By early adulthood, most people have been with more than one person.
I don’t mean just hookups and ‘netflix-and-chill’s, either. I’m talking serious, committed relationships.
But as we all know, even those can end. You curl up next to your best friend or mom, cry a bit (a lot), and then eventually, inevitably move on. A few months later you go on a date and somehow, despite the agony ending it with someone else caused you, you start thinking of jumping in with both feet. Again.
Fast forward a few weeks, and you’re sitting in their kitchen, eating breakfast off their dishes, when they ask about your past relationships. You look up, pause for a moment, and say, “Nothing too important, really.” This has become the norm with the quickly-moving society we have today: don’t talk about past relationships; they’re just that – in the past. We don’t want to get into it with someone else; we feel it’s polite to act like we’ve never been with anyone else.
Admittedly, I’ve been a culprit of this “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude towards relationships, and it was only in my current relationship that I realized how unhealthy that really is. I promise you, if you sit down and tell your significant other about the relationships you’ve been through, your bond – and your love – will be stronger.
Discussing past relationships means that neither of you are keeping secrets.
This one probably seems like a no-brainer. Secret keeping = bad. We all know that.
This rule doesn’t just apply to secrets of things that occurred while you were with the person you’re seeing, though. This applies to secrets you’re holding back about things that took place before you started dating, or before you even met.
I’m not saying call them up right now and tell them about the time you peed in the pool when you were six, but definitely tell them about yourself! Let them see what you’ve been through. Let them know what makes you tick; what makes you who you are. If you open up, chances are they’ll do the same in return, which will make you more comfortable with each other.
Discussing past relationships facilitates communication.
I’m sure you’ve heard about how important communication is in a relationship. It’s become the self-help title for relationship problems: “Just communicate more!”
But seriously, guys. Communicate. If you willingly share information about your past with your significant other, it shows that you trust them, and will encourage them to do the same.
What I’ve realized in my current relationship is that it’s not communication that’s key, but open communication. If the conversation is one-sided, chances are you’re not going to get very far in whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. Show you’re partner that you’re willing to openly communicate about your past – and current – relationships, and they will be likely do the same, in a calm and trusting manner.
Open communication on topics which are difficult to discuss will definitely make your relationship stronger.
Discussing past relationships breeds understanding.
This is the most important part, in my opinion. Understanding what you’re partner has been through in their past relationships will help you understand why they act the way they do with you.
If your partner was with someone who was abused in any way, there will be areas of the relationship where they are more sensitive, or where they act in a way that seems absurd to you. Talk to them about it – I encourage it strongly. Opening up with them in a way where you have a mutual understanding of each other is the primary key to a healthy relationship.
In the end, that’s what it’s all about! It’s pretty simple – or as simple as love can be. I’m not saying your relationship will be bump free – they will always be upsets. What it comes down to is this: let your partner know what you’ve been through in the past. Let them know about the good and the bad of your previous relationships. Let them know where your quirks are, and what parts of love you really excel at. Let them know it all, and you will feel loved, secure, and together.