It’s not news to discuss feminism and the hardcore liberalizing of Christianity trashing relationships. When you give young people the freedom to give all their intimacy and emotional commitments to unserious relationships, the eventual marriages don’t last very long. Men love the modern freedom to have sex with as many willing women they can find, but they absolutely hate the fact that any woman they eventually might consider marrying has had multiple if not many, many, many sex partners. Men don’t like to share, and really don’t like even thinking about their woman’s sexual history. Women are different in their thinking on this point. They feel as though sex is just “fun” and not serious until you find the guy you want to settle down with (at least long enough to have children).
The problem? Very often men and women both have trouble moving on, but women never let go of memories. They do not want you sharing memories of old girlfriends, but they will talk about their ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands and casual sex parters all day long.
My experiences were typical. One girlfriend not only told daily stories of her ex, but also welcomed his phone calls when he tried to come by for hookups. We were definitely in a committed relationship, but she was clearly not over the emotional connection she had with this guy. Every day she talked about him. They’d talk on the phone at least once a week, and freely admitted she was “hedging her bets” with this guy in case things didn’t work out with me. In the end we split up over this, the old boyfriend had married and moved on, and my girlfriend was left alone with her memories.
Another time, I really had a strong connection to a girl for about four months. Every part of the relationship was great. Great sex, great times and I never saw anything coming my way that would be problematic. After four months, she started talking about a previous boyfriend who had broken up with her, moved away and gotten married. She still loved this guy and admitted she had been emailing him at least weekly to try to arrange a time to spend together, or at least a time to meet for lunch and talk. I told her I was uncomfortable with her trying for so long to maintain contact with a guy who had clearly moved on. She didn’t listen to my concerns, but got very angry and defended her feelings for this guy. I took things down to the “friend” level and the constant chatter about the ex continued. I took a different tack this time, giving her total support for her feelings for this guy and apologized if our relationship had endangered their friendship. In the end, I moved on and as far as I know, she’s still hoping this guy will come back to her someday.
It is interesting how long women hang on to old relationships. I spoke to a divorced woman on a plane who waited five years after her divorce to date another man. She met a good guy and put him on hold for seven years before they got married. Because her first husband was abusive, she didn’t trust the second husband. He had to work through all of her mistrust and accusations. He was paying for the first husbands sins.
As you get older, you realize that with women, they never let go of the old boyfriends, hookups and ex-husbands. Those memories are much more important than the guy who is by their side right now. This is why so many men in their 30s and 40s are still just playing the hookup game. Why commit to any woman? Why get married? She’s hung up on someone from her memories. She only remembers the good, not the bad. She won’t think about the cheating, the hitting or the betrayals. All she knows is that those guys were simply the greatest. You are just the next guy in line.
I asked a short-term girlfriend about this. She explained it to me like this: women find their true love pretty early in life. By 30, they are either married to that perfect guy, or more likely, she didn’t stay with him or it didn’t work out. Anybody who comes after that once-in-a-lifetime guy is just a placeholder, just filling a seat in their life. Mr. Perfect will always be number One. Even if he was only good in a rose-colored memory, you’ll never measure up.