How Much Is Too Much?
When starting a new relationship, it can sometimes be a little tricky to strike the right balance of what to reveal and what not reveal about your previous relationships to your new partner. As a general rule, you should not talk about your exes on the first few dates, however, things change when you begin to head towards becoming exclusive.
Once you are exclusive, it is okay to talk about your past relationships. But how much is too much? Every relationship, whether or not it works out, teaches us something new about ourselves or the world around us. Therefore, each relationship, past, present and future, should be valued. It is great to bring these lessons and experiences to the current relationship as it allows you to avoid repeating history. But there is a way of doing so that will avoid altercations, jealousy, and all the ugly things that come with this divulgence.
Value your past experiences
If you are recently having some type of disagreement with your significant other that you have previously experienced in another relationship and have some advice to give that may help smooth things over, then by all means do so. But ensure that when you are speaking to your partner, you are not talking down to him or her or making it sound like your previous relationship had a better way of dealing with fights.
Be pragmatic in the approach and explain why you are using a previous partner as an example. You could say something like, “This argument reminds me of one that I had with a previous partner. Something that we did that really helped us get past it is talking it out after 20 minutes of silence and reflection in separate rooms” or “This argument reminds me of one that I had with a previous partner. Something that did not work out was yelling and screaming across the room. I think it damaged our relationship and I would not want that to happen with us.” Giving your logic can be very helpful in clearing the emotions away from a fiery situation.
Don’t kiss and tell
Also, you should steer clear of giving away too much information about your previous sexual partners. That is no one’s business but your own. If you have information that may affect your current partner directly such as a sexually transmitted disease, previous child, other body parts they didn’t know you had, etc., make sure to communicate this before embarking on sexual activity with him or her. However, he or she does not need to know with how many people you have slept with, who they were (unless it was a cousin or best friend, then maybe you should let him or her know) and what they were like in bed. Again, if there is a lesson to be learned from a previous experience, then share it. But do so in a tasteful manner. After all, you probably don’t want your exes spreading private bedroom information about you.
If you have some issues that you are unsure that your partner needs to know or not, ask yourself the following questions. Will this directly affect your partner? If so, how will it affect him or her? Will it have a negative consequence? How will you deal with this consequence? Are the reasons you are holding this information back selfish?
The answers to these questions will be very helpful in determining what topics to bring up and which to leave in your past with the rest of your exes. However, ensure that you are keeping lines of communication open and never hide something that will definitely have a directly harmful effect on your partner.