I’ve always felt like second fiddle

When I first met my husband, he was still in a relationship with his first girlfriend.  They had known each other most of their lives and were classmates.  He’d had a crush on her for years before they went out, and they fell head over heels in love in the spring of their senior year in high school.  Her family moved away just two months later, and they decided to keep up a long distance relationship.  36 years ago, that meant lots of handwritten letters and cards and just a few phone calls on special occasions.

He came to my state for college, which was across the country from her.  I fell in love at first sight.  All that mushy stuff about knowing each other in lifetimes before – well, that’s how it felt.  He didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend, and I unashamedly went after him.  It wasn’t until several months later that he finally told me about her.  He said that he cared for me a great deal, but he was bound by love and honor to be faithful to her.  I was very much in love with him by then, and I went into a deep depression.  My grades plummeted and I barely made it through that semester.  She sent him a Dear John letter right after that semester ended.  He cried and struggled with it for a while, but I was right there to help him pick up the pieces and make a new start on his life.  He never looked back.  We finished school, got married, and had three great kids.

Her name would come up now and then when we looked at old photo albums or talked about his high school days.  I always felt extremely jealous because, had she not dumped him, he would never have picked me.  I always felt like I had been the one he settled for when he couldn’t have what he wanted.  Why I accepted that way back then when we started dating – I don’t know.  I know it bothered me, but I guess I was so in love that I refused to think about it, and he was so passionate and loving that I forgot everything.

We are both Type A personalities, particular about how we like things, with strong opinions about life.  So we have always fought a lot.  That made for great passionate makeups, as I’ve mentioned before.  A few years ago, things just seemed to go flat.  I attributed it to work stress, family stress… I never, ever thought that it was because he was being unfaithful.  Then on October 17, 2010 I found hundreds of emails on his computer – love letters between him and her – his first girlfriend.  How could he… with her, of all people… the one person with whom I felt I never could compete… the person who was first in his life… the one who made me feel like second fiddle… my despair was indescribable.

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