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Relationship Questions

Am I Good Enough?

Tue, Nov 3rd 1998

My husband of 20 years died in an accident 8 years ago; he was a terribly angry man who threw daily temper tantrums, and generated a great deal of emotional pain. The phrase that most often went through my mind during those years (to the point of nearly becoming a mantra) was, "I'll never be good enough..." It took 7 years before I became involved in another relationship, and I have been lucky enough to find a man who is kind, faithful, understanding -- everything I could possibly hope for. I have run into a serious problem though -- when he looks at Playboy-type pictures (even realistic line drawings), or when I think about his past relationships, I am just overcome with hurt and fear, and I feel incredibly threatened. (Oddly, I only feel this way about his casual relationships -- I don't feel threatened by either of the 2 ex wives.) I hate to pin the word "jealousy" to what I feel -- but it is difficult to find another word that so accurately describes my reaction. My guy gives me absolutely NO reason to doubt his devotion or his love for me; there was never a time when I trusted my husband, but there has never been a time that I have distrusted my new friend. This relationship is absolutely wonderful in every other regard, but my feelings have come entirely too close to destroying what we have -- and the loss would be unbearable. I know that I will probably never reach the point of being glad he's taking a gander at some curvaceous young lovely on the Internet, but I desperately want to feel in my gut what my head is telling me -- it's just a picture, and is not a threat. He has tried to reassure me, but the balm is only temporary. I am actively seeking out professional help, but I'd like any suggestions you might have as to things I might focus on to make that help more effective when I do get in to see a psychologist. Does this kind of thing come from childhood? Does it come from spending 20 years with a man for whom rage was normal? Any feedback you can provide would be greatly appreciated; I have waited 46 years to find this good man, and I can't bear to let my own demons destroy what we have. Many, many thanks.

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