Haunted by ex

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Haunted by ex

Postby cavalier » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:31 pm

Hi everyone.
I’m after some perspective on something which is probably just silly but really eating me up.
When we were introduced to each other by mutual friends my wife ended a relationship with a long term boyfriend who she had been with for nearly 4 years and although not her first boyfriend was her first true love. I have always been a shy and not very self confident person and she was my first love and I have to admit I have always been insecure & jealous of her previous relationship.
Everywhere we went and everything we did she would tell me that she’d been there or done it with him while for me it was all new experiences and I found that hard to cope with and would go into a jealous sulk, drink more than I should & not treat her as well as I should have which nearly pushed her away and I will always regret that.
Things were compounded when he did a lot of spiteful things after their break up to get at me that lead me to despise him and I still can’t forgive or forget even after 27 years.
I just wanted him to go away and for things to be just about us which eventually he did and all that hurt, hatred & jealousy slowly ebbed away and I never thought of him again.
Then after all those years along comes Facebook which my wife got heavily in to & I knew straight away that he would be back and she would friend him. I never got involved with Facebook as I knew it would bring about my worst fear so I buried my head in the sand & just hoped it wouldn’t happen but one day about 4 years ago she asked me to look at her phone as she was having a problem with it and there he was in her contacts list.
I said nothing but at that moment I felt like I’d been hit with a wrecking ball and all those demons that had been locked away were in an instant released to mess with my head and torment me all over again and just won’t go away.
It appears he is happily married and as far as I can see their interaction is nothing more than the odd public comment or ‘like’ on each others posts and a birthday greetings.
I can understand why people look up people who were a big part of their life once to see how they got on with their life but why establish a line of contact and open door into your life to them when they are never going to be part of your life again?
My wife knows how much I hate him and the bit that messes with my head is why she would do this to me? I’d like to know if whatever she gets from restoring contact with him is worth the daily pain and hurt that it caused me but I know that’s not fair to lay on her and is me being bitter & twisted.
I know that if I try to talk to her about it that she will see it as an accusation, get angry and it will escalate into a major problem. She has been suffering & treated for depression in recent years after her mothers’ death and I know she needs my love and support and not someone putting her under pressure but this is messing up my life and it shouldn’t.
I try hard to see her reasons but every bit of advice I’ve seen online is not to befriend exes as it can damage your current relationship and what good can come of it?
Before social media she would never have expected me to be comfortable with her looking him up and sending him birthday cards, or if he sent her one after all this time would she have thought it okay to put it alongside mine without it causing offence?
Why has Facebook changed the rules?
Should I confront her with this or am I just being stupid?
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby rufio89 » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:41 pm

Let me get this straight - you're working yourself into knots over a boyfriend your wife had TWENTY SEVEN years ago, who now is happily married and with whom she keeps a very casual line of acquaintance? I think this is your own issues you need to work on, she's doing nothing wrong and frankly it's amazing she's put up with so many years of this jealously. I think you should focus your energy to managing your own problems.
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby reckoner » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:49 am

I could not agree more with rufio89. I think this is a problem entirely of your own making.
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby snail » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:06 am

I wouldn't have put it quite so bluntly, but I'm afraid I agree with the above posters. You need to work out why this is having such a powerful effect on you - there is an underlying reason somewhere. Something that did or didn't happen, way back in the past or in your childhood. Do you have anyone (other than your wife) you could talk it through with?
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby reckoner » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:07 am

I feel bad now... :-( Opinions aren't helpful in themselves! My apologies.

At the start of your post, you requested a different perspective, so maybe this will be more helpful:

Your current perspective:
1. He was there first - your first experiences with her were in his shadow.
2. He was spiteful towards you.
3. As the situation died down, you no longer felt the competition, you could forget about it.
4. Facebook has caused you to remember, as freshly as it was at the time.

An alternative (more helpful?) perspective:
1. She chose you over him. Exes are our history, like school friends or family; it is difficult to edit out the people that are part of our past, and natural to talk about them, especially with someone one can communicate naturally with, which is a hallmark of a good relationship.
2. If she chose you over him, I'm not surprised he felt spiteful towards you, and it seems that he's well over it now.
3. You forgot about your sense of competition, which meant you were never required to actually get over it. Nearly thirty years of marriage elapsed in that time, another hallmark of a good relationship.
4. I'm pretty sure Facebook does this to us all. I sometimes wonder if it's designed to. When we remember things, they come back as freshly as when they first happened. Apparently, that's scientific fact, unfortunately I can't remember where I read it. My own view is that's why we have to work so hard to manage our thoughts and memories in productive and not destructive ways.

So, I can understand how you feel, but there is plenty of evidence available for you to build a different way of seeing and feeling the situation.

Best wishes.
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby rufio89 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:01 pm

I agree with Reckoner and Snails far more constructive advice. I didn't mean to sound harsh, I was just surprised.

Reckoner puts some good perspectives across.
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby cavalier » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:12 pm

Thank you everyone for your replies. Reckoner, your thoughtful post sums it up very accurately but strangely rufio89 your original reply instantly made me feel instantly better.
I'm not a jealous person by nature. My wife has lots of male friends on Facebook, some of which I don't even know who they are and I don't ever ask or care because I trust her and don't feel threatened by them but reckoners bullet points on my perspective pretty much sum it up. Point number 1 probably the most powerful and true.
I know initially my wife had her doubts that she had done the right thing when she finished with him which I completely understand as this is a big decision after 4 years together when we were all so young . She was always honest with me about her feelings but it didn't help my self confidence. I had met the girl of my dreams and he was spoiling it was what I couldn’t see past.
I am not cross or angry with her, just upset that she went back for him after all these years but I do understand why she would although it doesn't make it hurt any less.
I know she would have liked them to have parted on good terms but it got messy and perhaps she just wants to make peace with him?
Snail, no I don't really have anyone I would feel comfortable talking through with hence my post on here. My male friends all say they wouldn't be happy either if I pose the hypothetical question of their wives friending an ex but unfortunately it's male pride isn't it?
The only time I've discussed it with a female was with my daughter who came crying on my shoulder because her partner had friended his ex on Facebook. So it’s not just me!
Of course when it’s someone else it’s easier to be more objective.
He unfriended her to keep the peace but I genuinely wouldn’t want my wife to do that as although I’d love him to go away for good it would be for the wrong reasons.
I know deep down that what you all say is true. I think I just needed to be told so thanks.
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby reckoner » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:28 pm

To put the case for people who want to keep in touch with exes they no longer carry a torch for (like me, and, from the sound of it, your wife):

1. As you say, to make peace if things got messy; to make good on past wrongs.

2. You want to remember the part of your life with them with fondness, not bitterness or shame. One of the main reasons I wanted to be on good terms with my ex is so that I would still be able to look at over a quarter of a million photos I took when I was travelling with him and continue listening to the many gigabytes of awesome music he gave me without feeling pain, hurt or guilt.

3. You see them as a person, not as an ex, and someone who knows you in a way that is important to you, like when you go to a funeral, and every person attending represents a unique facet of that person, with a story to tell that no-one else knows.

The important thing is that the torch is no longer carried by both parties, and I think this is what makes it hard for the current partner - it's impossible for them to know that for a fact even if you do. It comes down to whether you can trust them or not, and it sounds like you can trust her. You sound like a great husband with a strong marriage and loving family and if you can let her keep in contact with her ex, it would be a very sweet and generous thing for you to do. All the best :-)
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Re: Haunted by ex

Postby David020549 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:50 pm

On one hand you are a bit paranoid about your wife being in contact with her ex boyfriend even though 27 years have passed. On the other hand her being in contact with an ex or any other questionable contact arouses suspicion and every one of us on this forum would be uneasy or worse in the same situation.
For the sake of harmony in a relationship it is best not to have these contacts on your devices and certainly not on as a friend on Facebook.
We all have memories of our past friends and lovers but they should remain in the past and private, I am sure your wife has fond memories of her boyfriend but she chose you. Making an issue of a contact is also dangerous because the first retort is going to be " don't you trust me then", so let it lie and trust her.
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