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How can I get over my boyfriend's past?

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Hello, Mark.

My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. He is 20 years older than I am. He had a very full life before I came along, with love and loss and everything in between. He, however, is my first everything.

I have been struggling to accept his past, his stories, his friends, and especially any interaction he has with females. Jealousy, fear, anger. I get into a frenzy, start looking through his emails, find snippets of information, and then turn them into crazy stories. Then I have a panic attack and he cannot handle my emotions. This has happened several times and we have decided to take a break. When I am in a rational state, I know that he is faithful, honest, and adores me, but he cannot deal with my emotional instability.

We work at sea and have made a lot of plans for the next few months, but now I am going away for a while to decide if I can accept him for who he is, past and all, or if we need to end it. Maybe we are just incompatible.

I want to ask if you believe one can get over fear, jealousy, heavy anxiety, and panic attacks? I want to save this relationship, but my loved ones have doubts that I can be stable enough to go back to him. Your '7 Tips for Overcoming Jealousy in Relationships' are good and I will be reading them again. Do you have any success stories? My man is a very hard, rational man and I am very emotional. Will it be able to work?

I very much hope to hear back from you. Thank you so much for your time. Best regards.

This question was submitted by 'Dietlind'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Dietlind and thank you for writing in.

When we really love someone, it's pretty common to want to know all about them - not just as they are now, but as they were in the past. Part of the reason you love your boyfriend is because of his past - because his past, in part, has made him who he is. Making stuff up in your head and then believing it, misusing the imagination to make oneself feel bad, is a common feature, especially when the relationship is important to us. But it's a stage to overcome.

You say, "When I am in a rational state, I know that he is faithful, honest, and adores me." That is good, because you know that you can be in this state and if you can be in this calmer state, it's a state of mind you can experience more and more often.

Of course it's been tough for him during those moments of 'emotional hijacking'. He has been made by his past, but he is not his past and you both live in the now and the future. It would be a shame to let this one issue spoil an otherwise good relationship. You say, though, that he is your 'first everything'. Now, I realize you may not mean it this way, but alarm bells sound when I hear 'my everything'. It's useful to remember that it's healthy not to put all your eggs in one basket and to meet needs for social contact with friends and follow interests outside of the relationship, too. When you do this, love can blossom in place of obsession. Check out my article on the Primal Human Needs.

We all need to have rich and varied lives. It sounds like your boyfriend, by having different friends of both genders, already lives in this way. You need to, too.

You write, "Do you have any success stories?" And indeed we do! We have testimonials for our 'Overcome Jealousy' download and '10 Steps to Overcome Insecurity in Relationships' pack.

You also wrote, "My man is a very hard, rational man and I am very emotional. Will it be able to work?" Why shouldn't it work? As long as he is not so hard and rational he can't be empathic, too. People complement one another by having contrasting styles and characters.

All my best,

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - October 15th, 2014 in

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