Can't Get Over His Past...

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I'll try to keep this as short as possible, but I want to be clear on everything...

I am 21 years old (22 in a month and a half), and my fiance is 23. We have been dating for two years, and have been engaged for 4 1/2 months. We are one of those couples that hardly ever argues. If we ever do argue, the problem is solved within the hour. We communicate openly with each other and admit when we are wrong. We feel that it's what makes us a great couple. We have been living together for a year and a half now. Again, we have never had any problems in this department. We both pull our own weight and are honest when we feel resentful of anything. I have met his entire family, and they all love me. He has met my family, and they all love him. We have moved across the country together (twice), and always strive to make each other happy. We both want the same things in life and are both driven individuals. All-in-all, we're nearly perfect.

However, my demons are out to destroy this bliss. All my life I have suffered from an OCD personality. I was perfectionist growing up and still struggle today. I've suffered from two major eating disorders (one that went away and then came back) for over six years. In highschool I was bullied constantly for my weight (I hadn't hit puberty) and my shyness (which people took to mean I was stuck-up). I was called a "slut" (even though I remained a virgin until meeting my fiance, and only kissed a guy for the first time at 16). When I was 18-19, I tried to change everything about myself to fit a perfect mold. Everything about me was fake, from my nails to my skin color (fake tanner). I was finally able to be myself when I got with my current partner. He's given me strength to love myself. But nothing can be that easy, can it?

When my fiance (we'll call him Kevin) and I first began dating, he talked about his ex (we'll call her Chantall) constantly. They had apparently dated for about a year and a half to two years, on-and-off. She was about 14 or 15 at the time (a freshman), and he was about 17-18 (a senior). Definitely a common age-gap scenario. From what I heard from Kevin (and others), their relationship was HORRIBLE. She manipulated him, lied to him, cheated on him, belittled him, and was irresponsible, irrational, and immature. She caused him a lot of pain and anguish (mentally and emotionally).

She was heavy into drugs and alcohol at a very young age. He, on the other hand, was very against alcohol and drugs until he was old enough to drink. He tried to get her clean, but all she would do was lie and go behind his back to do them. She even blamed it on a couple of his friends "making" her do them. He broke a couple close friendships over this. She began going to AA meetings with his sister at age 16.

They fought constantly, and broke up constantly. She would pitch fits out of nowhere just to cause drama. When he would fight back, she would begin sobbing and take off just to make him go after her. Whenever they were on a break, she would begin sleeping around with other guys. Although, she claims that she lost her virginity to him. She was big into sex, and I was told would oftentimes manipulate him with it to stop fights or to prevent breakups.

She began texting and MySpace-ing one of his best friends in secret, behind his back. When they went on a double-date (Kevin, Chantell, his best friend and his girlfriend), Chantell left the theater and met Kevin's friend out in the hallway and made-out with him. Kevin found them and lost another friendship over it. She also made-out with a girl on his futon when he left one evening. This was after, of course, drinking and smoking weed. Once when Kevin and Chantell broke up, she went to a party and snorted a line of crushed crack and then claimed some guy raped her.

Whenever he would try to end things for good, she would threaten suicide or self-harm. When he finally ended things for good in May 2008 (on Mother's Day), she sliced her wrist open with a kitchen knife while holding onto a Build-A-Bear that he had gotten her. He found her, got help, but then cut all contact. She began sleeping with a guy not even two weeks after that incident, and became pregnant that next month. She claimed for a while that it was Kevin's, which plagued him the first couple months I knew him. She tried to contact him for months on end but he changed his number to avoid her.

He and I met in September of 2008 and began dating in January of 2009. He pursued me for months. He wrote songs about me, and sat by patiently as I dated other guys because I only saw him as a friend and nothing more. He was wonderful, and was there for me throughout every emotional pain I was going through. Finally in early January, he said he couldn't only be my friend anymore. He asked to cut all contact with me so that he could get over me. I agreed. About four days later, something clicked, and I thought, "why not give this a try?" We began dating that week, became "official" in a few days, and I lost my virginity to him in less than a month, just days before my 20th birthday. And now, we're as I described above: perfect.

However, I can't get past his past with his ex-girlfriend. Like I said, he mentioned her A LOT. He showed me her yearbook picture and her MySpace shortly after we began dating. He would oftentimes compare me to her, but in a good way. He would say things like, "I can't believe you're so sweet. SHE would never have done anything like that for me." Or, "I can't believe you didn't flip out over that. SHE would have caused such a scene." We would be watching a movie like The Notebook, and a scene would come on of the couple fighting, and he would say, "I've definitely dealt with that before." I heard the same stories countless times of how she cheated on him and manipulated him. He still seemed so bitter about it all, and it just made me wonder why she was so often on his mind. Needless to say, it was all I could do to TRY and NOT think about her. Anything he would mention (related or not) would automatically make her pop into my mind.

She contacted Kevin in December of 2009 via MySpace. Apparently her (now) ex-fiance had just broken up with her, and she was angry to see Kevin happy. She sent him a message that said only: I hate you. That was it. He read it, deleted it, and blocked her. She's also tried to add him on Facebook numerous times, but he's blocked her on there as well.

Let me be clear in saying that she is GORGEOUS. She's not flawless by any means. In fact, her and I look very similar. We both have smaller frames, blue eyes, brown hair, and similar smiles. I'm told on a daily basis that I'm beautiful (and I know I'm attractive), but next to this girl, I feel like a troll. I snoop through her Facebook and MySpace pages constantly. I've seen the same pictures about 1,000 times each. I've found every piece of information on her that can be found on the internet: address, e-mail, phone numbers, baby registries, Yelp accounts...Everything. I find little pieces of the puzzle to add the all the details I already know. She's been dumped by the father of her child (twice and for good), and she's since dated and been dumped by two guys. She's currently single and has admitted to being bi (shocker). She has no job and dropped out of highschool in tenth grade. I'm far better off than her.

I've met her (recently), and we actually get along quite well. She added me on Facebook a few months back, and we've chatted quite a bit. She's a typical girl with a mountain of issues. Her son is now a year and a half old, and she still drinks, smokes, and sleeps around. She and I are complete opposite in a moral sense.

It's not HER that bothers me, it's the fact that my fiance was with her and took her back through all of the pain she caused him. It's the fact that she took him through a rollercoaster ride of emotional highs and worse lows. It's the fact that my fiance mentioned her so much, and so I feel like there's something that she did for him that I cannot replace. I don't WANT to fight constantly with him. I don't want to hurt him and be on-and-off with him, but I feel like no matter how good or "perfect" we are, it cannot replace the emotional and mental turmoil she put him through. He's given me VERY specific details about events that happened when they were together, while, with me, he sometimes can't even remember what started an argument, or that we even had one. If we DO ever fight, it's mostly about her, and about how I can't let this go. I'll oftentimes just bring her up to see what kind of a reaction I'll get from him.

He's told me that he never really loved her, and that the constant hot-and-cold good-and-bad was what a relationship was supposed to be like. His parents fought a lot and his mother was a huge drama queen and an alcoholic. She threatened suicide on him and his sister at very young ages. His older sister was also in and out of bad relationships and was into drinking and drugs as well. He says felt that he needed to "fix" Chantell and save her from any pain she was going through. He also said that he was a young guy and that he wasn't blind. He knew that she was attractive and that she'd be willing to have sex with him without hesitation if she asked for it, so he didn't question the familiarity.

I could go on and on...But I'm wasting time and space. The bottom line: Where do I go from here? I've been to therapy, I've talked to family, friends, and Kevin. I've been on depression medication. I've moved across the country (but I'm back to where she is, now). I've deleted my Facebook and MySpace. I've met her in person (which didn't make it better or worse). I don't know what else to do...I don't know what else to think. I'm completely lost and outside of myself. I have breakdowns over this and have contemplated leaving Kevin numerous times...Please help me... Advice
This is all very complicated. I feel you are on the right path for yourself - you have supportive friends and family, you are on medications and you have had therapy. Based on what you told me about what you have been through, I think you are very smart, and taking care of yourself in every way you can.

One thing you might have to force yourself to do is stop fixating on this girl. She has become an unhealthy hobby for you. Block her on the internet. Don't talk to her unless you have to. Get rid of your notes about her past, and absolutely stop asking Kevin about her.

You know techniques to release your OCD, yes? When you start thinking about her, do whatever you can to retrain your brain to think about something else. Anything else. :) Go for a walk, see a movie, do yoga, take a bath, write a poem, listen to music, shoot some hoops...use what you have learned from your therapist to make your head space free and clean of this girl. She is trouble, and for some reason her brand of trouble is sucking you in. Don't give in to the Dark Side! :)

As for Kevin, he has to work through his pain and issues with her as well. There really isn't a way for you to speed things up. I know it is hard on you, but I can sense for him it's far harder. It sounds like he is still hurt and broken inside from just being in her toxic orbit.

He has to get it out of his system, somehow. Maybe share your insights about healing from your eating disorders, and of your therapy techniques with him. Maybe he could seek counseling too. But ultimately, I think the best solution here is time. He is being healthy by blocking her on Facebook - yay! Ask him to also try not to bring her up in conversation. You both need to let go of her to be able to be healthy. Without even knowing, she has a lot of power over your relationship.

You both sound like you are good together and are trying to be a happy, healthy couple. I say be patient, be honest, and be calm...and let time do its thing. I salute your efforts - stay with it. Remind yourself that you are strong and you can do this! :)

-- from Jill
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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