Posted by on Jan 12, 2010 in Relationships and Sex | 0 comments

Don’t you wish there was a single red flag that could pinpoint every relationship hang-up a man harbors? Don’t you wish that, when you stepped into his house, an automated voice would play over the mood music and wine-pouring, warning: Defect detected. Abort immediately?

As far as 83% of Think Tank respondents are concerned, such a signal exists. Oddly enough, it doesn’t lurk in the evidence that screams “eternal bachelor”—the Star Wars action figures, and the intimate friendships he’s found in World of Warcraft—but rather, in his history of sound monogamy. Yes, the history he’s got plastered all over his walls.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that women aren’t poster children for getting over past relationships. My head still reels every now and then with thoughts of a certain ex, and what could have been… But when a man decidedly puts the time and energy into pursuing a woman, a task ridden with such tedious details as scraping pizza off his ceiling and hiding his Backdoor Sluts collection, you would think he’d be able to shove the ol’ ex-girlfriend pics in a box.

Sure, when confronted, he’ll say things like: “I forgot it was even there”, or “It’s complicated”, or even point the finger back at you and ask “Aren’t you and your ex friends?” But mark my words, when a man (or woman) in the company of a new lover, keeps pictures of the ex around, it makes a number of statements—none good.

First, it says his romantic priorities may be elsewhere, and he’s likely biding his time until the off-again is on again. Second, it says that the most his current lover could ever hope for is “second best”. Or worse, it signals he’s just a jackass with no regard for any woman in his life. Getting busy with one woman under the picture of a Valentine’s Day visit to Disneyland with another woman doesn’t pay much respect to either. He may not understand how to value the sanctity of any relationship.

Had Hannah known how foreboding that picture frame on Mr. Smyth’s shelf really was, she might have saved herself from opening up his Pandora’s Box of Commitment Issues. Instead she became a fool in love, hoping he’d “change”. And we all know how fast change comes when you’re watching a ticking clock.

Next up: Is it possible for two people to be friends and lovers?

Jenni Perez authored the 2008-2009 edition of the popular sex issues column, “The Wednesday Hump,” in UC Santa Barbara’s Daily Nexus. When she’s not contributing her thoughts about the trials of modern romance, she devotes much of her effort to sustainable living and recording music.