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Ask Athena: Should My Partner Know My Number of Lovers?

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Dear Athena,

I have been with the same man for seven years, but I was promiscuous from the time I was 15 to 18. I am now 29. Is my past relevant? Should he know my "number"?

Signed,

Promiscuous Past

Dear Promiscuous Past,

My short answer: Nobody has a right to know your "number" unless you care to share it. What difference does it make how many lovers you enjoyed before you met your current guy?

My long answer starts with a question: Why does this matter all of a sudden? You've been together seven years — that's pretty committed. So, why now? What's going on with you two that this has come up?

Have you heard of the seven-year itch? It's a term based on the notion that couples can get bored or antsy around the seven-year mark. Maybe there's a little bit of an itch going on here. Do you find yourself questioning your relationship?

I bring this up because, for some reason, you're feeling the need to own up to who you were once upon a time. Did you at one point lie about how many people you had slept with before him? Are you trying to come clean? Or is he suddenly questioning you about your past, and you feel ashamed? (Which you shouldn't, by the way.)

If your partner loves you now, he needs to learn to appreciate the past that shaped you — the good and the bad. Your "number," if you choose to share it, should be no threat to your current relationship. If it is, don't spend another seven years with someone who judges you for ancient history.

Yours,

Athena