By Billy Curtis, Sex Columnist

As my foster mother has always told me, “There are always three sides to a story: the stories from both parties involved, and then the truth, which usually lies somewhere in between.”

I am writing this column because I know that I am not the first to be in this situation, and I am even more certain that I will not be the last.

As my column has been there to help others get through the trying relationships and sexual disasters of their past and present, it has also hurt some.

And for that, even I must apologize. No one is ever correct all the time, and everyone has his or her demons to battle. Luckily, I have overcome a great deal of mine in the past couple of years.

But just this last Tuesday, I received an e-mail from an ex of mine, Mr. Madison, that expressed his disdain and disapproval of what I wrote in a past issue.

And since I get to share my side of the story each week in this column, I felt that he should have his story heard too, as he addressed his letter as showing “the other side of the coin,” or in this case, the other side of the bed.

A newspaper uses the elements of all involved to get the whole truth out to our readers, and I think it is only fair to get the whole truth out now.

After receiving Mr. Madison’s permission to print his response to my column, I felt that I was presented with a rare and very important opportunity. As most of us learn while growing up, life can be quite difficult.

While I will admit that I didn’t have the best coping mechanisms for the problems I dealt with when I was younger, I grew and, while becoming more selfless, I taught myself that these lessons of growth come with time and healing. This is just another one of those lessons.

In Mr. Madison’s response to my column “Go Long, Go Strong,” he explained, “As there are most certainly two sides to every story, I felt the need to respond to this piece. While I certainly agree with the author that we had our equal share of issues, his article personally held me responsible for the problem I admit that I was having.

“[Billy’s] stance postulates, ‘most cases of erectile dysfunction have nothing to do with the partner.’ While I will not argue this being true or false for the general populace, I would like to present some facts to the reader about our particular situation.

“First, as I mentioned, stress is a major factor in causing erectile dysfunction. So what can cause stress?

Just to throw out some completely random stressors: paying a lover’s rent and groceries; dealing with [his] bipolar, spoiled roommate; driving four hours every weekend to come see a significant other after a week of classes only to find that he is in emotional shambles again because he is incapable of taking charge of his own life or coping with a dysfunctional family.”

“Certainly if one would be unlucky enough to find themselves experiencing all of these things, there would be just cause for a dysfunction,” Mr. Madison concluded.

In every relationship, it is most important to remain as selfless as possible; this was a lesson I needed to learn the hard way.

The person Mr. Madison writes about in this response is the person I was — young, foolish and incapable of dealing. All are qualities I unfortunately could relate to at the time.

Either way, the relationship in question taught me how much of a selfish person I had become, and that I had become so involved with myself that there really was no point to being in a relationship in the first place. No wonder I put the blame all on him — I was perfect, wasn’t I?

Since then, I have witnessed many different one-sided relationships, and in the hopes that this message reaches them as well, I will say this.

If you are taking all the blankets, talking too much and never listening or leaving your partner hanging emotionally, you are just as bad as I was back then.

Not all relationships work out, but if you take a second and let go of the anger and frustrations you once had with a person from the past, you will most likely see that any person you let into your life will teach you something.

We change constantly as we grow; the person you are today may be vastly different from the person you once were. And you learn that it’s not always about you.

In the future, remember that relationships are meant to be equal, and ask yourself, “Am I still the person I was — happy and content with myself? Or have I lost what was once so important to me — myself?”

If you have lost yourself, I can promise you that you will never be happy with another person until you’ve found yourself again.

So strive to learn from your past mistakes and relationships — don’t ignore them; both have taught me what I know now.

I may not be in a relationship currently, but I know who I am now and what I want out of my life, not to mention what I want from a partner. Make sure you do as well.