DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old woman with a colorful past. During college, I had flings with about a dozen men while I was in a long-distance relationship with "Michael." I was not mature enough to break up with Michael or to restrain myself, but I have accepted my past mistakes and moved on.
I have been married to "John" for more than two years. We have a monogamous relationship and I take my wedding vows seriously.
We argue all the time, and John throws my past in my face every time we have a dispute -- especially if we are arguing about sex. He says things like, "You sure liked having sex with all those other guys," or, "You must be getting busy with someone else since you're not interested in me tonight." John believes that because I cheated on Michael years ago that I'll cheat, or have cheated, on him, too.
John thinks that until I show remorse for my past, we will never get over it. I am sick of having my past thrown in my face and sick of apologizing for it. (Apparently an apology isn't remorse enough.)
In less than a month, we will be in his sister's wedding, and I don't want to fake a happy marriage.
John will not agree to counseling nor can we afford it. I don't like thinking this, but I feel emotionally abused. Please help. -- THE GHOST OF COLLEGE PAST
DEAR GHOST: Much as we might wish to, none of us can change the past. Mature individuals apologize to those they may have hurt and then incorporate the lessons they have learned into their present behavior.
Punishing you for what happened years ago serves no purpose and could be considered verbal abuse. Unless your husband can overcome his insecurity, bury the past and stop taking potshots at you, your libido will continue to wither and your marriage won't survive.