Let’s be honest. Even though the past is….in the past, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact our present and our future. One of my favorite phrases illustrates that very point: “Piss poor preparation promotes poor performance”.
While a lack of preparation likely affects us academically and professionally, it also affects us in relationships.
*WARNING-the following is an extreme example, but a real life example. Real life is OFTEN stranger than fiction-*
I met a man, let’s call him Thug Life, TG for short. He is a poster child for “anything is possible”- he brought himself from childhood illiteracy and being deep in the street life to spreading the Word (of God for all you heathens, LOL!) and becoming a mentor or life coach for people who found themselves in similar situation. While I found his story inspirational, and while I think he would be good person to know professionally, there is no WAY I would think twice about cultivating a romantic interest with TG.
Why? Because TG was a KILLER. Like a real life “I-stab-people-because-I-feel-like-it- and-I served-time-for-it” killer of other human beings. I think anyone reading this would agree with me that the man has baggage.
Just to give you a little MORE background, the man had also been married. He’d separated from his wife and they tried to reconcile. He said they worked on it for a year (counseling and all), but ultimately he could not because get over the fact that she chose something else before him the first time separated (that thing happened to be a church, but that’s ANOTHER topic).
TG has waaaaaay too much going on for this one. As I was talking about it with a friend, I thought about the differences between men and women and the ways we respond differently to people with a past.
I’ll bring it down to a less extreme example. A woman with an explicit sexual past is more likely to be judged according the “you can’t turn a H*e into a housewife” frame of mind than a man who is known for his sexual exploits. Some men might keep this woman around for fun, either over looking or disregarding the possibility that she has changed and is looking for a lifelong committed relationship. A man that DOES see this potential in such a woman might be ridiculed by his friends for doing so (simping isn’t in).
Now let’s flip that. While some women would not date such a man because of fear of 4 letter words (A-I-D-S, K-I-D-S, or S-T-D-S), some women might jump at the chance to be with him. They might be wowed by the fact that he has so many notches in his belt- for them it might translate to that man being able to “do the damn thing” between the sheets (or where ever else). They might also have a superwoman complex, thinking that she can tame that man when all other women failed…though a means that is as old as time, even when it’s likely that many of that man’s conquests thought the same thing. Even though I hate to bring it up, I have to mention the possibility that a woman might believe the hype about the “good man” shortage, and be willing to take a chance on a man they wouldn’t otherwise consider so that she can have a man (or some semblance thereof) to call her own.
I’ll admit that my perception of the situation may be skewed. As I am a woman, it’s easier for me to consider a woman’s point of view. Admittedly, I can only speculate on a man’s point of view based on the conversations/points of view I’ve overheard and read.
At the end of the day, the past DOES matter as we are all shaped by our pasts. Whether we bring one of those dreaded 4 letter words, baggage from previous romantic or personal relationships, or even the stresses of the work day, they ALL have the potential to affect our interactions in the immediate present and the distant future. With that in mind, I think it’s important to be judicious about how we let in and who we KEEP in our lives.