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Dealing with envy because my wife dated someone else but I only dated her.


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I was so painfully shy when I was younger that I could not ask a girl out. Even when I knew the girl also had a crush on me. That was until I was 20 yrs old and I finally got the courage to ask someone on a date. I dated her for several years and she is now my wife of 14 yrs. My wife dated someone in high school before she met me for about 2 yrs. I am having enormous difficulty with how unfair it is that she gets to feel really special to be my only one, while I am not able to share in this feeling. It feels so unfair and I am so envious of her.

I think if I had also dated someone else when I was younger this wouldn't bother me at all. Or if we were both each other's first and only, that would be fine. 

I am in love with my wife, but I hate this envy/resentment that I have towards her. She gets to have me all to herself, while I have to deal with the thoughts of her being with someone else.

When I think about it makes me feel almost sick. I felt these feelings in the past but shoved them under the rug. Now years later this is surfacing and I don't know how to deal with it.
 

Edited by Stephen Varghese
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32 minutes ago, Stephen Varghese said:

Now years later this is surfacing and I don't know how to deal with it.

There must be a reason for the contempt and resentment after all this time that has nothing to do with an unchangeable and insignificant past.

 Is virginity before marriage expected in your culture? Was it an arranged marriage?

Sounds like you are setting the table to "explore"? What's the real beef here?

Edited by Wiseman2
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58 minutes ago, arjumand said:

You sound really young and immature and your ideas are destructive. Get some therapy or get out of your marriage. All you are doing is harming yourself, your wife and your relationship. 

I second the above.  You're married 14 years and this is bothering you now? Makes no sense at all.  Maybe therapy is a really good idea to help you figure out what is really going on.  Something tells me this is not about your wife but more about you wanting to spread your wings and experience sex with other women.  I could be wrong of course, but that's what my gut tells me.

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If that's your biggest problem in life, your life must be golden, otherwise. Either people have had no other partners or they have. What matters is who your forever love is. If you're imagining two teens fumbling around with their first kissing experiences and humping in the back seat, yeah, your brain needs an overhaul.

you can actually retrain your brain on what thoughts you're thinking. Your train's definitely been derailed, but the good news is, you can get it back on the right track if you really want to. Start reading books on positive thinking, changing the reel so it's beneficial to you, instead of self-sabotaging. Therapy is another tool. Try both so you don't lose the woman I'm assuming has been faithful and a good partner to you all these years. Believe me, if you make yourself single or cause her to dump you because of your unreasonable thoughts and behavior, dating is not for the weak of heart, and good luck finding someone who has never dated anyone before you.

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Do you resent your wife for not having sprung from the womb, fully formed, as an adult without a history?

While most of us can look back on our youth and identify certain choices we wish we would have handled differently, what do you believe is triggering you, after 14 years, to start dwelling on this today?

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You are choosing to be upset about this.  The question is why now?

This has nothing to do with how many men she dated, it has everything to do with how many men she had sex with.  If you had sex with 4 other women before meeting her and she had 5 sexual partners I would bet you would feel the same way.

  I always find it interesting how someone that finally got what they never thought they could get finds a way to ruin it by dredging up the past.

  Why is it you want to ruin your marriage? 

Lost

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22 hours ago, Stephen Varghese said:

She gets to have me all to herself, while I have to deal with the thoughts of her being with someone else.

You were both still so young and in school.  Many people start dating then.. and where you lacked and she did not should never reflect on her.

That was a struggle for you back then and that time is long gone.

I had an issue with my hubby ( now ex), where he was involved with my friend before he and I got together.. and it bothered me for a lonngggg time 😕 .  is something I just had to accept & let go.  As I realized it was me, he was with and for many years.

Maybe consider some prof help to work through this kind of resentment you've got going on.. because the worst thing is to have it eating away at you - forever.

 

 

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You are choosing to ruin a 14 year marriage over not going through the misery of years of bad dates? You want to get dumped or go through the pain of doubting your dating existence through rejection in asking for a date? Also assuming from your post you're in your 30s, which makes it even more frustrating.

There are a lot of people that would envy that scenario, without know all the realistic ups and downs of your marriage. Are you sure there aren't more serious issues underlying this resentment, professional help is recommended.

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This is an internal problem with you, not her.

You have unreasonable expectations. Not only do most people have a prior relationship before marriage, you knew she did when you got with her. 

So now, 14 years later you resent her?

That's what's unfair. 

It's not her fault you have self esteem issues. I would seek therapy and work on yourself before you create a huge wedge in your marriage. 

 

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“have you all to herself” seems to suggest some ownership or rights over a body or person. Try to let go of that. We don’t own anyone. She doesn’t own you and you don’t own her. We don’t ever “have” anyone. Not really. We only share the time we have on this earth.

Keep in mind that you are free to walk. You can cheat. You can separate and divorce. You can live a life without her (shocker, right?) and instead have several or many other women after if you like. I am not suggesting you do but step outside of the box for a minute because you seem trapped.

What does life look like for you then? Would you feel better? Does this change the way you think of yourself? 

 

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I'm not understanding the resentment decades later. The past is in the past and who our partners were before doesn't translate to who they are now. If your wife loves you, isn't that all that matters? Out of all her past relationships, she fell for the guy next door. So congratulations on that! 

A therapist helps immensely for self-esteem. It doesn't hurt to communicate this to your wife either. Is there something new you both can do and find a way to reconnect? 

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Thank you very much for the responses. I don't want to ruin the marriage and it's not that I want to be with someone else (it's not a cultural thing either). I really just want relief from these thoughts and feelings. I would like to be at peace with the differences between our past but emotionally it's hard for me to bear. I've had a couple conversations over the past week with my wife where I opened up to her about how I feel. I felt so vulnerable admitting to my envy and jealousy, and she tried to be supportive and reassuring. I think talking to her helped some but it's also scary to uncover these emotions.

My brain wants to repeat images of her with someone else, and it's just hard to accept her past relationship when I don't have my own to lessen the impact.

I don't know what is triggering this now, maybe I've been so good at bottling up my emotions that I've never allowed myself to face the implications of her past.
My brain is on an endless loop ruminating over this. Can barely sleep at night or function well during the day.

My wife and I have a great relationship despite these weird last few weeks of me struggling to face reality. I wish I could be happy when she says it makes her feel special that I never dated anyone else, instead of being envious of that feeling. I wish I didn't feel resentful that she doesn't have to deal with thoughts of me with someone else. I wish I could just accept her past and let go of my own regrets. I'm trying but it feels like painful surrender and I worry if I'll ever be capable of it. So yes I feel trapped. 

I appreciate any feedback and it has been helpful. A lot of what you guys are saying I know is logically true, if only I could get my heart and mind to go along with it. 

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Ruminating, intrusive thoughts and repetitive thought loops can be signs of a medical condition such as OCD. Please consult with your medical doctor and disclose to her or him that you are experiencing sleep disruptions as a result of your inability to manage these thoughts. The doctor can refer you for treatment.

Trust me, it will be a vast relief to be free of these thoughts permanently.

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To add to Bolt’s thoughts — dumping your unhealthy thoughts all over your wife isn’t helping anything. Not a single thing. Get a therapist and work through this instead of saying you can’t seem to stop doing this. 

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After reading your situation and most of the comments, I don’t think I agree with many of them. 
do you really feel envy or is it more that you feel bad for not have been able to do it for whatever circumstances? Either way, if you were shy, I guess you would have felt much worse by aiming to sleep around just because you “had to”. So then, where’s the problem?

I had  similar situation. I knew my partner was  womaniser but I didn’t know to which degree. After finding out certain things I came to realised thy he must have slept with dozens of women. I didn’t feel jealous but stupid that I had not. Why? I spent my younger years found what I had to: study like  maniac to get grants cause my parents were poor, therefore no time for sleeping around. Later on I realised that I didn’t like sex just for the sake of it, so why was I going to give my beautiful body to someone with whom I was not going to come? When I found my partner was like Mesalina, I decided to cheat on him and be even. Believe me, I didn’t enjoy it but I stopped feeling stupid. Why I am going to do something I don’t want to? Not everyone has the same needs. So, be happy as you are!

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Stephen Varghese said:

Thank you very much for the responses. I don't want to ruin the marriage and it's not that I want to be with someone else (it's not a cultural thing either). I really just want relief from these thoughts and feelings. I would like to be at peace with the differences between our past but emotionally it's hard for me to bear. I've had a couple conversations over the past week with my wife where I opened up to her about how I feel. I felt so vulnerable admitting to my envy and jealousy, and she tried to be supportive and reassuring. I think talking to her helped some but it's also scary to uncover these emotions.

My brain wants to repeat images of her with someone else, and it's just hard to accept her past relationship when I don't have my own to lessen the impact.

I don't know what is triggering this now, maybe I've been so good at bottling up my emotions that I've never allowed myself to face the implications of her past.
My brain is on an endless loop ruminating over this. Can barely sleep at night or function well during the day.

My wife and I have a great relationship despite these weird last few weeks of me struggling to face reality. I wish I could be happy when she says it makes her feel special that I never dated anyone else, instead of being envious of that feeling. I wish I didn't feel resentful that she doesn't have to deal with thoughts of me with someone else. I wish I could just accept her past and let go of my own regrets. I'm trying but it feels like painful surrender and I worry if I'll ever be capable of it. So yes I feel trapped. 

I appreciate any feedback and it has been helpful. A lot of what you guys are saying I know is logically true, if only I could get my heart and mind to go along with it. 

Yes, it is time to see a therapist for CBT. Please don’t dump these thoughts on your wife. She didn’t do anything wrong . 

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8 hours ago, Stephen Varghese said:

My brain is on an endless loop ruminating over this. Can barely sleep at night or function well during the day.

See your physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support 

Only with proper help can you get relief from this obsessional thinking.

Stop beating up your wife about it.

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There is something else going on here and it has nothing to do with your wife.

Holding this in this long with you not knowing it is there is unlikely but not impossible.  If you are losing sleep and obsessing about this then yes you not only need to seek out a therapist but you HAVE to.  This is not healthy.  Your first step is your regular MD so they can help get you started.  They may want to run some blood tests and give you an overall check up and then refer you to someone to talk to.

  This runs way deeper than you know so seek out help as soon as possible.  Don't feel like this is unfixable, with help you will figure it out and find out the cause of these feelings.

 Lost

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On 1/8/2022 at 12:58 AM, lostandhurt said:

There is something else going on here and it has nothing to do with your wife.

Holding this in this long with you not knowing it is there is unlikely but not impossible.  If you are losing sleep and obsessing about this then yes you not only need to seek out a therapist but you HAVE to.  This is not healthy.  Your first step is your regular MD so they can help get you started.  They may want to run some blood tests and give you an overall check up and then refer you to someone to talk to.

  This runs way deeper than you know so seek out help as soon as possible.  Don't feel like this is unfixable, with help you will figure it out and find out the cause of these feelings.

 Lost

I have scheduled an MD visit. I'm trying not to feel hopeless but am doubting my ability to handle what I'm going through. I have decent days and really bad ones. Is there a way to get connected with good therapist/psychiatrist if MD is not able to give good referral?

Anyone know of good books or other resources as well?

Thanks.

 

edit: I believe talking to my wife about it was a necessary part of the process. I did not do so in the spirit of blaming her. Just things that I needed to express.

Edited by Stephen Varghese
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Your MD will be able to give you a good referral. If you want to look further your insurance plan is also a great resource. My insurance referred me to my psychologist and my MD referred me to my psychiatrist (yes, I saw both for nearly a year).

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Get a thorough check up, be candid with your MD and ask for a referral if needed by your insurance.  Look on the back of your insurance card and call the number and ask about the process to see a therapist while you are waiting for your MD appointment. 

  This is far from hopeless but you need to be honest with everyone from now on including yourself.

Something triggered these feelings so think back to when they first surfaced and see if you can figure out what it was.

  Without knowing the cause or even what you are going through I couldn't begin to think of a book for you.

  Lost

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