All of us wonder about our significant other's past in the back of our minds. OK, maybe in the front of our minds. The things men wonder about are probably similar to what women wonder about. And the strange thing is, if I could have access to this information about my significant other's past, I'm not even sure what I'd want to hear.
Here are the questions I ponder, and the answers (I think) I'd like to hear:
What is the your "number"?
I'll admit I have had sex with 10 women. And I would not say that I'm confident in the role sex plays in a serious relationship, or in the actual act of sex itself. But someone's "number" goes well beyond how comfortable they are with sex. You certainly have to think twice about getting into a relationship with someone who has had sex with hundreds of people. On the other hand, suppose you've been sexually active for a while, and the your potential significant other is a virgin. Does this make the situation more difficult?
I know that if I was dating a virgin, I'd walk on egg shells whenever we got to the point of sex. I respect a woman's choice, but sometimes the virginity issue can add pressure to a relationship. If I'm dating a girl and I find out that she's had sex with lots of guys, I'll break it down annually. For example:
Jenn told me she had sex with 38 people. Jenn is 29 and started having sex when she was 18.
That's 3.45 guys/year.
That number would make me think.
How many serious relationships have you had?
When do you start counting serious relationships? My longest relationship is sitll my high school sweetheart-- one year. I was a completely different person then. Are there a certain amount of "mistakes" or "experiences" someone needs to make in love before they are ready to get serious?
Do you want to be that person your significant other "learns the ropes" with? There are many times where a more experienced dater might become exasperated with an inexperienced dater. I'm still learning the dynamics of space in a relationship, for example. On the other hand, you don't want someone to have a whole bunch of exes in their wake. That just adds to the inventory of the annoying ex they are still friends with or that one that all their friends wishes they were still with. You never want too many of those.
And are you comfortable being the second person someone say they "love,". The fourth? Do you believe that a person can fall in love more than once?
How long was your longest relationship?
If someone has a series of 2 and 5 month relationships, they probably haven't learned enough. It's tough, too, when you get into a relationship with someone who has a big fat 5-10 year relationship under their belt. It takes a while to get over those, and sometimes you have to compete with them. Even if they are clearly over a past long relationship, it's still intimidating when they've been a part of something that intense.
After debating the "correct" answers, I realize that the answer might lie in relativity to the daters. I would feel most comfortable with someone who had a similar number of relationships as I have in their past, a number of sexual partners slightly higher or lower than mine, and whose longest relationship is slightly longer or shorter than mine. But perhaps there are people out there who actually feel more comfortable when someone has much higher or lower numbers than them.
According to my preferences, we should look for people with common romantic pasts. Perhaps this works out naturally, and the discussion never comes up about our pasts. And, if people are really in love, maybe people with contrasting romantic pasts can overcome those differences.
Are these details actually things you don't want to know? Do you ever lie about the numbers for these questions? And what do you prefer for these questions about your significant other, and why? Is this information even something we should be entitled to know?
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