I’m a really quiet 20-year-old girl. I don’t smoke, I don’t go partying. I moved to Canada a year ago and I met my boyfriend. He is amazing and I don`t really have anything to complain about him as a boyfriend.

The thing is, he is 7 years my senior. This hasn’t been an issue given I’m “mature” for my age, but every time I think of him with all the other girls he’s been with.. I have a really bad time. I know I shouldn’t be thinking of that and it’s worse when I think of it during sex. I don’t think I’m pretty and I’ve seen pics of his ex’s (because I’ve seached them) and they are so much prettier than me.

We will start living together in October-November and I get so jealous when I remember he lived with his ex of 5 years. He says he didn’t love her much and he never wanted to marry her, but he wants to marry me (He has even asked for my finger size). He cheated on her and she cheated on him, and he has told me stories because he says he doesn’t want to lie to me, but it worries me he might do that to me. Once a player…

I just want help on how to stop thinking about when he had sex with other people, his ex of 5 years, how do I know he has changed and how can I feel prettier and enough for him? This is really destroying me because everything is in my head… all images and overthinking. What can I do?

Also, he talks about partying and his “youth” and I know I will start college in January and I’ll have new friends and go out with them but sometimes I feel like I’m missing out even if I don’t want to be one of those girls.

thanks

A: You won’t like what I’m going to say but it must be said: You are in no way ready to move in with your boyfriend. I think your obsession with his past is how you are telling yourself exactly that.

You say that you are quiet, that you don’t like to party and that you are just about to start college. You’ve been with your guy for less than a year. My best guess is that you are clinging to this relationship because you are nervous about launching a new life at school.

Furthermore, you are not as mature as you think you are. You worry about whether you are pretty enough and you have gone searching for pictures of your boyfriend’s exes. Those behaviors do not indicate maturity and positive self-esteem.

College means new friends, new experiences, experimentation with new ideas and a developing sense of self. It is a difficult but very important transition for many young people. But it is an important time of self-discovery. All that will be minimized or even eliminated if you are trying to make a home and a life with your boyfriend.

Being 7 years your senior, your boyfriend has already gone through that developmental transition. He knows who he is and what he wants. From what you told us, I don’t think he’s a “player”. I think he reacted in an immature way to his cheating girlfriend when he was young. If he has matured, he will understand that you need time to do the same personal work that he did.

My advice to you is that you and your boyfriend take a big step back. By all means, enjoy each other’s company. But don’t be exclusive for at least a year. A 7 year age difference isn’t necessarily a big one, but this happens to be an important 7 years. You need to have the freedom to explore yourself and relationships before you commit to a lifetime with your current boyfriend.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie