I have read many of Dr Harley's writings and I have seen him speak in person. His concepts have been very helpful to me, but there is one area I need help with that I have not been able to find in his books or online.
I have a serious problem being jealous and possessive. This has been a recurring problem in every relationship I've had, and now it threatens my current relationship.
My fiancé is a very honest man; I have no reason to believe he would ever be unfaithful. He meets my top 5 emotional needs consistently, seemingly without effort on his part.
We dated seriously many years ago but broke up without getting married. At that time I did not know about Dr Harley's principles, but looking back there were love busters eating at our relationship.
We reunited about 3 months ago and have been working toward marriage using Dr Harley's principles, setting a tentative date for 2 years from now.
He was in a long term relationship with another woman while we were apart, though they never married and he claims he never wanted to marry her. He describes her as very clingy and needy, and dysfunctional in many other ways. After they broke up she continued to call him and try to pull him back into her life, even thought she had a new boyfriend. When we reunited, he was still getting calls from her several times a week.
At first he would sometimes call me by her name accidentally, and I could laugh it off. When it happened during an intimate moment I could not laugh it off and I told him he had to stop calling me by her name or it would damage the relationship.
After that he called her and told her what had happened, which I thought was very inappropriate. He told me that the reason he told her was so she would understand why he couldn't continue a relationship with her. He said he told her he was in love with me and wanted to marry me. He told her he couldn't be friends with her anymore if it threatened his relationship with me. She tried to call him one more time but he told her again to stop and she hasn't called again.
About 2 weeks ago we were cuddling on his couch. I was feeling very content and loving, and I told him how happy I was to have him back in my life. His response seemed very cold to me. He said my timing was good (I initiated our reunion by calling him) because if I had called before his former girlfriend found a new boyfriend he never would have responded.
Since he claims he did not care for her and only stayed with her as long as he did out of pity, I was very hurt by this comment and told him so. To me it sounded like he was only with me because he couldn't have her. It took a couple of days for us to talk through this and get to a point where I felt better about it.
Since then I feel very off balance however, and very insecure about his past with her. We spent the past weekend at his cabin, and on the drive up he mentioned something about how many other people have slept in his bed up there. Though he claims he was describing the communal nature of a family cabin, I immediately thought of his former girlfriend and couldn't hold back the tears. This initiated another round of serious talks. I told him I feel like he keeps throwing his past relationship in my face. We were both in tears at different points in the discussion.
When we got to the cabin he swapped mattresses with the guest room so I wouldn't have to sleep on the same mattress he shared with her. He also removed the comforter she gave him and put that in the guest room. The rest of the weekend went fairly well until the time came to drive home. He asked me if I wanted him to take the comforter along so he could give it to the Goodwill and I said yes. So he stuffs it in the back seat on top of my things. We were in a hurry to get to a graduation so I didn't say anything. I was hoping we would get rid of it after the graduation and before the long drive home.
But we didn't, and the presence of the comforter in the back seat - on top of my things and positioned so that I couldn't get to the cooler or even my purse without rummaging past the it - was making me so upset I became physically ill. I asked him to move the comforter to the trunk but he said he didn't want it to get dirty. I asked him why he cared if it got dirty and he said he was thinking of the next owner and trying to be considerate of them.
He saw how ill I was getting and asked if there was anything he could do, so I said "yes, put those blankets in the trunk" so he finally did. I felt better for the rest of the drive, but he thinks my reaction was extreme and now he says he can't think about marrying me.
So we have been having long intense talks since then, working at honest communication without demands or judgments. He says he will get rid of any item from his past that upsets me, and I have said I will try to get help dealing with my jealousy.
I can't find anything in Harley's writings about unfounded jealousy. Jealousy, suspicion, and anger are a natural response to infidelity so Harley doesn't really talk about it being a problem. But I am reacting as if my fiancé had an affair when it was really just a past girlfriend.
So how do I work on this? Constructive advice will be much appreciated.