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Obsessing over girlfriend's ex lover and sex - please help!

Hello, all.

*I apologise for the huge post - please read with patience. I truly appreciate advice.*

I'm 21 years old, and recently (about 3 months ago) entered my first relationship with a girl of the same age. I was a virgin before her, but she has had a few previous sexual partners.

This didn't bother me at the time, and I am still not one of "those guys" who has an obsession with finding a "pure" or virginial girl, however after being with my girlfriend for so long, some issues arose which have made me feel insecure about our relationship.

I should mention this is a long-distance relationship, and we currently can't see each other for several months. I imagine this is only compounding my worries, and giving me more time to simply worry instead of taking action. Please bear this in mind.

I have anxiety disorder, which translates into me _always_ worrying about things I shouldn't, and so after some time with her, bad thoughts began to creep into my mind. I asked her questions about her past boyfriends, and her past sexual experiences in great detail. One of her past relationships lasted for years. She tells me that she was never truly in love before finding me, and emotionally, everything feels so much stronger and better with me than with any of these other guys.

However, after I pressed her about her sexual experiences, she admitted that she has had better sex with one of her previous partners. She is quick to comfort me about this, since I was very recently a virgin and have had zero experience with any women before, and only a few months' experience with her. She also tells me that it took her about a year to have her first orgasm with a partner, and even over the course of the next several years, she has had less orgasms than she can count with two hands. However this doesn't seem to satisfy me - I find that I'm now constantly tearing myself up inside because of this, and worry so much about her being dis-satisfied with me, or thinking of her ex-lover.

So this is the main issue: I'm thinking _far_ too much about her being pleasured by her ex lover. I have never given her an orgasm, whereas he has. This idea, or vision, of my girlfriend being pleasured by this guy fills me with real sickness and anger. I can't stop the images in my head - my girlfriend, whom I dearly love, in ecstacy on top of someone else... or her being manhandled by him, or even writhing in pleasure from his fingers or tongue.

I think about the above stuff and it hurts me physically. I tell myself every single time that it's in her past - she's with me now. I have told her about this (albeit in lesser detail) and she even says that I have to forget about all these worries, and stresses how much she loves me. But I feel like, until I "beat" this other guy somehow (i.e. give her an orgasm myself), I will never be at peace. I want to give her everything, and be the best that she has ever had in every single aspect of her life.

This issue has also caused problems with my own sexual performance. I find it difficult, sometimes, to achieve and sustain an erection. I don't have any physical problems, and I think it's obvious this is just anxiety having a bad effect. This hasn't happened too often but I am afraid that whenever I next see my girlfriend, it's going to become a bigger issue if I don't deal with it. It is also _not_ helping my anxiety in general.

I have read mountains of similar stories on the internet and have taken in all the advice I can, but I really need some help from anyone who understands or can offer a real solution. How do I let all of this go? I love this girl and don't want to lose her because of these issues. She has been excellent in understanding but she is only human and her patience, I fear, can only stretch so far.

Finally, I know that this is "all in the past". But is it? The fact remains she's had more pleasure from someone else than she has from me. I know that she tells me she's so much happier with me than she has ever been... but can I really believe that or accept it without adding physical (sexual) ecstacy to her list, too? I have tried to just "let it go" and simply cannot. The long distance thing doesn't help, either, because I sit and worry that these problems will return as soon as we meet again, and so I have longer to worry about them while we're apart. At this point, I just really don't know what to do.

Thank you so much for any help.
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First Helper Sensible84
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replied October 7th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
This is a trust issue and you must overcome it. Your anxiety cannot be an excuse for you not to put faith in your girlfriend. She loves and trusts in you and deserves nothing less. Talk to her and explain that you're feeling insecure about things, if you haven't told her about your anxiety disorder do so. Talk with your therapist about this situation and if you're not in therapy for your Anxiety, make an appointment. A psychological health professional can provide you with a lot of tools to help you overcome these insecurities.

As far as this guy goes, If the fact that you are with your girlfriend and he is not doesn't mean that you've beat him you're not going to win. If it isn't the number of orgasms it will be the time logged in long road trips or the number of pointless arguements either of you had with her, how fast he can eat a 24 ounce steak compared to you or how many Coke bottles he has in his collection compared to yours. You aren't her ex. You bring unique and worthwhile things to your relationship and they are the things she craves from a boyfriend. You know this because they are the things she has chosen when she chose you over him and every other man on the planet.

Straining about your sexual inadequacy after recently losing your virginity is no more productive than getting upset about your lap time on a mile track after recently getting your learner's driving permit. You have a lot to learn about sex and a lot of time to learn it. The more often you're intimate with people in life the better a lover you'll become. If you want to become better faster focus yourself on learning more about sex and your partners particular desires, turn your bedroom into your classroom, ask your girlfriend about what turns her on and gets her off, try new things, read. You can definately be your own solution to this problem.
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replied October 8th, 2009
Thank you, W0LF.

You put things in a refreshingly clear way which I will try to take on board. You are totally right when you suggest that I will always find something to be competitive over. When one issue is solved for me, there is always another which comes up.

I am painfully aware that these insecurities could - ironically - cause damage to an otherwise healthy relationship. That is why I'm very eager to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation themselves, who could perhaps suggest how to deal with the relationship issues (discounting my anxiety problems, etc. which my partner does know about).

In short: I know I need to "let go" of this stuff - but how do I when my mind is so resistant?

Thank you.
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replied February 7th, 2010
Dear JohnBGoode,

I can attest to the strain such issues can have on a relationship. I too was (and still am, to a degree) immensely jealous of my girlfriend's exes. I also suffer from anxiety disorder; so I know just how strenuous things like this can be. I enquired into the pasts of my girlriend's past lovers and was given - what most would consider - excellent responses, but I was still jealous.

I should also mention that it was very insensitive of your girlfriend to say that her ex was better in any way than you, even if she corroborated the reasons in a fair way. However, what helped for me was to find other aspects of my life that I am passionate and competitive in, and strive to be the best in those. Do not let this anxiety be the centre of your world. And I know this is going to be exceptionally bad advise now Razz but there are more things to be anxious about... In other words, find something you are passionate about, endeavour to be the best at it, and hopefully your overall confidence will increase (which I think is possibly an intrinsic problem here, as it was/is with me). She will begin to appreciate you more sexually as she implied, as time goes on. So, until then, work on your own confidence by working in other ways. It worked for me, and, from what I've read, my situation was almost identical.
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replied February 11th, 2010
similar situation
Thanks johnbgoode for posting this. I have found myself in an a similar situation. While in the past I have always been able to bring my girlfriends to climax a majority of the time, my new girlfriend doesn't seem to respond to the same techniques I used to use, and doesn't even seem eager for oral sex, which I used to pride myself on after getting complimented on it frequently, but in which my confidence is now slipping. To make matter worse, before we had sex my girlfriend told me about her ex, who apparently had trouble ejaculating, which means they would have sex for two to three hours at a time. Now, my typical session is about 20-30 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less. But when she told me that, it brought forth all these anxiety issues and I found myself having problems with premature (by my standards anyways) ejaculation. For about four months I wouldn't last longer than ten minutes, and I wasn't able to go fast, constantly having to keep myself in check and really spoiling the whole experience, probably for both of us. The entire time I would be so stressed out with performance anxiety, it was really awful. Compounded with the fact that I couldn't get her to orgasm in other ways, I was really depressed. We still haven't sorted things out completely, but things have improved a lot since the beginning. What changed? To be honest, it was something really geeky. I started playing first person shooter video games again, which I had quit, but which I'm really good at. Doing something that I was good at provided me with a self-confidence boost that was unrelated, but which carried over into many other parts of my life. So my message to you and others is that when you're feeling down on yourself sexually, find something unrelated that you are good at, something no one can take from you, and use it as your anchor. I sometimes tell myself, remember who you are. You are <screenname>, you pwn the f***ing n00bs, and ifyou can do that, you can do anything. If you can manage to transfer this confidence into the bedroom, it will help you more than any special sexual tricks or techniques ever could. So that's my geeky story, the details may not apply here but the moral is the same. Find your anchor.
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replied February 14th, 2010
I find timboslice's comment very interesting. I don't think it's a matter of "letting it go". It's not that easy.
You will have to work hard in order to getting out of this trouble.
Even when you would have reached this point anyway, your girlfriend made a big mistake by telling you her ex was better. Girls use to think that telling her boyfriend that "she chooses him even when her ex was good in bed" is a good compliment. But it's in fact a big problem. Something you should never tell because that can ruin your relationship.
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replied February 14th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
It's just statistically impossible that you're going to be better at everything that her ex did. Maybe he made more money, or was a better cook, or was more thoughtful, or more witty or funny or maybe he just Pwned more newbs than you ever could. If you feel compelled to compare yourself to her ex you will find something that you don't measure up to and obsessing about it will make that inferiority a much bigger issue for your girlfriend than it ever would be normally. Really the single important difference between you and her ex is that she loves you more than she did him. Beyond that everything else is so much stats and trivia.

It shouldn't matter if your girlfriend tells you that her ex was better in bed because it shouldn't matter than her ex was better at something at all. It should only matter that he's her Ex.
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replied February 14th, 2010
It's true that he can't be better (in everything) than all her past boyfriends. The problem is that sexual intercourse is an important, intimate thing couples do. Unlike cooking, being funny and such. These are thing everyone do in public. She can his cooking skills with every one (with her mother, her sister, her friend) but she will compare his sexual performance only with her ex.

I don't mean to feed his insecurity. But denial won't solve this problem. Sex isn't everything for a couple, but it's an important part of a relationship.

I guess professional help is the best for this.
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replied February 14th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
Really sex is only important when it's important. Brushing your teeth is intimate, it doesn't make it an important part of your relationship. Men are insecure about sex because they are pressured most of their life to excel at it. However, if you're being judged on how well you make a partner happy, sex is far from the most important to most women, at best it's a distant 4th or 5th. As long as your girlfriend is happy with the sex you're having, sex is not a problem, no matter how you do it or who's done it better than you.
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replied February 15th, 2010
I don't think sex is 4th or 5th for most women. I can accept it's not 1st for most of them. But it isn't below 3rd place for the vast majority. Sex is not the most important part but it is an important part. And even when your girlfriend can choose you instead of a guy who was better in bed, it still hurts your pride. I mean, for some guys (like you) it's not a big deal (lucky you). For other like him and me it actually is a big deal. And knowing that sex isn't everything, and that your girlfriend will stay with you even when his ex was better in bed doesn't make you feel better.
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replied February 6th, 2011
Retroactive Jealousy strikes again!
Use this girl to get experience in bed, then dump her and find a virgin, or find a girl who's previous experiences in bed were minor... such as 1 or 2 times, because woman don't enjoy sex in the beginning. You'll ALWAYS be insecure over her past boyfriend, this is a sign your cognitive functions are completely normal. This is called retroactive jealousy, and you can NOT change the way your mind handles this information. Your sexual life with a "pure" woman is going to be SO MUCH better than with this "experienced" girl. You mentioned you're not one of those guys who thinks finding a pure girl is important. Well, now you realized you were wrong. You see, when a guy first likes a girl he will accept her past, but the more he falls in love with her relates to how much retroactive jealousy he will have in the future. The more "precious and special" she becomes to you, the more you will drive yourself crazy visualizing her ex boyfriends hammering her from behind making her scream their names. Woman will cry "hypocrite!" if a non-virgin guy seeks a virgin woman. My reply to this is one of my favorite quotes! "A man wants to be his woman's first, but a woman wants to be her man's last". I speak from personal experience. I used to go to sleep and wake-up often thinking of my gf's past, then we broke-up and I found a purer girl. Life, mentally, hasn't been better !
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