Originally Posted by Young at Heart View Post
(2) You are upset (to the point of taking drugs to calm a panic attack) about something that happened before you and your wife were a committed couple.
This is the sticking point to me, and it echoes in my own past, as well.
The thing is, OP views/viewed the actual start of the relationship as being before she last slept with her ex. He's held on to this for 17 years, and it turns out that she did not view this particular day/time as the start.
That's not her fault, of course, but it's a revision of his history, nonetheless.
But everybody in a relationship has a "start date" in their minds. That one day that it became official, or you knew you loved them. Sometimes these dates don't match up with your partners... and that can suck. I had the same thing happen with my ex wife, though it didn't take 17 years to revise history (more like a month).
Hell even my current wife and I fell in love with each other at different times. She was probably a few months behind me. We were most definitely exclusive throughout it all, but I started to view our relationship as being serious earlier than she did. Not that she treated it as casual, just that it was one day at a time for a while.
In retrospect, my ex wife and I were definitely casual at the beginning, I give her that. I knew I wanted to be with her exclusively pretty much right away, but I didn't articulate that - until I did. And then she let me know she was also seeing somebody else. I didn't like it, but fair enough. At least she told me the second I made the move to make us exclusive. And she chose me, and broke it off with the other guy that same day.
But up until that point, in my own mind, my relationship with her started before all of this. A quick revision was all that was needed, and no big deal. That said, for the decade and a half that we were together, every time I looked back on when/where/how we met and started our relationship, this guy was part of it. I never held it against her, but it obviously ruined the romantic notion of it all.
But imagine if this lasted 17 years, and my (now) ex wife told me that much later on that she was seeing some other guy (or slept with someone once) during the first month or so we were seeing each other. In her mind, our relationship didn't officially start until whatever day, and that's fair enough. She wouldn't be wrong, IMO. I've never been a fan of multi-dating, but some people swear by it. It's the romantic side of me that wants to recall the beginning of a relationship as not including somebody else! Even if it's fair game, and nobody technically did anything wrong, it does still put a damper on one's memories of events, should two people end up marrying and living a long life with one another.
And even better, imagine that my ex wife insisted I disclose my own personal dating/sexual history, to which I told her everything. Yet she neglected to mention this particular instance for 17 years? Or any period of time, really.