I'm Jealous of my Boyfriend's Exs
Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
Me and my boyfriend have been together couple of years now. We are happy together, unless my jealous crawls in. Everybody says we look perfect and happy together. But I keep comparing myself to his exes and I always lose, though he says that he only loves me more than anything. I know he does and I love him, but I feel still that I can't offer him what his past has. As he keeps going on about the past best parties and events and travels and now (since I have been with him), nothing really interesting happens that lowers my self esteem even more..
He welcomed me in his house and has done everything for me to have happy life. He says it is OUR house now. Though I don't feel like that as everything here is his and after living here for a while photo mosaics of his exes where on the wall and love letters on the kitchen wall among other cards. It really makes me feel that I'm not belonging here. I know there are cupboards and drawers where I shouldn't look if I don't want to get hurt.
He is 10 years older than me. He has had very fun and exciting life. Also he has had very fun and cool girlfriends from models to famous people who have been appearing in magazines. He is very proud of that, he keeps every little piece of memory of them. Just couple of weeks ago while cleaning the house I came across of naked picture of his exes, plus videos. I felt very unease about it. I made big sceen about, I wanted him to get rid of them, but he said that he wants to keep all the memories of his past. But I'm not sure if I want to live in the house with such a collection of the past?
I have wanted to put away other past things before, and we have had bad argument about it, but to be honest, I don't know if I ever will feel home, knowing that the naked collection is around. I just can't figure out why he would like to keep it??!! When he would like to look through them or to whom to show??!!
I have been never had such an insecurity and low self esteem problem before. It is really destroying very precious thing for me now. And I really make us unhappy.
I know I can't and shouldn't take his past away from him but how can I live in the same house, that I call my home, with his past ex sex collection? Please help!
OK, there are several things here. First, the basic issue. He loves you. You love him. He says he loves only you and is happy with you. No matter what else, you need to learn to trust him, accept that and accept the love. Jealousy is about a lack of trust. There are many therapists who specialize in jealousy and it might be good to talk to one. Because no matter what your boyfriend does - burn all other pictures, tear down all other photos - if you are jealous, that jealousy will remain. Those are all just instigators, but believe me, if those are gone you will find others to fuel the jealousy.
Second, the 'exciting life'. Everybody changes as they get older. That's why you see hordes of 20 year olds in dance clubs but very few 30 and 40 year olds. People just like different things as they get older. The toys you played with and loved when you were 8 probably weren't very exciting when you were 18. So yes, he had fun partying and traveling when he was younger. But he doesn't want to any more. His memories of those times are still fond. But it doesn't mean HE wants to do those things any more! I have to think of Rod Stewart (a famous musician) who married a much younger woman. She divorced him a few years later because all he wanted to do was stay home and chat with friends all night. She wanted to go partying. Sure, he used to party when he was younger. He just didn't want to any more. So accept that what your guys wants to do now is be with you. Think in your own life - aren't there things you did when you were 8 that you think back fondly about - but that you have no interest in doing now?
OK, next, the photos and letters. This is where it starts to get more iffy. Yes, it's normal to KEEP all of those things. They are a part of your past and something again you look back on fondly. When you divorce someone, you don't burn all the pictures of all the vacations you took together! Well, if you're balanced you don't :) Those were all a part of your life, a chapter of what made you what you are today. You don't just blot out all you were before you met someone. Those experiences are valuable, because they helped shape you for your current self. If anything, you should be proud of all of what you went through which made you what you are now.
But on the other hand, having them out and on display is a bit much. Your current partner should always be your primary interest, your primary pride. It should be the couple-image you want others to imagine. You shouldn't want people to come up to you and say "Hey, you're the one that dated Demi Moore!" You should want them to think of you as the one happily WITH your current partner. So in a way, having the old pictures up of him with sexy models is more like he's using them to say "Look - I was so hot that I could have this sexy girl!" sort of like a trophy or something. And using women as trophies is a very, very unhealthy way to look at a relationship.
So I would try to get the jealousy thing under control because undoubtely it affects how he reacts to EVERY request you make. You need to show him that you're working on the jealousy and that this request you are making is a LOGICAL one not an "insanely jealous" one. And then say, that you've been together for a few years now, and it's time to say to each other and to the world that you two are the main relationship for each other. That to have love letters and couple-photos of old relationships is in appropriate, because they celebrate a love that is in the past. Your focus should be on celebrating the love that is in the present. Don't you have enough photos of you two together, doing things, that you would be proud to put up? He doesn't have to destroy them, but he doesn't have to put those up INSTEAD of pictures of you up. That would be inappropriate.
-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com