After you’ve learned about the house he grew up in, the first album he bought and his mother’s maiden name, how do you go about asking him how many women he’s been with? Modern love is not for the faint of heart and should be approached diplomatically. Follow these do’s and don’ts to discussing your romantic past with your current partner.
Do pick an appropriate time and space to have the conversation
Earlier on in the relationship is the best time to have a heart-to-heart about your past. Trust is built in these early stages, so if there are skeletons in your closet, reveal them up-front. Choose an appropriate setting as well, where you’re alone together and feel safe. Avoid calling him at work to ask questions about his ex-wife and steer clear of admitting your past sexual encounters during his mother’s Sunday brunch.
Do you both have a clean bill of sexual health?
This should definitely be discussed before you’re sexually active together. Embarrassment may be a factor in both admitting to and asking about STD’s, but is still no excuse. Simply, if you’re not ready to discuss sexually transmitted diseases, you’re not ready to have sex.
Do be honest about your exes
Avoiding the truth may seem easier at first but it’s inevitable that it will catch up to you. In ancient times ex-lovers could dodge into corner cafes and avoid bumping in to each other on the street, but today even if you’re successful in keeping your ex-husband and new boyfriend apart in the grocery store, they’ll eventually discover each other on Facebook. In an age where you can google your partner’s past, it’s smarter to be upfront from the beginning.
Don’t be judgmental
Understand that his past experiences made him into the man you know and love and that what people do does not necessarily make them who they are. Feel honoured that you’re bonding and feel stronger because of it. Remember, it took him just as much courage to tell you about his past as it did for you to ask about it. That being said, if his past does reveal a secret you simply can’t forgive, be thankful for discovering it now and move on accordingly.
TMI is overrated
You don’t have to tell him the exact magic number of people you’ve been with just like you don’t have to tell him your exact weight. The point of this exercise is to really learn about each other so only share relevant details that you feel continue to shape your relationship. Don’t brag about how much money your ex used to make or how many orgasms he used to give you “ this is in no way benefits your current life or relationship. It will only make your partner feel awkward.
Don’t dwell on the past
It is inevitable that people and relationships will continue to grow, creating a path for more undiscovered truths. Learning to understand, accept and forgive the past is an encouraging sign that you’ll be able to better accept the future. Mistakes are inevitable in life and recognizing them is strength, while forgiving them is a virtue.