How Do I Deal With A Boyfriend Who’s Way More Experienced? Ask A Pro

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Dear Head Pro,

My question is twofold:

I'm a freshman in college and I've been dating the same guy for about six months and we decided about a month ago to have a formal relationship as opposed to just dating. At the beginning of the year he was a big party boy who got around, but slowed down after we got serious. However, I found out that he had sex with one other person during the phase of us hooking up regularly, but when we were not yet officially committed. I was wondering if you think that is okay and just part of college, or if that's shady? I couldn't voice my discomfort when it was happening because I didn't know about it.

Also, he is a senior and has a lot more experience than me, and sometimes when he talks about his past relationships or hookups I feel uncomfortable. He's definitely gotten around after four years of college, but I have only had sex with him so I feel like I can't have the same stories or talk about past experiences. We're very open with each other and can tell each other anything but where should I draw the line to knowing/talking about the things we've done with other people? Part of me is obviously interested and wants to know, but I'm pretty sure its unhealthy to be thinking about all the shit your boyfriend has done with other girls. I'm really just looking for your opinion on what's normal in relationships and how I should personally deal with my feelings of jealousy and discomfort knowing that my boyfriend has had a lot of sexual relations in the past. Just thinking about it makes me feel unsettled and I need advice on how to deal. 

Warm regards,
See no evil, hear no evil

Dear See no evil, hear no evil,

You’re definitely right that thinking about your current lover’s past exploits can make you feel queasy, so take comfort in knowing that it’s normal. As far as the shadiness of his earlier exploits, that all depends on perspective. For you, coming out of high school where there’s not really a “hookup culture” (Christ, at least I hope there isn’t), it could definitely come across as sketchy. For him, having been in the thick of it for the past four years, he was just doing what people do. I’m going to say that provided he was safe about it, not misleading at the time and faithful now that you’re official, he’s in the clear. After all, how would he know where a relationship with a freshman would take him?

(What’s up with that, btw? I mean you can’t help who you like, but unless he's going to grad school or becomes a townie, how do you intend to sustain this? That, to me, seems like the more pressing question.)

As for part two, under no circumstances do you want to hear about what he was up to before you, but the other side of that coin is that he can’t un-fuck these people, either. FWIW, the whole “we have a very open relationship where we can tell each other anything” is kind of a bullshit thing that I think only college-aged people do. Some things are meant to be kept private, including the details of that thing your ex used to do with her tongue. I would suggest setting some boundaries. Say “hey, I like being with you and I know the past is the past, but I would feel much more respected if we could keep the talk of past relationships to a minimum.” That’s just good policy, whether you’ve been with one person or 100.

The thought of a 22-yr-old guy growing out of being a “party boy” is hilarious,

Head Pro

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