From what I know and what I’ve read on the internet, many people consider it is normal to not talk about past relationships with the new partner. But at the same time, there are enough people that have good arguments for why you should talk about past relationships with the new partner. So which one is true or better?
In this article, I will try to give you my point of view on this topic and what has worked for me so far. It is a very complicated topic, and the answer is not the same for everybody since we all have different life circumstances.
A bit about us
Before going forward, I will let you know a bit about us, to know our background and why I say some things in this article.
We are a married couple, and we have around six years of relationship at the moment. We moved into the same rented apartment after a few months, so we spent quite some time together.
We had the same job, and now we have the same business, so we basically live together 24/7, we even do the gym at home and have mostly mutual friends that are couples.
Once when we were at work, a coworker was shocked about how much we could talk to each other even in those circumstances, we had around three years of relationship at the time, but we lived together. That colleague didn’t know that we would talk even more when we got home.
In those circumstances, it would be very hard for me not to open up to my wife and talk about almost everything, including past relationships.
I told you a bit about us so you can better understand my point of view. Now let’s get to the main topic of this article.
Is it normal to not talk about past relationships?
Talking with your partner about past relationships is normal since you can learn many things about each other from past experiences. However, it is not as easy as it might sound since it can easily go in the wrong direction.
I will give you later in this article a list of what to consider when discussing past relationships with your new partner.
Talking about past relationships is a great way to understand each other better and faster. Since you most likely will talk about how you handle conflicts, the breakup reason, and why you usually fight, all of which might help your new partner understand where you draw a line and what is important for you. All those things can be misunderstood, which will lead to an argument if said at the wrong moment or the wrong way. Also, your partner might not be ready to talk about this, and they might get upset.
However, with all the downsides that I’m aware of when you talk about past relationships, I truly believe that not talking about them with a partner with that you have long-term plans it is worst. Yes, there are some unwritten rules(we will discuss them later) when you talk about exes but not being able to talk about this topic at all in a relationship without fighting is a bad sign if you take that relationship seriously.
Not talking about past relationships will give your partner the chance to create all kinds of scenarios in their head about you and how they think you were in the past relationship, and this might not be in your favor either.
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When should you talk about your past relationship with your new partner?
Usually, when we get to know a person we like, we like to know how they are in a couple, as a partner, so unavoidable past relationships will be discussed. However, in the beginning, you should be very careful with how much you talk about this since you don’t really know or trust each other yet.
Also, we should be aware that if someone is talking about their past relationship early, they will likely want to paint a better picture of themselves since everybody wants to make a good first impression. So it will not be completely accurate, or they will avoid telling the moments where they were wrong, and so on.
Talking about past relationships is almost like a direct correlation between how much your partner trusts you and how much you can share about past relationships, but it never gets to 100%, in my opinion, since you should keep some details only for yourself.
Next, we will talk about what details and what you should avoid when talking about past relationships.
5 Things to be aware of when you talk about past relationships
This topic can go much longer, but I don’t want to lose all your time, so I will share five things that you should be aware of when you talk with your new partner about past relationships.
1. Don’t compare
This is the first rule when you talk about exes. Even if you think your new partner will like you to compare them because they will end up on the better side, don’t do it.
Generally, people don’t like to be compared, let alone with ex-partners.
2. Do not overdo it
Do not talk way too often about your past relationship, talking every day about this topic is annoying, and it can easily be interpreted as you thinking too much about your exes or you living in the past.
There is a limit, you should talk about ex-relationships when the circumstances require not because you like this topic.
For example, suppose you were on vacation in Italy with your ex and are now talking about Italy with your new partner. In that case, you should be able to talk about the country and what you have visited without avoiding saying that you were there with your ex since they are not the main point of the story but rather the country and vacation.
But bringing up the story yourself only to have a reason to talk about your ex, even in a bad way, is not a good idea, especially if it’s too often.
3. Be neutral, stick to the facts and lessons
If you don’t get overexcited when discussing your past relationship, your partner should not get mad. It is much safer to talk about facts and lessons you learned from that relationship and not about feelings and emotions.
Keeping a neutral tone helps a lot to avoid being misunderstood when you talk about past relationships.
Even if you get angry when you talk about past relationships is a bad sign and a reason for an argument since it might mean that you still care about your past relationship.
4. Don’t go in only one direction
Most people believe that they should not talk about the good parts of their past relationship to avoid making the new partner uncomfortable. While that is true to some extent, you should not completely avoid talking about those parts since your past relationships represent you in a way, you stayed in that relationship, and it can’t be only bad. Staying in a bad relationship might signify that you are weak and can’t let it go.
We often learn about a person more when we pay attention to how they talk about other people and not what they are saying.
Of course, as I said before, you should not get overexcited when you talk about the good parts of your past relationship.
If you stick to the truth and facts, most likely, you will be on the right path since it’s almost impossible to be too much in one direction.
5. Don’t share all the details
You should not share intimate details about your past relationships, and also, some moments and experiences should be kept only for yourself, not shared with anybody, I’m not talking only about your partner, this might include your friends and family as well.
You can avoid unnecessary details if you want to tell a story about something relevant in your discussion with your partner.
For example, if you talk about how you went to a stand-up comedy and what your experience was, even if you went with your ex-partner. You can say that you were there, found your sets, it was fun, and explain the atmosphere and so on, but you should not say that you kissed your ex x number of times and you kept your hand on their leg and so on since those are unnecessary details for the story.
So talking about a past relationship with a new partner should be normal, but that doesn’t mean it is easy or you should talk about everything.
Unfortunately, you will have to figure this out on your own since every person is different, and your partner might have different limits when it comes to talking about exes.
However, you should not talk about past relationships only to prove that you are open-minded and can do it. Talk when it is relevant for discussion, and don’t bring it up when it is not.