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Wednesday, August 6,2014

Ask Dr. Happy

By Dr. Bob Nozik, MD  

“Dr. Happy” has been speaking and writing on happiness ever since developing his own deep, inner happiness 20 years ago. Bob is Professor Emeritus from UC. San Francisco and is the author of Happy 4 Life: Here’s How to Do It. Dear Readers, please send your happiness questions to “Ask Dr. Happy” at

Dear Dr. Happy, My daddy died when I was 12. I had to fight off several of my mom’s boyfriends after that. In High School, I developed a reputation for being promiscuous.

I liked the attention I got from the boys, and it made me feel more in control, like I held power over them. I’m 24 now and am engaged to marry my boyfriend, Sam, in the fall. Sam’s family is pretty conservative, and I’m afraid if someone exposes my wild past to Sam, he will reject me. Would it be better for me to reveal all to Sam or just hope he never finds out?

Worried Dear Worried, My advice falls somewhere in between saying nothing and “revealing all.” To enter into your marriage with a big lie, even a lie of omission, would be bad. For Sam to learn about your past from someone after you married could drive a huge wedge between the two of you. He almost certainly w o u l d f e e l deceived and cause a serious breach of trust between you. Still, there is no need for you to go into detail. Just tell him that you were young and foolish and because of your traumatic history after your dad died, you reacted by having sexual experiences you now regret. Sure, there is some risk. Sam could react badly and call off the wedding. Still, not telling him now would mean you’d never be free from worry that he’d learn of your past from someone who did not have your best interests at heart. And learning of it after marriage could drive a permanent wedge between you and Sam. When in doubt, being honest in a sensitive, caring way, will almost always be best for your relationship. There is a reason why the saying: “honesty is the best policy” was coined.


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