To tell or not to tell?

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
  • poll: I would tell my spouse....
    Everything about previous relationship : (21 votes)
    26 %
    Enough so he gets the main idea : (39 votes)
    48 %
    Why would I? My business : (18 votes)
    22 %
    Hide the embarrassing stuff and tell everything else : (4 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 2
    108 posts
    Blushing bee

    He is going to propose and you don’t feel comfortable enough to tell him about your past?  I certainly don’t think you need to get into every detail or discuss it regularly but generally I think past relationships are a significant part of your history.  I tend to think it’s a red flag if you can’t/won’t discuss that at all.

    Post # 3
    1865 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2017

    I don’t know how many girlfriends my Darling Husband had before me, I consider it irrelevant and have never asked because its never mattered to me. 

    He has never really asked about me either, but he knows I was engaged before a long time ago. 

    I wouldn’t feel guilty not telling him, but if he asked straight up I have nothing to hide, but I don’t really see how these details would be productive anyway.

    Post # 4
    4728 posts
    Honey bee

    I’m really confused.  I’ve read your post twice now and still can’t figure out what part of your past is so embarrassing to tell him.  Like are we talking about abuse and being embarrassed you stayed as long as you did?

    Because otherwise, unless you started dating him in junior high, he figures you have had relationships before.  And unless you’re big into polyamory he has also figured out those relationships ended because you are dating him.

    You don’t need to share every nitty gritty detail of the relationships and break ups.  In fact, Why would you?  What purpose does that serve?  But basic info (2 long-term, never lived together/lived together for a year, we just weren’t compatible, etc.) Is pretty common place sometimes in the course of conversations, though I find that comes up more in online dating for some reason.  (That said, I don’t know how many people my SO has dated and he doesn’t know that about me…It really doesn’t matter to our relationship and has no bearing on our day to day life.  Sometimes an ex comes up in a story, but it isn’t the main focus of the story so I think we have figured out we have each dated at least one person before).

    But honestly it seems like the biggest problem here is you.  You seem to have an incredible amount of insecurity and baggage you don’t seem to have resolved yet.  Hell, you’re slut-shaming yourself.  “Don’t want to be seen as someone who dates willy nilly”?!?  Uhhh…what you posted seems like a pretty conservative dating history there.  Most people don’t marry the first person with their preferred genitalia who walks past them…dating is part of the process and how you figure out compatibility and what you want in a relationship.  The fact that you seem to have negative associations with that and seem to find it dirty or shameful points to some unresolved issues you may want to work through.

    And like PP said, if you are afraid to share even basic info, that probably is a sign you aren’t ready to move forward in this relationship with this guy.  It isn’t anything you are required to share, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to share it.

    Post # 5
    2452 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Can you fly into your past and change it? Do you expect someone FROM your past to knock on your door some day and ask you where the 3 children you had together have gone?

    Is there anything you’ve done in the past will either enrich or ruin where you are today in your REAL PRESENT LIFE?

    Conversation about personal history is inevitable in relationships, but a leather bound volume of one’s past life starting at birth IS NOT.

    If you personally have baggage to unload (sounds as if you really don’t), share it with a close friend or relative or a good counselor.

    It is NOT necessary or necessarily positive to burden yourself, your guy, or your relationship, with history lessons.

    Post # 6
    4638 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2018

    I am not going to go into detail about every guy I’ve ever been with. I have talked about my long term ex and he hates it, so I don’t do it.

    Post # 7
    191 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2017

    lolatenola :  Um why would you even consider telling him about your past? The past is the past for a reason. Leave it alone.

    Post # 8
    877 posts
    Busy bee

    There is nothing either to be ashamed of or reveal. Firstly, unless you are both extremely orthodox religious or very young, he will assume you have dated and had other relationships before. Secondly, men really don’t want to hear in detail about the other guys you slept with. Really. In fact, I’ve had guys ask me in the past whether we can make it a rule not to talk about exes.

    Your previous relationships are not your boyfriend’s business, unless they have a bearing on your current relationship, for instance, you are still dealing with issues you had which came up in previous relationships. That said, your fear around this issue is the problem. If you really feel you must tell him about past boyfriends, then do it in a brief and matter-of-fact way. It’s absolutely normal to have dated a lot before you find The One. In fact, I think it shows that someone is probably very clear on what they want out of a relationship.

    From my own experience, when it comes to guys I date, I probably want to know about significant relationships from his past, like marriages or relationships of several years. But short, non-serious relationships? Couldn’t care less.

    Post # 9
    2806 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2018

    lolatenola :  Unless you are leaving something out in this post about what happened in these previous relationships, I don’t see what you are embarassed about? People have multiple relationships before meeting the right person. Some are relationships that end well, some end badly, it’s just part of life. 

    He doesn’t need to know every detail of your past, but there’s also no reason for you to be ashamed that you’ve been in relationships that didn’t work out. I stayed in a relationship for years knowing it was not right, and to me that’s a learning experience and I’ve openly discussed it with my fiance. No shame or embarassment although I know I could have made better choices in that relationship.

    Post # 10
    3920 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

    I guess I dont really understand what you’re embarassed about or what you’re hiding from him. If you’re embarassed that you were dumped by all your previous boyfriends, you need to let that crap go! Everyone gets dumped and its a hit to the ego, but it just means that person didn’t see how great you are. Your current partner will not change their opinion of you if he finds out that you were dumped. You also havent had a ton of relationships in comparison to the average woman and it’s normal to have a couple very short ‘relationships’ under your belt. I dont see what you’re so tight-lipped about, you should trust your SO with your past and trust they wont judge you about it. But it’s also not something that should be discussed regularly. 

    SO and I talked a fair bit about previous relationships as a comparison to how different our relationship felt. I know bits & pieces of his past and I know lots about what he’s learned in previous relationships but I defintitely don’t want to know the details of them and he doesnt want to know the details of mine either.

    Post # 11
    2446 posts
    Buzzing bee

    My rule is that I don’t tell Fi about aspects of past relationships if that relationship has no bearing on my relationship with Fi.

    If, however, an aspect of a past relationship does affect my relationship with Fi (via fears and self-destructive thinking “learned” in an abusive relationship, for instance), then I definitely talk to Fi about it. 

    But what is centered in every conversation is my relationship with Fi, NOT the relationship from the past. 

    For instance, I would never just bring up an old relationship out of the blue and start discussing it with Fi. 

    But if Fi and I are arguing, and I realize I am part of the problem, because I am acting out on a fear or a feeling of unworthiness, I will certainly tell him that (as part of my apology) and explain the aspect of the past relationship which contributed to those feelings inside myself that led to the poor behavior on my part in the present.

    And Fi does the same with me. His ex before me was particularly manipulative and emotionally abusive. Oftentimes, when he’s acting out, it’s because he spent so long (3 years) “learning” unhealthy coping mechanisms to help him fight against her manipulations.

    It’s important for BOTH of us to be aware of the respective past relationships and their impact on our psyche’s so that we can be more understanding of each others triggers and of the sort of bad behavior we each exhibit in arguments. 

    If you find that some of your past relationships are contributing to negative self thoughts and relationship anxiety in the persent and it’s affecting how you behave in your current relationship, then this definitely should be discussed with your partner so that they can more fully understand where you’re coming from. 

    This is part of a healthy, transparent, adult relationship.

    Post # 12
    10099 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: City, State

    Is the secret you’ve dated other people? I guess I don’t get it. 

    Post # 13
    1854 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Best advice I can give is don’t force it. If one month you have a conversation where past relationships ranomly and naturally come up in the conversation and you feel like sharing a detail or two than sure go ahead and share. But don’t feel like there is some sort of relationship requirement that you must download the other person on every person you dated, how it ended etc.  If one person you dated in particular did something to you that really deeply affects your daily life or could potentially influence you, like a pregnancy, or physical abuse etc. Then you might bring that up so that your partner now can support you better.  I say keep it natural. My current boyfriend never has asked me for more details about any of my ex’s and i really have only asked him random questions here and there about his first girlfriend and his ex wife out of curiosity. I always did it when it naturally came up in conversation. Don’t hide details but don’t be trying to start conversations so you can share either if those details aren’t life changing and need to know. 

    Post # 14
    209 posts
    Helper bee

    lolatenola :  Honestly girl, I’d see about talking with a therapist. I’m hearing some unhealthy notes that sound like low self-esteem in your post. Being dumped doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Maybe there was something wrong with them, or maybe it just wasn’t the right relationship and they realized it first.

    Post # 15
    11181 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: City, State

    lolatenola :  

    Did you ever hear the saying less history, more mystery?

    Your partner does not need and likely does not want to hear all about your past lovers.  What are you trying to communicate?  “I’m an insecure ball of anxiety, please don’t run away like all the others”?  Not a good look.

    It’s one thing to share that you have some anxieties due to previous relationships and that you’re working on not letting any of that old crap interfere with your current relationship.  That’s healthy.  But, to dump your entire, unhappy, unhealthy string of bad relationships on him?  That would be just plain scary.

    If your relationship history is causing you a lot of anxiety, therapy is the right place to work on it, Bee.

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