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Feeling Second Best to Ex

(26 Posts)
pommedeterre Sat 02-Apr-11 10:57:33

DH had an 8 year relationship with a girl in his twenties (uni and then after). Throughout the first couple of years of our relationship whenever she has been mentioned he has always been more than complimentary about her including once stating that he will always love her. We weren't the nicest to each other back in the day so I put it down to that when we were on track although it hurt like hell at the time.

Then she came up during wedding plans (worrying about inviting some people who were joint friends but became more her friends when he moved out although he has always kept in touch with them) and then when we moved house (wanted to not be joint tenants because that had backfired with her). I felt a bit shaken again about her and things. Worried that he didn't feel our relationship was any different to their one.

I recently finally got up the courage to ask about her (decided that it might stop me stalking her on facebook blush) and the response has not reassured me. He was shocked that I was thinking about it but maintains that he will never want to lose respect for what he felt for her and their time together. It has me feeling really flustered. It's not that I think he's going to run off with her or even contact her but that I feel I and our relationship will constantly be compared negatively to this representation of her and their relationship in his head that now is obviously fiction anyway (it didn't work out can't have been that good ffs!). I also don't feel it's normal to feel so strongly about respecting your past relationships.

Am I being over the top? How can I deal with this upset? sitting here in tears now typing this. I don't know how to cope with this. He thinks to say that our relationship is better is silly and ludicrous and it's not his style to be all over the top and reassuring.

Ack.

mummylouise Sat 02-Apr-11 11:04:18

This relationship was in the past. He is with u now. Think u should concentrate on u as a couple and not drive urself mad with thoughts of the past. Do u bring her name up or does ur DP?? If its u don't talk about her, don't mention her. She is not really that important is she, the relationship ended, there are no kids. My ex's are exs for a reason and i wouldn't think about them or have a releationship with them. I am only in touch with the ExH because we have kids.

mummylouise Sat 02-Apr-11 11:07:06

Thinking about the worst possible outcome is not the best thing to do. Believe me i know, i have done that. If she mattered so much then he would be with her - and he is not is he? Don't look at her on fb only upset u more. U are in control of this relationship, not her. Don't give her the head space.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 02-Apr-11 11:09:41

you should read Rebecca by Daphnie du Maurier grin

Seriously, try to lose the insecurities. Its kind of nice that he is able to respect an ex so much. But she is an ex and he is with you now....

MigratingCoconuts Sat 02-Apr-11 11:11:12

Have you thought about why you are so insecure about your relationship with him? That might be a better focus for you thoughts....

pommedeterre Sat 02-Apr-11 12:24:13

You might be right MigratingCoconuts. Displacement kinda thing you mean I guess/ He's not much of a compliments man (or words man at all really) and it may be that the saying nice things about his ex is more about not saying nice things about me more than the ex iykwim.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 02-Apr-11 12:55:48

yes, I do. My friend got this book so that she could better communicate love to her children, but there is a relationship version too. Might be worth thinking about....

five languages of love

It talks about how we can express love in different ways. He may be telling you more than you know

pommedechocolat Fri 02-Sep-11 17:05:50

Rather than start a new thread I decided to just dredge this up again.

Managed to 'get over' this for a bit but am now totally back into it and feel exactly as I did in the OP. Am currently 14 weeks pg and dh hasn't told his school/uni friends yet. I'm wondering if it's because he's worried about it getting back to her? Am I insane? I haven't voiced this to him yet so maybe even I know I am at some level...

I am stalking her on Facebook again blush

How does everyone else just stop thinking about their dh/p's exes??

knitknack Fri 02-Sep-11 17:48:25

I suffer from this too sad there's a thread I started about it somewhere.

Some lovely posters gave me loads to think about and I ended up having some CBT (which wasn't recommended, but was free and easy to access) and one thing she said to me was 'what are you afraid of' 'what is the danger'? Like you, I was obsessively looking on facebook/blogs etc... and when I started to REALLY think about it (and talk about it with her (blimey was that embarrassing - like you I was/am totally aware how BARMY it sounds)) I realised that I sort of felt that if I could keep checks on them I could make sure everything was OK and that I wasn't going to lose DH and I could 'see' any possible 'danger' coming! Sounds bonkers doesn't it?

But you see a very wise poster had explained that if, for whatever reason, you grow up in a place of anxiety (as I did, tricky family situation) your anxieties and reactions follow you and you do tend to spend a large part of the time trying to pre-empt danger/unhappiness. I don't know what your background is, but could this have anything to do with it?

I'm sorry, i KNOW i'm not explaining this very well... but what might help is if you tried to articulate (even if only on here) what it is that you are actually scared/bothered by? Is it the fear that you might not be number one in his affections? Can you then relate that to your childhood at all?

Sorry if I'm completely off the mark!

I have to say, when I finally 'came clean' with DH (I actually showed him my thread and all the answers) he was pretty emotional himself and supported me totally, in fact he made the appointment for me and still now goes out of his way to tell me how special we are and how he's the happiest he's ever been, and that has certainly helped. I wonder if your partner doesn't actually realise how this affects you?

You are especially vulnerable now that you are pregnant, I hope you're OK

Sorry for the ramble, and sorry if I'm completely off the mark!

knitknack Fri 02-Sep-11 17:49:31

oops I apologised twice, I won't do it again hehe

ImperialBlether Fri 02-Sep-11 18:34:09

But OP, why did you get pregnant when you felt so vulnerable? It was only April that you felt he preferred her and you must have got pregnant this summer.

Was it a planned pregnancy? What's his attitude to the pregnancy?

I would be very concerned that he isn't telling anyone about the baby - he should be shouting it from the rooftops.

pickgo Fri 02-Sep-11 18:50:51

Not necessarily IB. A lot of people want a pg to remain private and special between them or need the space to adjust themselves before talking to other people.

Imo OP you need to focus on your internal feelings rather than the outside nominal cause of how you feel. This anxiety you feel, you need to let go. Every time you catch yourself thinking about it say to yourself it's me he loves and is together with, not her (or something else positive about yourself like I'm lovable and he's lucky to have me)

Try to relax and enjoy your pg.

pommedechocolat Fri 02-Sep-11 19:02:04

He has told people, his family, everyone at his work (they are his local friends too) just not this one particular group of school/uni friends.

IB - pg was planned and I hadnt been feeling like this for a bit.

pommedechocolat Fri 02-Sep-11 19:03:10

Knitknack - I'm going to ponder your post and come back to it. Nice to hear from someone who has had the same torturous thoughts ( and done the stalking!)

haveigotnewsforyou Fri 02-Sep-11 23:01:22

OP, I'm sorry to hear you feel like this especially as you are now pregnant.

I can't really add anything valuable to the discussion. I did, however, feel very vulnerable with my XP. Different scenario to you but I spent lots of time checking up on him never sure if he was really with me. It is a horrible feeling that never went away. I am now married to someone different and have no doubt in my mind that I am the best thing that has ever happened to him. I've never checked up on him once. There's just no comparison.

Not very helpful I know. Hopefully someone else will come along with good advice.

Good luck with everything.

x

FabbyChic Sat 03-Sep-11 00:06:23

I'd have to say to him that constantly thrusting her down your throat is pretty shit.

I'd not stand for it and have to say if it was that fucking good fuck off back to her then if you miss her that much.

pommedechocolat Sat 03-Sep-11 11:33:02

haveigotnewsforyou - It's not that I think he'd ever cheat on me actually. I think this is more to do with me being a bit odd that anything 'real'.

FabbyChic - He knows how insensitive bringing her up over moving house/getting married was and he has apologised and tried to explain. The early days he says he can't remember so well (and as I say we were mean to each other back in the day) I feel I should be able to get over this but am fuelling it with Facebook.

pommedechocolat Sun 04-Sep-11 11:49:46

Knitknack - I didn't grow up in family anxiety but there is a history of depression/anxiety and far worse on both sides of my family. I have signed up to Mood Gym before to try CBT and I come out fine for depression but really high for anxiety.
I'm not scared of anything happening now. I am scared that I was really his second choice, that memories of us will in some way be second in romantic nostalgia to memories of her. I don't want to be second best. By stalking her I think I am trying to understand how she is and what she might have offered him that was so amazing. I also sometimes use it to feel better about myself compared to her which is awful I know.

I need to come up with some way of overcoming my negative thoughts and also decide if I need to talk to him about it again I think.

mrsmillsfanclub Sun 04-Sep-11 12:14:28

please do not waste another moment of your life worrying about his ex. I speak from years obsessing about my dh's, mainly based on the fact that he didn't run her down at all and whilst he didn't mention her much at all if he did it was always with fondness.
In my mind I blew her way out of proportion so that by the time I'd finished she had morphed into a cross between mother Teresa/pamela anderson/nigella lawson. Of course it was crazy. When I confessed how I felt he was amazed. Said he had chosen to be with me, marry me and that she had been part of his life in his twenties but was in no way comparable to what we had.
I then coincidentally met her in real life (she didn't see me, and no I wasn't stalking her) and she was very normal, looked as harrassed as I often do when shopping on a saturday morning and not the least hint of this sexual, strong domestic/career driven Goddess that I grown in my head. Wish I had just stopped worrying years ago. You have an exciting future to look forward to with your new baby and your partner. Quit thinking of her for good and be happy.

cornflowers Sun 04-Sep-11 12:19:33

There are plenty of Facebook stalker apps around that let people know who's been looking at their profile - and how often. Would you continue checking her profile if she could see you were doing so? Just a thought.

cornflowers Sun 04-Sep-11 12:28:19

Actually, those apps probably don't work. But the point still stands. Would you want this ex knowing how much space she's occupying in your mind? Don't let her be so important to you; she is an ex for a reason.

ScribblerInTheSpaces Sun 04-Sep-11 12:57:10

Message withdrawn

changeforthebetter Sun 04-Sep-11 13:11:04

I would view an 8-year, adult relationship which ended amicably enough for them still to be in contact to be a positive thing. It means he is capable of a mature relationship with a woman, didn't treat her badly and still respects her as a person. I would be more concerned if he was overly critical of her or claimed to hate her.

You know this is about your self-esteem and the massive life-change (AKA baby) that is about to occur. Stop the stalking. It's weird. Think about what you want from your life, FGS have as much "me-time" as you can before DC arrives grin and be glad you seem to have landed a decent bloke smile <<note to self: stop slagging of X on MN and move on winkgrin>>

changeforthebetter Sun 04-Sep-11 13:11:50

Or even slagging off blush

ScribblerInTheSpaces Sun 04-Sep-11 13:34:36

Message withdrawn

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