In today’s video, I’m going to share a way to reframe the question, “Does the number of people my girlfriend had sex with matter?” Hopefully, this will help you answer this question for yourself in a way that makes sense.

Read on or watch the video below if you find yourself thinking “My girlfriend’s number is too much to handle.”

Zachary Stockill: “Does my girlfriend’s number matter?” If you Google this question, you’re going to find a lot of extreme opinions. If you’re a guy looking for some clarity on this question for yourself, it’s tough. It’s a very polarizing question. And by the way, I’m using the genders that I’m using in this video because I have received this question almost exclusively from men over the years.

So to answer a few objections or questions right at the start: I’m not going to give you may “number” that I think is outrageous, because what is a high number for me may not be a high number for you, and vice versa. We’re all different, we all have different goals, values, and standards.

I’m a big advocate for having standards in your dating life, being extremely picky when it comes to the person you invite into your life on a long-term basis.

So if you ask me if your girlfriend’s number “matters,” my answer is yes.

But maybe not for the reasons you think.

When I get on these coaching calls with a lot of men in relationships, particularly boyfriends, and they ask me this question, we throw some ideas back and forth. I ask them more questions, I go a little deeper, and fundamentally, the issue for a lot of these guys is impulse control–rather than their girlfriend’s “number.”

“Does my girlfriend or wife have impulse control? Is impulse control important?” And my answer to that is, absolutely. And if you ask me, which is more important, my girlfriend’s number or impulse control, I will say that impulse control is about 100 times more important than any “number” you might throw at me.

my girlfriend's number is too much to handle

There are all kinds of sexy people out there, dating apps, social media, and ways that modern human beings connect with each other. There are all kinds of temptation, and if you’re interested in being in a long term relationship, or if you’re interested in getting married, impulse control is really important, because we’re all going to have moments when we’re tempted by the allure of someone new, or having a little risky fling.

Most people in relationships at one time or another, especially if you’re with someone for many years–you’re going to have moments of temptation.

And if you’ve made a commitment to be monogamous, obviously, impulse control is a big issue. It’s important to have some degree of impulse control and to expect the same from your partner.

So if you’re struggling with this question, “Does my girlfriend’s number matter?” Number one, I think the only way you can really know who someone is, is to watch their actions over long periods of time. Pay more attention to their actions over their words. I’m sure you’ve all heard the cliche, “actions speak louder than words.” It’s absolutely true. Talk is cheap. What people tell you about themselves often doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it can be important, interesting, and accurate about their character, values, and nature. But, if you really want to know who someone is, pay very little attention to what they say, and pay attention to what they do. Pay attention to their behavior.

And the second clause in that statement, “over long periods of time”, means: the longer the better. If someone is married for 20 years, and they’re faithful for 20 years, you can trust that behavior way more, and what it says about that person’s character, than someone you’ve been with for 20 days. The longer a track record someone has of consistent behavior, the more this gives you an insight into their true character and nature.

Now I can hear the objections already: “But Zach! People change all the time”.

Of course, they do. There’s no one glittering insight that we can look into that will give us the fundamental truth about who they are. Because human beings are nothing but change in many ways; we change all the time.

But if you’re interested in risk management, in terms of who you invite into your dating life, you should be looking out for these things. It’s important. And it helps the more you can look at long periods of time, the longer the better. That’ll give you a better insight into someone’s true nature and character. So if you’re dating a woman, and she says that she’s interested in a long term relationship in monogamy, but she’s cheated on, let’s say, four out of her five past boyfriends, perhaps this can give you more pause and give you more of an opportunity to reflect on her goals in the present because she’s got a track record of a certain kind of behavior that could indicate her values, and her problematic likely future behavior.

I didn’t say this is a sure thing because this is not science, and every relationship is a risk.

Every person is a risk. There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to relationships, dating, and the human heart. And I say this on this channel all the time because a lot of you watching me are more inclined to jealousy, to obsessive thinking, and a lot of us are looking for the “sure thing,” the safe bet, and it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist in investing, love and relationships. It doesn’t exist in the world. When we’re born, the only thing we know for sure, without any shadow of a doubt, is that we will die. Nothing else is guaranteed.

my girlfriend's number is too much to handle

There’s very little we can look to in life that is a sure thing, and relationships are sure as hell not a sure thing. And as I often emphasize, you’ll drive yourself and others absolutely crazy if you consistently go looking for the sure thing over and over and over again. Every relationship is a gamble. And at the end of the day, it comes down to what level of risk you’re comfortable with while realizing that there will be some degree of risk regardless of any relationship you enter.

Some guys were asking me, “Maybe I should find a virgin. I need to find a virgin woman because that’ll solve all my problems. That’ll be a more sure thing, a safer bet.” Let’s say you find some mythical virgin woman because that’s what you want. OK, fine. How sure are you that she won’t be inspired to cheat, run away or leave you because she wants to go out and find more experience down the line?

On the other hand, you could choose a woman who with a little more experience, who has clarity about who she is, what she really wants, and what makes her truly happy.

And she values you because she’s got something of a history to compare you to. She’s got something of a history of other guys that she can compare you to.

I know, for me, a certain amount of risk I’m willing to take on might be different than the risk that you’re willing to take on. I know that I’m a risk. Any woman who I’m dating, there are certain red flags with Zach… I’m under no illusions about myself. I am far from perfect. We’re all flawed. We’re all imperfect. We all have a past and that’s okay. That is modern dating in the 21st century, for better or worse.

So if your partner has a certain number that makes you uncomfortable, but she’s got a long track record, over long periods of time, of relatively consistent behavior, fidelity, emotional stability, maturity, loyalty, and impulse control, I think that is much more important than a particular number. And I hope you do too.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.