How can I help my fiancé accept and let go of my past?

My fiancé and I come from a strong Christian background but both went off the "straight and narrow" once before. He is having a hard time accepting my past, especially that I'm not a virgin. He has a hard time in general accepting himself and others.

His insecurities are hurting our relationship. How can I help him let go of my past and decide to live in the present?

Allison  Velez
Allison Velez
Is your relationship worth it?

You are right that his insecurities are at the root of the issue.  You cannot change that for him.  He will have to do the work to handle those emotions on his own.  

What you can do is reassure him in whatever ways possible, but always recognizing that you can't "fix" this for him.  

When I work with people who struggle with their partner's past experiences, I always frame it like this:  Everything that you've experienced has resulted in you being the person you are today.  The person they claim to love.  If you had not gone through some of those experiences, you would not be in the position you're in now, ready to commit to him and know that you're satisfied with that.  

Just as when bad things happen to us, we have to find a way to appreciate the lessons learned your fiance has to accept that you're the person you are today because of what you have gone through.  Celebrate that you have moved through that and have landed in this perfect position with him!

Hope that helps, 

Allison 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Cory Ian Shafer LPC
Cory Ian Shafer LPC
Psychotherapist, Jungian, Hypnotherapy
This suffering and clinging to the past, especially a troubled past or a past that we dont like, may be  amplified due to the Christian framework that may be built into your life. I am not averse to religion, i just think that many times it puts unreasonable expectations on us and helps us to form a guilt complex or perhaps even insecurities, we are humans and humans make mistakes. you mention the straight and narrow, this is a notion that you must give up on and let go, humans can never travel the straight and narrow for their whole lives there are bounds to be mistakes, we are the most fallible species on the planet and please tell your fiance to have some mercy on himself, he is not perfect. Here is a story about clinging on to things you may find useful to mediate on:

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all -- young and old, rich and poor, good and evil -- the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current was what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."

The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!"

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the messiah, come to save us all!"

And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."

But they cried the more, "Savior!" all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a savior.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Your patience with his pace of accepting your past, is the factor most in your control in this situation.

Everyone accepts a new understanding at their own particular rate.  Yours may be faster than his pace.

Since it is possible he may accelerate his pace of accepting your past if he knows that this is a priority for you, tell him about your own discomfort .

Even if knowing how you feel does not motivate him to a quicker pace of accepting your past, you will have the peace of mind to know you gave him all the information you possibly had to give.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Toni Genovese
Toni Genovese
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Sometimes we have difficulty keeping the past in the past. The best way to build a great relationship and have a great future, believe it or not, is to be firmly placed in the present. That means that when we stay in the moment with our partner and can notice what we are experiencing in the here and now we reap the best benefits of that relationship. We notice the good things that are happening in the moment. We are reacting to what we are experiencing in the moment, not reacting to a worry about the past. We notice, especially, who the person is right now and not who they were in the past.  We can connect with the things we love about them, too.

I think it is great that you want to help him and the choice to stay in the present and move forward in the relationship will mostly be up to him. We cannot change another person. It sounds like couples counseling might be a great step for you because you can both learn the skills you need to stay in the present and also learn some helpful "active listening" skills so that you can really listen to one another and understand each other. Communication skills can really be helpful. You can both have the opportunity to hear each other and support each other. We cannot change the past, but we can create the future we want.

Best of luck to you both! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, DCC, CCTP
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

One of the sometimes difficult things about being in a relationship is the fact that you can make goals for yourself, but you can't make goals for your partner. If your fiancé wants to learn to live more in the present and learn to let go of the past or move in a different direction, you can certainly assist him, but you can't independently make it happen.

I wonder if both of you would be willing to have a discussion where he is able to explain to you what he is experiencing and you are able to listen for five, 10, 15 minutes in a way that is not blaming or pointing fingers or asking him to change, but just listening (kind of like an investigative reporter) so you can have more details and ask questions that you may have about what certain things mean, when it feels like to to him when this is discussed, etc. At that point, maybe he would willing to listen to your thoughts on the subject as well.

Also, if he wants to make a change, it may be helpful to see a therapist who specializes in working with couples. Sometimes changes such as these require a great deal of personal awareness and there can be quite a bit of emotions attached, so it is often helpful to have someone there to assist.

It may also be nice to have a discussion where you consider what makes you feel valued, appreciated, special, or loved, and also consider what makes your fiancé feel that way.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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