My fiancé and I started seeing each other 2 ½ years ago. We have a split family. He has a son who lives with us, I have 3 from my previous marriage and we have 1 together. We started seeing each other in Feb 2006. We both had ended our previous relationships in January, so we weren’t really “official”. We hit it off so well, we were like two peas in a pod. We moved in together in April, and 2 weeks later, his ex told me they’ve been sleeping together. I thought she was just angry and bitter, but my gut told me otherwise, so I asked him. He said he slept with her twice in the first few weeks we had been seeing each other. I thought we had something so special, at least I felt we did, and I was so hurt that he could do this. But I chose to stay with him. Even now, though, I’m haunted by the image of them together, and I’m confused as to why this would happen. I’m turning into a jealous person. Aside from this, we have an almost perfect relationship, we communicate well, we never yell and scream, we talk through our disagreements, we are very much in love, and I know he’s an amazing man, father and partner. I love everything about him, but I can’t seem to let go of this. Please help me get past this, as I don’t want this to haunt me forever, and we are so happy aside from this. Please help me.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I’d like to begin by commenting on some of the things you shared in your email.
You wrote: “He said he slept with her twice in the first few weeks we had been seeing each other.”
It appears you got caught in the “transition sex” of a dying relationship. This sometimes happens when people begin a new relationship right on the heels of exiting another. According to your timeline, it seems he only had a few weeks between “officially ending” one relationship and “officially starting” another.
As you know, the transition period between relationships can be confusing, conflicted, guilty, sad, and even fearful. Regardless of who ended the relationship, breaking up is hard to do for both partners.
It’s not unusual for people to engage in “transition sex” or “exit sex” for many reasons:
- Sometimes it’s a “last ditch attempt” by one partner to try to use sex to save the relationship (of course, this never works).
- Other times, it’s “guilty” sex — one partner feels bad about ending the relationship, and tries to say “I’m sorry” through sex.
- Sometimes it’s merely habit. They’re used to each other. They do it for old times’ sake.
Regardless of WHY it happened, the “timing” of when it happened puts it in the “gray” area of the relationship cycle. Even though a relationship might be over, it may take weeks, months and years for the “emotional doors” to fully close.
In his case, before one door had fully closed, another one had opened fast!
As you described it, the chemistry and emotional connection you guys shared probably came so fast at him, he didn’t really know what to do with it.
Think about it:
You’ve broken up a relationship before; you know how much goes into it. You know it’s not that easy to simply walk away from someone you used to love — it takes time for all the ties to completely be cut.
And yes, while we’re in the “in-between state,” sometimes people consent to do things they wouldn’t normally do.
This isn’t an excuse for deception. For that, he is utterly responsible. However, in your case, there were certain extenuating circumstances that can’t be overlooked. In other words, this isn’t a black and white case, so it shouldn’t be treated as such.
You wrote: “Even now, though, I’m haunted by the image of them together, and I’m confused as to why this would happen. I’m turning into a jealous person.”
My answer: It’s never a good idea to let your own imagination scare you. Those images, thoughts and movies of “them” playing over and over in your head… you’re the one who put them in there. So the question is, why would anyone use their own imagination to hurt themselves?
Here’s a Zen story that will help shed some light:
The wife of a man became very sick. On her deathbed, she said to him, “I love you so much! I don’t want to leave you, and I don’t want you to betray me. Promise that you will not see any other women once I die, or I will come back to haunt you.”
For several months after her death, the husband did avoid other women, but then, he met someone and fell in love. On the night that they were engaged to be married, the ghost of his former wife appeared to him. She blamed him for not keeping the promise, and every night thereafter she returned to taunt him.
The ghost would remind him of everything that transpired between him and his fiancé that day, even to the point of repeating, word for word, their conversations. It upset him so badly that he couldn’t sleep at all. Desperate, he sought the advice of a Zen master who lived near the village.
“This is a very clever ghost,” the master said upon hearing the man’s story. “It is!” replied the man. “She remembers every detail of what I say and do. She knows everything!” The master smiled, “You should admire such a ghost, but I will tell you what to do the next time you see it.”
That night the ghost returned. The man responded just as the master had advised. “You are such a wise ghost,” the man said, “You know that I can hide nothing from you. If you can answer me one question, I will break off the engagement and remain single for the rest of my life.” “Ask your question,” the ghost replied. The man scooped up a handful of beans from a large bag on the floor, “Tell me exactly how many beans there are in my hand.”
At that moment, the ghost disappeared and never returned.
Get the point? That’s right. There was no actual ghost. He was allowing his own imagination to haunt and taunt him. The same applies to you. If you allow the ghosts of the past to haunt you in the present, they will ruin your relationship. Remember: Those ghosts are your own creation, so you can let them go.
A note about jealousy:
What is “jealousy”? It’s about comparison and competition. When you compare yourself (in looks, money, education, stature, sexuality, skills, etc.) to others, you’ll eventually end up feeling inadequate. Why? Because Mother Nature never makes duplicates — only “originals” — so there’s really no way to compare yourself to another human being.
You are incomparable. You are unique and one-of-a-kind (just like everyone else).
Keep in mind, you have no justification to be jealous. Don’t use his past mistakes as an excuse for your present behavior. Rather than defend/explain/excuse those feelings of jealousy, just let them go. Don’t let jealously sour your relationship. It’s just not worth it.
He’s made his choice — he chose you. But you, on the other hand, are still second-guessing. Granted, he made some mistakes early on, but to continue to obsess on them is an even bigger mistake.
You wrote: I love everything about him, but I can’t seem to let go of this. Please help me get past this, as I don’t want this to haunt me forever, and we are so happy aside from this.”
This is the best question you could ask.
Why? Because part of getting past any hurt IS the desire to get past the hurt. And the fact that you’re seeking help IS a sign you’re ready to be helped.
To answer the question how to move past this, you must first ask yourself what’s preventing you from moving past.
One word comes to mind: Unforgiveness.
The bottom line? You’ve never forgiven him (or her) for the indiscretions early on in the relationship. That “unforgiveness” festers, persists, and lurks in the background like a dark cloud over the sunshine of your happiness.
The antidote? True forgiveness.
Forgiving will free you — emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It will free him, and it will free this relationship to soar. I believe you already know this. Most people know they have to forgive in order to be free of the past. What you might not know is HOW to forgive.
If this is the case for you, then after you’re done reading this, you may want to read the article I wrote on “how to forgive a cheating spouse.” It could make a big difference for you.
I have an intuition about you:
You’re obviously a strong woman (raising five kids — I bet you could teach me a thing or two about parenting!). You have strong intense emotions. You want to create that perfect and loving home environment — with a strong and loving partner by your side.
If you want to do that, then you’ve got to give up the things that prevent that from happening. Things like jealously, mistrust and unforgiveness. The good news is that by giving those things up, you open the door to something far more valuable. What’s that? True love.
Keep in mind:
Love IS risking. If you’re holding back, you’re not loving.
Love IS total. You win all, or you lose all. But you have to put it all on the line.
I have faith these insights have been helpful to you.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!