I'm Jealous about his Past
We often have visitors write in with solutions to each others' problems. Here is a visitor's solution to one of our visitor's questions.
Original Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Female
I have been with my partner for over a year and we have lived together for 7 months. He is 10 years older than me, but I regard this as a positive thing because I feel ready to settle down and start a family and men I have dated of my own age have not been ready for this type of relationship.
My partner and I are very close, but I am finding it impossible to cope with my feelings of jealousy about his past. This is the first time I have lived with a partner and my feelings for him are more deep than I have ever felt for anyone before. But his experiences in previous relationships stir up so many hurtful emotions in me- I feel jealous, betrayed and sometimes angry. This is made worse by the fact that I know it is not his fault, and neither of us can change his past. I also like the fact that we are open with eachother and he has felt comfortable discussing his past with me like I have with him, and I dont want this to change.
But I seem unable to deal with the fact that he has lived with other women aside from me and been in long term relationships before (the longest being his fiance 3 years ago, whom he was with for 6 years). I feel a lump in my throat when I think about him having sex with any of his ex's, or sharing nice holidays with them, or just simply being in love with them. It is particularly hard because I feel like I am experiencing so many 'firsts' with him, but he has already shared those experiences in other relationships before I met him. I try not to think about these things because it hurts, but for some reason it is always on my mind.
I see images in my head of him and his ex's (even though I've never met them), and imagine what he had said to them, what the sex was like and the places they had been and things they had done together. I am starting to feel almost like the 'sloppy seconds'. My partner is very loving and gives me no reason to feel inadequate or jealous of his past women. But I just cannot handle the thought of the amount of partners he has had, and that his time being spent with me has already been shared by him with someone else. The strange thing is that I dont honestly believe he would ever go back to any of his past relationships, and I know he is very faithful- like I am to him.
I would love to grow old and grey with him, but hate thinking that I would look back on happy memories of my life which are consumed with my experiences with him, and yet the prime years of his life (aged 15-27) will have been spent with other women.
I have bought books about the subject and tried everything I can, including trying to talk it out with my partner, in order to overcome these feelings. But it is making me feel so down that I am worried this will push him away even more and stop me from being with the man who I really do love. It gets so bad that I sometimes feel like ending it with him myself, just so that I dont have to think about any of these things and feel hurt.
User Submitted Advice from a 21-30 year old Female
Get some help
Wow, I took feel this exact same way.
I am separated after having been married for five years and have two kids. I'm seeing someone who is a few years younger than me who has had three very serious relationships, one woman who he lived with for three years (along with her daughter). I get VERY jealous when he talks about any aspect of his previous relationships, but especially when he speaks lovingly of the little girl he helped raise for three years. It's completely irrational, because none of these women are a threat to our wonderful relationship. But it hurts.
So advice - here's what I'm trying.
1) Talk to him about it. Let him know what's going on, and most importantly let him know that you know it's irrational and destructive and that you are working on eradicating it.
2) Believe it when he says "I love you". What my partner has told me helps a lot: "I can't change my past, but I am in charge of my present and future. And for that, I choose to be with you". I find it helpful to remember that his previous relationships are just that - previous!! Tell yourself "He is with me now, and I am the ONE he loves and now chooses to be with". "An ex is an ex for a reason".
3) Get some professional help. I find it helpful to have someone on the "outside" telling me things like, "If he didn't love you, why would he be with you?" and "If he wanted to be with his ex's, wouldn't he be trying?"
The Original Question and RomanceClass Answer