My boyfriend is obsessed with my sexual past

Dear Dr. Patti:

My boyfriend of nine months is becoming more and more obsessed with my sexual past. He frequently asks me questions about my sexual experiences, and then gets sullen and depressed when I answer his questions. We have a wonderful relationship, but I'm becoming more and more afraid of being honest with him, yet I refuse to start lying to him. How do I get him to get over this and just concentrate on us instead of them?



Dear D:

I believe that you are a very giving person to respond favorably to such constant demanding about your sexual past. This is a marker of how you approach intimacy, as someone who is generous and tolerant. And your instinct to set boundaries is correct. Give yourself lots of credit for how well you have weathered this storm so far.

As for your boyfriend's persistent queries of your sexual history, I think he has a noteworthy problem. And if you choose to stay with him, you have it, too. Both people bring their "stuff" to a relationship, and their "gifts." Each is part of what makes a relationship a laboratory for personal growth.

His seemingly incessant demands on you to "tell all" from your past is NOT healthy. My concern is that this is a (self-)destructive pattern for him and for your relationship. I suggest that you two have a serious dialogue about what's going on here. It appears that he is creating a tornado each time he urges you to spill the beans and then gets another chance to feel bad for himself.

Encourage him to seek professional counseling. Perhaps you can assure him of your love and caring while pushing him into the office of someone competent to listen to him. Until he is willing to face his own demons that are keeping him away from being with YOU in the present, you will not make it into the future.

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