You’ve met Mr. Right, but for every other girl he was Mr. Right Now. How do you deal with his past?
In a society of paradoxes and double standards, there remains the age old double standard of judging men and women differently regarding their sexual behavior. It would be redundant to discuss how a girl with a sexually active past is regarded negatively, while guys are often seen as gods â€“ so weâ€™ll just glide over that. The point is that as a girl, how do you deal if the guy that you happen to fall in love with is the epitome of that double standard?
Being brought up as South Asian women, some of us unwittingly fall into a mindset where we often â€œwaitâ€ for the right guy to come along before we become sexually active. For some it is sooner than later, and for some the first partner they have truly becomes the one that they spend their lives with. Therefore, women typically engage in sexual activity on a more emotional level then their male counterparts (although that is slowly evolving).
So for those women still existing in the mindset of â€œwaiting,â€ what happens when the guy that you fall in love with, the guy you want to spend your life with, opens up to you about his past. Andâ€¦ what you hear makes you wonder if perhaps the whore of Babylon was truly a saint. (Of course, there are guys out there that are not in this genre â€“ and we truly do appreciate you! But hypothetically speakingâ€¦)
â€œDealing with the previous promiscuity of the man you are with is not something that comes easily,â€ says Dr. White, a sociologist, â€œAs a woman, no matter how liberal and how comfortable we are with ourselves, we always find ourselves comparing ourselves to those women who existed in his past.
Do we measure up?
What would happen if one of them were to want him back?
And worse, what if he liked being that promiscuous?
Those are some of the more common problems that women deal with when trying to accommodate the pasts of their boyfriends. It is fruitless to say that it is easy to understand and move on, as nothing is ever that easy when it makes you uncomfortable.
There are two main situations, and then a hybrid that many women must deal with:
Situation One: Your boyfriend has been in a very serious relationship, where he very much loved the girl he was with, but circumstances caused a break up. This raises two questions: (1) Would he go back to her if she wanted him? And, (2) once you give your heart to someone and they leave you, how much of that heart do you really have left to give me?
Situation Two: Your boyfriend has a history of promiscuity, including random one-night stands, hooking up with numerous girls, and dating women only to sleep with them. This raises another question: (1) Heâ€™s been with so many girls, and told them that he loved/cared for themâ€¦ and they believed him. What if Iâ€™m falling for the same ploy?
Then of course there is the hybrid â€“ when your boyfriend had a very serious past relationship in which he got his heart broken. That break up was followed by a series of one night stands and other promiscuous behavior. The hybrid situation is the more difficult of the three â€“ because you have the insecurities from both situation one and situation two to sort through simultaneously.
So how do you deal? After searching through letters from advice columnists, discussing the problem with numerous friends, and even going to guys for their opinions on the topic, here’s what we came up with:
1. Encourage your boyfriend to be open with you. Nothing hurts more than finding out about his past from one of his friends (or worse, an ex-girlfriend).
2. Take confidence from the fact that he has been open with you. Most guys do not tell their girlfriends of their pasts for fear of being questioned or lo-sing the girl. The fact that heâ€™s honest with you speaks volumes.
3. Cry. It is psychologically proven that sometimes you just need to cry to get your head cleared. Donâ€™t keep it in because it will fester and become a strain on your relationship.
4. Donâ€™t forget it â€“ but accept it. The past made him into the person you love. So there is some good in it, right?
5. Talk to him. That doesnâ€™t mean snap at him or make snide remarks. If you feel insecure try and hash it out with him. It will make you realize that he really does care that youâ€™re hurt, and it will encourage him to be more sensitive to you.
There remains the argument of, â€œWhy should I have to deal with this? I donâ€™t deserve these insecurities.â€ Well, it is your decision to stay with this guy â€“ do you love him? Is his past worth leaving him over?
Dealing with the past is always difficult â€“ but we tend to write our own hist-ories. Editing out the bad and focusing on the good, and vice versa. But the point is we write those histories, and we should never let those histories write our futures for us. -BENISH SHAH