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My Wife Must Be A Virgin!

QUESTION: I just got married. Both my wife and I came from very restricted and traditional families in China. I've known her about two years. Now she is 26. Before marriage, I asked her if she had any relationships. She said she was very simple, never had. She always very careful about staying out alone with male friends, and she always called her mother if it was late.

In my mind, I never doubted she was still a virgin. until the night we got married. I found out not only she was so experienced in all kinds of techniques, but also her vagina was so loose. I almost fainted instantly. Even when I asked her, she still tried to lie to me. All of sudden, my expectations of her went down the drain and my love for her seemed to start falling.

I started to guess at what happened in her past. On one hand I want to know her past, on the other hand, I felt disappointed to learn anything relating to her past relationships. Finally, I pin pointed out logically without her telling me that during the two years we've known each other, she had relationship with someone, not one but two or three, while she was in school. At that time, I was away and working overseas. I called many times from overseas, she was never home on weekends and I sent mail she never answered. I did not doubt anything at the time.

Now I feel so hurt, because by our culture, I really don't have face to discuss this with anyone. I believe my love for her has already been discounted. To western culture, this pre-marital relationship doesn't mean anything. But to me this means a lot. Is divorce the only choice now? I am very scared. We are married less than two weeks!

I hated that she didn't tell me before hand and I didn't even try to make sure before marriage. Now there is no way out except to accept her. Why didn't she give me a choice? We may never have gotten married. Her explanation is that she wanted to give a complete her to me without letting me feel let down. I completely lost my trust in her. I cannot make sure what could happen in the future while I am not around.

What complicates the situation is that every time we make love, I think that she has done this to another man, immediately, my desire disappears. I really need your help.

ANSWER: You have tried, judged and convicted your wife with insufficient evidence! Your conclusions, though they may seem correct to you, are constructed from your imagination. Although you may have cause to believe your wife has lied to you, you have jumped from struggling with trust to full-blown marital infidelity in the future.

You are caught between a rock and a hard place by your cultural expectations. As in any marriage, you will have to come to terms with reality over fantasy and decide on the best course of action, whether or not your spouse fits cultural "guidelines".

You are hurting from the belief that your wife has been with another man before you were together and that therefore she is less than an acceptable spouse. You torture yourself with fantasies of her involvement with others. You are also suffering pain based upon your belief that she did lie to you and therefore you cannot trust her in the future. Still, your evidence may be substantiated only in your mind. Let's take a further look at each of these factors.

If in fact your wife has lied to you, your hurt is understandable. But you might fare better to wonder "why" and the circumstances which may be surrounding her betrayal. What if you are right that she was with another, but her sexual involvement was involuntary in some way? Would that make a difference to you? What if she were sexually abused and either "repressed" this trauma or does not define involuntary sex as losing her "virginity" and right to marry? Or if she were with someone out of choice, would this by default mean that she was unfit to become someone's bride? Is it the case that you would have decided she was "spoiled goods" and unfit to marry for the fact of another penis in her vagina?

If so, whatever the reasons for previous sexual involvement, she certainly would be culturally pressured to "lie" or forever be scorned and deprived of a "normal" life. Loving your wife may also mean understanding that trust is a two way street. If voicing the "truth" in your culture means she is left with no recourse other than your ultimatum for divorce, then perhaps she, too, has reason for distrust. In fact, you may both be victims of your culture's sexual views. But this is not new. Romeo and Juliet played these odds, too! As well as other couples that have beat the odds and remained happily alive and married. Surely, your cultural literature is replete with romantic stories of lovers that defied its' societal standards.

You will need to look outside of your culture's norm and into your heart on this one. What other qualities does your wife bring to your marriage, other than sexual pleasures? Is she kind? Does she possess qualities that you want in a woman you marry? What are her particular interests and skills? There must have been other things you saw in your potential bride that attracted you to her other than the expectation of a tight vagina. Yet, now that you are married you are allowing yourself only to view her through this particular filter.

Do not sell your marriage short by ignoring qualities that you believed would make her a good partner and perhaps a fine mother to your children. These, too, are no doubt qualities your culture holds dear. Expand your focus. If you can see beyond your pain, you may realize that no matter what, her vagina would have relaxed to this state with you anyway in a matter of time. It is a matter of your belief that she becomes undesirable to you. You imbue the possibility that she is not a virgin with the emotional meaning of reducing your self-esteem.

Perhaps you can seek out others who may have been in your same situation. Surely, this can't be that uncommon in your culture. Finding out how other husbands may have handled this conundrum you find yourself in might give you hope in your marriage. If you are able to shake yourself free of these cultural shackles, you may find solace in your wife's good qualities. Is it possible for you to see yourself in a different role? Could you forge a stronger bond as cultural bandits together? Perhaps you could then enjoy the wonderful love-making techniques she brings to this marriage. Undying marital fidelity and passion might even become your reward!

Certainly, it will be important to address the issue of truth. Honesty is forthcoming in an atmosphere in which ultimatums are put away, and it is safe enough to reveal our truest nature. You are now married to this woman. If you want this marriage to work, consider giving up your ultimatums of divorce and your obsessions with her past. Establish a bond with her to work through this honesty issue.

If coming out with the truth means automatically that the marriage is over, it is unlikely that you will ever really get to the bottom of this. Try a different approach!


Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.

Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.

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