Relationships

Discussing Your Past With Your New Love – How To Do It

Opening up to a new partner is important but can be difficult, especially when it comes talking about former boyfriends. Here's how to talk about the past.

Opinions on this topic vary but discussing your past relationships with your current partner can help bring forth feelings and potential future issues that can have a heavy impact on your relationship.

It can give a partner insight as to why you may react a certain way and helps them get to know you better – our pasts shape who we are in the present day and who we once dated can play a huge part in that.

But there are a couple things that should be taken into account when wanting to bring this up for discussion and here they are.

Who to discuss it with

Cheerful couple talking

I’m a sharer, I like to talk about my feelings and share stories from the past but I’ve also learned that you have to be careful with who you give your stories too. This goes for every kind of relationship you can have, whether it be with friends, co-workers, family and yes, of course, with a partner.

That guy Jim you met on Tinder and have been on three dates with and don’t particularly like doesn’t need to know about your past relationships.

Jim is not the guy to spill your heart out too – I mean, you don’t even like him – so he doesn’t need to know about the time your high school boyfriend of 3 years left you at prom and never called you again…unless you find it funny now, share away! If you’re still heartbroken over it…save it for someone who matters.

You want to feel comfortable with the person you’re sharing with, it can be an emotional thing and you need someone who understands you to be on the listening end.

How long you’ve been seeing this person doesn’t matter, it’s about how you feel with them and if you see it going the distance because then the conversation becomes more meaningful.

What to discuss

Personally, I would talk about everything because as we’ve already established, I like to talk and share. I believe it’s important that your partner knows as much about you as possible and vice versa. It helps create a stronger lasting bond.

I also know that a lot of people out there aren’t like that, there are so many who don’t feel the need or comfort in sharing anything but it can leave a partner feeling lost and confused about issues that come up in the relationship.

So, something to take into account – hit the big issues. Don’t dwell on the little things because talking about how Jim didn’t put socks in the hamper or a dish in the sink can come off petty and that’s not a good look for anyone.

Talk about the things that caused major issues in the relationship – lack of communication, infidelity, abuse, etc. By sticking to more serious situations you build a dialogue and give them a clearer picture of your past and help give them some understanding to your reaction in fights or certain situations. Not talking about an ex doesn’t erase them, for better or worse they’re a part of you and who you are after going your separate ways.

Stay away from telling them how much your friends and family liked them, how good or bad they were in bed, things you planned together, and so on.

All of these things can lead to problems between you and your current partner like self-consciousness, and could even make them feel as if they’re in a competition.

When and where to discuss

couple talking over a cup of coffee

Figuring out when and where to talk about your exes can be hard, you don’t want to bring it up and cast a shadow but sometimes you have to. Whether it’s in public at your favorite restaurant or in the privacy of your own place, it’s all about how you feel in that moment – You’ll know when the time is right; you’ll feel comfortable in your surroundings and with the person.

There is always that really organic natural conversation that happens when you feel you can talk about anything for hours on end and that could be the right time to talk about the past.

Avoid doing it in the middle of a fight, telling them that “Jim use to do that!” while you’re arguing over something makes it seem more like an excuse rather than an actual reason.

Planning out the conversation can make things tense and seem scripted and with a potentially emotional topic you don’t want that but planning ahead, especially if the topic is of a more serious nature, can help you feel more comfortable and in control of the conversation and you need to do what is best for you.

How to deal with jealousy

Jealousy shouldn’t be an issue if there is no reason for it. If you’re talking about how much Mom loved Jim and how he did so much for you, there’s good reason for why your current partner is feeling upset.

Hopefully, they come to you and explain how their feeling about it and you can avoid talking about those things in the future or if you’re unsure as to why he’s gone mute and won’t make eye contact – ask him what’s going on and why he feels the way he does.

Keep an open dialogue with your partner about how they’re feeling when discussing your past relationships, they may need to hear how happy you are with them and that you’re not with Jim for a reason. Reassurance isn’t a bad thing.

couple talking on the couch

Side note: If you do still have feelings for an ex, take some time before you start dating again because you’re not being fair to yourself or the person you may end up in a relationship with.

If the jealousy or anger seems to have little or no reasoning behind it, try to find out why but be wary. If simply just saying “I’ve had 2 boyfriends before you” upsets them, this is a red flag, and is not a legit reason to be upset.

You can talk to them about it and try to figure out why it would upset them for you to have dated in the past or for whatever reason but to be honest – walking away might be a better option because that is not a normal response. Anger can be an appropriate reaction when you are talking about your ex-boyfriends but it should never be directed at you.

For the most part, this is subjective. When it comes to talking about your past it is case by case, what you may discuss with one person you may not discuss with another.

You may end up with someone where your respective past relationships do not matter to your current ones and you never talk about them or you could end up with someone and you talk about everything – good, bad and in between; both are fine and it boils down to whatever is best for you and your partner.

You do not owe them any of the stories from your past but sharing with them shows trust and that can help strengthen a bond but do not let anyone push you into talking about more than you’re comfortable with. Go at your own pace and just be your honest self.

About the author

Erin Webb

Erin is a California girl raised in the Mid-West. Married and owns a lazy pug named Rumpkin, she’s lover of books, fashion, photography, adventures and anything pop culture.

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