5 ways to safely talk about past relationships
Not all of us have the first and only thing going on for us. Most of us have been in more than one relationship. While every time we get into a relationship, we’re inevitably hoping that this one would last unlike the others. Sometimes it does, and at other times it doesn’t. Regardless of who breaks up with whom, both people get hurt. We all deal with heart break differently, and there is no standard for how long it takes to get over someone. Although once you do, you might eventually find someone to risk getting hurt all over again.
Getting into a new relationship following a break up is never easy. But even if you decide to do so, the constant fear of things not working out keeps eating you up inside. You don’t want to make the same mistakes like you did the last time. And you don’t want to follow the same pattern. But how do you explain your fears to your partner? Talking about the past is not everyone’s cup of tea. But maybe if you knew how to approach this sensitive subject, you might be able to talk about it, without damaging your present relationship.
Timing matters most
As with everything else, timing is crucial when it comes to talking about exes. You obviously can’t be talking about your ex on a first date. It’d set off an alarm. They might think that you’re still not over your ex and that would have them running in the opposite direction.
This does not mean that you can’t tell them that you’ve had relationships in the past. This is something that they should know about even before you start dating.
When you’re at a point in your relationship, where you’re comfortable talking about various things and you feel like you’ve gained each other’s trust, this is the time you could actually tell them about your previous relationships. Even then, talk very carefully, and give only the necessary details. You say too much and the insecurities sprout.
Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back
We are never satisfied with anything. We want to know everything but when we do, we come to believe that ignorance is indeed bliss. Such is the human nature.
This could create unnecessary problems in a relationship, especially when talking about exes. A part of you wants to know everything about their partner’s dating history, while the other part is scared of what you might find out. And as it always has been, curiosity did kill the cat.
Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to. It’s that simple. What if you ask your partner to talk about their ex, and to tell you everything, and they do so. Will you be able to handle it? Definitely not!!
The best thing to do is, never push them to talk about it. If they feel like sharing something, just play along. And when it comes to sharing your past relationships, just give them enough to satisfy their curiosity and nothing more.
Don’t talk to compare
You plan to have a nice, quiet meal at home, and they decide to prepare your favorite. When they put it in front of you, you say he/she used to do it differently. You will regret saying this and even if it was merely on impulse, you have no idea what you just did to your partner. All the time and effort they put in would seem meaningless. All they would be fixated on is if they’d done better than your ex. Why are you still thinking of your ex even when you’re with them. Do you compare them with your ex in everything they do and so on.
You cannot expect your relationship to flourish if your partner is under the impression that you consider your ex a benchmark, and your partner has to live up to it. They’d constantly doubt themselves in everything they do.
Talk about how your past experiences have shaped you
If you spend enough time with someone, you allow them to influence you in many ways. You might adopt certain things and change a few things about yourself. You might even start to look at things differently. Sometimes these changes are for the better.
On the other hand, when you’ve been hurt by someone whom you held the closest, you inevitably change. To cope up with it and to shield yourself from further pain, you tend to put up defenses. Your present partner may notice that, and might think that you’re not being fair to them. But once you explain why you act the way you do, they would not only be considerate but may actually help you deal with your fears.
We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it’ Lyndon B. Johnson
There is nothing wrong in telling your partner about what went wrong in the previous relationships and how you’ve learned to tackle issues differently. In doing so, don’t lead them into thinking that you might want to go back into an old relationship just because you realize the error in your ways and you want to make up for it. Let them know that what you have with them is valuable to you, and you want to make it work. And that they make you feel safe enough to be able to talk about such matters.
You can never be careful enough when it comes to talking about past relationships. Even if you say something harmless, there is a pretty good chance that your partner might perceive it differently. As long as you live in and focus on the present, it won’t be as difficult to talk about the past. Choose your words carefully and be considerate of your partner’s feelings.