Dear Abby: After husband admits his promiscuous past, I like him much less

He had said he had three partners before the marriage, but it turns out it was more than 50.

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DEAR ABBY: I met my husband on the job when we were one year out of school. We are both 36. We dated for three years and were compatible in every way. Ten years later, we have two kids (7 and 5), own a home and are financially secure.

When we dated, we discussed our “history,” and he told me that he’d had five prior girlfriends. I had three boyfriends in college. Well, I learned a few months ago — at his reunion — that he completely “forgot” the part about his competitive frat-boy past with hook-ups and one-night stands. He now estimates that he was with over 50 different girls during college, but says it “shouldn’t bother me” because it was meaningless sex and in the past. He said he told me “five” because they were the ones he counted as relationships.

Now I see women on his social media who went to the same school and I obsess about how they fit into his past. It’s driving me crazy, and I feel like just a number now. I know if this situation were reversed, he’d flip out about it.

I wish I had never found this out because I see him differently now, and no longer want to be close to him. He’s a good father and husband, but I’m struggling with how to accept this new information, and I need some guidance. — WISH I DIDN’T KNOW

DEAR WISH: People usually lie because they aren’t proud of the truth. You say he has been a good husband and father. This is why you need to find it in your heart to forgive him. If you have caught him in lies since then, you have a reason to be reacting the way you have. However, if you haven’t, please consider talking with a licensed marriage and family therapist until you have worked it through. The resentment you feel could destroy your marriage. Please do not let that happen.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently moved in with my grandmother, partly to help out and partly because I lost my job due to underlying health conditions that made dealing with COVID incredibly difficult. Now that we’re close to family again, some of them think they need to dictate what we do. The biggest topic is whether I should try going back to work now.

My husband is adamant that he wants me home until it’s safer for me to go out again, but my father thinks it’s not a good idea, and insists that my husband doesn’t understand “everything.” I don’t want to make either of them angry, but I feel like I need to stick with my husband, and I don’t know how to get my father to understand because he’s stubborn. Any advice? — TORN, AND TIRED OF IT

DEAR TORN: Your husband is protective, and for that I applaud him. If you can’t work because an underlying health condition makes you more vulnerable to COVID, then as much as your father would like you out of the house and working during the day, you cannot do it. Your life could be at risk. What does your doctor have to say about this?

You are no longer a little girl. It’s time for a family discussion to iron this out, including what your father meant when he said your husband doesn’t “understand.” If it can’t be resolved in a mature and respectful manner, you and your husband may need to make other living arrangements.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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