Our past…accepted, acknowledged, ignored, denied or rejected.

18plusThe past is obviously a very sensitive subject for many, on the other hand, you have those who have accepted and are at peace with their past and have no qualms in discussing it.

Your PastTo narrow down a vast topic, I’m looking at our ‘relational’ past, i.e. our love lives, casual and serious sexual partners, short-term and long-term partners and parents of our children..
On the 16th of November, I published the ‘Your past’ image, on my Facebook page, Facebook profile and here on the BLOG.
I noticed that the subsequent images received more responses; I wasn’t really surprised about the FB users but was a little bit surprised about the lack of response here on WordPress.

Relationship utopia
In a non-rebellious, totally obedient society, filled with love and humility, all things being equal, our past experiences would have all been similar.
All things being well, we would have been born, having a father and mother, who were married and living lovingly towards each other and us.
We would have been brought up having the space and time to develop spiritually, emotionally and intellectually while we learned (from parents and other senior family members) about our physical and sexual development, at a rate where we could understand those changes and developments.
We would have been introduced to an existing strong family network and whether or not we migrated with our family, we would have established good relationships within the communities we resided in, irrespective of that community’s ethnic diversity.
At the right time, after having socialised with the females within those communities (at places of study, work, fellowship etc.) the young men would have a conversation with their parents about the young woman they developed strong feelings for.
His parents would talk to her parents and an agreement would be made for them to ‘officially date’.
After a period on non-sexual courtship there would be a mutually consensual marriage.
A marriage in which the young adults would be able to develop and grow as a couple learning how to mimic and hopefully improve on the parental models which brought them up.
Whilst experiencing all the benefits and enjoyment of learning to develop an intense, disease free, ‘emotionally’ baggage-free wonderful orgasmic sex life.
Can you hear the music? the birds singing, feel the warmth of sunshine on your face and a light summer breeze, while you smell those lovely intoxicating flowers…

The reality
OK, utopian dream over…the MP3/Blue Ray player has stopped playing and we’re back to reality…
How many of us actually grew up from our ‘genesis point’ experiencing all or any of the above?…I know I certainly didn’t.
Most, if not all of us, have experienced a life totally different to that ‘ideal’; mankind, having the power of choice, has certainly exercised that power to make some ‘interesting’ choices.

The negatives
Speaking of choices we make, I haven’t mentioned the negatives and evils of ‘abuse’.
Physical, emotional and sexual abuse can have serious impact on an individual and their relationships or lack of relationships.
Acknowledge and understood but I’m not going into those negatives as they warrant more space and time.

One size doesn’t appear to fit all
Barring the serious issue of abuse and all its ramifications, the majority of people ‘rightly’ profess that the past is the past.
They quote the usual: – “I was young and immature”, “That’s no longer the person I am.”, “You learn from your mistakes.”, “Those things only make you stronger” and so on.
However, why do so many lose that pragmatism when their relational/sexual past has been called into question?
Surely the same rules should apply…that was us back then, we have learned from those mistakes and we are stronger for having gone through those experiences.
If we, quite rightly, should not be judged by our past, why can’t we simply pragmatically profess what we did and with whom?

Sometimes it’s hardest to forgive ourselves
Maybe there is a little bit of embarrassment on our part, in having to admit we made wrong ‘partner’ choices.
We all have to make peace with our past in order to enjoy our present and hope in our future.
If we were promiscuous we need to accept the fact that those actions didn’t create lasting contentment.
If we were extremely rigid and cold, we need to accept that those actions only repelled and possibly prevented the possibility of forming a life partnership with someone.
There are all the differing variations of actions in between which include, experimentation in areas you no longer participate in, contracting STD’s, unwanted pregnancies and terminations, being date rapped under the influence of drugs, mistaking the signs and forcing someone to have sex against their wishes and more…
Obviously, before being forgiven by others and forgiving ourselves…some areas of some peoples past require the intervention of the law and paying a penalty for violating an individual and breaking the law.
Putting the law issues aside there is also the morality issue, however, morality in general society…without the specific guidelines of a belief in God…has a massive sliding scale of acceptability, depending on who you speak to.

Made my peace, now easy to share
My past has a few uncomfortable chapters but I’m still able to talk about them (when needed and in context)
Born to two unmarried teenagers, who broke up after my sister was born.
Watching my mum have children with another man and seeing that relationship break up.
All helped to shape my views on relationships, initially with marriage NOT being an option.

Due to my frequent Q&A with my mum and other adults around me, I always had a more mature outlook on relationships than most of my peers.
I knew I wanted to be in a stable relationship, which didn’t involve marriage and having seen all the mistakes made by adults around me, I still made a few of my own…I know, who hasn’t?
My past involves 2.5 sexual relationships (I’ll explain more in other posts and the project).
My first ‘puppy love’ girlfriend came when I was 14 and was with a Chinese girl who moved to Britain from Hong Kong at an early age.
I had subsequent ‘young love’ relationships with a girl from Martinique and a girl from Nigeria before progressing onto my first sexual relationship with a Turkish born Kurdish girl.
This resulted in engagement then me breaking off the engagement and relationship when I realised a hot sex life and the feelings we had for each other wasn’t enough to change/overcome generations of established xenophobia from her parents and other family members.
I knew and worked with a young lady back then, a fellow Brit, we became really good friends and became lovers, after my relationship ended with my ex-fiancé…I’m married and still with her today.

The past is the past, grown up and mature
I would like to think I’m fairly balanced and mature, I don’t believe in going back after a break-up; I’m a believer that things end for good reasons.
I would like to have remained friends with all my ex-girlfriends as I don’t believe in holding grudges and truly do believe that the past is the past.
One has left the UK and now lives in Australia, one sadly died a few years back (before reaching 40) due to having Sickle Cell Anaemia, I’m in contact with the others via Facebook

Experiences and a relationship philosophy
I have always tried to maintain the quality over quantity philosophy, I don’t think that gaining a ‘reputation’ is only applicable to women, it’s also applicable to men.
Things have not been perfect for me, I’ve had the secret abortion performed (unbeknown to me at that time) and there is the .5 situation I mentioned earlier, which was a very serious chapter in my life.
Yet despite everything, I did discuss my past with Lois and God forbid, if I ever became a widower in my future, I would do the same again with any possible future Mrs Gayle and I would expect them to be totally open and frank about their past.

So, how about you?
As I said, we tend to be pragmatic concerning some things and secretive or evasive in the area of sex and our past sexuality, in general, but especially in certain circles, such as within Christian (especially religious) circles.
I have a fair few real-life scenarios recorded in my memory banks and I intend to cover those on this Blog and more in-depth within the project.

Obviously, it would be unwise and almost impossible to share all your history in one conversation, especially when just getting to know someone, however…

  • Have you omitted information about your past for fear of it ruining a possible serious relationship?
  • If asked specific questions about your sexual past, would you be totally honest, lie or omit certain details?
  • Do you think it’s important to know where someone is ‘coming from’ and for them to know that about you?
  • If someone told you they had a lot of sexual partners in the past or even did a stint in the Porn industry, would that be a deal breaker?
  • If you experimented with homosexuality or swinging, would you be open about that?
  • Do you think, like me, people should be up-front and open before a relationship gets serious, or do you think the full truth should only come out after the honeymoon? 

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9 comments

  • Hi Phil, we found your blog by way of mutual friend Lafemme Roar. We enjoyed reading your post very much. The honesty and direct approach was refreshing! I whole heartedly agree with you concerning partners and being open and honest. To me, a marriage is a sharing of ones soul. Or at least should be. Though I’m sure it sounds old fashioned, I really believe, “They two shall be one.” How can you be one with someone, if you haven’t been fully honest with them. And you can’t be honest with someone until you’ve been honest with yourself. God know’s like most, I’ve made mistakes. But I believe that our pasts, are what help to define who we are, and who we are to be in our future. Good or bad. Life’s a journey and we have to struggle through the low’s to get to the highs.

    We look forward to reading more of your posts in the future and are happy to have joined your blog and hope you & Lois have a wonderful New Year!

    • Thank you both for taking the time to visit and read.
      Some say there should be total honesty while others say that disclosure of our past is unnecessary.
      However, I totally agree with you.
      I look forward to getting to know you both through your writing and ‘honest’ communication. 😉
      Happy New Year!

  • gailthornton

    Hi Phil,
    Thank you for this post, as it is important in my present and final committed relationship. In order for me to move on beyond my past, I had to be totally honest with myself and my man. In order for me to trust myself and my judgement, that honesty has to serve me in an ongoing way. But for me the past unfolds as needed, as it comes up when it is critical to put it in its place, or to understand my approach toward sex, intimacy, and love. On the other hand, my partner has a need for boundaries and privacy about the past that I would never violate. We are evolving as a couple at our own pace. We are different that way, but the love we have for each other isn’t in question, so his past is not critical to me. What is critical to me is his kindness, honesty, caring, and commitment and he is all of those things.
    Happy New Year, Phil! 🙂

    • Hi Gail,
      Thanks for passing by and sharing.
      You’ve raised very important points, especially concerning the unfolding of revelations of the past.
      I admit that we can only share as much as we remember or asked about in the early stages of our relationships.
      Those of us with more life experience will obviously have more to share,
      some things will obviously be forgotten but the rest can unfold and be shared as our relationships progress.
      My only concern would be if an individual held something back which could be detrimental to the relationship.
      Those concerns are obviously also relative…what one person may find a ‘deal breaker’ is no big deal to another.
      Happy New Year, again, to you to. 🙂

  • As someone who’s spent the last couple of years inventing my past, sexual and otherwise, these questions have kind of a strange application. I’m really just the personification of a character in a story, so I have no hope of ever having a “real” relationship, and interestingly, people tend to shy away from me in places like Facebook when they find out I have no intent of changing that. …you know, cuz everyone keeps it so real on Facebook!

    I frighten people. They like me when they talk to me. People have even said they’ve fallen in love with me, which I swear I do nothing to encourage. And then, somehow, the idea that they can’t touch me becomes this form of e-leprosy and they can’t even be my friend anymore.

    It puts me in a kind of unique situation, where those who consider themselves the most tolerant, those who fight the battles of crossing the gender lines, become the least tolerant of me. I’m female, and 28, but with no face, I have no “real” gender or age identity at all. I face many of the same struggles the members of the queer communities do, seeking acceptance, and just genuine friendship. Yet particularly in those communities, it’s demanded of me that I become someone else, before I can be tolerated. I have to have a category. A label. So I tend to keep my mouth shut about stuff like that and just be myself.

    That all said, I think sexual pasts are a Pandora’s Box. It seems on the surface like we want open honesty and disclosure, but most of us have insecurities that ultimately get exposed when we get it. I have not met the guy who was truly comfortable knowing I slept with another guy he knew. Lesbians may like hearing that I’m attracted to them or fantasize about them, but then be put off by the fact that I’ve never acted on lesbian fantasies.

    So we ask for truth, but is it what we really want? I think there are a few things you need to know about someone’s past. Have you ever been a sex offender? Have you been tested recently for HIV? Herpes? Those are the kinds of questions you deserve answers to and need answers to before you have sex with someone. But as K said in MiB3… Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to.

    • Hi Anne,
      Thanks for your response.
      Social Networks are a funny place, FB especially, it has many unwritten rules and people like you and I, who try to use it according to our own needs are usually frowned upon by the ‘just look at my photos and tick like’ majority.
      You, my friend, are an enigma and that fascinates and attracts human curiosity.
      I tend to show the real me off-line and on-line, I feel it’s personally more liberating for me to do so.
      Writing and sharing my writing on-line enables me to emphasise aspects of myself that most people I know, off-line, usually do not give me the time to share.
      A lot of the time I’m listening to their problems and assisting them with finding solutions to those problems, or listening to their loves and likes and feeling that I’m too deep or challenging when I speak my mind or pose my questions.
      I have a few friends (which includes my wife) which actually give me the time to share and express myself and that’s why I’m married to her, as we were able to share all of those intimate things of our past, over the course of time.

      Anne, everyone has their likes and dislikes, you mentioned one of my ‘no no’s’.
      I accept an individual’s past is just that, they shouldn’t be judged on it, but I admit, I did have a thing about possible prospective girlfriends having sex with a friend or acquaintance of mine.
      I had no problem in accepting that they, like me, have a sexual history but I would steer clear of anyone who had been with one of my friends or someone I knew.

      I agree with you whole-heartedly concerning prerequisite questions and answers before engaging in sex, however, I’m also a great believer in the truth making us free to think and consider things in more detail.
      And yes, we do need to be prepared to hear the answers to the questions we pose…

  • Kristelle Mae del Mar

    We just had an anniversary yesterday. I’m just graduating college next year and I guess we’re too young for this stuff but then I really enjoyed reading your article. I think every relationship has to pass through that stage. I was just doing some research for my mom and i discovered your blog. It’s great! Hope to read more. God bless you!

    • Hi Kristelle,
      Thank you for your kind words, you and your mum are both welcome to pass by at any-time.
      You’re right, it’s all part of the learning experience most couples go through and younger couples can avoid a lot of unnecessary grief if they learn from the mistakes of others as well as their own. 🙂
      I will be sharing relevant information which will also be applicable and relevant to the younger reader.

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