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 21-30 year old Female
Other wife

I was searching for some advice on this subject and that's how I found your question. I'm so glad I did, because after reading it and some of the advice from other readers, I now know that I'm not alone. My husband is 14 years older than me. I love him because he's responsible and takes care of me...but I can't control the overwhelming jealousy I feel when I think about his ex-wife. They were married for 2 years and lived in the same house that he and I now share. That's probably the most irritating part...that she lived here IN OUR HOME before me. When I'm coming home from work and driving up to the house in the evenings, all of a sudden I start imagining how THEY used to drive up to the same house 10 years ago! I know it's silly, but I don't purposely think about it. It just comes up in my mind.

But I have to admit -I think our jealousy issues go way deeper than just jealousy. I think we could all use better self-esteem. That's my problem. I don't feel good about myself. I know that I'm very loving and caring and physically very attractive...but for some reason I imagine that all the other women my husband has been with were somehow more feminine and more lovable than me.

It's all about self-esteem and loving ourselves, bottom line. Good luck to you all, I hope things get better for each and every one of you. Personally, I think talking to a counselor or therapist of some kind is the only way I can overcome this.

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