Some people think that it’s inappropriate to talk about past relationships, particularly within new ones. I am not one of those people. I think all of our past relationships inform where we are now in our lives, and how we come into a relationship. I tend to talk about previous relationships with my husband rather regularly. Fortunately, he’s not a big man-baby who is threatened by the fact that I dated before meeting him. Some men really expect you to be virginal and brand new when they get around to dating you. Even if you’re 30. *Eye roll*
But the thing about talking about past relationships, is it helps you to see where things went wrong, and why. I actually like hearing about my husband’s past relationships because it provides insight. And I wouldn’t be where I am at today if it weren’t for those experience. See, I had a history of dating really awful men – verbally and emotionally abusive, sometimes physically. Misogynist. Which might seem baffling since I am an exceptionally strong, opinionated, outspoken woman.
I am someone who likes to look back. My history has moved me to my present and I am content with that. I got to reminiscing today as I landed a new job in which I will finally be earning a decent salary. I ‘m excited about this for myself and my husband and our family. And it reminded me how it was a goal I set out to achieve when I first started dating my ex of 6 1/2 years. Sure, he stuck it out with me through my undergraduate years (even though when I applied to university his very first comment was that I was going to flunk out… which I didn’t – I graduated with an Honours degree with distinction). And it wasn’t until partway through my first year of my Master’s degree that he picked up a side chick and knocked her up. I had always felt somehow obligated to him for helping me manage to make it through my first degree to get my education and earn us a decent living. So when I landed this job, somehow he crossed my mind (well after I had already excitedly shared the news with my husband and relished in the delight of a financially secure future for us). It’s just kind of a brilliant bout of karma, really. I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing, but knowing him, he’s still in the same dead-end job he’s always had – Janitor For Life (not denigrating janitors; I know they are much needed and I respect them thoroughly, but my ex’s own brother labeled him Janitor for Life as a kid, and he has always been in janitorial positions). Who knows if he’s still with the woman who was the decided nail in the coffin of our relationship.
It’s just interesting to me to see the intersections of past, present, and future, I guess. It was in my past when I embarked on this journey toward being able to a job that I loved while earning a decent living, and when I started this journey, it was my ex who was there. Yet here I am, older, wiser, graduated, and married to a man who has never once doubted me or told me I would fail at something, who has only encouraged me and loved me and supported me when I needed him to.
I don’t know that my husband is always thrilled when I bring up past relationships. And perhaps it’s the writer in me, always looking backward and making connections to the present. It’s also what makes me interested in others’ back stories. Where’ve you been and what have you been through? What brought you here to this moment, with me? I’ll likely never stop drawing those connections and fortunately I’m with someone secure enough in himself and our marriage that he’s not going to make a big fuss over having to hear stories about my past.
Oh, and I guess I’ll have to write a post sometime about the fact that I’ve gone from wonderfully single to happily married (in spite of not being a supporter of the institution). Coming soon(ish).