This is going to sound trivial to most but with my current mindset it is a big deal to me because I feel like the past 20 years of my life has been a lie, it’s difficult to explain but I’ll try. I’m aware that I’m very insecure, paranoid and jealous but these problems are justified, at least to me. Also, I’m new here and I’ve never told anybody any of this before. It will sound quite simple and trivial but it has affected me in many ways, especially recently. I will try to explain clearly but I know I’m bound to ramble so I’m sorry beforehand. Also, if you’re taking the time to read this then thank you in advance.
20 years ago I met my now Wife. Mainly through nightclubbing and seeing her out a few times. She invited me out for the week of her 18th Birthday and by the second night I asked her out, she said yes. I was 19. She was a virgin, I was not, but I wasn’t greatly experienced in comparison, I had just had a couple of drunken, meaningless one night stands. Fast forward 2 weeks and we have already told each other we loved each other. The chemistry felt amazing, it was like we had known each other for years, we made each other laugh hysterically and there was never an awkward silence during conversations, it just felt very natural and unforced. So, at the 2 week mark we have sex together for the first time. She says she loves me and I’m gorgeous and the best thing that ever happened to her, all that stuff. Obviously I’m over the moon because I’m not at all gorgeous but feel really happy she sees me that way. She, by the way, is genuinely beautiful.
Anyway, 2 weeks after our first time we are having sex again and near the end she closes her eyes for about 10-15 seconds and then she says the name Paul. That is not my name. She instantly opened her eyes and just kept saying sorry whilst covering my face in kisses. I went home more or less immediately, feeling sad and confused. She said after she hadn’t said anything and being young and stupid I just never bothered discussing it with her. Fast forward 20 years, we are married with kids. I have never cheated on her in anyway and she has never really cheated on me.
So, 4 months ago I ask her a pretty innocent, unrelated question and she says “apart from that one time you know about, never”. (I forget to add earlier that I found out after she said his name that he was a guy she went to school with and basically had fancied him very much on and off from about 13-18. She liked him so much she would become jealous if she saw him in a nightclub talking to another girl, and one time she even told me she was kissing some guy and was pretending she was kissing Paul the entire time. At one point just about a month or 2 before we met they both went to a mutual friends birthday bash in a pub and my girlfriend was told that he liked her and would say yes if she asked him out. She said to me just last week that she would of said yes as well, so even in hindsight she would say yes).
Getting back to the present, I was shocked because she had just assumed I knew and that she must of admitted to saying his name at some point, but she never did. This opened up a whole can of worms for me and lots of questions. I found out she had seen him in a nightclub the night before in question. She spent 2 months saying they just spoke as part of a group, but later admitted after that they went to the bar together and he brought her a drink and they chatted for 10 minutes. Just about what they had been up to since school, have you seen so and so, all that stuff. She said she thought he was good looking but didn’t fancy him. Pretty harmless, but the next day she was thinking about what they had been talking about (bear in mind that they had never dated, kissed or anything, and it still feels like she was obsessing over him), and she said some memories of old feelings came back when she was thinking about him the next day.
She remembered how much she used to like him. She said she remembered how nice and blue his eyes were and how they would go all bright when he smiled, and that he had a great smile. That’s a bit of a red flag, how could it be that she didn’t still fancy him, just like she always had. I feel like that she fancied him the whole time but hadn’t seen him in 2 months so had simply put him to the back of her mind and forgot, because despite the fact that she claimed to have loved me and I was great, all it took was one little reminder.
Everything I googled on the subject says it’s quite common to say an exes name in bed accidentally even if you weren’t thinking about them, it’s just ‘mis-naming’, but like I said earlier they had never even dated or kissed, let alone slept together. I know for a fact she was a virgin when we met and I’m I’m the only person she has ever been with. I know it sounds unlikely in this day and age but I know it’s true. That’s the one part of all this that there’s not a shadow of doubt in my mind.
So that evening I went round to her house, we put on a movie, kissed, all that normal teenage stuff. She said she only though about him for a few seconds that morning, his face or whatever, but she spent about 5 minutes thinking about what they had been talking about, old friends, school, etc. That evening we went to bed and that’s the day she said his name. I ask her “what were you thinking about specifically”, she said “just him standing at the bar from the night before smiling and laughing” and I said “so not even a sexual thought? You fancy him that much that even stood at a bar is arousing enough for you?” She then replied, “it wasn’t arousing, what you were doing to me was turning me on, I’ve never thought about him like that”, so I’m pretty confused at this point in the conversation and I said “but the thought is the feeling, if that’s what’s in your head and what you’re thinking about then it’s irrelevant who’s really in bed with you because you’re linking that to the image” she said “no, it wasn’t like that. I didn’t even fancy him. When you went home that day I thought why the hell did I do that because I didn’t even like him” I said “but you said his name. Thinking of him was obviously an upgrade for you. People don’t think about things during sex that they don’t like, especially to the point where they say the persons name, you obviously enjoyed the thought at the time, even if you didn’t after” she said, “I was just seeing his face and smile and eyes”. So the things she had been thinking about that morning.
Little side note, she has never said my name during sex in 20 years, she has said all the pet names like baby and all that but to me a name is much more intimate and personal. She said that’s because he was always just Paul to her, but I was baby, etc, etc. I said “you liked him so much that all it took was seeing him for 10 minutes in a club for you to think about him whilst I was having sex with you. He didn’t even have to be in the room, 10 seconds of thinking of his face is enough to turn you on to the point where you say his name, we have been having sex for 20 years, I know her orgasms are genuine (I don’t mean to sound rude) but yet here I am , the real thing, for 20 years, and she doesn’t even say my name once.
Am I just grossly overthinking it? How can she say she didn’t fancy him? I don’t know why this is affecting me so much. I’m not sleeping, I’m having dark thoughts, I feel jealous, I feel heartbroken. I’ll tell you what happened that’s probably the biggest cause: I was stupid enough to ask her last month “what would you have said if he had asked you out that night at the bar, when we had already been together for 4 weeks and you said you loved me?” She went all quiet, looked away, then looked me in the eye and whispered “I would have said yes”. That killed me in an instant. So, even after 20 years and in hindsight it’s a yes. So she just traded, in her head, our entire lives together, our marriage, our kids, all of it. This is why I’m so heartbroken. This is why I feel like an imposter. Everything I have is only because he never asked her out, but if he did, she would of left me. She said this even now after 20 years. I can’t even look at photos of us together without feeling like it’s not real, like I know she would have been happier if it was him in the photos. It undermines everything she said she felt about me in the beginning. If it starts as a lie then it’s all a lie, surely?
She said the next day that the reason she said it was a yes is because apparently I had been holding her ‘hostage’ with a bombardment of questions and accusations (to be fair to her I have been awful lately, just non stop questions and what if scenarios and constantly badgering her for ‘the truth’) she said she had a migraine from hell, I had been asking her the same question for 2 hours and she was so tired and desperate for a nap that she just said yes in an attempt to get some peace and quiet, I asked her a further 9 times and got 9 more yeses. Who has a migraine that is so severe that you would lie about something so serious and important to me for a nap? I was badgering her but I know that was the real answer and she’s just covering for herself.
Everything I have is because he never asked. Just think of that. She says it’s not true. She says she loves me and would never of left me for anybody, but her looking me dead in the eye and saying yes is a very hard image to forget, especially when she said it in such a genuine way. She still says to this day she doesn’t know why she thought about him. I asked her last week “what was better about him?” Another stupid question, I know, setting myself up for more heartbreak, “she said his eyes were bluer and would go really bright when he smiled. His eyes were more attractive than mine”. I thought, oh great just the exact things you were thinking about in bed that time that wasn’t turning you on”, yeah right, maybe I’m blowing it all out of proportion, I hadn’t been bothered by it in almost 20 years, I have been 100% faithful and loyal to her and her to me except for that one time and only if you class that as ‘cheating’, but the biggest thing is I feel like my perception of the beginning of the relationship is completely one sided. I was head over heels and stupid enough to think she felt the same. She says she did and still does, I’m still the best thing that ever happened to her and all that. I can’t even bring up his name without her smirking, even after 20 years the thought of him excites her, she said “no it doesn’t she’s smirking because I’m being ridiculous”. The simple fact she would of left me has destroyed me, proves she didn’t really love me, proves she still prefers him over me despite a 20 year bond.
She says I’m wrong about everything and she has never had any interest in him or anyone since the moment she met me. I just can’t stand her denial. She clearly fancied him at least the first 4+ weeks we were together. She still says I don’t even know why I thought about him. Given the way she describes his face, given the fact she was thinking about his face, given the fact that a thought of his face alone just for 10 seconds was such a big turn on for her Vs just opening her eyes and seeing who was really there, who actually loved her and cared about her and adored her, and was having sex with her, was arousing enough to say his name, am I going completely mental or isn’t it blatantly obvious. Sorry for the long rant. I acknowledge that my mental health has been affected by her saying she would of left me, I know I’m overanalysing everything. She would of left someone she loved for someone ‘she didn’t even like or fancy’. Sounds reasonable.