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 31-40 year old Female

This could have been written by me! I'm amazed, everything is the same!
I have been with my fiance' for four years now, and we are getting married this summer. He too is older than me, by nine years. He is so loving, sensual, romantic, and passionate that it has made me feel very confused! On the one hand, he is everything I've ever wanted in a man, he is focused on me and my needs-all the time. But then my jealousy creeps in and I become obsessed with what he did with his ex-girlfriends. I was married before for nine years, and he has never been married. But he has lived with two women, one he dated for eight years, and lived with for four years. This one kills me, I am so obsessed with her and their relationship. I imagine him loving her the way he loves me. The physical aspect of it drives me crazy, I can't handle the thought of him with her!
He has been very patient with me, answering my questions, reassuring me, and being very loyal and consistant with his love. He finally told me last summer that he couldn't take it anymore, I needed to drop it for once and for all. He said he was so tired of talking about her, and re-living his past over and over again.
So I made a big effort, and tried to shut up. I still literally think about her every day, but now I just keep quiet. He thinks I am over it now, and is very happy. I still fear that she will try to come back into his life, and I always worry that he has had the same passion in bed with her. I was not very experienced before him, but he was. He is a very skilled lover, and I worry that it was her that he "learned on". It's like I want to be the only one he's ever loved, yet I am in my thirties and he is in his forties. The logical side of me knows this can't be!
I am now wanting to go to counseling because I don't want to carry this baggage into my marriage. He says it makes him feel so bad that I worry, and that he wants me to feel secure.
How do you stop obsessing over someone's ex? I wish I had the answer, but I feel a little better knowing I'm not alone! There are times I think I'm crazy. More than anything though, I am very tired myself of feeling this way; insecure, worried, inadequete, jelouse, and paranoid...

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