Talking to SO about sensitive family history (long post)

posted 11 months ago in Emotional
Post # 2
5591 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

joosystooks :  have you gone for therapy for yourself? Therapy will help you accept that what happened, happened. It is what it is, it’s a part of your past that you had no control over.

It will also help you work through your relationship doubts.

As for telling your boyfriend, that’s up to your comfort level. If you’re having trouble accepting it, I can’t imagine that you would want to bring your boyfriend into it

Post # 3
437 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - York, ME

joosystooks :  I really feel that i fyou’re going to be marrying someone, you should be able to talk to them about anything. Even if it’s uncomfortable, difficult, or awkward.  

What helps me is to write notes, or bullet points of things I want to be able to say so I don’t get anxious and forget. Then I’ll prepare my SO that I want to have a serious conversation so they aren’t blindsided. You could bring it up by saying something along the lines of “I know there have been issues with me feeling secure in the relationship, and I want to share with you parts of my past that are hard for me to discuss. I think it will help shed some light on why I have these insecurities, and maybe you’ll be able to help me move past them. When would be a good time to talk about it?” 

Post # 4
9216 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

on our first date, my now husband threw out some heavy family history baggage. i didn’t run for the hills as i think my family is pretty dysfunctional as well.  at some point i asked him why he told me so much info on the first date.  he replied that he was in a take it or leave it kind of mentality.  he can’t change his past, it’s who he is and either i accept it and him or i don’t.

Post # 5
40 posts

I understand what you’re feeling – my parents also had a very tumultous relationship growing up. I think I’ve largely worked through it but there is something in the back of my mind that my marriage will end up like that.


Definitely talk to your boyfriend about it. And definitely think about talking to someone professional about it. Keeping it bottled up isn’t going to help.

Post # 6
4030 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I definitely think your anxiety is clouding your opinion of how he will react. I’m not sure at what point in our relationship I filled my D H in on how messed up my family is. But it never changed his view of me. I think if he somehow freaked out and decided he didn’t want to be with you anymore because of what happened to you when you were a kid… then he certainly is not the guy for you anyway.  

Post # 7
2517 posts
Sugar bee

While I don’t want to minimize the very real pain and turmoil you went through, this is almost certainly a bigger deal to you than it would be to anyone else. Infidelity and rocky marriages are pretty common, and lots of people have many worse skeletons in their familial closets. 

Since your bf already knows your parents and you’ve been together a long time, he may be surprised to learn about this now. But few people would be surprised if you told them early on “my parents had a lot of rough patches in their marriage, but eventually were able to work it out. It was really rough on me to watch them fight and see my mom in pain, and it made me really sensitive to issues of infidelity.” That’s hardly a shocker in this day and age. You’re right that it’s possible that your bf’s view of your family will change a little, but I wouldn’t be concerned with that. What’s more important is that he understands where you’re coming from and why you may be sensitive about certain things. Do you want him to like your parents or to be able to understand you

My family is extremely dysfunctional – divorces, kids out of wedlock, restraining orders, alcoholism and drug addiction, abuse of various stripes, hoarding, you name it. I always took the approach of being upfront about it. That doesn’t mean I went into lurid detail on every first date, but I was always honest when asked. It never occurred to me to feel that my family’s dysfunction reflected negatively on me. If anything, I saw myself as a survivor who was able to make it out of some really dark places and build a great life for myself. I’m proud of that. I always figured the people I dated either liked me as a full package, family history and all, or they didn’t. I had no interest in pretending I’d had a suburban cookie-cutter upbringing. 

Post # 8
1262 posts
Bumble bee

I’m sorry that you went through that.

I don’t have any similar experiences, but when something’s bothering me, I just blurt out the first sentence, usually when we’re sat next to eachother on the couch or lying in bed (not before/after sex!) and it gets easier from there.

Post # 9
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I think you should tell your fiance the whole story. First, so he’d know where your anxiety is coming from. Second, unfortunately, it should be part of his relationship with your parents. I mean, if you’ve sort of forgiven them, he should know that, but he should also know that if you don’t fully trust them or want to keep them at a distance, it’s for a good reason.

Post # 10
633 posts
Busy bee

I’m going through something similar. My parents are also still together and their relationship is better than ever but I’ve been reliving some childhood trauma from less happy times. FH noticed and said I had been off and asked about it. If I were you I would set aside an evening or afternoon to just open up about it and talk to him. Let him know that your insecurities aren’t his fault and how he can help you work thrrough them. I say to set apart the time because there will be tears and he might also need some time to process how he can best be there for you while you work through this and how he should set up boundaries for himself as well.

Post # 11
1386 posts
Bumble bee

I’m sorry with what you are going through! I really do think that fully disclosing your family’s history to someone who could be your future husband is critical though. And I think you may feel better going forward after doing so! 

My parents during my childhood are dramatically different than what they are now, and my husband only knows them as the latter. Most of my childhood my father was an alcoholic, spiraling out of control after my brothers death. During the first year of my.husband and I dating, my father had a stroke that put him in a very dark place for a very long time. My husband was there for that, and now he is a million times better so he sees that too. My husband doesn’t have any ill feelings towards my dad after learning about everything, it is what it is. More than anything, it has helped in explaining my boundaries and triggers.

Good luck to you. Any man that is worthy of being your future husband will be understanding and supporting of you!

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