My husband brags about his former life

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie,

My husband spent his early 20's working away in the states doing all kinds of jobs, and he still describes that period as the best time of his life. I find this to be so insulting since he's now married to me and we have two lovely little children. Recently we were at a party when he started bragging about his US years and I just lost it. How do I make him understand how insensitive he's being? He also tells our friends at any given opportunity that he has always been popular with the women and hasn't lost his charm. How dare he make such comments. I do love him, but am beginning to think he's not the man I married, which is causing me to resent him. I do not think he deserves me or our beautiful children. My friends think he is a joke which is very embarrassing for me. Please can you offer me some advice.

Patricia Marie says...

A relationship shouldn't be a battle to see who has had the best experiences. It can also be difficult to live with someone who gives the impression they have seen and done it all.  Sometimes when things aren't going right, people tend to look back on the past with rose tinted-spectacles.  The need for your husband to convince both yourself and others that he is highly thought of is a sign of insecurity, and by shifting it and projecting it to you, he is reassuring himself. He is covering up his lack of confidence by displaying unacceptable behaviour, typical of the sort of person who values themselves so little they're always afraid they are not loved. The only way to work through such anxiety is to work on self-esteem. Counselling will help, but first, he needs to admit he has a problem which may not be easy.

You need to have a proper chat with your husband and make it clear that you are not a jealous person but his constant trips down memory lane are wearing you down. Ask him how he would like it if you were constantly reminiscing about the fun times you shared in the past with your friends. You need to talk to each other and discuss what you can do to enhance your relationship: when working hard to bring up a young family you can sometimes lose sight of each others needs as a couple. Spend some special time together so as you can both feel loved and appreciated. Hopefully your husband will begin to see he cannot continue to act in this way, as he could risk losing the life he has now. Whilst memories are precious, the past cannot be allowed to intrude on the present.