When things are going well in your relationship, the last thing you want to do is bring up ghosts from the past and risk starting an argument or cause tension. But, curiosity often gets the better of us all, especially when the same face pops up in your old Facebook photos.
How and when you should mention your ex(es) will differ in every relationship. But, with all conversations regarding exes, you should steer far away from details. Keep it simple, unless you have a restraining order against someone who tried to kill you, you might want to mention that one!
When starting a new relationship, you might be caught out saying things like, “I always used to come here with my last girlfriend.” Although, you should not be saying these things out loud, our exes are memories that can take time to delete from our minds. Pulling yourself away from those memories may take time depending on the length of your last relationship but until you have created a bank of new memories with your new partner, you are likely to slip up now and again mentioning your ex.
No one likes it, hearing about your partner's past relationships. Especially if it was their first love or if they weren’t the one to give up on the relationship. The good thing is, most of us have exes and understand those thoughts and feelings. Therefore, you should be considerate, right? Wrong; most of us will hate seeing pictures of them together that we have dug out in their social media and hearing their name is enough to tick you off.
Nonetheless, knowing everything about your partner will have to include previous romances, so when should you get it out of the way?
Here are four potential moments in the relationship for bringing up your ex:
First option: Lay it all out from day one
Starting a new relationship is exciting and gives you that cloud 9 feeling. Do you think bringing up your ex is a good idea right now? In my honest opinion, if things are going well, perhaps now isn’t the time to tell your partner that your ex who was a fireman and part-time model is not the news your new man wants to hear. Again, going back to detail; keep it very minimal. As curious as you might be to hear about his/hers past, they might not be so ready to hear about yours.
In the beginning of every relationship you want to impress you other half so that they stick around. Mentioning something from your past relationship may bring a new “worry” to your new relationship. For example, if you talk about your ex and how you were romantically incompatible but remain friends because he’s a “great guy,” this could bring fear into your partner that there’s a chance down the line that you will go running back to him. The beginning of a relationship should not be given insecurities as there is always a chance that it’s not going to work out anyway so avoid throwing fuel onto the fire!
Second option: Open up later down the line.
Perhaps you and your partner are at a stage where you are completely comfortable with each other and the relationship is going smoothly. Think it’s the right time to mention your ex Dave right now? Probably not. Why bring stress to a relationship which is currently stress free? If your relationships ended drama free then you probably can bring up some of your past at this point, but let’s face it, which relationships end without some type of story behind it? Perhaps your partner won’t like what you tell them about your past relationship and suddenly he/she starts acting differently. All because you wanted to talk about Dave from college who you were in a four-year relationship with and went to Paris for your anniversary. What if your partner wanted to go to Paris with you but now fears you will be thinking about Dave at the Eiffel Tower?
TIP: If things are going well without the talk of exes — keep it that way
Third option: Let them ask the questions.
This brings me onto the safest and easiest way to handle the exes conversation. You will find a point in your relationship where you feel comfortable to ask him/her about their past romances with the confidence that he/she will ask you questions in return. If you are feeling comfortable enough to talk about YOUR past, then more than likely they are ready, too. Talking openly with each other when you have built a strong rapport with one another is the most natural way you can do it. At some point, the curiosity will get the better of you both and you will want to know who came before you. Like I have previously mentioned, avoid any details that you think are unnecessary and might cause stress to your partner.
Fourth option: Drop little pieces of information along the way.
If you are unsure when you will ever be comfortable enough to ask about your partners ex or when you should mention yours, then you might be better off dropping small hints about your past along the way. If he/she has not said a single word about their past then you might start to worry about what they are hiding or you might be frustrated that they are not concerned about your past. Saying little things along the way such as “My ex-boyfriend was into festivals” or “I dated a girl who was obsessed with Kim Kardashian,” these types of comments can lead to him/her asking you more questions about your ex-partner and before you realise it, you both know the history of each other’s dating past without having an awkward sit-down conversation about it.
Finding out which option suits you most is important, but talking about your exes organically is vital. If you are friends before your become partners then you already know each other’s pasts and it is easier to say odd comments about how things went in your previous romances. But, putting each other at ease and calmly asking each other questions about exes can take away the stress of the unknown. Don’t let the curiosity stick for too long, by the 6-month mark you should know pretty much everything about the person you are in a relationship with. Being open will prevent both of you from trying to solve the puzzle by piecing information together that you found on their social media. If you want to know the truth, then ask!
About the Creator
My name is Alice, 24 British girl married to my Brazilian husband, Pedro (25). I write to share my experiences of a long distance relationship and general love and relationship tips.