How much does someone's past matter?

I am dating a 43 yo man who has a pretty wild past. I'm wondering if that matters, at all...

His college days include drug use (hard stuff, not just pot), jail time (dist the peace and cont to the delinquency of a minor), fathering a child (adoption). When dating his now ex-wife, his past includes an abortion. While married to her, it includes a one-night stand with another woman.

People always say the past doesn't matter, but I find myself a bit conflicted here.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Whether or not it matters is completely subjective. Ask yourself, "Does this matter to ME?"

    Companies perform background checks because things like this matter to them. At the end of the day, you need to decide how much you care about this.

    Personally, I would not give this person a chance. Hard drug use and jail time are an automatic DQ in my book.

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    • I go between: "It was 20 years ago...so what?" and "When is the real guy coming out, the one who did all this stuff?" Each thing taken on its own, it's easy to say, "It was college/a stupid mistake he made when his marriage was falling apart/a young, dumb thing...who cares?" All of them together? A bit overwhelming.

    • Looks like you have your answer.

What Guys Said 8

  • People only say that when it benefits them. Think about it, we keep criminal records for a reason. We avoid certain types people with pasts for a good reason. Would you even think about dating him if he, say, had a rape conviction in the past, or more than one conviction? What about if he had a child molestation conviction in the past? I doubt it or hardly anyone would date that kind of a man, regardless how reformed he was now, so much for the past being the past. Which it never really is, unless the speaker stands to gain from it.

    I wonder how many guys here would date Lorena Bobbitt? After all, the past is the past and so what she lopped of a man's d***, right?

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  • If he told you this now, he is being open, and what counts now is how he acts now.

    People, even we guys (something a few find hard to believe), can change. If he is treating you and others well, give things a chance.

    But we all have a past, not as wild as his maybe, but it is hard to keep it that way. Being candid is a good start...

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  • Well, first of all, I think you are being pretty hard on this guy. Your profile says that you are 36-45, and you are surprised at the "wild" past of this guy who is 43. Quite honesty, with the exception of the criminal activity, the other things are really not issues to me, meaning that in life, as Forrest Gump said, "sh*t happens," and after 43 years, to only have that little list (a one night stand? Are you kidding me?) is pretty slim, and I would argue this guy actually has NOT led a wild life at all, or perhaps he has a few more skeletons in his closet (let's hope so).

    All of these things make a person who they are. What doesn't break you makes you stronger, and a more desirable and experienced person who is hopefully (and here is the important part) less likely to make the same mistakes AGAIN. I would argue a person like that would be a better partner as they know what mistakes not to make and have "been there, done that," and have the t-shirt.

    Of course, I'm 44 myself, and rooting for the guy! :) Only one, "one night stand?" Really?

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    • For all I know, he had 100 one-night stands. The one I'm bothered by is the one that involved cheating on his wife. That not a big deal? I suppose we are simply different people, you and I. As far as "wild," perhaps that is a relative term, depending on the person defining it.

  • IT's all about if you can trust that he's changed and accept his imperfections. 8-)

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  • It doesn't matter as long as the past isn't consistent on bad behavior. If it is? I might just stay away and avoid them.

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  • A person is a product of their genetic makeup and their environment... sooooooooooo...

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  • Mistakes mean nothing if you don't learn from them

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  • Sometimes we can give up on our past and amend our days 180 degrees. Most of the times, we just carry it along with us.

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What Girls Said 1

  • Unless it could significantly impact our present relationship or come back and ruin our future, I most likely wouldn't let myself be very bothered by a boyfriend's past. It simply doesn't make sense to. It's done and can't be changed, so it's pointless to put tons of weight on it.

    But in your case, the one night stand is the only thing I'd be alarmed about at all. Drugs are bad, but if he's done with it for good, you can't really complain. The things he was in jail for don't seem very serious... I'd only say no if it were for murder or rape - something that traumatically and directly alters or takes away someone else's life. Adoption is a wonderful thing to do, but I understand that you may not want the "baggage" that comes with a kid. While I'm pro-choice, I only think abortions are okay in certain situations, so I'd want to know the reasoning behind it. In any case, the abortion wasn't his, so I'm not sure why it matters in any case.

    One more thing - SOME people can change SOME things about themselves. Most people change drastically between high school and college and between college and marriage, kids, and other adult responsibilities. I'm sure he learned from most of the things he did - although I'd never give a cheater a second chance. But he didn't cheat on you, so that's your call.

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