From the U.S.: My wife and I are both 50 years old and have been married for 1.5 years and have been together for a little over 4 years.  I have never experienced this type of love before.  I feel this is a match meant to be and wish I had known her 30+ years ago.

This is my 3rd marriage and her 2nd.  She has been single for 25+ years of her life, excluding her 5 year marriage and another 5 year relationship.  Her parents divorced at a young age and her father cheated on her mother numerous times and was never there for my wife.  She spent 46 years living in NYC.

My wife is supportive, loving, amazing and I would do anything for her.  However, I am struggling to manage her sexual past.  She has been with 35-40 men in her lifetime.  I truly don’t believe that the number is the issue, besides that number being single for 25+ years in NYC is not outrageous.

I have had numerous partners as well throughout my past.  So I fully understand I am being hypocritical.  My family had high expectations that I didn’t always live up to and I tended to take a different path than my 2 siblings.  I am a therapist myself and a VP at a large human service organization.

My 1st wife was very critical of me in many ways including my sexual performance.  My 2nd wife was not very interested in sex so it was a constant area of contention.  My current wife and I have an amazing and close sex life and compatibility.

My insecurities, at times, get in the way of my performance and I need it to stop.  I can’t hold anything against my wife for doing nothing wrong and being with others when we didn’t know each other existed.  I know this but it doesn’t seem to stop the intrusive thoughts.  We talk about it, I try to stop the intrusive thoughts and change my negative thought patterns to no avail at times.

Work is not great and it affords much more free time to think about things than I would like and I am trying to change this asap.  How do I get the image of her being with other men out of my head?  She hasn’t been with anyone other than me for 6-7 years.

Thank you for writing. I think you are correct. This isn’t about the number of men your wife has been intimate with. It’s something about you. You are on your third marriage. Although you say this is everything you every wanted, I wonder if you trust yourself enough to relax into it. It would not be at all unusual for someone who has loved and lost several times to start to question their own judgment about who they choose and how they do or don’t support the growth and longevity of a marriage. You say you are insecure. Maybe that’s the point.

Therapists are notorious for not seeking therapy for themselves. If you haven’t already, I hope you will consider seeing a senior therapist who can help you sort out why relationships are so difficult for you. You owe it to yourself and to your wife to take care of the issues now so just maybe you can enjoy the love of your life for the next 30 years or so.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie