Relationship Advice for a Girl with a Boyfriend Thinking About Old Girlfriends
Dear Dr. TRuth,
I am 25 years old and have been dating a 29 year old guy named Jack for just over a year and a half....we have a very strong, loving, honest relationship....we have tons in common, still talk on the phone for four hours at a time, are open and honest with each other, very affectionate and loving with words and deeds, the sex is great....we are best friends and soulmates...we will finally be moving in together in January....we just bought a new vacuuum cleaner and a set of dishes, in fact....we also have talked about plans to get engaged within a year ...we have talked about wanting kids together eventually when we are married and both ready.
It all seems perfect right? Maybe it is and I am just paranoid, but I am just so afraid anyway.
On the down side for him is his past. In his youth, he was always a huge playboy; he was all about the sex and the fun. When his friends find out how serious we are, they always laugh and say wow, they never thought he would settle down EVER.
For quite some time, I worried about it, but he is so sincere and loving, and he has told me that that was his youth and he is past that and wants to be with me now and always, that I am the one for him and he is ready for the next stage of his life.
But recently, in the midst of one of our rambling conversations, he confessed that he has been thinking about a couple of the women from his past that he really did love.
There was one he would have married if he had been ready to settle down then, but he wasn't. He told me that his thoughts in no way make him doubt us, that he loves me and wants to marry me, there is no reservation in his head at all about us, but that he has been thinking in the back of his head "What if?" about these women from his past, especially that particular one.
He says it isn't a desire to still be with her, but more pondering and wondering what might have been, how his life might have differed if he had taken a different course, because he believes he could have been happy with this other woman if things had gone differently. He says that occasionally he still feels the urge to 'play the field', but that he would never do anything to mess up what we have because it is too precious to him.
I don't know what to think. Is it normal to think this way about past loves? Do I have anything to be worried about?
Was he just being a dumb male and confessing a bit too much of his private thoughts?
Please help. I have been badly betrayed by men in the past.
I'm not sure if I am just being paranoid over nothing, or trying not to be paranoid over something I should be afraid of.
I certainly can understand your concerns and you are
wise to question this.
While I have no doubt your
boyfriend really cares about you, it seems that as he
gets closer to making a real commitment( getting
engaged, moving in, etc.) he is very frightened and
that may be one of the reasons his mind is straying to
past relationships and other women.
On the other hand, if he has unresolved feelings for
this woman, when things get rough between the two of
you, he may turn to the fantasy of what that might
have been like, and believe me, it is impossible to
compete with a ghost.
Secondly, I would question his concerns about
commitment in general. What kind of family does he
come from? Does he have a good relationship with his
mother? Are his parents still together? Is he stable
emotionally? Is there any history of depression or
anxiety in his family?
There is nothing wrong with playing the field before
making a commitment, but as the two of you get closer,
he seems to be questioning "the one who got away."
On the plus side, you two seem to be very good
friends. You say you talk on a very deep level. If
this is true, you absolutely need to voice your
concerns. Believe me, they are valid ones.
how serious he is about his feelings about his past
and if he is really ready to make the kind of
commitment you both are.
Ask him if it is just fear
of moving ahead, or if there are unresolved issues
with his earlier relationships?
If he is unable to answer these questions to your
satisfaction and feelings of security, it may be
important to have a few sessions with a counselor
where the two of you can discuss this openly.
One of the real tests of a relationship is the ability
of both partners to be absolutely honest about these
matters. Your feelings of insecurity need to be dealt
with to your satisfaction.
I can tell from your letter that you are an
intelligent and thoughtful young woman. You deserve
to put these issues to rest. Otherwise, they will
haunt you and destroy what actually seems to be a very
Good luck in this matter.
Keep me posted.
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