On those odd days when I'm akin to reacquainting myself with my favourite gossip girl, my facebook news feed, I seem to be finding more and more posts by my friends relating to "the love of [their] lives". You know, that love who makes 'nothing else matter', including any experience that happened before them. Now don't get me wrong, all power to you if you've found that significant other, and your feelings are actually true. But most of the people I know that are saying these things were those boy-(or girl)crazy people that changed their whole lifestyle at the drop of a pin by any potential beau that came along.
Case example, my friend, who had a tumultuous, overwhelming relationship with someone for years. They broke up, she moved on to another guy (of the same name) within weeks, and then declared that if they were to have children (moving quickly, I know) and her child was to ask her who her first love was, she would "point across the room, and say 'your daddy'". Now that made me vomit a little inside. What about her former partner who was a major part of her life during her formative years? Did his existence totally vanish once her new partner came along?
Now I know my parents weren't each other's first love interests, but I also know that they love each other deeply, and that their relationship is built on strong foundations. Neither of them are ashamed to admit that they had a life before each other, and I think that that's an important acknowledgement to be made. As long as you are secure in your present relationship, these are 7 reasons for not erasing an old flame from your history:
It was right for who you were at the time
Maybe having an indie boyfriend who was named after a marvel superhero doesn't have the appeal it used to. It might even make you ask yourself what the hell was wrong with you. But at the time, the relationship was what you wanted. We, as people, are dynamic, and the person that you were 5 years ago is different from the person you are now. So it makes sense that you would have wanted different things in a partner. After all, maybe you were closeting a comic book fixation at the time.
As corny as it sounds, it helped you grow
Spending a lot of time with a person different from yourself helps you see your short comings, and caring about that person can motivate you to improve yourself.
Besides that, the support from your significant other is likely to have helped you garner the strength to face some looming obstacle at the time. Though they didn't face it for you, they helped you see what you were made of.
You had some great experiences together
If you erase all evidence of their existence, you are also erasing that time you wandered the backlit streets of a foreign city for 12 hours, or the time you ate sheep's tongue, or even the time you forgot you shouldn't sing in public.
It helped you know more about what you want -and don’t want- in a prospective partner
Without having met different people, you wouldn't find out which qualities in a partner don't matter so much, and realise which new ones do. Instead, you would be living off the advice of your childhood BFF, Walt Disney.
You have a friend reserved for a tough time
At some point, you each cared about each other a lot. So in a time of need, you can have the comfort knowing that they would be there for you in a second, and without strings attached. This one is assuming your ex wasn't a jack ass. On the plus side, if they were, at least you would have someone you can channel your repressed anger into- Kidding!
You can have weird memory-flashbacks
Who doesn’t want to have weird JD-from-scrubs-flashbacks complete with the head tilt, creepy smile and all? Now you have an excuse to! Just wait till that song you used to play on overdrive comes on the radio. Word of warning: learn a lesson from my brother and make sure it's not an awkward song like "nice guys finish last".
You have an awesome amount of cringe-worthy stories to share with friends Like the time your first boyfriend ended up having a crush on your mum; or when a guy brought his extended group of friends to introduce you to on the first date. Or the time when your friend- never mind, oversharing.
Overall, as long as you have moved on and know that the relationship has ended for a reason, there is no reason to erase an ex from having ever existed. There will be plenty more experiences to come with your new partner, but this time around you won't be so clueless!