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Am I being paranoid and unreasonable?

(50 Posts)
hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 11:51:53

I have been with my DP for almost 2 years now. Love him very much and have been very happy with him. I have had two previous relationships that have been very bad due to both abusing me physically, emotionally and mentally. I was cheated on, made to feel jealous and ugly and insecure. I was used to make other girls jealous. My self confidence was dragged down, I thought very little of myself, and found it very difficult to trust people. I have had counselling for two years now to help me with my insecurities and learn to express my emotions and feelings.

So when I met DP, it took me a while to trust him and it was about half a year after he expressed an interest in me before we got together and that I felt ready for that. He understands my past and my insecurities.

The only problem I have is that he still speaks to his ex. I haven't met her, but they are still very close. I firstly find it weird as obviously with my ex partners it's all ended badly and everyone I know has never ended on good terms with an ex, so I have no experience of that.

I get jealous when I know he's talking to her, though he has described their relationship like my relationship with my best friend, who is a guy. I know the jealousy is because of my past experiences, so I have been trying to deal with it and get over it. But for starters I don't know how.

But second of all, there are certain things that make me paranoid. Like when DP is on MSN, he closes the window down when I walk into the room. He deletes all his messages on his phone before he comes home. His passwords are her old password and her email address. Stuff like this makes me feel paranoid as it's like suspicious behavior, as if he's trying to stop me from seeing something. I mentioned it to him once casually and he said he didn't know why he did that.

I did see one MSN convo he had with her, which really upset me. He was saying things to her that he thought she was a pretty girl, which obviously he does cos they were together before, and that he wanted her to go on web cam so he could see her. It really upset me, and I blame my stupid self for snooping in some ways.

I suppose what I'm wanting out of this thread (whether I get it or not is another matter!) is some way or advice of how I can get over my jealousy and paranoia. And to be told I'm acting really stupid and paranoid over nothing.

tiredoftherain Wed 05-Aug-09 11:56:28

Oh dear. It could well be that he knows you would be suspicious of any contact, and is acting accordingly. But if he really had nothing to hide, he'd either involve you in the friendship, or be very open about his contact with her. Deleting phone messages and the like is dodgy behaviour.

Sorry, but I don't think you're being paranoid. Female friends are all very well, but when they're exes, it's a friendship where the lines have already been crossed, and I think it's difficult to go back to being platonic where this is the case.

Why did he break up with her?

Buda Wed 05-Aug-09 11:56:49

Well I think that if he knows of your issues with your past he should be trying to shore up your confidence that he is not like the other guys you were seeing. Instead he is giving you every reason to think that he is or could be up to something with his ex. It is odd that he closes the window down if you come in the room. And it is odd that he wants to see her on a web cam. In my view you are not being paranoid or unreasonable because his actions are re-enforcing your insecurities.

How do you think he would react if you talked to him about it?

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 12:03:47

tiredoftherain, they broke up because she moved away, so they couldn't keep the relationship up.

buda, I'm not sure. We've spoken about it, he brought her up and asked how I felt about them talking. I was honest and said I get jealous because they're exes and I do find it weird. He said that if I found it too weird he would talk to her less, but he only lives with me at weekends so he could still talk to her during the week.

Urgh, I was afraid of this, but I suppose I wanted to see what other people thought. I did see one text from her once which said she missed him. I spoke to a friend about my worries, and he said he doesn't think DP would do anything to hurt me because he sees how happy we are together. And that her saying she misses him can be just as friends.

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 12:23:15

I do have the MSN conversation still on the laptop where he was saying about her going on webcam and saying she's pretty. He actually said the line "I like seeing you on camera, you shouldn't disappoint me. It's not like you need to impress me". OMG am I being really stupid and blind?

Should I show him it? I don't want him to think I don't trust him and snooping, though maybe I don't... ffs.

ginnny Wed 05-Aug-09 12:25:37

Its not you being paranoid. Anyone would be upset by this.
He's using the fact that you are aware of your jealous/paranoid tendencies to make you feel like you are the one with the problem.
He's acting suspiciously, so he's probably up to no good, whether its just a bit of internet flirting or more, its still disrespectful and wrong.
You need to tell him outright that if he wants to be with you, then he needs to limit contact with his ex.
He is not being fair to you.

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 12:33:41

Ginnny, what you've said does make sense. He knows I get jealous when he's talking to her whether it's text or msn. But it's true, I do feel like it's my problem and that it's all me. Apparantly she keeps saying we should go visit, but I dunno if that's him making it "us" or whether she's asking just "him" to. He'll be home Saturday so I can talk to him then but this might eat me up for the rest of the week

When I spoke to him about my insecurities before, he said he felt like my last relationships were still affecting ours because of their insecurities/paranoia/jealousy feelings that come up and that I should learn to let go of my past, which in ways I know he's right.

I just feel really confused now

CaptainRex Wed 05-Aug-09 12:45:11

I'm still friends with one of my ex's. However we split over 20 years ago and much later he got together with one of my close friends. But also, any conversation held with him, is held openly in front of my DH, and nothing is ever hidden.

I would be questioning his loyalities in this case. Yes he is allowed some privacy but he should be putting your feelings first and making you feel like you have nothing to worry about and he isn't doing that by deleting everything. He is acting like someone with something to hide (even if he doesn't actually mean / have to)

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 12:54:51

Thanks CaptainRex, nice to hear from someone who is still friends with an ex. Did your DH ever feel jealous?

CaptainRex Wed 05-Aug-09 13:00:52

No he doesn't, but then we wouldnt have webcam conversations, nor would I ever make comments about how he looks.

My previous bloke did get jealous, but I would go out of my way to make it obvious that there was nothing go on (however in my defence ex was an emotional abusive and didn't like me having any male friends)

The point is, that your DP isn't making any effort to make you feel the centre of his world and as secure as possible

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 13:05:33

That's true, and I understand that with your ex. Mine didn't like me having any male friends either as he thought i was cheating on him with them.

I dunno whether I can just talk to him about my thoughts without making it sound like I don't trust him or am accusing him of anything. I suppose however I do it, it's not going to be very pleasant.

mrsboogie Wed 05-Aug-09 13:47:44

I had a very similar experience to yours a few years go. In this case the ex had moved away also although she had been a dreadful game player and used to cheat and play the guy off against other men. I think she was very insecure. Anyway they were still in touch and used to socialise which I didn't like but felt I couldn't object to as he had told me they were just friends. I suspected that he still held a torch for her and that her interest was piqued by the fact he was seeing someone else.

After a while I made it clear that I wasn't comfortable with the situation and then I found an unsent email which he had written to her explaining why he could not get back with her as she had asked. He basically said he loved us both but that he knew it wouldn't work out with her. I actually dumped him over that but we later got back together after he had made it clear it was me he wanted to be with by telling her that.

I'm not suggesting that there is anything going on in your case but it does sound like there is unfinished business between them because of how they ended. Perhaps one or both of them still have feelings.

It isn't paranoia to feel how you do I would suggest that most people would find the situation objectionable even without your past problems. Because he is not open about their contact it seems as if there is something to hide.

I'm not a fan of issuing ultimatums becasue you either have to follow through with the threat or lose all leverage in the relationship. But I would have a conversation with him and say that you don't feel that you can move onto the next level of your relationship with with their unfinished business hanging over it. Ask him whether he wants to take a break to think about whether she is still the one for him. Tell him you need to think about whether you can continue in this vein. It doesn't have to be unpleasant or end up in a row.

He needs to decide which woman he really wants and putting his relationship with her on a more open footing or limiting it is not too much to ask. I would suggest that you don't go on about your past relationships when you are discussing this with him. This is different. You are not accusing him of anything except being confused perhaps.

If your entire romantic history had been the most fantastic possible this situation would still be giving you pause for thought I am sure.

This situation is part of the process that you are going through of learning to value yourself and the way you handle it is important for your recovery. She is the past and you are meant to be his future. He is a nice guy you say, so you know you can attract nice guys now. If it happens that unfortunately this particular nice guy has a bit of a thing for his ex you can decide to move on if it makes you unhappy, rather than putting up with it.

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 14:38:09

Thanks MrsBoogie. I feel the same in the sense that I couldn't say I'm uncomfortable with it so he should stop just on my account. I do feel he still has feelings for her. At one point, I was worried I was kind of like second best since he can't be with her. Though a friend had pointed out, if he did feel very strongly about her, he could have moved there too.

But I will speak to him. I will bring up other stuff I have mentioned before like the hiding MSN windows etc. I am sure though he will bring up my past relationships however, as he does feel that this is the reason why I am bringing up insecurities in our own.

But the last bit you had wrote makes a lot of sense to me. I have one week left of counselling, so I'm already feeling a bit worried, in case I end up having another breakdown, but overall I feel confident I will be fine. I have been learning to appreciate myself more and think more highly of myself, something I haven't been able to do at all, as I have also got a lot of problems with my family. My mum abused me as a child and I was also sexually assaulted by a relative. I find it very difficult to tell anymore whether it's all in my head or whether stuff is real when things come up.

But this has brought up other things that I have not realised bother me, and it scares me quite a bit at how much I've noticed selfconsciously and what I'm going to do about it.

mrsboogie Wed 05-Aug-09 14:50:32

it's not all bad though hiddenidentity as you are clearly not going to allow yourself to repeat the patterns of the past. The most psychologically robust women with no past traumas can end up in damaging and toxic relationships - you read about them on here all the time, and we can all lose perspective, especially in a situation like yours which isn't clear cut - if we didn't there'd be about half the amount of threads on here for start!

Your friend was quite right in that if he was still madly in love with her he could have moved to where she is and I wasn't suggesting that he is still mad for her - it's more that they probably didn't end that badly - no-one horribly hurt or dumped etc - just circumstances changed. So they have no reason to be angry or hate each other like most exes!

Anyway don't let him accuse you of being unreasonable - I promise you, you are not being. Remain calm and explain that it is the apparent secrecy that you have the problem with and how would he feel in your shoes?

hope it goes well for you

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 14:57:15

Thank you MrsBoogie. I really appreciate that. I will talk to him, and make sure I keep calm and avoid making it sound like I'm accusing him of anything. Just hope it doesn't go out of hand and some clarity or good can come out of this.

lowrib Wed 05-Aug-09 15:46:17

In my circle of friends it is normal to be friends with your ex, and where the relationship has ended amicably I am friends with my exes - two in particular.

This works because although we are friends the relationship / sexual attraction is very much a thing of the past, there is no question that that bit is over, their is no unfinished business. The relationships ran their course but we still have our friendship.

Your DP's behaviour rings alarm bells for me however.

Firstly the if relationship only finished because she moved away, not because it came to an end in itself, then there might be a feeling of unfinished business. This is not reason to distrust him in itself, but it's not the best context.

Secondly although I'm friends with my exes I would find it totally inappropriate if they said I looked pretty or to hide our conversations or to say "I miss you" even if I did (which I don't) it would be totally disrespectful to my current partner and theirs too.

If you want to be friends with your exes you need to make sure your friendship isn't conducted in a way that is bound to upset your current DP or theirs. His behaviour is at the least insensitive, and if he can;t see this it's him who is being unreasonable not you.

Whether anything untoward is actually going I don't know - it could be innocent - but there are enough alarms bells for anyone to be worried.

lowrib Wed 05-Aug-09 15:47:29

I meant "there is" not "their is" - oh dear!

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 15:57:01

Thanks lowrib. I think that the fact that their relationship came to an end out of no fault of either of them, as she still lives with her parents who were moving so she had to go, makes it worse for me in the sense that I do feel if she hadn't, they may still be together. I had asked him this once, if he felt that if she hadn't moved whether they would still be together. He said he honestly didn't know.

I know they have talked on another of occassions of getting together, but DP has said he wants me and DD (not his DD btw, DD is from a previous relationship of mine) to go as well. In fact in this conversation I saw, she had mentioned it, as we are planning on buying a new TV, and she said to him he could have used that money to go visit him.

But like I said before little things have come up for me, that I keep remembering. Like on Facebook, DP uploaded some holidays photos, and she commented on them saying that he looked really different from when they were together. The way she had put it, I read it as if she was jealous and wondering why he didn't look like that when they were together (partly cos everytime DP goes to hairdressers, he makes me tell them what to do and I clothes shop for him too). DP took it offensively, and deleted her from his FB, which seems a childish thing to do, and said he wasn't gonna speak to her. But a couple of days later, they're back to chatting again.

Sorry for going on, but I just want to get this out before I explode from all these thoughts circling through my head!

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 16:02:04

Oh and when I said getting together, I meant meeting up to see each other.

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 16:03:15

And also it should be "he could have used money to go visit her" not him. Gah, my head is a mess.

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 18:13:07

I was talking to my best friend, who is a guy, about this. And he said to me that he thinks my DP needs to be more fair to me as he can't have it both ways as he's chosen to be with me and thinks that really he shouldn't talk to her if it's gonna cause me this much pain.

But he also pointed out how it could easily be flipped. For example, as he's male and we do talk a lot, either DP or my friend's DW could see it as something more than just friendship. I said I had thought of this, but the big difference is I'm honest and open about my conversations with my friend to DP. And when I do see him, my DP and DD come with me and we spend the weekend with his family. We don't see each other otherwise, and we talk maybe once a week at the very most. Usually we go a couple of weeks without speaking to each other. So I said I understand and it does feel rather hypocritical of me to be suspicious of them just being friends when that's what it is.

Yet, when I read these things, I can't help panicking and worrying about what the meaning is behind them.

Just wondering how I can show DP the msn conversation without him thinking I'm accusing him of something...

LostHorizon Wed 05-Aug-09 18:41:31

**Bloke posting alert**

If you're insecure and apt to accuse him of stuff, his course of least hassle is to keep you away from his dealings with his ex. It might look like guilt to you, but it's a lot less hassle than is involved in having to explain and justify his every contact with anyone of the opposite sex.

It is not unusual for men to remain in touch with their exes. I've rarely made a point of doing so. Many of them though have got in touch with me. Some have been very persistent in trying to do so. I attribute this to the fact that I've always treated women well in relationships and always tried to ensure we broke up on civil terms. Remembering that, and after a few weeks, months or years of sampling all the other tossers out there, they get a rose-tinted view of what going out with me was like, and they get back in touch.

The record is seven years. 7 years after splitting up an ex emailed me to ask me out for a drinks. Yeah right. Another from 8 years ago still texts me on Valentine's Day. Try explaining that.

I share little of this with my OH, because she wouldn't believe I hadn't encouraged it.

You are able to be "honest and open about my conversations with my friend to DP" only because DP doesn't react like you would. To the extent that you're able to be honest, it's down to him, not you, and it reflects well on him, not you.

With all the paranoia he's surrounded with, his ex probably sounds a lot more grounded and accommodating than you. And of course she's easier to talk to, because unlike with you, he's not walking on eggshells all the time. This could be self-fulfilling if you aren't careful.

The last thing you should do is expect him to involve you in their friendship. I don't involve individual friends of mine with others, of either sex. Why would I assume Fred would like Bill? Why would Sharon want to meet either? Is he still a complete person, or is he just 50% of you and has to be joined to you at the hip?

mrsboogie Wed 05-Aug-09 19:52:51

all well and good in theory but why does he need to shut down MSN when the OP walks in the room? why does he need to see his ex on a webcam?

not buying it.

hiddenidentity Wed 05-Aug-09 20:26:00

LostHorizon, I haven't accused DP of anything in the past, nor do I let him on to how I really feel. I have spoken to him once about his ex, and we discussed how I do feel jealous but I said it casually, and tried to make it not a big deal. Other than this conversation, I have not given him any other reasons for him to think I'm paranoid. I appreciate your outlook on it though, and I know I have issues myself, stuff I need to work on, which I have been trying for a long time now through counselling.

But there is odd behaviour. And perhaps if I hadn't read that, which I do feel ashamed about, then I wouldn't feel like this, and ignorance is bliss. But I can't help how I feel about it. I don't plan to accuse him of anything. I just want to hear his side of things and then work out what to do from there.

hiddenidentity Fri 07-Aug-09 11:58:07

Ok I'm freaking out now. Wednesday night and Thursday night I haven't been able to sleep properly because I have been worrying. Last night was the worse, I didn't get to sleep til after 3:30am, as I knew DP had gone on MSN when he got back to his parents after work. I knew he'd probably be talking to his ex and it worried me as to what the context of that conversation would be. Plus he doesn't go to sleep til gone 4am, as he works up til 11:30pm, so he sleeps through til like 1pm during the day.

This is eating me up. I feel like I am beginning to not trust him, which I hate, and I hate myself for feeling this way. It's just eating me up, and I can't talk to him about it til tomorrow evening when he gets home.

I've never been like this, never worried about what he's actually saying to other girls, even his ex. I may have been jealous, but it never got to this. It was just a I can't understand why he still talks to her but okay then kind of feeling.

I don't know what to do. I don't know if I'm going to even feel better after I've talked to him, whether he'll actually understand my concerns, whether it's just gonna go all horribly wrong!!

I just want to bang my head against the wall sad

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