I decided it was time to update my ex-boyfriend scrapbook. Yes, I've got an ex-boyfriend scrapbook.
I started it when I was in college & single; it's called "The Ex Chronicles: A Work in Progress", has an introduction and some words about particular exes that had a true impact in my life or really pissed me off, has a "booty list" of things I got from that ex (gifts they bought & material possessions I got from that relationship that made it less of a waste) & has a pic of each ex or something to symbolize him as well as things like movie ticket stubs, pictures of movies I saw w/the guy or restaurant logos for where we went, etc.
When I met my hubby & was pretty sure he was the one (before we were engaged, in fact), I did the last page where he's called "The One" and wrote a whole piece about it. I also glued in tickets & places where we've gone. I have a bunch of blank pages in it and realized I should add in the ticket stubs & things I've got from doing things with hubby.
The very back of it has phone numbers I collected from guys I didn't end up dating or who thought I was pretty. More of an ego boost for the former ugly girl, really. Sort of a record to say "See, I CAN attract guys so there." One is even a Polaroid I got of a guy who hung around me one evening & stayed even after I got a major stomach ache and felt horrid. Let me tell you, that wasn't pleasant. This guy actually gave a damn & kept me company the whole evening. If he'd been local, maybe that could have worked out but he was in the military & stationed on the west coast so there you go. It became one of those experiences I'll probably use in some creative work later on, along with various things guys I talked with who I met once & had no way to stay in touch with told me. Those are the experiences I feel one needs to have a true personality & really be effective in a creative sense.
I pride myself on the creative flair of the whole thing but my best reason for having & keeping it? If I ever get amnesia, I won't make the mistake of dating those guys again & it might trigger positive memories of my hubby. After all, I have a copy of the first message he ever sent me on OkCupid pasted in there. I read it just now & it made me laugh as well as smile. I also thought "It's so fortunate we found each other." If you knew me well & you read it, you'd probably also think "Wow, that guy IS her perfect match/soulmate/a male version of her/true love/whatever."
Are you shocked I have an ex-boyfriend scrapbook? You shouldn't be. I don't believe in pretending your exes don't exist after you stop dating them. Now we don't have to go all Helga Pataki & build shrines to them like she did for Arnold (it's from Hey Arnold, you doofus; go watch it if you haven't seen it). We don't have to obsess about them or stalk them like she did to Arnold.
At the same time, I hate those articles that say "never talk about your exes." First off, when I dated guys I wanted them to know what pissed me off so they'd not being doing it. It would hardly be proper for me to get mad at them for doing something to piss me off if they didn't even know what pissed me off or why. In my mind, if the guy knows something will piss you off & he does it anyway then you've got every right to get angry. But if he doesn't? Then you're stuck & can't get mad b/c he doesn't know about it. Why not prevent a potential fight by just being honest about what makes you mad? You can't expect people to be mind readers. No, ladies you can not expect a guy you just met to know all your pet peeves or even try to understand them if you don't give him some background.
This is the vein in which I discussed things about myself: I figured "Let's get rid of the pro-lifers & the cheating assholes right away. Why get attached to a guy who's going to try to shove me into a relationship I don't want or force me to give up my dreams?"
Second, there are some serious deal breakers you need to get answers on ASAP & what better time than on a first date? If you know you want kids someday or must live in Florida, why get attached to a guy who doesn't want them or must live in Alaska? What if the guy or the girl has kids & you hate them? Shouldn't you know about that? What if someone was or is an escort or prostitute or adult film star? You might want to know before one of their fans comes up & asks for an autograph while you're on a date. There are certain things that I think people should have some informed consent on & if you don't give them that opportunity, you're being a jerk and not giving the person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that person wouldn't mind dating an adult film star or loves kids dearly. You don't know. I just think it comes down to treating someone you have a romantic interest in as you'd want them to treat you.
Finally, I think it's a different situation when you're not dating for Mr./Ms. Right. If your long term goals aren't going to match up, it's better to let people know ahead of time before they get attached & hurt because you don't want to do what they want to do (especially if you're the guy). For me, relationships just moved faster & were shorter when I was single and not living in the Northeast. When you know you're not going to be someplace forever, you have a different perspective on things & you just have to be more efficient than these conventional articles tell you.
Maybe there should be some type of dating article for people who are not living in the place they plan to put roots in. Time is of the essence there & casual dating's kind of the norm (though I personally was a one man kind of girl; I dated a lot but I never slept with anybody as part of a harem since we redheads don't like that & being one, I felt that if I was as good as guys with knowledge claimed I was [as endorsed by Manswers & general convention on redheads] then I was more than enough for them). While this ethic isn't limited to natural redheads, a natural redhead would feel like you were eating fast food hamburgers instead of the fliet mignon on your plate if you were doing that to her. She'd also think you're a total moron & not worthy of her. One of those points should be "If you're okay with your significant other sleeping with you & others at the same time, use protection & demand the same of your sex partners."
So I don't think you have to praise exes but consider their flaws. After all, they are exes for a reason, right? I'm sure the ex had something you wanted to do & (s)he wouldn't whether it was skydiving or a sexual position or even meeting each other's family members. Then if the current person will do it, you can appreciate the current person for giving you that. I also thank my husband for ridding negative associations with exes by going to places & doing things I'd last done with an ex.
To me, keeping that book is not an "I'm not over XYZ ex" issue. It's not like I take it out & masturbate to anyone's picture; if you're not doing that, I think it's perfectly fine to have a "what mistakes not to repeat" record just in case you become senile, get amnesia or plain lose your mind (which could easily happen to me though I don't think I'd be stepping out with some illegal who's got a baby mama & zero ambition like my former friend did). Anyone else?