I'm Jealous about his Past

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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 13-20 year old Female
A sham

Oh my god. You sound exactly like me!! I am 20, my bf is almost 10 years older than me, we've been dating over a year, very very seriously, and we started dating when he was 28. He has had several other girlfriends, two whom he said he thought he'd end up marrying. He is very sweet and loving to me, and claims constantly that he wants to be with me forever, couldn't live without me, etc. It's just hard for me because as much as he claims he wants to be with me I know he was thinking exactly the same things with his other gfs. He doesn't mention things about them maliciously or anything, just randomly like when he was telling me a story. Like we'll take a drive to another town and randomly I'll pick a restaurant and he'll say oh I went there with whats-her-face... and I think like hell I am going there now!

Also I really understand the whole firsts thing. He is my first serious boyfriend, and quite a few other firsts that I'd rather not enumerate. Anyways, every now and then when I am doing something new with him, I ask, and find out he's already done it before.

On one level, I know being with his exes was one part of the path which led us to be together, but on another it just makes me so upset. If he falls in love so easily what does that say about us? I always wanted true love, to find the 'one', all that sappy stuff. Hearing that he was completely in love with them at the time and thought he wanted to spend the rest of his life with them makes me think it's pretty much a sham though...

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