I’ve been married for three years. It was an arranged marriage. At a very early stage I’d started suspecting that my wife had had sex before marriage. This disturbed me deeply and we’ve had innumerable discussions about this since then.
We live with my parents. Recently others in the family eavesdropped on us and unfortunately managed to listen in on some of our private conversations regarding this issue, i.e. her experience of sex before marriage. This was deeply humiliating and painful for both of us.
My father has recently taunted her with this overheard info first time in three years. I can’t tell you how guilty I feel.
At the same time I can’t drive away the visions of her having sex before marriage with another man. I find myself wondering about the details like how she managed to have sex before marriage with anyone in a small town, how deeply in love she must’ve been to have disregarded the most important family restriction, whether she gave him farewell sex etc.
She hasn’t confessed anything about any sex before marriage to this date in spite of my insistence. Whenever I ask her anything about this she gives vague replies, urging me to move on and look at the future instead of the past. I’d expressed intentions of joining Facebook and connecting with her batch mates in the hope of finding out about her past and whether she had sex before marriage. She vehemently opposed this and refused to give away even the names of her classmates. Incidentally, one of her friends visited us and hinted that my wife is “not as simple as she pretends to be”.
As of today I’ve planned to post questions about her past relationship(s) in the confessions page of her school. I’ve let her know of my intentions. This has made her very nervous and disturbed. Ironically, me too.
In spite of what all this might suggest, I love her. Genuinely. Please help me.
Sex before marriage? Don’t dwell on it
Normally I would tell you to close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it go. Usually you achieve nothing by finding out the details of your spouse’s sex-life before he/she met you. That kind of probing is guaranteed to make any relationship worse.
However, there’s another aspect to this in your case.
You’ve mentioned one of her friends has tried dropping you hints about her past. The only way knowing everything about one’s spouse’s past life can help is in tackling nosy outsiders like this friend, eager to spill the beans and laugh as the two of you shred your married life to pieces. That’s something you have a right to protect yourself against.
So the middle ground here is to know only as much as is necessary, and in this case you have a right to demand that information from your wife.
What you need to know about sex before marriage
Have an open discussion with her. Tell her first that you love her as she is, and that you have realized that finding out intricate details about her past life is not going to help your relationship. So you don’t want to know any details.
This will put her at ease.
Then mention to her that, at the same time you don’t want to receive info about her past life from outsiders and look like a fool. Between the two of you, you might have issues (every couple has). But to outsiders, you must put up a joint front – you must look like one inseparable unit. Hence you need to know at least what others know – i.e. basics like how many past relationships she’s been in, how many of them she’s had sex with and who was the last. Emphasize that you don’t want to know any details. This would increase her trust in you manifold.
Believe me Anon, you do not need to know any more than this to ward off well-meaning hints and suggestions from outsiders.
At the same time you must promise (her and yourself) never to entertain these advances from outsiders.
How to tackle “sex before marriage” blackmailers
What does not entertaining their advances mean?
It would mean the following:
- When someone hints to you that they can give you info about your wife’s past life, the first thing you should do is change the topic and discretely make it clear that you don’t want to discuss your wife’s private life with them. Yes, I know it will be difficult to overcome your urges of curiosity in such situations but youhave to do it for the sake of your relationship.
- If they persist, you might even have to tell that to them in as many words. Tell them, “If there’s anything you want to tell me about my wife, you needn’t, ’cause I already know everything about her. And I’m sure if you had to choose whom to trust between your spouse and anyone else, you’d choose your spouse. Me too. :).” That should kill their excitement as they realize you’re not going to believe anything they say.
- In the rarest of rare cases, if they directly give you unsolicited information about your wife in spite of your lack of interest, you should stay calm and just say, “I already know the truth”, without confirming whether you believe them or not. (If they’re telling you the truth, they should get the impression that you already know it. If they’re making up lies they should get the impression that you can see through them.)
Sex before marriage is a private issue
Coming to the question of your parents’ reaction – you should remember that your wife is living with your parents. It’s she who’s moved to a new home and made a new family her own, not them. Hence it’s your responsibility to make sure she doesn’t receive unwarranted treatment from them. You have to make it very clear to your parents and the rest of your family that you and your wife respect them and have responsibilities towards them, but your private life is yours. And their interference in it is entirely unwelcome.
Spouses might have the right to ask each other private questions. Their parents and extended families have absolutely none.
But each Indian family works in its own complicated way (don’t take it personally, I know “we’re like that only”;)). I understand it might be impossible for you to convey this to your parents in as many words. If that’s the case, tell them politely (not in front of your wife, of course) that if they have any questions about your wife, they can ask you, not her, and not in front of her.
Let me know what action you took.
All the best. :)