Husbands sexual history destroys me


My husband and I got married really quickly and just recently had our first daughter (2 weeks old). We’ve been together almost 3 years now. When I started dating him, he was so humble, down to earth, and easy going. He made comments about how he liked that I was also that way so he didn’t feel pressure to be someone else. He likes that I don’t wear makeup and he has made comments before about women who he felt try too hard to get attention. My interactions with him gave me the impression that we have the same values of not trying to live up to societal standards and expectations, doing things outside of our authenticity, and focused on a deeper set of values about what’s important in life. He respects and loves his mom so much that I felt his sense of respect for women in general must be solid.

Anyway, so over time I’ve discovered that he actually has slept around quite a bit before me. Mostly when traveling. Sounds like tons of one night stands. I’ve never had one, ever. This is really eating at me and I’m struggling to not let it affect how I see him, what I think he feels about me and our life, and how we interact.

I get that society thinks casual sex is no big deal as long as you don’t hurt anyone else and are protected, but I personally feel like it demonstrates so much about underlying values. A one night stand is fundamentally about serving your own needs without responsibility for the other person or their feelings. You don’t have to invest anything in building intimacy, working through conflict, and can walk away without a care to satisfy a temporary want.

I see the commonality in how we interact with this behavior. He has lied about stupid things to avoid conflict. He works insane hours some days and prioritizes minimizing his work pressure to satisfy his boss over being home and prioritizing family dynamic. When addressed, he just says “well I could stay home instead.” He often says things like that to just shut down the conversation entirely. He has threatened divorce many times during fights because he cannot stand to listen to my perspective in conflict. I don’t accuse or attack, I use “I” statements, I listen, I apologize, etc but he twists what I say, isn’t interested in common understanding, and will get downright mean to shut down conversations. He absolutely refuses to go to counseling and says basically all the issues are mine, taking zero responsibility for how they initiate or how they escalate. His response is his responsibility.

Anyway, the actual behavior of sleeping around wholeheartedly bothers me. It isn’t aligned with my values and had I known earlier, I may not have pursued the relationship further. I don’t know. He is otherwise a great husband. But now here we are, super deep in this. And I’m judging him.

I don’t know how to not feel that his values are way out of line with mine, that he will walk away without concern for how it affects others, that lying to avoid conflict isn’t an issue for him... that he values our intimacy together. That sex can even be intimate or loving for him. I mean, does he see every woman as a potential sexual partner? Does he see previous sexual partners in strangers? How do his memories show up when we’re together?

Curious for those who have also had colorful pasts how this affects your relationships, how you view your partners, are you not always looking? I don’t mean to be offensive but I want to understand so I can stop judging him. I appreciate any insight.