Move Over, Carrie: You and Me and Her

December 21, 2013

Move Over, Carrie is a witty, whenever-I-feel-like-it series of The Unreal Life
where I talk about the sociology behind relationships, 
and all the trials of modern relationships that SATC missed.
No pictures, no GIFs--just writing. 
If you're new, you can check out the first Move Over, Carrie here

Today's topic: you, me and her. Or: bringing your ex to the dinner table (metaphorically speaking). 

This post has been bumping around in the ol' cranium for a while, but it came pounding and begging to be let out this week and so...I obliged. While not turning this into TMZ, let me try to give you a little back story. I offered to copy some pictures for M onto my computer. He doesn't own a computer, and E's mom wanted to take the camera card to Mexico next week to show her parents. Better safe than sorry, I said. Let me at least copy them so if crazy bitch spill tequila all over your camera card or still have them. He's shown me the pictures on the camera before. Essentially, I got a ten minute slideshow of baby E's entire life to date. So I wasn't thinking when I offered to copy them. I thought I'd seen them all. But I hadn't. Key words: they don't own a computer. Hence, every single photo since the time the camera got there has been on it. Every, single. Picture of their relationship.

And in true girl form, I freaked out. 

I promised him I'd copy them, keep them safe just in case she comes back sans camera card. But now there are pictures...of Her...on My computer. My first instinct was to delete them. Keep only the baby ones. But in all honesty....I'd be pissed if the situation were reversed and M deleted photos of my past relationships. I know that sounds weird. But it's my past, and I don't believe in erasing your past. What happened happened. Do I look at my ex boyfriends constantly? No. Do I want to never be able to remember those times ever again? No. It's my life, and my life is not something with deletable sections. It comes as is, good and bad and ugly and messy and sassy. What it came down to, is that I wanted to erase his past but would preciously defend my own if the situation was reversed.
Which got me thinking. To the point of this Move Over, Carrie: Why are we so defensive and protective of our own past, but want our significant other to come with no past at all? Why is it that we don't ever want to acknowledge the idea that they've wanted others before us, but have no problem acknowledging that we've wanted others before them? 

My little pro-bono therapist, blogger friend and all-around wonderful woman, Brooks, said this in response: "I think it's because we want to know we're the sole one they want and when we see the past "wanteds" we realize we weren't the only wants." I deeply resonate with this. I want to not only be the most wanted, I want to be so wanted it obliterates anyone else. 

And of course, my brain kept turning. The truth is, I've had a weird fascination with Her long before these photos. I have so many questions about Her. So many, that M has had to put an official "foot down" to more questions more than once. Because it's true, they eat me up. One question leads to more questions leads to more questions. And I can't quite put my finger on why. Is it because her presence is with us every Sunday when we take his daughter to brunch? Or with us every dinner when he starts absent-mindedly mumbling about child support payments, gas and grocery bills? Either way, She is there. And sometimes I think I'm so obsessed with Her....because none of my previous Hims are there.
Let me explain. M has never, not once, asked me about a previous boyfriend. He has zero interest, and has told me as such. I am his today and his future, and that was his past and my past (trust me, it's much more romantic with a cute little accent thrown in there). Which is completely different than previous relationships I've had. Let's admit it. How many times have you had that awkward "So, why did you end things with your ex?" or "How many people have you dated?" or any other various relationship-resume questions. Basically....sometimes I wonder if I don't feel intimidated by Her simply because there's no Him. She is, figuratively, always at the dinner table. But none of my past ever is, because it's never been brought up and never will be brought up by M. While this should make me feel free and adult and at ease, I'm realizing that it just makes me feel competitive. Competitive in the sense that I want to be able to say yes, others have wanted me before too. You're not the only one. 

Maybe it's easier to do it relationship-resume style where you get it all on the table, all the Ghosts of boyfriends and girlfriends past come to dinner and they distract each other with ghostly conversation while you two forge your future (go with me here). Because the truth is, without them there's no you. Without RRR and MMM and a slew of others, there's no me. Not in the sense of the me I am today. Because for better or worse, they taught me things. So am I pissed that their effect on my life is being denied/ignored? Am I pissed that my "want" as a woman is not being validated? I don't know. All I know, is that I'm pissed.

So. I toss it to you, faithful readers. I love your MOC comments the mostest, mostest. 

Would you rather have it all on the table? 
How do you treat your ghosts of girlfriends and boyfriends past?
And, most importantly, why do we want partners with a clean slate but cling to the beauty of our own messy past for leading us where we are today?

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  1. Gosh, this is so hard. I think I am in M's shoes though. My boy is constantly talking to me about what this girl did for him or did to him. It's nice to know about his past, but then I find myself getting jealous of these girls I have never met because for a second it seems like he might miss them just a slight bit. Then I get jealous because there are more pictures of them on his computer than there are of me. So I tend not to share about all the guys. Partially because I was going on many dates with other guys while I was getting to know him and I feel guilty for it. The other part because none of them mean as much to me as much as he does now. And I don't have an answer for any of your questions. I want to know about his past, but then again I don't.

  2. I honestly don't care about past girlfriends. My boyfriend had a sweatshirt from his ex that she got him on a trip they went on together. He hasn't worn it in years but I love it and I wear it all the time. We don't sit around talking about our exes but at the same time we don't have a problem talking about them either. My boyfriend worked with his longest gf (other than myself) for about a year after we had started dating and it didn't bother me in the slightest. Soooo... to make a long story short: I am of no help to you. :( I am sure it is harder dating someone with a child though because there are more reminders.

  3. I have no advice. I wish I did. I just wanted to let you know that I feel you. I hate that Mr. Fireman's ex comes up from time to time because she was a part of his life for such a long time & not all that long ago whereas my ex never comes up because it ended so much longer ago & I feel weird bringing him up.

  4. Maybe I'm strange but I never keep any old stuff. I get rid of all old boyfriend pictures, cards, etc. I feel like it's over for a reason and I don't need to keep any reminders, whether I broke it off or he did or we both did. I just have no reason to have it anymore.

  5. Well I guess I'm kind of in the position that you want lol- Felipe never dated anyone seriously before we started dating (he was 23, I was 24) and I feel like all my past relationships (which, who are we kidding, most were like faux-relationships with scumbags) made me know what I want out of a relationship so sometimes I freak out like - well if you never dated someone seriously how do you now this is what you want - to which he responds I'm crazy and he knows what he wants bc he knows what he wants. haha. But yeah, I never talk about exes or anything b/c I just honestly don't think about them except like, mannn dodged a bullet with those guys!

  6. This post is interesting and resonates for me. The divorce for us was final in June, and I'm finally feeling ready to date again. I wonder how the future Him will relate to JJ, and also my daughter. I wonder how I will relate to future Hers. How I will affect them. This is definitely something to think about. I really in the past have had no interest in knowing about exs beyond the most superficial details. In my case though...we are both still very present and tied together by our child. Will the future Hims and Hers resent her? Resent me? Resent him? It all get's so potentially complicated doesn't it? Great post.

  7. You know, I like to think I've left the past in the past and that my husband has left his past in the past, but it isn't always the case. For example, four years ago, I was studying abroad in the UK, and my husband (then boyfriend) had lent me the cell phone he used while he was over there. I remember getting it reactivated and "topped up" (minutes/money added)...and having all of his old texts pop up, including from a girl he had met when he was in the UK. He was always tight-lipped about her, so I started wondering what had happened between them. I remember getting so upset that I cried and cried, mostly because I missed him so damn much and wished he was with me and was mad that he had been with her here (in the same country...not the exact same location I had been in). I had to keep telling myself how he loves me and chooses me, but I only felt better once I deleted those messages and when I came home and proposed a month later. I felt like a total ass about my freak-out, but I never shared it with him fully.

    (We finally went to the UK together this past summer, so that helped rectify my feelings on the situation. Silly, I know. But my emotions were out of control! I have never acted that way in my life.)

    I've always been kind of private with my previous relationships and feelings for other men. I'm so sentimental, so I've pretty much kept everything anyone has ever given to me. However, as our relationship becomes stronger each year, I have started to let those physical reminders go (throwing out old pictures, etc.), which helps those memories, good and bad, fade some.

  8. Oh gosh ... I'm married and I'd totally freak / accidentally delete them lol! I guess the important thing to remember is that he's chosen to be with YOU! There's always a choice involved! So stay secure and confident in that! Merry Christmas, xo!


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