My husband’s first girlfriend stalked my LinkedIn profile. I know this because technological breadcrumbs revealed her messy trail. LinkedIn sends me periodic messages showing me everyone who’s checking out my page and when I looked down at the recent dirty dozen, a name caught my eye. I approached my husband, pointed to her pictures and said, “Is this YOUR Carrie?”
He squinted at the small headshot. Her hair was short, straight and blonde, dramatically different from the long, brown curly hair he remembered. “It’s been 25 years, but I think that’s her face.”
My immediate reaction was to laugh but within seconds the familiar hot feeling was traveling from my feet to my throat and my palms were sweating as if I was on top of the George Washington Bridge. Why was I reacting this way? I’m still not sure. Even though she was his first girlfriend, she was not his first fuck; she was a teenager with her own insecurities and like many lovelorn girls, had a hard time breaking up.
It’s taken her a quarter century to search for the closure she still clearly doesn’t have. The last time she emailed my husband was in 2013 when our daughter was three years old and our son was 11. In this brief email, she tried to apologize for leaving a sour taste in his mouth about their relationship.
Now it was three years later and her curiosity has been piqued again. She thought she could sneak an invisible peek on LinkedIn, but she was busted and now she seems like a stalker. I’m not sure why she feels compelled to keep dipping back into our life.
What does she want to know about me? How am I reflective of her? What do I have that she doesn’t (HIM)? More often I wonder, how much of her did he see in me? How much did she permanently imprint on him or on his relationships?
I won’t let her be a fissure in our relationship (even though I’ve used her name jokingly every day since). My instinct was to send her a message. When I clicked on “send mail” under her name, LinkedIn indicated I needed her to be a connection first. So I clicked, “Connect.” A few seconds later I clicked around until I found the more appropriate, logical button: “Block.”
The incident got me thinking. Why did it really bother me? This was over half his lifetime ago. He married ME! But it’s not just this one ex-girlfriend; there are dozens from his past which haunt me. Images I’ve seen (accidentally or deliberately), stories he [over]shared, poems he’d written for them (75 for one girl alone). Of what am I really jealous? What internal insecurities do these distant memories trigger?
Usually, I brush it off as being overly emotional and irrational but sometimes I’m honest with my feelings and I dig deep to discover what demons got unleashed and it’s not always pretty. I’m envious of the youthful love, of the intense passion, of the unwavering, irresponsible romance. I want to be the one who branded his heart with my soul, not the one who does his laundry and shares responsibilities for our kids’ lunches. I want to be a part of a frenzied flame burning bright inside him, consuming him inside out, not the one who annoyingly asks him to take the trash out day after day. I want to be a beacon of feminine perfection by which all future loves will be measured, and instead, I’ll always think I was the smart choice, the logical move.
I don’t doubt he loves me; he tells me a dozen times a day. I guess I’ll spend forever knowing I may not be the first or the most ferocious, but I’m the one who got him to say, “I do.”