I have met the gurl of my dreams. In fact, she’s someone that I dated before when I was going to S.F. State. The only problem is that while we were not dating each other (and there is a large amount of time between when we first dated and now), she dated and slept with one of my former friends.
He and I are no longer on speaking terms (for a completely different reason), but I can’t get their relationship out of my head. She is wonderful… she’s exactly everything I want in a gurl. I couldn’t be more attracted to someone. But I can’t get the image of them together out of my head.
What do I need to do? Should I tell her that I’m having problems with this? I’m aware that it’s a self-esteem issue on my part and I know that she truly loves me and wants to be with me. But I can’t shake this feeling of…jealousy? Please help!
Suffering in Silence
Your letter caused a feeling of sadness and concern to overwhelm my spirit. This type of male insecurity, jealousy and feelings of ownership… the possessiveness men feel about women and their bodies is at the core of millions of beatings, murders and murder/suicides that impact American women every year.
Your jealousy is even more of a concern because you are jealous about a situation from the past, something that occurred when you weren’t even with her! You two were not a couple. She was dating someone else, just like you were. At no point during this timeframe did you have any claim to this woman, nor any expectation to exclusivity and fidelity regarding her time, energy, heart nor body. Any thoughts that she should have been sitting around twiddling her thumbs waiting for you to come back into her life reflects a narcissism that I find to be deeply disturbing.
Being jealous about her past is very selfish. I’m sure you weren’t sitting around being virginal and pure, waiting around for her to come back to you while you were apart, right? Once a couple breaks up, each is free to date, sleep with, marry and have both sex and children with whomever they please.
Socialization of both genders encourages men to have a double standard about women and female sexuality. Men seek to maintain a fantasy about women being “good girls” only when said man can imagine himself as being the first and the only sexual partner a woman has ever had. Since you know one of the guys your girlfriend was dating, you are being forced to give up that fantasy and face reality, and you’re having a hell of a time doing it!
But you know what? This is not her issue, it’s yours.
Though I am an advocate of open communication between a couple, I think in this case I need to ask you to do a bit of soul searching before you confess your feelings of jealousy.
The first thing you need to do is get very clear on your reasons for telling her what you are thinking about… what it is that you think is going to happen once you do? Get clear on what you are expecting from her with regards to this confession. And lastly, what are you going to do if you discover that discussing the matter of your insecurity and jealousy changes nothing or even makes you feel worst?
You also need to come to grips with this one fact – you cannot undo the past. This man is going to be a shadow over your life and relationship as long as you focus on it, which could be the rest of your life. Are you going to allow this ghost from the past to ruin a wonderful relationship for you in the here and now? Think hard about that.
If you consider all the questions I’ve posed above and still cannot get yourself to accept her for the person she is right now, (the person you claim to love), then leave her alone. I mean it! No matter how much you might love her and think she is perfect for you, acceptance of a woman’s past requires that a man have both a great deal of maturity and a realistic focus about life and people.
We all come with baggage from the past. Our past contains the people, relationships and experiences that make us the people that we are. You cannot escape this reality dude. Every woman you meet will have a past that includes such life experiences. This is the human experience and there is nothing you can do to change it.
Do not sit in judgment and attempt to condemn your girlfriend for her past. Focusing on the past and on the negative won’t make you a very good partner for her in the present. You cannot live in both the past and the present at the same time… you need to pick one.
Counseling will help with your feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. Before you say anything that ruins the relationship of your dreams, examine your employer’s health plan and take advantage of whatever mental health benefits are offered. You’ll be a much happier person and a better man both for your woman and for yourself.