Does My Boyfriend Hate Me? 10 Reasons To Know

2. Deal with curiosity the right way

Ever heard of the phrase curiosity killed the cat? In this case, it is absolutely true. Don’t go prying into your partner’s past. If they share something with you, it doesn’t matter how small or big it is, listen to it and try to empathize. Find out ways to be more empathetic. Don’t go digging up graves. It will only create havoc in your life. I say this from personal experience. When I went around digging for more than what was required, I ended up in hot water. All you have to do is resist the urge to dig too deep. 

Ridhi advises, “To avoid getting disturbed about the fact that you are dating a girl who’s had many partners or a guy with a rich history of sexual experiences, work on your own security. Work on your own self-esteem. If you are more fulfilled with yourself, your body image, and your lifestyle, you will feel a lot more secure irrespective of your partner’s past. You are a complete ecosystem in yourself.”

Instead of starting an investigation on your own, ask your partner if they would like to share more with you about their past. Sit down and communicate. If you hit a stumbling block on the front, find ways to fix the lack of communication in the relationship. That’s the only way to quench your curiosity.

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3. Good old FOMO

When you find out that your partner has indulged in a lot more sexual activity than you have, it’s natural to have the fear of missing out. Their sexual experiences are far more diverse, they’ve probably done a lot of things that are new to you. Their sexual history might make you feel insecure. If your partner has dated a lot of people in the past, it is possible for you to even get jealous of their dating history. 

Ridhi says, “The fact that you are dating a man who has slept around or dating a woman who has had many sexual partners should not bother you, but it can bother you because we are human at the end of the day and we end up comparing ourselves to other people. I would again recommend zero comparisons. The comparison trap is real. Don’t fall for it. You don’t need to talk about what they did, or how their past sexual relationships were. 

“Instead, explore new ways to connect with and experiment in the bedroom. Try different things. Play around with each other. Roleplay. Blindfolds. Do kinky stuff with each other and create new memories. Write a new story together. Whatever happened in the past and how many sexual partners they had doesn’t matter. You need to constantly remind yourself that their present partner is you.” 

4. Emotional availability

I can’t tell you how overthinking and stress got to me when I found out a few things I wasn’t supposed to know about my current partner. My own thoughts began to terrify me. My negative reaction ruined a happy relationship. And for what? Something that had happened in the past.

For something that has no place in his present or future. Was it worth ruining the happiness of two people? NO. I realized this after the damage was done. I also realized that as long as there is no emotional connection between my current partner and his ex there is no need to worry about anything.

Just because your boyfriend has had a lot of partners, it doesn’t mean he loves you less. Or if your girlfriend has had a lot of casual hookups in the past, it in no way signifies that she is incapable of forging a stable, long-term, committed relationship. Address critical emotional needs and look for ways to understand each other. As long as they don’t have any kind of emotional attachment with their exes, their past shouldn’t become a thorn in your side. 

Related Reading: What He Thinks When You Ignore Him – 11 Surprising Revelations

5. You didn’t exist in your partner’s past

Ridhi says, “Even though they have done the same things in the past, you need to keep in mind that those experiences were with someone else. With you, it’ll be completely different. Let’s say you go to a restaurant in London and you eat pasta. And then you come back to your city and try the same penne arrabbiata, there’s no way both have the same taste.

“The experience, the ambiance, the flavors, and the ingredients will be different. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that one is good and the other is bad. It’s just that they are both different despite being the same dish. The same is true of relationships. Your partner’s past is only problematic if she or he is still in love with their ex.”

So, it’s okay if your boyfriend has had a lot of partners before you came into his life or your girlfriend can boast of far more diverse sexual experiences than you. You didn’t exist in their life at that time. Stop acting like a victim when dealing with your partner’s sexual past. That’s what I did to give a fresh start to our relationship.

I asked myself what was more important: an opportunity of being with the love of my life or his past exploits? I chose the former. It took a lot of communication and understanding to restart our relationship but I’m glad I made the right choice. 

6. Ignorance is bliss

I made a terrible mistake by going through my current partner’s social media account. I found pictures that messed with my head. I created a lot of problems for myself. I’ll share a confession here. I had a bit of an inferiority complex after seeing his ex. It’s hard to admit, but it is what it is. I am also ashamed of my actions, but curiosity got the better of me. 

Social media isn’t real life. It’s, at best, a filtered, airbrushed version of reality. Maybe their relationship looked ideal on Instagram but what if it wasn’t so perfect in real life? Now that’s something to think about. Don’t let social media affect your relationship adversely. If you are dating someone who has had many partners, it’s always better to accept what they have to say. Doubts may pop up in your head, but ignore them. Ignorance is truly bliss in these cases. 

more on dealing with insecurity

7. It is okay to be jealous

Retroactive jealousy can threaten the foundation of your relationship if you are dating someone who has had many partners. If you keep dwelling on it, your mind will become a swarm of questions to which there are no good answers. Am I a better lover than my partner’s exes? Will my partner leave me for an old flame? Does my partner miss former lovers? I’ve even wondered if my companion is having a better time with me. All of these thoughts will consume your better judgment and things may go haywire.

Don’t let jealousy consume you but at the same time don’t bottle it up, try to get to the root of it and address that. Ridhi says, “There are certain emotions you cannot control and jealousy is one of them. Jealousy is a strong human emotion and it mainly stems from our insecurities. So, get to the root causes of your insecurities and find ways to improve those aspects of your life. Learn how to deal with jealousy in relationships. Find a way to evolve. Talk to your partner about it and grow together.” 

8. This is your issue

What you feel after finding out your girlfriend/wife has had a lot of partners or your boyfriend/husband has had diverse sexual experiences before you is your problem. They can’t help you in altering those feelings. All they can do is be sensitive toward your insecurities. Don’t make your partner feel guilty for having many partners before they found you.

If anxiety creeps in, know that you are responsible for your feelings. You can look for ways to deal with relationship anxiety. Take time out to clear your head. Put yourself in their shoes before you make any hasty decisions. Talk to a dating coach or a trusted family member. Share your concerns. Don’t let overthinking destroy your mental health and your relationship. 

Related Reading: Expert Suggests 7 Ways To Help Someone With Trust Issues

9. Don’t worry about meeting their sexual needs

 “Even if you are dating someone who has had many partners, never ever bring up your own sexual experiences with former partners, definitely not to rub it in their face to feel better about yourself. If you are new to a certain sexual act that your partner has already tried before, then they can guide you. You can have a mentor and a mentee relationship. That could be really nice as you will have someone to guide you step by step on what to do and what not to do,” says Ridhi.

If you are dating a man who has slept around, you might worry about not meeting their sexual expectations. His experience with multiple sexual partners in the past determines his experience in his current intimate activities with you and might spice up things in the bedroom. Likewise, if your girlfriend is more sexually experienced than you are, she can help you hone your sexual prowess in the bedroom and help you be a better lover.

10. Start from scratch

Ridhi explains, “If the fact that your boyfriend has had many partners – or your girlfriend’s sexual experience – is still bothering you, talk to them about it and find conducive ways to work around it. Create different experiences. Travel together. Explore new restaurants. Visit museums and libraries. Spend quality time with each other. Talk. Ask open-ended questions. Try couples therapy. All of these things will help strengthen various areas of your relationship.”

Normalize your emotions. It is normal to get jealous after finding out that you are dating someone who has had many partners. Whether it’s jealousy or FOMO or insecurities, normalize them. Accept them. If you are dealing with your partner’s sexual past, you and your partner must validate the pain. Jealousy in a relationship brings a lot of other emotions with it. Anxiousness, sadness, anger, and getting restless are all companions of jealousy.

Start from scratch
It is important to communicate how you feel

How To Cope With Dating Someone Who Has Multiple Partners?

The first and foremost step in adapting to someone with a past is to figure out what bothers you exactly. Is it the number of sexual partners or is it the fact that they had multiple serious relationships? Once you have sorted that out ask yourself, “Do you want to make the relationship work?” For a lot of people, it is difficult to deal with a partner’s past. But the past is in fact the past and there is nothing much that can be done about it in the present. If you feel this relationship is worth the effort, then here are some things that may help you deal with your partner’s past better:

1. It is in the past

The thing we need to remember when we date someone who has had a relationship with multiple partners in the past is that no matter what you do, you can not undo it. What happened before he/she met you is entirely their business and is not in any form a reflection of you. So it is best to let go of the past.

Every relationship is as unique as the people involved in it. Comparing yourself or your relationship to their past experiences will only set you up for disappointment. What is important is the present and it is up to you how this relationship progresses.

2. It made them who they are today

Relationships have a huge impact on our lives. It affects our tastes, points of view, thought processes, and even our lifestyle. In this case, those experiences have made your partner who they are today – the person you fell in love with. So, find a way to be thankful for their experiences. It made them more self-aware, and it is with that self-awareness that your partner has chosen you, which means they truly want to be with you.

Related Reading: Ravana’s wife Mandodari, who teaches us About Acceptance In Love

3. How they treat you

People evolve with time. And it is safe to assume the same for your partner. When you begin a relationship with someone, what matters is how they treat you when you are with them. If your partner is giving you the attention you need, making you secure, happy and feel loved, without letting their past affect your current relationship, then such a person is worth your time.

Our emotional baggage is our responsibility. It is up to us to address and work on our destructive tendencies and patterns. If you are dating someone more sexually experienced who has worked on their emotional baggage or is doing it, then the number of sexual partners they had should not be a threat to your relationship.

4. Acceptance is key

The key to building a harmonious and peaceful life is acceptance. When you face a problem there are three things you can do about it. You can try to change it, you can try to leave it. But if neither one is an option for you, then you are just left with one choice – to accept it. Accepting your partner’s past is the only way to move forward in the relationship and be at peace.

5. Seek help from a professional

If you feel like you are having trouble accepting your partner’s previous relationships, then one way to handle it is to get help from a professional. You can either seek individual therapy or couples counseling to resolve the issues that are making you feel insecure. The thought of going into therapy can be intimidating for a lot of people.

However, it is important to remember that therapy is a safe space. A mental health professional is trained to handle just the kind of issues you’re dealing with. So take that important first step toward healing and get the necessary help. If you’re considering getting help but aren’t sure where to begin, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.

Key Pointers

  • Talk to your partner about how you feel. Communication is important
  • It is good to accept what you can’t change
  • Seek professional help if you are able to deal with your partner’s past

Who hasn’t had a past? We all go through many partners before we find the right one. Try to reassure each other, and remember love, loyalty, support, and respect go a long way in dealing with insecurities. Your current relationship will flourish on the merits of your efforts and appreciation for each other. 

FAQs

1. How many exes is the average?

There is no perfect number. You can fall in love and fall out of love as many times as your heart desires. There is no perfect number to determine how many exes are normal. Some get cheated on, some cheat on their significant other, some find casual relationships are their thing and some love to be in serious relationships. No one number fits the question. 

2. Does it matter how many guys my girlfriend has slept with?

It will definitely bother you, but it shouldn’t matter as long as your partner is committed to the relationship. As long as they regularly test for any STDs, it shouldn’t be of any concern. How many sexual partners they have had in the past should never determine their faithfulness to you.

3. How many partners has the average person had?

There isn’t a specific answer to this question. It varies from person to person. According to the reports from the site Relationships in America, both men and women have partners anywhere between 3 to 8 people.

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