Your boyfriend has slept with other women. Hopefully he isn’t currently sleeping with other women, but we know he has slept with women in the past. He’s also probably fallen in love, and he might even be carrying others in his heart.
What many of us do is run from this truth because it is painful. We don’t like the idea that our partner has a romantic past. We want to be special. We want to feel safe.
This makes sense, but our response is backwards. Instead of running from our partner’s romantic history, we should embrace it.
How to Rock Your Man’s World
What we want is safety. Hearing about other women doesn’t bring this safety because they are a threat. His ex and his past sexual exploits typically make us feel uncomfortable because on some level we worry that we won’t measure up, or we’ll find we aren’t actually that special.
The truth is that knowing our partner’s history does the opposite: It makes us special. It brings us closer and it makes us invaluable. That ultimately leads to safety in the relationship, which is what we want. The surest way we can help our relationship is by hearing about those ex-girlfriends!
That’s because when we hear about those nitty-gritty details we are bridging the gap between us and them, which is the secret sauce for a strong relationship. Instead of us and them, each with our own private history and past experience, we’re learning and adopting his history as our own. We’re coming together and becoming a part of our partner, which is much closer than two people who stay separate by not deeply knowing each other’s stories and past experience.
When we can hear all the stories and take ownership of our partner’s narrative, we become special because we become part of our partner. Others draw a line and stay emotionally separate from our guy, but we get close and hear the whole story. That makes us safe and important, the person who knows our partner the most and is on the inside with them, not on the outside.
At first our partner might think it is weird or worry where this is going. He’ll start defensive, fearful it is a trap fueled by jealousy. But if we’re sincere and show him that we’re truly playing on his team, this defensiveness will subside over time and he’ll come to love us all the more. There will be a connection and acceptance that will rock his world.
Playing at the Pro Level
Of course, hearing about other women is tough. I see this all the time with my clients, and I know it from firsthand experience! We’re trained for jealousy.
The trick is practice and how we position it in our mind.
We don’t start by asking for the sex scenes and the scary stuff like how he really still loves his ex because that will freak us out and engage our biological defense mechanisms. Instead, we start with the easy stuff: names, pedestrian details like where they went on dates, timelines. We then slowly, cautiously, move into scarier territory as we build momentum from connecting over the easy stuff.
Even more importantly, connecting with our partner on the pro level requires a shift in perspective. We can’t truly feel comfortable hearing the details until we own the narrative. We have to put ourselves in our partner’s shoes and hear their past as if it were our own. We don’t mind our own past because we lived it. Similarly, we get comfortable with our partner’s past by treating him as an extension of ourselves and the story as part of our own history we’re just now hearing for the first time.
Make him your own, not someone separate from you! Hear his stories with you as the protagonist, not as the threatened other woman.
Many people settle for weak relationships because they are too scared to actually know and connect with their partner’s past. We know better. His ex is our secret weapon for a strong relationship.