Style Sex & Relationships

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Dear Mary: My wife told me she was a virgin when we got married, but she lied

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Mary O’Conor

I'm struggling with something lately. Me and my wife are married now for 10 years and have two beautiful kids. We were both raised by Christian families and believed in no sex before marriage.

We were married young and we are now in our mid-thirties. I was a virgin when we married and I believed she was because that's what she told me.

Looking back I had some doubts but did not want to dwell on it as I loved her so much. The problem now is that in a conversation recently she mentioned a boyfriend while in college.

I thought I was her first boyfriend. When I pressed her harder she admitted to having had sexual relations with this boy and did not want to tell me as she was afraid she would lose me.

I am devastated. I feel she betrayed my trust. Now I'm constantly dwelling on this and it's affecting my day-to-day life. I'm afraid to talk to my friends as they knew all along we maintained purity before marriage.

I feel embarrassed and it has affected the way I look at her. It's like I have been living a lie all along.

So far our marriage has been beautiful and enjoyable. But now I feel like I don't know who she is any more.

What shall I do? I thought of seeking counselling but I also feel that our society as it is today will not understand my predicament.

Please help.

Mary replies:  I can understand your feeling of betrayal because you thought your wife shared your belief in something that was quite fundamental to your Christian ethos - no sex before marriage.

Obviously her beliefs were not quite as strong as yours. Perhaps if she had met you first, before her other boyfriend, things would have turned out differently.

However, despite you finding out about her previous sexual history, she is still the same person that you met, fell in love with and married, and you will have to keep reminding yourself of this. The only difference is that you thought she was a virgin when you met and she wasn't.

Would you have preferred if she lied to you when you pressed her about a previous relationship, one which you didn't know about? It would have been easy for her to say that she never had sex with him, instead of which she owned up to the truth.

You have to give her credit for this because it cannot have been easy for her, especially as she knew how strongly you felt and your possible reaction to her admission.

There is absolutely no need to speak about this to your friends. This is a very private matter between you and your wife, and nothing at all can be gained, other than sharing your feelings, by discussing it with them.

If you still feel the need to get it off your chest having written to me then by all means speak to a counsellor. Any accredited counsellor will have been trained to be non-judgmental and accept a client's beliefs and moral code.

You have so much going for you right now that it would be a shame if it were all spoiled by your inability to move on and look forward to a continuing happy relationship rather than looking back in judgment.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, 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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