I am not sure if this has been discussed in this forum. It is a rather difficult topic for me to bring up because in my pursuit to become a better man, I feel I need to somehow deal with this in a mature manner so I can ultimately have peace of mind. It is also rather embarrasing. I have done research on what I have been struggling with the last 7 months, and it seems to be retroactive jealousy. In short, this is a term that defines jealousy regarding a partner's past. About 7 months ago, I found out that my my wife has had 25 sex partners in her past. The topic came up while we were doing a book called "All About Me." This book was meant to be a life sharing exercise, but has turned out to be one of my biggest nighmares. If I had known how I would react and how much I would suffer from this, I would have never wanted to know about her number. The most challenging part of retroactive jealousy is the random, obsessive, intrusive and racing thoughts about her past. My imagination gets the better of me.
I am not proud about what this has triggered in me but at the same time I don't beat myself up because I did not choose to react this way. It triggered some core insecurities. Now, I am not sure if any man, no matter how secure, would be completely okay with finding out how many men their woman has slept with. The mind can play tricks on you and make you think that what you are imagining is happening now. It has been said that jealousy is basically a fear of abandonment. Well, that fear has been alive and well the past 7 months, irrational has it may seem, even thought there is not clear and present danger that she is cheating on me. I have been going through the same feelings that would be present if in fact she was.
Has anyone here experienced this and what have you done to rectify and ultimately "cure" the problem? I don't want this to become a life sentence because I surely did not deserve to experience this much pain. I noticed that retroactive jealousy reared its ugly head as my feelings for my wife grew. We were married this past June 25th by the way.
The problem of the plot is the woman's threesome, which is never solved, but the story as such has to do with something else, I am not sure why. I'll tell you now, I think it's a complete failure as an attempt to solve a romantic or erotic problem in a story. See what you think about my argument below. And then tell me why it is nevertheless worth recommending about this one question...
For example, female homosexuality stands for virginity (Paul in Romans 1 to the contrary notwithstanding). The rather disgusting accident whereby the woman loses her virginity to a chair (?) I think is meant to suggest chastity as such is bad, not to mention that eros is an afterthought or rationalization at best. It suggests nature is ugly and harmful.
Then there is the man and his problem, which is erotic manliness, or being a lover. Only then does the story get interesting. So far as I can tell, the way this man imagines women is superior to the woman he imagines. His being a comic writer is a double lie: first, it conceals the general kind of poetic soul; second, he is slightly closer to tragedy than comedy. Nevertheless, in the end, he becomes a feminist, or something like it, and still does not get the girl. I think that means that you have to sacrifice any thought of the higher or nobler things in order to become popular, for example as a protagonist in a pop movie. -- There is never a question of whether the woman is ignoble or noble, but one thing is clear: she does not love him, because love makes us slaves to our beloveds, as we idealize them. She is merely flattered or something like that. The scenes where she becomes hysterical suggest as well that she is not at all a happy woman, but that she does not see her way to happiness, and now blames his moralism, which she misunderstands: the man's a cad, at best, but he has soul, and would worship her.
(There is also a suggestion that wit and love of beauty somehow blur the difference between the love between friends and erotic love, in the case of his bestial pornography loving friend and co-writer. Or maybe that suggests that eros is both between man and woman, but also between friends and that of which they are lovers, which comes back to beauty and whatever it is lovers of wit love.)
I'm not an existentialist: I take eroticism seriously. But you ignore that plot devices are never plot devices: they are the meaning, unfolding, of the action in the story. For what it's worth, I think it could have been solved, if it had been a comedy, removing the sentimentality and ugliness: but then again I tend to take wit over regret... -- It is a particularly ugly vice, loving something you've lost, it's the democrat's, faux-aristocratic melancholy...
As for the story, unless you know the guy, it's juvenile to say this is his experience. You may mean you get him, but that's something else. Anyway, I do not know him, so I'll leave it at what I've already got.
He talked about it in an interview. And I'm not overly impressed with his writing to attribute anything deeper than surface meanings.
I think, it speaks so well, because it is life. There's a bunch of bullshit that happens, and some good advice which our protagonist can't put to use because he gets in his own way. When, if he had just gotten over his own shit, he could have had a decent run with a woman he loved. Instead he spun everyone into therapy. And then in the end, we're back where we started. The sum of our experiences, both good and bad.
Maybe all this angst is really summed up by Jay, "Bitch tasted life, yo, now she's settlin' for your boring, funny-book-makin' ass." Is that where the insecurity lies?
No man likes to take good advice, because it means somebody else can live your life better than you do. Churchill even said he liked his vices rather than several other people's virtue. I aver, emphatically.
As for the other matter, clearly, all these people are cretins, uneducated, unsophisticated, and lacking in the subtlety and respect for form that makes for great art. - But that does not mean they cannot look at what is in front of them and move from the obvious wherever the combination of circumstances and opinions leads. That is why storytellers are always superior to scientists and much less boring than philosophers. -- But these guys fucked up for reasons of political correctness. - Even admitting the guy is wrong: he is never given his due: he ends up a caricature of himself. That is petty. At the end, they decided he was not worth having been the protagonist. Political correctness of a kind killed the story. I can swallow morals, but I'll take them with fables, at least.
As for the point Jay makes, it is, as usual, cogent: when we fall in love, we feel worthless and we conceive of our beloveds as perfect. Usually, it is a delusion. But the protagonist's instinct was not wrong: if he could not prove that his beloved was somehow perfect, he would have had to admit she had no need of him and therefore could not love him back.
I agree, there is no character arch. But then, such is life. Which makes for poor story, but powerful example. We either learn, or not, from our experiences. Yet it is our experiences which make us who we are. Even if we are left incapable or unwilling to understand them.
Alyssa, as Banky pointed out, did things Holden had only read about. This had an interesting impact on me. It forced me to examine a line from a different story, "Quit reading about life, and start living it."
Alyssa is Holden's inadequacies. His fears. Again, Banky, "You're way to conservative for that girl." Holden, when he discovers Alyssa's past, is looking straight into his self and seeing what he can never be. And that, is what angers and frightens him. And from which he ultimately recoils.
Certainly there is a lot of whining, but what I think you dislike more, is Holden's shirking of adventure. He was faced with a challenge. And ran away.
I agree, the man turned coward. But I do not agree that his conservatism was a problem, because I do not agree that her promiscuity was a good thing.
Had she been a happy woman, then Holden might have felt like her love or company or example would benefit him. But she does not seem happy.
She never tries to persuade him to live her kind of life, either, so she cannot much have wanted him to be with her or like her. It seems like his happiness is of much less importance to her that hers to him, even if he turns out to be wrong.
In this important way, she is more intransigent than he is - and you are wrong to side with her here: he is troubled by her and has to work his way through a serious problem; she is un-flummoxed...
Finally, you should know by now that what men dream of may not be good for them.
Conservatism is not used here in the political sense, but rather the vanilla flavored ice cream sense, do we need mint chocolate chip to live a flavor filled life? Nope. But, I like it.
That Alyssa does not try to persuade Holden to live her kind of life, is because it is no longer her kind of life, "That is until we, that's you and I, got together and suddenly I was sated!" "I love you Holden. But, I'm not your fucking whore."
Promiscuity and chastity are neither good, nor bad things, in my estimation. They are simply different paths individuals follow along their journey through life. I've had my adventures and my fun. I begrudge no one of theirs. And I certainly do not pity those who have chosen a chaste life. But one's adherence to a particular path should not be born of fear. Or worse, misinformation.
To return to the OP. He's been such a bitch, he has not discovered the root of his issues. Is it his own inadequate comparisons to her other men? Is it his lack of adventure, which she has had and he will never get a chance to experience? Is it worry she'll want to return to her former life? Simple disgust that she's had so much cock?
I don't know. Nor does he. Whatever it is, I see no basis for this hand wringing. And further, it's an issue he should have worked out for himself before the wedding. He had plenty of time.