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Is It Okay to Not Forgive a Girlfriend's Past
Hi Dr Paul,My girlfriend of 10 months gave me her old cellphone to sell on ebay. I went to inspect it for proper functioning and in the mean time I accidentally walked into Bluebeard's closet and opened up pandora's box. I see all these texts that led up to the time of right before my girlfriend met me (when she got rid of the phone). It was gut wrenching to see the conversations she's had with her past men. Nothing explicit, except I now know she's had a threesome in the past (which she told me she's never had one) and texts like "You can come over, I'm tipsy." Among other conversations.
Dr. Paul, I feel bad now....Not for looking at the phone. But the feelings I now have knowing I've been lied to and now knowing her sexual past. Do I have a right to be mad? I also value her less now knowing about her past sexual escapades...knowing about her going out and sleeping with other men. Of course none of this happened while she was with me and I know she is faithful but just knowing she lied to me about her past has hurt me enough. Is it wrong to hold someone's past against them.
Probably that's why the myth of pandoras box says don't open it! We can't hold people's fantasy lives against them. Nor pasts occurring before we met them.
But we also don't owe people our love or desire if the story of being together doesn't inspire, but shames us instead. Shame of having that onus in our heads, that knowledge gnawing at you. But perhaps just as easily to say what kind of person flippantly hands you their phone with all kinds of damning stuff in it.
I think at very least it merits a convo about honesty and the past, scanning yourself to see if attraction has changed for you or is recoverable. It's ok to honor your own feelings and experience even if purely irrational and passion-based when it comes to the attraction aspect. Vows of commitment are a different matter though. That's why I mention a conversation as opposed to carte blanche breakup plans.
The girl meant you no specific harm though. Keep that in mind too even if you do eventually end it.
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