Because I never experienced jealousy when I was in a relationship with Mr Frog, I wrongly assumed I had kicked the habit.
Not so. The green eyed monster was only lying dormant; in prolonged hibernation.
I wonder now whether this absence of jealousy wasn’t a warning sign, which should have alerted me to the plain fact that my feelings didn’t run deep enough. I was complacent, secure in my belief that whatever our failings as a couple, he wouldn’t look elsewhere. Despite late nights spent in the office in the company of pneumatic young stagiaires, and nights out on the town with colleagues, to which I was never invited. Which could have been a cause for concern, but only aroused resentment and bitterness that I was trapped at home, while he was out in the real world seeing people and socialising.
Now, for the first time in eight years, I am subject to bouts of totally irrational, corrosive jealousy. I hate myself for even having these feelings. As if wildly unpredictable mood swings weren’t enough for any man to deal with.
It’s not that I don’t trust the man in my life, or the women he is friends with, whether they be old flames or not. On a rational level I know that he is a very moral and proper person. I also know that he is so hopelessly smitten with me that he is willing to overlook all my failings. But this is purely irrational, and no amount of reasoning – with him, or myself – can lay these demons to rest.
Because I’m not jealous of anyone in his present. It’s his past I have a problem with.
Sometimes I find myself wishing I could erase whole swathes of his history. Those dark times when another woman was there to pick him up when he stumbled and fell, to comfort him, to heal him, to put him back together again. Wildly contrasting highs and lows, moments which I fear were more intense than any we may live together.
I know that these things have made him who he is today. Her influence has helped to mould him into the person I fell in love with. And yet, even though I understand this, I want to make these times disappear. To erase them. Overwrite them.
This jealously is a form of masochism. When I’m alone, feeling low, I torture myself. Willingly. Vivid pictures of their shared past swim before my eyes and try as I might, I can’t banish them. Words that he used to describe that period of his life, in emails I received long before we were an item, play over and over inside my head, refusing to be silenced.
I can’t make this stop, so my strategy is to share these feelings with my lover, preventing them from festering quietly below the surface, only to erupt one day and cause irreparable harm.
I can only hope that one fine morning I will wake up and realise these feelings have left me.