Lester, I am sorry for your pain. I too have experienced this recently. Although I am not an expert, I strongly believe that your issue (and mine) lies in personal insecurity and self esteem issues. I believe that you may still have this feeling again with a different partner because it’s not really about them at all. Everybody has a past and we all have regrets. Perhaps you should seek counselling to begin to repair yourself. That’s what I’m intending to do. Best of luck.
You wrote: “I’m also afraid that all of this has nothing to do with her sexual past”- I agree and we discussed this at length previously. Problem is, it will take months of therapy for you to heal from the pre-existing issues that fuel your obsession with her sexual past, a therapy you will have to take place while you are not living with her or being physically intimate with her, I believe.
So living with her as you do now and continuing to live with her will only intensify your pain and on the long run will not benefit her, not if she cares about your well-being.
You wrote: “if I just don’t think about the past”- but you can’t. You tried.
“If this is the case, then I’d be letting go of something that could have been wonderful”- could have been but is very unlikely to be.
“I’m old enough to know that nothing is ever perfect”- your pain is not an imperfect peace-of-mind, it is too painful to be minimized to a term like an acceptable imperfection.
* I will be back to the computer in about 15 hours or so, take care of yourself.