Please bear with me with the long details. My boyfriend of two years is an extremely private person and doesn't have too many friends and likes to keep a few close ones to be in touch with. Most of the time, we get along great, and I don't doubt our feelings for each other. Quite a while ago, I noticed his frequent contact with a particular female friend and, over time, I got a little suspicious. Later, I did find out that the two talked a lot before we started dating and that woman was almost like a "substitute girlfriend"-type friend to him. She's a lot younger than he is and is living in another state with a boyfriend, too. Last year, I found out one time that he had to lie to me to give her a call, saying later he thought I'd get jealous so he chose to avoid trouble; earlier this year, he did it again, covering up their contact to make excuses with me and said he was doing something else. It also came to the point that he'd delete all her texts and call history. I confronted him, and he got extremely upset and said he wouldn't have done that if I hadn't been so jealous, and also kept saying there's nothing between them and he just thought I was jealous and that he didn't want to argue with me.
We finally had a long conversation over this, and he said she is his best female friend and they talk a lot, so he thought I wouldn't have understood that and would get jealous. He said they did have feelings for each other seven years ago when they worked together, but they didn't want anything to develop, plus the age difference and other things. They've kept in touch closely over the years, and he's helped her through her grad school, and he felt like he knows her better than he knows me. And he covered up their contact from me to protect the other woman. After hearing all this, I felt pretty betrayed and upset, feeling like she's in a higher and more important position on his list than I am.
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However, he keeps telling me he knows there's nothing going on between them now, and it's going to be like that forever. He has no interest in her at all, and that I'm the center of his life, and he knows his intentions have always been pure. It's just our early misunderstandings and arguments made him more careful and scared of fighting anymore, so he chose to avoid trouble. I don't know how to take this because I feel like I'm scarred by this and I'll always think that the other woman matters to him more than I do now, since obviously she's a very special friend and he's willing to go this length to protect her from me. I know he'll always care for that woman a lot and I'm not sure if he'll ever be comfortable telling me about their contact from now on. Should I be concerned or should I just let this go? I admit it has affected me a little bit because whenever I see them in touch, no matter how innocent the conversation is, I get upset and try not to get him to notice. And then all the negative feelings are back, and I feel betrayed and want "revenge" by retracting, avoiding his contact, or talking to my male friends.
Look, I do understand that they've had a longer history than I have with him, and that friendship remained the same after so many changes in each other's lives, and I understand this woman likes talking to my man for emotional reliability, advice, and all that trustworthiness, and also I can tell my man cares about her a lot, too. When I'm together with my boyfriend or when we are talking, you can tell he's totally focused on me, and sometimes I even know the content of their phone conversation, no matter how long it is — it'd be pretty innocent, and they'd talk about each other's relationships and any personal developments. I know they probably wouldn't get together forever, but I'm just concerned that if my guy is having an "emotional affair," his attention/heart can be with that woman all the time. I'm not an extremely jealous or insecure type of person and I don't have a problem with him talking with other female friends . . . only this one.