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 something...you 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?