Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Question: Do you have any advice on how two people who really hit it off after a mutual friend's birthday party might see past their own hangups and begin dating each other with open minds? Long story short, we've both got some socially imposed judgments about how easy it was for the other person to jump into bed right away.
Answer: Keyboard, face, keyboard, face.
How about: "Why don't we go out to see if we actually like each other?"
Unless you don't feel as if you can do the asking?
Re: "Socially imposed judgments"? Socially imposed or not, you both believe them. So own them, and live them. The way to not be judged "unfairly" is to choose to live in the ways that represent how you actually feel. As in, if you look down on people who have one-night stands, don't have them. Or if you think they're OK, then have them. Just don't pretend to be one while doing the other. That's how you end up where you are now. And if you do have one, take it as a reminder not to be too rigid in your views of human behavior.
Q: I guess your reaction is about what I was expecting. Look, I get it - I have no right to judge another person for tangoing when I was tangoing right along with him/her. But I know myself, and I know the one-night stand resulted from a series of fluke circumstances, so it's easy to excuse away my own behavior. I can't do that as easily for the other person.
Meanwhile, s/he has joked about not totally believing me when I said, "I never do things like this." I agree we shouldn't be judging each other, I'm just asking how to avoid doing it involuntarily.
A: If you excuse your own behavior then, morally, you have to excuse the exact same behavior in others. Glass House 101. I realize that's the argument you already buy, but I think actually believing it kills the involuntary impulse to judge.
That's because if you really believe you're no better than another one-night-stander, then you'll see him/her as your equal.
It's pretty clear you don't see it that way, though. You think your reasons were justified and his/hers weren't.
Yet who's to say your bit of A-OK fluke planetary alignment doesn't also apply to the other person? Or maybe s/he came to you under a different set of circumstances that you'd actually find sympathetic.
Or maybe this person is just unattached and comfortable with being in the sexual moment. Isn't that OK for an adult to be, since you're also capable of that yourself? You're both sexual creatures, susceptible to impulses. Do you think the place you draw the line for yourself is the only valid place to draw one?
If you continue to believe, privately, that you're superior to this other person, then do him/her a favor and don't pursue a relationship.
But if you genuinely find the person's personality, character, demeanor, or circumstances intriguing - and you're not secretly harboring the idea that s/he's trash - then I don't see how the one-night stand even matters, except as a particularly enthusiastic icebreaker.