“My wife and I have been married for 20 years and I love and trust her fidelity. However there is one thing that I find it quite difficult to cope with and that is that she likes to keep in touch with her ex-boyfriends and lovers. This causes me quite a lot of pain. Am I abnormal? Do I need therapy?”You are not abnormal unless there are related behaviors you are not telling me about like outbursts of rage on your part. I do not believe you need therapy. I have received many letters with a similar theme and met face-to-face with many couples in the same boat. The issue will not be solved if your wife severs contact with her past relationships.
You are the one with the feelings (the anguish, the uncertainty) and therefore the one with the opportunity to grow. Matters will be “solved” or alleviated for you, when you open your hand and facilitate her freedom to befriend, within the commitments of your marriage, whomever she desires. These relationships predate you, and you are her obvious choice of a life-partner. Work on yourself, not on her. If you work (force, plead, strong-arm, attempt to manipulate) on her, you will only alienate her and turn your internal world upside down.