An email: “Please give me some tips on how to move on from my husband’s past.”

Sharing an email. 

‘About ex-es (probably inspired by the most recent story)’

Dear IHM,

I would appreciate if you can put it up on your blog.

My husband had a girl friend before we married. When we had met for the first time, she had just gotten married. (Within months of breaking up with him). They were still in contact and my husband still talked affectionately with her. Old habits die hard and he, out of habit, and because they were colleagues at work, shared all minute details of his day with her. On the other side, he had started liking me a lot and I had fallen in love with him. We got engaged within months of being friends.

He did introduce me to her and I also knew they were quite good friends. I had no problem with it, naturally, until I came to know that she was his ex-gf. How I came to know was very dramatic. I was snooping through his phone (I know it is wrong but somehow, my gut told me that something was cooking) I saw the messages and that he talked so affectionately with her, almost as if he was talking to me. (There were also some love you messages from him). I also found a lot of saved chat-scripts when they exchanged the love-yous and miss-yous in the past. And to add to the drama, this was the day when she was leaving the country to go where her husband works. (Her husband had already left, very soon after the marriage)
 
It also hit me very hard in the belly to know that she used to talk almost all day long with my husband. She never responded to his love-yous but never stopped him. The way she talked to him, it was almost everything that a couple would talk minus the love-you. And there were a few times when he told her that he wanted to stop talking to her and be fair to a relationship he had just committed to. But she would constantly tell him “whats wrong in being friends. I am concerned for you. I want to look out for you” etc.
 
When I confronted him, the first thing he did was to apologise profusely. I also know he repents that time too. He does regret getting emotional with someone other than his fiancee. He never said that to me though. He told me that he regretted his act and that he knows he committed a grave blunder. He asked for a chance to show that I could trust him again. I knew his regret was genuine and gave him that chance.
 
He did stop it. I have never found anything else and never any suspicious behaviour. Today, I know he has moved on from his past. And that he loves me way more than I love him. He is as committed to me as he can ever be, the perfect husband and the perfect father to our child.
 
On the other side, she still cajoled him until about some months back when she was feigning illness to get his attention. He has never RSVPed into her drama. She has sent several mails “please be friends” “can I call you when you are in office”. When he did not respond the way she wanted, she unfriended us on facebook. Good riddance. I went ahead and blocked her. I know its lame but I only wanted to pass it on to her that we are not interested in her and were only friends outwardly because there were a lot of common friends and such unfriending etc was a childish step. But when she did it, I did it too.
 
A month back, I was revamping my account and unblocked her thinking its all a very distant past now. The thing is now, I can see her comments on common friends wall or can see her replies on threads and it irritates me. I am itching to go and block her again. But I seriously want to move on from all this shit.
 
My husband knows I sometimes get very frustrated with the thoughts of that day when she is mentioned by some common friends or her reply to some friend shows up on my facebook feed or some assh*le colleague deliberately brings her up to remind husband of his past and mister gets very apologetic every time, assuring me that he is mine and never ever do I need to doubt that for even a part of a second. That he has moved on. He gets back to that guilty mode, which is what I don’t want him to feel. I know he’s felt bad for that enough. I don’t want to torture him with that thought again and again.
 
Please give me some tips on how to move on from my husbands past. And to assure him that it doesn’t affect me as much now and he can let that guilt pass.
I got this thought again while going through the latest post on your blog about platonic / emotional relationships, not involving sex. Probably it will even help that LW [“This is the worst emotional crisis of my life… My question is, why didn’t it hurt him so much?”] also.
From,
An anonymous wife.

26 thoughts on “An email: “Please give me some tips on how to move on from my husband’s past.”

  1. Couples therapy. Air out your issues in front of a neutral third party who’s qualified. Just keep in mind though that some people here are quite misinformed about therapy–it isn’t about him seeking forgiveness or the therapist telling you what to do–it’s about seeking help with moving on from a breach of trust that happened very early on in your relationship.

    Good luck.

    Like

    • Kay,
      Desis have cynical aversion to word therapy, every other person is distributing advise for free in this nation then who wants to pay for it we often joke about it. Also therapy is expensive in India even people who are genuinely looking for professional help.

      This Anon Wife should know it is not about her spouse or his ex anymore, it is about her. Her deep seated insecurities that have root in abandonment fears that come from social conditioning and some are inherent at soul level as they say in spiritual speak. Some people just thrive in drama of their own creating. Lest one let go of someone from their soul they will keep them lingering around in not one but many reincarnations.

      Here is ABC of couple’s counseling
      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/couples-counseling-faq/

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

      • Also in my experience lot of therapists are very conditioned too. They would use all the jargon like abandonment issues, FOO issues and all, they will listen to you also but they don’t know what to do with you so they end up giving you advice and usually the advice is fundamentally not very different from the neighborhood aunties though spoken in a professional dispassionate tone. So imagine the amount of damage. I am not saying all are like this but quite a few. So its very important to identify one who is not conditioned.

        Like

        • Job of therapist is to help you resolve your issues by pushing you to deconstruct where it all started in the first place. If counselors are giving advice then they are being unprofessional, their job is to give you tools to modify your behaviors to change your situation but you have to do the work.

          Why the concept of therapy never took off in desi context is because everybody is giving advice for free and those with professional degrees have read books written by western authors and how are they suppose to execute that knowledge in desi context without any research based understanding. That is the reason they are doling out that neighborhood aunty advice to clients.

          Abandonment issues are not just a psy lingo one has to have proper understanding of it only then they can get past their insecurities.
          Peace,
          DG

          Like

  2. Everybody is not a Buddha. We can’t all be calm and let nothing affect us. So, I do not see anything childish in severing all ties, it is really helpful actually.

    If you have seen Jab We Met, what Geet asks Shahid to do is true. Burn the photo and flush her out of your lives permanently.

    I feel you are asking more for yourself than for your hub.
    – Go ahead and block her on FB.
    – If your husband is okay and wants to let him delete her email ID and why not change phone number so that he is not called into drama by her? Why not block her on Gchat etc? Spam her email and delete from contacts?
    – Stop snooping on his phone/email anything.
    – Assure him constantly verbally and via actions that you trust him.
    – Do you really think, she will leave her husband and come for yours? I do not think so. If she did, she would have divorced long back. She is just sucking on your husband for emotional support because she does not get it in her marriage for whatever reason.
    -Stop talking about her and let your husband demonstrate by his actions and words that he is over her and that means you guys do not discuss her.
    – Cease all contact. IF you feel so bad, you deactivate your account. Keep in touch with close friends via email or phone.

    Everybody cannot be friends with their exes because one party is still into it emotionally. So stop trying to be friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I reread the post but not able to find what the problem is. LW has forgiven her husband, he has moved on from his past…so whats exactly is the problem? Other people bringing it up or ex behaving bratty? well what can u do? you cant control other people’s behavior. Either ignore them or cut them out of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What I would do: delete my account on facebook. Erase all the little things that make me think about this person, what they are doing, saying. This person is out of your life. Your husband has already committed to getting her out of his life. You need to give him the space to do this; your fears are only going to make this harder on him. By allowing those comments to stay in your mind, you are poisoning yourself with words, allowing feelings and creating scenarios in your head, that will bring neither peace nor calm.
    I also don’t understand why you are OK with your husband apologizing to you about this regularly. If you both are moving on from this, shouldn’t it all just be water under the bridge?
    When some colleague mentions her what stops you from saying, “XX, this makes my husband and me uncomfortable. Please don’t bring this person up unless it is for professional reasons.” Do it in public. Why should your husband or you feel embarrassed if this person is brought up – obviously your colleagues are picking up that this topic is touchy and know that you both haven’t comes to terms with it as a couple. Why don’t you take on the community together, as a team?
    And don’t get back on facebook till you are ready as a couple, a unit!

    Like

  5. Boiling is correct.

    Completely flush out that person from all the spheres of your life. Do not leave any door open from where you can contact that person. If you dont do this then you and your husband will be pained . Third person has nothing to lose if you have kept any door open for her to communicate.

    And you should make your husband feel normal because leaving past in past is the best thing to do. And as life partner you helped him and yourself in doing so.

    Close all the doors of communication.

    Like

  6. I don’t get what it is about us desis that we don’t move away from ex-GF/BF. I think you should explain to your husband that the lady is plain wrong in trying to get his attention; more so because she’s married.

    My husband’s ex-BF keeps trying to get in touch with him, and I know he dislikes the very thought of her. She’s married and happy, but still wants to get in touch with him – for what, we have no clue! She’s tried to get in touch with me as well, trying to exchange pleasantries etc.

    Explain to your husband that he’ll end up being a bad influence on her married life.

    Like

  7. To Letter Writet,
    It seems you have little bit jealousy and lot of insecurity because of the presence of ex in the horizon. Be calm. If your husband love you and want to be with you always, he will be there. If he do not want that you may not be able to do anything about it. So why getting tensed about the ex? You need not have any contact with her, but why getting uncomfortable when some one mention’s her name? Why should you hate her?
    Yes. Couple Therapy to remove your insecurity may be useful.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi LW,

    I think I used to be a lot like you; an issue would be over and done with, but I would tend to obsess-obsess-obsess about it, even when it stopped existing. I’d be okay for days and months but something would suddenly come up–a comment on Facebook, a casual reference to the past by a friend–and all that bitterness and self-pity and woundedness would return.

    I have no lesson plan on how I got over it. I am, and have always been insecure; I went to therapy for a bit for what I later realised was depression and stress. But I also realised that it’s very unfair on the partner when you do this, because you’ve said it’s okay, you know it is, you feel like you’ve let go, but it uncontrollably comes back and you take it out on the partner, who is forced to constantly live in guilt.

    I think therapy would help you. It won’t solve all your problems, but it helps to talk it out to a third party, with or without your husband. You might also have insecurity issues about not having been the first person in your husband’s life, or to have co-existed for a short space with someone else in his life.

    That’s okay too. I’m at a point where I feel fabulous. I had baggage with exes too, lots and lots of it, and so did my partner, but we both chose to be with each other for strong reasons, and those reasons still hold.

    Good luck to you🙂

    Like

  9. Dear LW, this is plain jealousy and no one is judging you for it. It definitely enters the mind and makes one obsess and think unnecessary things. It happens when you don’t like someone you want your spouse also to not talk to that person or not have any contact with that person. It just irritates you to no end. Best is to just ignore the person exists and think how your partner chose to stay with you, rather than ask her to get back with him. She has also not told that she still loves him and wants him back. Whatever the reason-some people can be good friends with their exes and their partners are also fine to be among that circle of friends. But when one knows that this friendship is causing problems in the marriage, its best to cut them off and move on.

    You could try doing these..

    1. Block her again on FB and it will give you peace of mind. Why do you want to know or see what she’s up to? Out of sight is out of mind. You need not delete your FB account just because of her. Do not bother to snoop around again and find out what she’s upto on FB or read her comments.
    2. Talk to your husband again and tell him that you do tend to get upset and if its ok with him to send her a terse mail saying that he does not want to be friends with her anymore, past is past etc etc. — if she writes to him again.
    3. Both of you love each other and know you have to move on. You have forgiven your husband and he has moved on too and loves you truly and completely. Do not ruin what you have.
    4. Yes as Megha said above – if your common friends bring up her topic, just speak up and tell them not to bring her up and its not a joke anymore. You will feel relieved once you speak your mind.

    All the best, don’t let such things fester in your mind. Burn all her thoughts and flush it. Work on your relationship and be happy.

    Like

  10. BLOCK HER AGAIN ! OR simply inbox her not to try to talk to your husband at all….and if she does, threaten her that you gonna tell her husband ! There is no way out of this until you take a stand…..it might be childish but it ll bring lot of relief to your life….you dont have to behave perfect lady all the time…..Just tell her that you are not comfortable with her trying to talk to your husband and if she does it again, you ll tell her husband ! PERIOD.

    Like

  11. RESPONSE FROM THE EMAIL WRITER
    Dear IHM,

    First of all. Thanks a ton to you. And then to all the people who took time to comment.

    I agree with Kay and DG on the therapy but, I have inhibitions whether I would find a good consultant at a appropriate fee. And hence, I decided against that option. I had contemplated it for a very long time. But I don’t want to return with more damage than already is. And our society is such that people either don’t go for such therapies or if they do, they would be very reluctant to share their opinion on the therapy as well as the therapist, even anonymously. So it gets very difficult to decide who to go to, when google shows up a lot of consultants!

    I agree with most of the posters who said it is a mix of jealousy and insecurity. I don’t think I will delete my facebook account. But I will go ahead and block her again for sure. That, for my peace of mind. Regarding his vicious colleagues who try and poke us with her news all the time and give me insights into the past where my husband made a fool of himself many a times for her benefit, I am going to tell them in clear words “Mr. Y, I know everything. EVERYTHING! I’m his wife and he has most certainly told me everything!”

    I need to work on my insecurities more than anything else and at the same time, I need to stop letting him know it still affects me. I hope I can write her off completely.

    Thanks IHM.

    Like

    • There are many tools on GGTS and they are free for anyone to use. Some deal with facing personal insecurities and abandonment issues, you’ll have to browse a bit. Without going to even a single therapist you should not pass a judgement, there are few good ones too, you have to look out for them earnestly and they are expensive.
      It is not this one relationship but many in many tiny forms in everyday life, just that we focus on our primary relationships. Good starting point could be understanding, jealousy breed from a feeling of relative deprivation and insecurity from fear of abandonment and many more for each.
      Good luck with your resolve,
      DG

      Like

    • Finding a good therapist can be very challenging! I have a couple of experiences that may be useful to you.

      My parents went to a professional therapist attached to a reputable hospital in Bangalore. Some months later they were attending a wedding, the counselor also happened to be invited, and they discovered that she was talking about them to other guests. I am sure her unprofessionalism is a one off in this field but it’s good to be careful.

      I too confided in a close friend, in whom I trusted, during a bad breakup of a 7 year relationship. He was much older than me so served in a counseling role, I suppose. This informal counseling was very comforting since my boyfriend typically played the role of confidante and once he was not around I felt vulnerable and terribly insecure (because of a similar emotional affair on his part). I think the counseling gave me strength to make a decision about the relationship.

      During that time we also spoke to a psychiatrist. My boyfriend knew him in a different capacity and he invited us both to talk to him. He asked us to come up with goals in the relationship – we had many problems, our lifestyles were conflicting, we never saw each other etc – that would help make it work. We each had to do stuff. I liked how structured everything was. It was only one or two sessions but by then I had already decided I didn’t want to continue working on that relationship.

      Like

  12. GREAT !
    just block her and tell her if she does try to talk to ur husband again, u ll tell her husband….!
    I am sure she’ll stop !

    Like

  13. Advice from Firangi Bahu:
    I can relate to this. Both myself and my husband had exes and both our exes tried to contact us repeatedly over the years of us being together. Sometimes when people have moved on and are happily married, the ex can sense it in a weird way. My advice – out of sight, out of mind!!! BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK. The ex clearly needs to move on. My husband and I have a rule that we are not to have any contacts with exes and no to friendships with them either. After you have been in a relationship with someone, it can never really go back to friendship IMO.
    It is hard enough being married and with life stresses, you don’t need an ex popping up and adding drama.

    Like

  14. Pingback: An email from a 30 year old Indian man, “Marrying a divorcee and an older woman.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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