The Boyfriend's Ex
I was 20 when I met my 25-year-old boyfriend more than 3 years ago. I was fresh out of a break-up with a guy who treated me terribly. My boyfriend had broken up his one-year, long-distance romance two years previously. I thought she was out of the picture.
Over the next year or two, he talked about her constantly, told me every intimate story he could think of, kept pictures of her everywhere, told me about every book/movie/etc. she had introduced him to, talked about sending her gifts, etc.
This woman's presence went on and on and on. From the start, he was supposedly not in contact with her - yet I found between the one and two year mark that he both still had her phone number and was talking to her on a social networking site.
When I'd finally had enough, I told him I was leaving. He shaped up and changed his behavior drastically. But while he no longer lets her cast a cloud over our relationship, I still find myself constantly insecure that the only reason he's with me is because I'm close by and she was the one who dumped him. I feel I am living in the ex-girlfriend's shadow still.
The urge to get revenge is so strong. to the extent it sometimes feels it has blotted out all of the love and respect I had for my boyfriend. I cannot believe he treated me so badly and that he put his ex-girlfriend on a pedestal above me for 2 to 4 years after their break-up. He saw her for a grand total of a few weeks!
Sometimes I would like to gab on and on about my ex's good traits, however few they were - but my boyfriend is not at all threatened by him. He also knows that my ex was a very cruel and malignant person. I know part of this is because I have never felt good about myself - I am overweight - and historically men have treated me badly, including my current boyfriend. Only in the last year did he get over his habit of constantly 'shh'ing me or snapping at me just because. he's finally not irritable all of the time anymore.
Sometimes I think about cheating or breaking up with my boyfriend in cruel ways to let him feel the kind of pain he inflicted on me. Yet I know this is out of character for me - I am not the bitter type of person who should hate all men and view them so negatively. Yet I can't get out of this loop. I want to get revenge. I want to feel better about myself. I want to feel desirable to and wanted by my partner, not someone settled for just because she happens to be there.
I don't know to this day if my boyfriend is with me because he loves me and he finally realizes how poorly he treated me, or if I'm the one he's settled on. He shows me affection. He tells me he loves me all of the time. Shouldn't it be clear?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I am glad for you that you have good things in your relationship to focus on. I will help you with the other part that is upsetting to you.
You are a perfect candidate for my web page entitled, Healthy Alternatives To Getting Revenge. I encourage you to read the entire page, and do all of the exercises recommended.
You will also find the anger management techniques described on this FAQ page to be very helpful to you in healing and managing your anger.
Make up your mind to be the good person you choose to be, and you will succeed.
My very best to you,
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