19 Jan EX TALES: Past is Past by Atty. Bruce Rivera



by Atty. Bruce Rivera


One of the common complaint you will hear from men in any relationship is the insistence of every woman (or those playing the woman) to bring up the past not just in any argument but as a means of emotional blackmail. For most women or gays, knowing past relationships, the reason why it failed and past infidelity becomes a necessary risk.

Men argue that past is past. It is different from the present. There is even a rule in evidence (drafted mostly by men) that states, “res inter alios acta nocere non debit”. It roughly means, if someone did something in the past, it does not mean that he will do it in present or to that effect. A pattern of behavior cannot be treated as evidence. So, a man who has cheated on three of his last five girlfriends will not cheat on you according to the rules of evidence.


Partly true. There are times that a cheater will not cheat. If he has found someone truly special, there is no reason or opportunity to cheat. But the reality is, most of us are not in that league. No matter how many times he will call you “special”, if he does not do anything to make you feel it or his statement would always say, “I am not like that, all my exes know that” then you are merely “generic”, my dears. If you play your cards right, you will achieve that special status but chances are, you are merely a stop-over to the real destination. And a marriage certificate will not seal the deal.

In a “generic” relationship, we should always go by the rules of probability. If he probably did it in the past, you are not that special that my bet is that he will do it again or that he has done it and you did not know.

Cheaters will always find opportunity to cheat. That is his way of inflating his ego. He will set up an environment that cheating becomes easy to do and will go unnoticed. He will place you in an environment that in the eventuality he does cheat, you will not notice it because that is his normal. If your husband got you used to him having hours of unexplained absence, it becomes difficult to notice and worst, if you become suspicious, his argument will be the same basis as your suspicions. “Sanay ka naman madaling araw ang uwi ko at pag nasa labas ako, di mo ako nakokontak, bakit ngayon ka pa magduda!”

A friend asked me if I will be bothered if my partner has an FB account where he has thousands of friends who would like or love his pictures, make sexually suggestive comments and make sure he posts every now and then. My answer to him was simple: if you accepted it when you became partners, do not ask my opinion. That is irrelevant. Your partner wants himself to be desirable to everyone. So he will have options. He will never make it known that you are together because that is the reason why he has them. He likes to be desired. Again, laying the perfect environment for him to have that option if he wanted to. And you should have known that. And never make the mistake of asking him to delete it. You are not that special as you should have known by now.

Is the past important? It should be. While it is true that how your relationship turns out, would always depend on how you handle it in the present, the past is something you should learn from. Because if you make the same mistake in his past, you will be someone’s past. And if make the same mistake from your past, it means that it is a lesson not properly learned.

Either way, you learned a lesson.


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