- 4 years ago
- Wedding: January 2012
This is going to be a bit of a long story. Hopefully, I can put together a shortened version at the end, but even then I’d probably be missing a lot of the details.
When I met my husband, I was a few months out of a somewhat bad relationship. He had been single for nearly 2 years after ending a one-year long distance relationship (prior to me, he had dated two women long-distance, the other also for about a year. I wish this were the only time these women would appear in the telling of this story). For ease, we’ll call his exes “Amanda” and “Julie.”
Initially, I ignored the fact that he felt the need to compulsively bring up Julie. Her favorite interests, things they’d done together (and I DO mean ‘done together’), books she’d introduced him to, meals she made him, and on. and on. and on. That was during the first few months we were together. Having only dated one other person (I was a late bloomer), I figured his behavior would eventually die out. I thought maybe it was just the transition from friend to boyfriend that was throwing him off, and as we became more involved, he’d slowly stop mentioning them.
Well, it didn’t happen. The highlight was when we had been dating for a few months and he was going to show me something on his computer. He asked if I wanted to see vacation pictures, but warned me that one or two might have “Exes.” I took him at his word and figured he would do his best to avoid showing me shots of the exes. Well, quite the opposite – he started just going through pictures and videos of the exes that would obviously have no appeal for me, and did this for over an hour.
This was some years ago, but I still regret that I didn’t speak up at the time. I told him afterward that it was very upsetting, they were done and over with, and I wanted us to move forward. He told me he’d had no contact with them in years, which was reassuring.
And also a lie. He was communicating with Julie on Facebook – they were friends, so she was well aware of our lives and my existence, while I had no idea she was even on the periphery. She was using a different name. And, after he dropped that bomb on me a year into our relationship, I learned that they communicated quite often on there. From what I saw, it was never anything too serious, but I felt there was a time or two that she was flirting with him. This whole thing went on for another year, and finally he (as far as I know, of course!) stopped talking to her after I told him in no uncertain terms that I was done being in a relationship like that.
The other issue…was pictures. I’d get onto our desktop to do work, go to save pictures, and BOOM. “My fun time with Amanda!” “Me and Julie!” folders and pictures pop up. I asked him if he’d take them off there. I didn’t care if he kept them, but felt that they should NOT be in places where I would easily find them.
There are several, several more instances of similar (and worse) behavior from him over the years. Him comparing me to an ex, me saying that the ex and I would be “friends,” even suggesting – after we’d been dating for a year or so – that he was going to get a gift for Julie’s birthday and send it to her (!!!). They had been broken up for more than 3 years by that point.
I’ve largely gotten to the point, some years later, where brief mentions of them don’t bother me, but I have heard every. last. story. I don’t need another rehashing. It’s just a reminder of how disrespectful he was and how poorly he treated me early on. Had I felt better about myself, I don’t think I would have tolerated half of what I did. But I did, things improved, here we are…we’ve largely been quite happy for the last 2 or 3 years.
This morning, I stumbled upon a CD marked “Pictures” in the top of our desk drawer. Wondering if he had pictures from some of our recent vacations, I popped it in. There are 2 or so pictures of us. And then about 400 of his exes. The enraging thing about this is that the CD is dated from right after we’d had one of our last big conversations – how I was not going to tolerate having to find them *everywhere* after so many years. A few days later, he told me that he never looked at any of that stuff anyway, and he was going to get rid of all of it.
In other words, it looks like he got rid of the old CDs, then made a new one to throw me off the trail.
I shouldn’t have to go, “Oh boy, if I go in the closet, I’m going to find gifts or pictures of them.” “Can’t go in the desk.” “Can’t go to ‘Pictures.'” It would be one thing if he’d had these things and he brought up his exes sparingly, but these women were a real threat in the first year or two we were together. They didn’t have to be here physically for it to be obvious that he was still in love with them, and that was pulling him away from me.
I feel numb looking at this CD. I’m not going to destroy it. But now I feel on edge again – is this when I discover they’ve been e-mailing each other? They’re Facebook pals again? Any other number of things?
I don’t even know what to do about it. How many conversations can we possibly have about the same subject? He’s obviously just going to do what he wants and ignore my wishes anyway unless he thinks I’m about to walk out on him.
I could go back in time and kick my younger self for not being more self-confident and for tolerating so much of this nonsense. But, in my defense, things had gotten better. We were happy. And then…boom…a crash right back into the way things used to be. Life is much better when I blot out the early part of the relationship and focus on the good (Hey, we all do it to some degree).
This CD is just incredibly triggering. I know some of you still have contact with your exes and the like, but that was an agreement that we had from the start.
So – what would you do in my shoes? Do I shove it back into the drawer and pretend it doesn’t exist? Do I say something about it (what, though?). Part of me is tired of even thinking about it or arguing about it, even if it’s been years since it was last discussed. Part of me wonders what else is going on behind my back. I don’t *believe* he is having an affair (certainly not a physical one; an emotional one, I can’t for sure say).