Dear Mary: I lied to my husband about being a virgin

When my husband and I first started dating, I told him I was a virgin. I didn’t want to be looked at as a “slut” or anything along those lines.

We’ve been married for almost two years, and I recently came out and admitted to him that I had sex with my ex-boyfriend.

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Naturally, he’s hurt that I lied to him for so long.

He said the reason he fell so deeply in love with me was partly because he thought I was a virgin and had saved myself for him the whole time. How do I help him get past this?

I needed to get it off my chest and be honest with him.

He wasn’t mad that I wasn’t a virgin, he was just happy I was honest with him at first. Then it hit him, and he got upset, hurt, betrayed. Like I stole something from him.

It’s affected our marriage in a bad way, and I don’t know how to make it better. Is there anything I can do to make him realise that I made a mistake in my past, and an even bigger mistake in lying to him all this time?

I want to make him realise that the past doesn’t matter, and that I chose him. I married him, not my ex-boyfriend. Is there anything I can do?

Mary replies: I cannot go along with your assumption that because somebody has sex before they get married, they should be considered a slut.

I can fully understand why people, because of religious or moral beliefs, choose to remain a virgin until they marry, and that is totally their prerogative.

But imposing those beliefs or indeed religious conviction on others, and judging them because of this, is a step too far for me.

You needed to confess to your husband because you felt bad at having deceived him. But now he is upset, not because you lied to him, but because you had sex with somebody else – with whom you were in a relationship – before you had sex with him.

I think that the only way you can help your husband to move on is if you move on yourself, and forgive yourself for your perceived ‘sin’. After all, at the time you were with your ex, you obviously felt it was all right to have sex with him. You may even have thought that he was ‘the one’.

The past is over, and what you and your husband should be doing is looking forward and seeing how best you can make each other happy in the future.

This cannot be achieved by looking back and thinking ‘if only’. That will get you nowhere. You are quite right in pointing out that you chose to marry your husband and not anybody else.

So instead of telling yourself that you made a mistake, and feeling that you have to apologise for it, accept that you had sex with your ex in good faith.

Then tell your husband that you are sorry for lying to him about your past, but that is all, and then suggest that you both draw a line in the sand from when you married and get on with living. You will be truly glad that you did – looking backwards is a road to nowhere.


Advice for teenagers going on holidays with friends

With the Leaving Cert results due out on Tuesday, some of our younger readers will be heading off on holidays or festivals to celebrate the end of one chapter and the start of the next.

For a lot of teenagers, this may be their first holiday without parents, and while not wishing to be a killjoy, here are a few points to keep in mind.

■ Your parents were once as young as you are now, and excited about what life had to offer and ready to have adventures. They also made some mistakes or saw their friends making them, and now with the benefit of hindsight they don’t want you to make the same mistakes. So listen to what they have to say before you go, no matter how dull and boring you think they are.

■ Alcohol can be a great relaxant, but beyond a certain level, it turns into a depressant. So try to limit your intake to a reasonable amount.

■ It’s all right to say no – either to another drink or to being sexual. Nobody will think any less of you for either.

■ Don’t let your first time being fully sexual be with somebody that doesn’t mean a lot to you, and don’t do it with a lot of alcohol on board. You deserve better.

■ Practise safe sex. And that means protecting against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as pregnancy. So contraception as well as a condom. And if you intend having sex, be prepared and have your contraception organised before you go on holidays.

■ Keep in touch with home via text. Parents worry!


Mary O’Conor is a sex therapist and relationship counsellor.

You can contact Mary anonymously by visiting or email her at [email protected] or write c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately

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