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Some people want a partner who doesn’t have a romantic history—they want a clean slate. Untarnished territory. Somebody without baggage. Not me. No way. I think about all of the lessons I have learned from past relationships that made me the good partner that I am today. I think of the pain I put past partners through because, unfortunately, I had to make those mistakes and learn those lessons on their watch. When I think of all of that, I realize how fortunate I am that I am not my partner’s first girlfriend. He must have made mistakes and learned lessons too, and I’m happy that I didn’t have to be the guinea pig. He made those mistakes on someone else’s time (sorry to those ladies, by the way!) so I just get an experienced, emotionally mature individual who is ready to be a solid partner. Here is why you really don’t want to be someone’s first serious girlfriend.

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He has no filter

Only people who have been in a few relationships know that you should do some editing when telling a partner about your life. Sure, you should be able to tell your partner anything but, you should also have the wisdom to recognize which information could just be left unsaid (like that story about that threesome you had in college—your partner doesn’t need to know that).

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Nobody communicated with him about sex

If this man hasn’t had regular sex with the same person, then he probably hasn’t encountered a woman who took the time to tell him to stop jackrabbiting. Or to stop treating boobs like stress balls.

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He’s still learning time management

Being in a successful relationship requires excellent time management skills. It requires keeping calendars, checking calendars, setting alarms, and just generally being aware of how long things take, so you get where you’re supposed to be on time, and make enough time for your partner. Most guys only learn that by having a few girlfriends leave them over their poor time management.

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He’ll still be selfish about activities

I was the first girlfriend to two men (at different times!) and they were both terribly selfish about activities. They still believed that, when I asked what they wanted to do, they were just supposed to think about what would be the most fun for them that day, and push that plan onto me. They hadn’t learned the art of compromise, and picking an activity both people would enjoy. They hadn’t learned that making your partner happy can feel better than just making yourself happy.

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He’ll still be selfish about listening

Those men whose first girlfriend I was—they were also very self-involved. They were big babies. They ran to me to vent after a bad day, and wanted my listening ear while they complained and monologued for hours. Then, when I needed to vent, they wouldn’t even mute the television.

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He makes decisions without you

Men who’ve had a couple of relationships learn this lesson the hard way: don’t make major decisions without talking to your partner. Men who haven’t had girlfriends before will just let you know, with 16 hours notice, that they’re going to Las Vegas with their friends. Tomorrow. For three days.

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He picks every battle

The novice boyfriend can be a bit combative. He hasn’t yet learned to pick his battles. So, he just picks all of them. It’s very annoying, and turbulent.

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He isn’t quite yet sensitive

My current boyfriend is very sensitive, in a good way. He can tell when I’m just not in a good place to finish an argument we started earlier. He just knows how to read the room in a way men who are new to the whole boyfriend thing cannot.

 

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His home won’t be girlfriend-friendly

This isn’t true of all guys but, a lot of guys have very not-girlfriend-friendly places until they’ve had some girlfriends. They have one towel. It’s unclear what part of the body it’s for, or if it’s ever been washed. There is no trashcan in the bathroom. There is only one pillow on the bed. It’s just a nightmare.

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His friends won’t be girlfriend-friendly

As men get older, and start having romantic relationships, they begin to realize that some of their friends (like the ones who sexually harass their girlfriends and make inappropriate comments) aren’t girlfriend-friendly. And, he begins to just spend less time with them because, generally, they’re just jerks. A new boyfriend hasn’t done that editing yet.

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He might be too clingy

A man’s first serious girlfriend can feel like a shiny new toy he just can’t get enough of. Translation: he can be too clingy. He can make you his whole world. It’s too much.

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Or, he might just be neglectful

Men who are new to being boyfriends are just a bit clumsy in relationships. If they aren’t too clingy, then they’re neglectful, failing to call for two days sometimes and believing that’s okay.

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He could be uncomfortable with feelings

Women have a way of opening their male partners up, and making them gradually more comfortable with being vulnerable and talking about their feelings. If you are a man’s first girlfriend, then opening him up emotionally, well…let’s just say being the first one to loosen the jar is never fun.

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He can’t talk to your female friends

You might deal with the fact that this novice boyfriend is a bit rough around the edges, but your friends won’t. It’s like that scene in “Sex and the City” when Carry’s boyfriend tells Miranda that a guy just isn’t that into her and everyone’s a bit shaken up. He has no tact yet.

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He can’t talk to your parents

New boyfriends also don’t know how to button it up and impress the parents. They don’t know the unspoken rules like, don’t drink seven beers around the parents and don’t swear a bunch.

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