Sex and the Single Girl
Getting over the past
by Rachel Welychka
Trying to forget those past relationships can be difficult.
Have you ever wanted to erase parts of your dating or sexual history? Sometimes I think I would. There are some people out there I cannot believe I tried to have a relationship with and some people I cannot believe I ever slept with. Thinking about the past makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Sometimes I even physically cringe at the thought of some of my past boyfriends. Old relationships sometimes feel like past lives and when I think back to how I was and how I acted in the past, it hardly seems like me. Sometimes I want to beat myself up for being such a moron. If I were to sit here and recount all the highlights, or low points, of my past relationships, I could be here a very long time. Doesn’t it make sense to want to erase your past?
What good things would come out of erasing your past? Among other things, you could lessen your number of mistakes, feel better about acting like a complete loser, lessen your number of sex partners, and lessen your number of drunken encounters. I’m sure there are plenty of people most of us would like to forget, but if we had a chance to do it all over again, would we make the same mistake? When it comes to making mistakes, is it better to play it safe and never take the risk?
Sometimes remembering mistakes in past relationships makes me want to kick my own ass for being so stupid. I often can’t believe that it was me, the same me who wrote this today, who did such idiotic things for someone who really wasn’t worth my time. When it comes to making mistakes with sex, I continually find myself annoyed at my own stupidity. I swear off sex for eternity and think it would have been better if I had waited until I was married or at the very least, waited for someone who was worth it. Talking about relationships brings up the other big “R” word–regret. What do you do when you regret the choices you have made?
Making choices and experimenting with other people teaches you who you are, what you’re willing to do, and who you are willing to be. If I hadn’t dated any of the men that I have, I wouldn’t know half the things I know about myself now. For instance, I would not know that cheating is something that I cannot tolerate. I realized that trust and honesty is something very important to me in a relationship. After dating the “ugly guy with the really good personality” I realized that on some level (any level) you do have to be attracted to your boyfriend, even if it is just a teeny tiny bit. Dating teaches you the little things about yourself, about your values, that you’ve probably never thought of before.
If you could erase your past, would you do it? I think most people would want to erase all the bad, all the mistakes, and keep all the good things that happened in past relationships. Keeping in mind that you cannot keep the good without the bad, you can erase it all or nothing at all–would you still do it? Like all things in life, relationships are never cut-and-dry. They are never completely free from imperfections. If you think hard about it, even your relationship with your best friend has to have some stains on it.
As much as I wish sometimes that I could have selective amnesia about my past–much like I wish the morning-after pill gave you selective amnesia–it’s just not possible. My past has shaped me into who I am today. If I were to erase it all, I am not sure how well I would fare in any relationship today, let alone real life. I have gotten to know myself, my dealbreakers, my wants, and my needs throughout the past years. Your past makes you who you are today. Mistakes can make you want to slap yourself upside the head and say “what the hell was I thinking?!” but they are only mistakes if you don’t learn from them. The next time I find myself in the position to make the same mistake twice, I will think back to when the situation didn’t work before and learn from it. Even the most horrid relationship story makes for excellent fodder over your next Friday night beer with the ladies.