- 2 weeks ago
I know this has been talked about before, so I’m approaching from a different angle.
Rather than the usual “just remember he loves you and he chose you now” kind of comments, I want to get into actual concrete ways you dealt with insecurities relating to your SO’s first marriage. Perhaps it was something you heard in therapy or counseling or tried as a result of reading something, etc. I ask because counseling is a bit expensive for me at the moment, so before I go that route I want to try something else on my own.
Here’s the skinny in my situation:
Met current bf (and likely future Fiance, as we have talked about this) about a year after he separated, roughly 8 months after his divorce. Total together with her was 6 years, married 3 years. No children, thankfully. By all accounts (his, family, and close friends), it was not a good relationship, often characterized by manipulation and emotional blackmail on her part, as well as actual rude treatment of him in front of loved ones. He stayed because he thought that that’s what happened in relationships, and he didn’t think he could do better. The divorce happened because she asked for it (later to find out she had been cheating on him and was going to be with new man, and also she had cheated on him with other men during the marriage).
Soon after we started dating, he was upfront about the divorce. At first I had exactly zero insecurities about this. I’ve never been jealous of exes (although this is my first time with a man previously married). We are both in our early 30s. However, first couple of months of dating he talked about her nonstop. Even brought her up to tell me stories when the topic of discussion didn’t relate to his story. Almost all of the stories and references to her were about things that she did or said that were hurtful. I finally put my foot down a few weeks later when I first noticed and said he needed to deal with his feelings, because the talk made me feel like he wasn’t ready to move on with me. He assured me he was, but we had to have this conversation a couple more times. I know some people might say he isn’t taking responsibility for his actions, but do know when we talked more about it he admitted his errors and mistakes.
Anyway, because of all of the talk about her so early on, I ended up in new territory: jealous and insecure of an ex. They do not communicate (he blocked her after she kept trying to be friends, he didn’t want it, and I was not happy about the interactions). A part of me resents him for speaking about her so much. I even wrote a list sometime in our 4th month of dating of all the things I knew about her, thinking that at some point I was going to have to confront him with it. It’s been about a year, and he is very different now. If he does mention her, it’s with indifference. But now I’m the one picking up the pieces, because I now get competitive and I have such visceral reactions to any mention of her, no matter how small. It really kills my mood and just make me sad.
I’ve now given her memory and shadow more power, and I don’t know how to change it. I’ve tried to “move on” and “focus on the present” and reframe my perspective, but it’s honestly not working. If and when we get married it will be my first, and understandably I want it to last. I want to take responsibility for myself and my feelings, but I can’t shake the resentment I feel that my SO started this whole thing because he was initially so focused on his past.
And yes, actually this morning it came up in conversation and I was honest about it. Unfortunately, happened right as the day started, so have not been able to talk much about it (and we don’t live together). However, as I’m solutions-oriented, wanted to get the ball rolling on things I can do.