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My boyfriend is jealous of my past – it’s ruining our relationship!

Dear Maj,

Lately, my past has been “catching up to me”. Before I met my current boyfriend, there was (of course) someone else. Both ex-boyfriends and short flings. This “time before him” plays on his mind a lot and he’s having a difficult time letting it go.

I, on the other hand, feel that it’s in the past and not something that should be brought into our future. We totally disagree about it!

My previous ‘sexual partners’ is a topic that is always brought up whenever we are arguing or are having a deep conversation.

He’s always said “There are choices and then there are consequences of these choices.” I just don’t think it’s fair that I should lose him because of my past and because he’s jealous. He believes that it’s compromising his values that we stay together because of “how I was before him”.

He turns on me like that whenever he has any “bad” thoughts about me. It’s frustrating and the fact that he’s so stuck in the past is ruining our relationship.

I’ve never given him a reason not to trust me in our relationship and the distrust he has towards me is completely unnecessary and all in his mind.

There are so many things in our arguments/deep talks I want to say and share my point of view of but it’s as if my head just freezes, when I finally have the opportunity to speak.

My boyfriend is a man who’s very good with words (more than the usual guy) and he’s pretty much the one running the show in all of our talks.

I guess I let him because I feel like it’s my fault and I’m the reason he has these “bad” thoughts about me. He loves me but sometimes – and too often – these “bad” thoughts come between us.

How do I reach him?

Kind regards,
The Frustrated.

 

My boyfriend is jealous of my past and my ex-boyfriends

 

Dear The Frustrated,

Thank you so much for your question. I completely understand why you sign off as “The Frustrated”; what you’re experiencing IS unbelievably frustrating!

I’ll agree with you boyfriend that when you make a choice, you sign up for the consequences as well. However, he might need to apply this lovely saying to himself. He has chosen to be your boyfriend, which includes all of you; your past as well.

No one can change that.

My boyfriend is jealous

The fact that he has chosen you is his choice.

Unless you’ve been living in a closet your entire life, one of the consequences of choosing you as his partner is, that (of course) there’s a past. Whether you having been in relationships before him affect him and his values is something he needs to work out on his own.

It most definitely is not your fault.

You can’t cause him to have “bad thoughts about you”.

These thoughts appear in his head because of him and he’s the only person who can seek some help to control these thoughts. If he doesn’t learn to master them, he will ruin his life and the relationship he has with you.

I’ll say it one more time: this is NOT your fault.

You can throw away feeling guilty right away.

It’s all in his mind and he’s letting these thoughts of his get the better of him. This is not in your control, nor should it be. It’s not your responsibility.

Your responsibility is how you treat him today.

From what I can gather from reading your e-mail, you truly want to be with your boyfriend and you’re genuinely upset that your past is even an issue. You’re so distraught that your boyfriend is jealous of your past and is having such a difficult time accepting that there was someone else before him.

My boyfriend is jealous of my past

He’s having such a hard time accepting this, so much so that it affects himself and you and your relationship.

His thoughts are getting the better of him and making have “serious talks” where he runs the show and you don’t stop him because you’re laden with guilt. I imagine that these conversations somehow “calm him down”… until it happens again.

This lets him vent and he’s all right again for a few days/weeks until the thoughts all become too much again, making him want to vent one more time.

Your job in all this is to say when enough is enough!

This is an issue your partner has and he’s trying to make it out like it’s your problem. He’s making you responsible for his own thoughts and feelings and you, honestly, have nothing to do with these.

These are purely figments of his imagination and they’re taking him for a wild ride. Taking his frustrations out on you somehow makes him feel better about these thoughts, fantasies and mental images in his mind.

If you had actually hurt him and if you guys were struggling to move on from infidelity or the like, my advice to you would be entirely different.

But…

You can’t change the past.

You can, however, change what happens in the future and my thoughts are that you need to stop this destructive behavior your boyfriend is displaying; for some reason he can’t stop it himself. I get that if he could stop doing this himself, he would.

No one feels this way just for the sake of it.

It’s no fun for anyone!

Feeling jealous and feeling like you can’t control what goes on in your mind is absolutely horrific!

And that’s really the problem with jealousy; the thoughts run wild and the visual images you receive and the thoughts you play over and over in your mind just get worse and worse.

You can, however, seek help on how to deal with this and that is what I’ll recommend you to encourage your boyfriend to do. He might believe that you’re the one who “just needs to change something” but let’s be honest… no one can change the past!

He CAN learn how to control his jealousy and not let his mood and his behavior be determined by your “serious talks”. All this is, obviously, making you feel insecure about your relationship and whether it’ll even last.

This is not your fault!

To be honest, I believe ‘fault’ is a useless word. I’d much rather talk about ‘responsibility’.

What’s yours and what’s mine.

Your responsibility in all this is to put your foot down and say “enough is enough”.

His responsibility is to learn how to master his own thoughts and his behavior before he ruins the relationship. And himself. I promise you, he’s certainly not feeling all that well, acting this way.

Thankfully, the problem he is dealing with is something you can relatively easy do something about.

He can start reading my guides:

… Or even seek counseling from a competent therapist.

Other than that, I’ll recommend cognitive therapy with a well-trained cognitive psychologist who uses this method or even Meta-cognitive therapy – again, using a highly trained psychologist.

There are tools and techniques out there which one can learn to master.

This way, eventually, the thoughts will take up less and less space in his mind and you can both enjoy what you have together and the present moment instead of focusing on the past; none of you can change it anyway.

I sincerely hope that my reply has helped you along a little bit and that you guys will find a solution together. What he’s experiencing is honestly a problem he could have completely ditched within the next 8 weeks! If he chooses to own up to it and take full responsibility for it, that is.

Maj Wismann answers - My boyfriend is jealousLife is way too short for us to allow our minds to take over and completely run the show; it’s way too short for us to treat the people we truly care about in this destructive manner.

When we actually CAN do something about our problems, I believe that we need to own the responsibility of actually doing this something.

Love (and a kick up the butt!),
Maj Wismann – Clinical Sexologist and Couple’s Therapist with own clinic since 2006

 

 

 

*** Have you been in a situation like this? Have you experienced your partner to be jealous of your past? Please share your experiences (and lessons) in the comments below. Remember, your comment might help someone else! And as always, thank you for sharing. 

*** Please remember to keep a nice tone. ALL negative comments will be deleted immediately. I wish to create a positive and supporting space where we can support each other, and I therefore have a zero-tolerance policy towards rudeness, condescension, negative inputs and disrespect.

 

2 Comments

  1. Henrik V Blunck

    First and foremost: good answer, Maj 🙂

    I would like to begin by saying we men can be real jerks at times. There you go. I said it!

    All men dream of being the ‘only one’ for a woman when the start of in their romantic journey. As life unfolds, we do however realize it would be a lot of training involved – but for others this is part of their ‘inner ego’, and takes up too much energy. Because then doubts arise about whether the boyfriend before me was better or more well hung or something else that robs them of energy that should be spent as lovers.

    There will always be differences between all men. Some are tall, others are small, some are smart others less smart, some sensitive and others tough. Yes differences that can be charming, but certainly also a pain in the backside, because these hindrances mostly come from a certain degree of personal insecurity.

    Without wanting to repeat your fine answers, it has to be said, that you must say ‘STOP’, dearly frustrated woman. Don’t allow your boyfriend to continue this immature reaction. Start talking about this, and get all the unsaid elements out of the closet. You need a breath of fresh air, and even with love behind your words and the occasional smile at his behavior, he has to grow up.

    You simply can’t achieve all the good things that should unite you as a couple as long as one of you doubts the survivability of the relationship. I hope I am not too blunt in my comment, but these were the thoughts from a man, who LONG ago made these things clear for myself, even though I admit it took a kick in the ass from a relationship that lasted 8 months, when I had to look at my inward self, and think about why it didn’t last. I believe I did behave correctly, with a positive tone at all times, but in my case it was the girlfriend who used her tongue in a negative and derogatory way. Life gives us all insight into these things, and it makes is stronger, even though it can tear some of the illusions we all have about the romantic side of life.

    It is important never to bring ‘old luggage’ into new relationships – but that is also a different subject indeed. 🙂

  2. Miha

    I have exactly the same problem. He becomes sad, moody and angry out of the blue, blaming it on my past. And we always flight because of this.

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