Dimelo: "I'm Not Sure I Can Handle My Boyfriend's Hidden Past. Should I Leave Him?"


Dear Pauline,

Today I found out that my boyfriend of one year has had a lot of sexual partners (I had an idea of how many, but not THAT many!). I also found out that he has done illicit drugs, which he’s admitted to doing twice in the time we have been together. I just don't know what to do. I really do love him but should I leave him?


Sticker Shocked


Dear Sticker Shocked,

I'm constantly amazed at how much energy so many people waste focusing on numbers: How much we make and how much they make; how much we weigh today versus five minutes ago and how many calories we need to burn to work off that last slice of cheesecake. Dejame decirte why I don't play that game: Whether it’s on the scale or on the tag in our jeans, or the number of notches on a boyfriend's bedpost or our own, numbers don't define who we are. Hanging the fate of your relationship on how many girls your boyfriend had sex with before he met you is about as smart as basing your self-worth on whether the scale called you a fat ass today.

The Husband and I had The Numbers conversation once and I remember feeling intense relief when he said he was never going to tell me what his Number was. I had been nervous thinking he was going to judge me for my own because I thought it was too high. The Husband's refusal to spill it told me a few things (all of which apply to you):

Numbers are absolute. Humans are not. While 2 + 2 will always equal 4, who we are today is not who we were yesterday or last week or who we will be tomorrow. With every experience, we grow, change and evolve. Add up 2 + 2 again and again and the answer stays the same.

It's up to us to make up our minds on the impact The Number will have on our relationships. The Husband knew this when he told me he wasn't going to share, which by default, told me it was probably pretty high. I could have screamed and yelled and given him ultimatums on what would happen if he didn't tell me, and I could have judged him and dumped him for it. He waited for me to decide on my reaction, saw that I didn't give a sh*t, and then he didn't dump me because I didn't make a big deal out of something that was nothing. That being said, you have every right to ask your boyfriend to be tested for STDs, and get testing for yourself, just to be safe.

You also need to be firm with him on your stance on drugs and are totally allowed to play the ultimatum game with him on this particular point. He can either drop the drugs or you drop him until he gets his stuff together. But don't ever allow judgment to trump love. Ever.

And 2 + 2 still equals 4,