MC: “I felt so threatened, possessive, and jealous.”

I cheated on GF4 a few times with a woman I met while traveling.  I told GF4 about it.  I guess she told herself it was not a deal-breaker because we were not married.  I cheated on her a few more times with another girl.  I told her about it.  Again GF4 stayed with me.  On another occasion I kissed another girl at a party when a few friends were around but GF4 was not around.  I never told GF4 about that.  Later I cheated on GF4 a few times with a mutual friend.  I did not tell her about this  either.  But, the mutual friend eventually did tell GF4.  This time GF4 moved out.  She referred to it like it was a trial period or somehow temporary.  I think I knew it was permanent.  I think she knew that too.  I treated GF4 awfully badly during those years.  I owe her an apology and some gratitude.

Less than a year later, I started dating TL.  I was head-over-heels for TL.  I really thought of her as perfect.  I wanted her so badly.  Though this may seem like a positive attitude toward TL, looking back on it I can’t help but wonder whether maybe my attitude was a bit unhealthy.  I had her so high up on a pedestal that no one could possibly be or remain that flawless.  I raised my expectations of her very high.  And, it was unfair to her.  I was settings myself up to become disappointed with her.

It took a few dates for me to get up the courage to kiss her goodnight, and a couple weeks to move toward sex.  When we first tried it, I think I experienced erectile dysfunction.  Early on, she told me quite a bit about her sexual history.  If I recall correctly, I hadn’t asked.  She just volunteered it.  But, with me being on such a manic high, thinking of her as perfect, I didn’t really listen.  I didn’t register in my mind that TL was not the perfect virgin, or at least near-virgin, I had imagined her to be.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that expecting her to be a virgin and being disappointed at the contrary is archaic, hypocritical, and unfair.  There really always was a part of me that wished I didn’t think about gender relations in that parochial way.  But, the insecure part of me clung to those parochial views.

I fawned over TL.  I gave her romantic gifts, dates, and attention in a way I never had before and probably never have since.  But, it came to an abrupt halt soon.  Moreover, it was probably too fast for TL at the time.  One Saturday morning when I was looking forward to taking TL out to a big event that night, I was disappointed to learn that she had been out with a friend, getting drunk and talking with another guy the night before.  That experience burst my bubble, brought her down off the pedestal in my mind, made me recall what she had told me earlier about her sexual past, and rekindled my sick obsessions.

I told you how I first really encountered those sick obsessions, starring me in the face, when I was with GF4.  I had interrogated GF4 about her past, again and again, going over the same old ground dozens or hundreds of times. I started this same pattern with TL, blaming her for my unhappiness and imploring her to change the past, to change reality. Before marriage, I tried hard to not verbalize these obsessions. Little by little it became harder for me to control.

Nonetheless, I pushed forward with our relationship, rushing us into marriage.  We had a nearly impromptu civil marriage, chalking it up to lack of money and telling ourselves we would have a real wedding soon.  I remember another triumph of my self-centeredness that night.  TL was hoping to go spend time with her dog.  They had been separated all through college. Her dog arrived in town that day and was staying with a friend temporarily while TL figured out a more long-term housing solution.  TL was told that she must spend the first night with her dog since the friend would be out and did not want the dog alone in the house on that first day. I, on the other hand, was assuming TL would leave the dog and come spend our wedding night with me. I didn’t listen to her suggestions of compromise.  I pouted and left.  We both spent our wedding night alone.

I also tried to control TL in lots of petty ways due to lots of petty insecurities.  After a three-hour drive, I criticized her for asking for crackers upon arrival at a party before dinner was ready.  I criticized her for smoking even though I smoked myself. I criticized her for drinking caffeine, and for countless other things I’ve probably forgotten.  I also did little to control my insecurities.  She saw my insecurities related to her being more mechanically-inclined than I am.  Of course, I was insecure about her sexual past compared to mine.  Yes, you might say the difference between us was really not so great in that regard.  But, I perceived it to be great.  I perceived myself to be at the disadvantage, in that way and in countless other ways I may have  forgotten.

I felt so threatened, possessive, and jealous.  Every time TL was about to go out with a particular girlfriend, I pouted and fell into a bout of manipulative depression.  I felt I was losing control when she was with that friend.  It was crazy, but I believed being with that friend would lead TL to cheat on me.  After all, I thought, that was the friend she was with that Friday night in February that became part of my obsession.

Hypocritically, I went out with guy friends a couple times, hoping some other woman would give me attention and boost my fragile ego.  The most horrific incident was when I arrived home from one of those outings. I was drunk. I was angry at God for the fact that no one had given me attention.  For some inane reason I yelled at TL, calling her a whore and blaming her for my depression and low self-esteem.  TL left me that night. I am extremely lucky that our relationship didn’t completely end right then and there. I’ll never be able to apologize enough for that, and so many more examples of me punishing TL for my inability to accept reality and inability to make my own happiness.

Like many other things, I went overboard with alcohol.  There was another occasion, at a party, when I got so crazy drunk that I kissed a guy friend in public.  To compensate for that, I grabbed the nearest woman and kissed her.  All this time, TL was watching me make a fool of both of us.  That incident set me on a path to dealing with my drinking.  But, I still was far from dealing with all my other problems.

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