In 1999, when my boyfriend of three years broke up with me to marry another girl, I was very deeply hurt. The little stability I had managed to gain in my life turned really ugly. I always had very low self-esteem, and our breakup just made it worse.
So since then, up until about a year ago, I had 13 one-night stands, one four-month relationship, and one yearlong relationship.
I started having one-night stands with strangers to build up my confidence. This mostly happened when I was drunk. It was almost as if having sex with these men was the only way I would know that they liked and actually wanted me. I always felt remorse afterward, but I kept repeating my mistakes. It's pathetic. But after my last relationship (before the one I'm in now) ended, I started taking care of myself and stopped all that. But now my fear of not being good enough for anyone is heightened by the way my current boyfriend feels about my past.
We have been together for about four months and have talked about marriage. Since he asked, I told him my entire history. Now I find out that it's really hard for him to deal with the fact that the woman he wants to marry is a slut.
It is very frustrating for me, too, because he refuses to listen and understand my reasons for such unacceptable behavior. He is adamant that it is just about the sex.
I have been stupid, and now my relationship with the man I love is suffering. I don't blame him for being upset, because the news was so overwhelming. Even though he tries not to think about it, it has slowed down our progress toward a wedding.
But is the problem really with me? I wish I could erase my past. It's shameful, and despite the fact that I want to block it, it will always be a part of me.
I live in Pakistan, and relationship counseling really isn't that common here. I'm really not sure he would be up for it even if we could find someone. I hope you can advise me how I can manage the situation. We love each other, and we want to be together forever. Please, please, please, tell me how to deal with this situation, but my most critical question is . . . AM I A SLUT?
I'm going to ignore the glaring cultural differences we've got happening here, because since you're asking an American, you obviously want an American POV. (Which is good, as it's the only one I'm equipped to give—and some might even argue that.)
So to answer your question: No, you're not a slut, and your jackass boyfriend has to quit calling you that immediately. For real.
Like most people I know, you went through a little slutty phase—big deal. If it makes you feel any better, I was 10 times the ho-bag you ever were. Yeah, you probably made some mistakes (who hasn't?), but you escaped unscathed and learned something in the process. Some people work out their problems by stuffing their pieholes with Snickers bars or drinking to excess. All you did was sleep around a little bit. You didn't gain 200 pounds, get arrested, or call anyone "sugar tits" in the process. I'd say you're doing just fine.
Adults have histories, and yours happens to include a dozen or so more penises than your man is comfortable with; but they really have nothing to do with him or your relationship. This is his own insecurity manifesting itself in a rather ugly way. I've got a big fat feeling that your man's main problem is that his number is lower than yours, which is why it's always a good idea to gloss over specifics when delving into such topics. But what's done is done. (Next time, keep your lips zipped, woman!)
Señor Snarkypants has to figure out whether or not he's going to let this go. (Which he should, because it's none of his business.) If he can, then great. I wish you both heaps of happiness. But if he can't, screw him (not literally!) and move on.
Problems letting go? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.