How to Have a Healthy Conversation About Exes with Your Current Partner

Опубликовал Admin
29-04-2017, 10:20
Expert Reviewed Talking about past relationships with your current partner can be tricky. If you’ve just started dating someone, you should keep conversations about former partners to a minimum and instead allow your relationship to develop. Once you’re in an established relationship, you can have a healthy conversation about exes by being aware of your motivations, establishing ground rules, and maintaining open and honest communication.

Discussing Exes During the First Three Dates

  1. Be clear about your relationship status. When you first begin dating someone, you should both be clear about whether you are single, separated, divorced, or in the process of getting a divorce. These details are important to know as you begin moving from first date to potential partner.
    • Try saying, “I’m currently single. What’s your status?”
    • Keep this conversation casual, and try to avoid asking for details about past relationships.
  2. Disclose critical sexual details. When you first start dating someone, it is important to disclose any critical elements of your sexual past before engaging in sexual activity. For example, if you should discuss whether either of you is currently having sex with an ex or other partner, if you had unprotected sex with past partners, and if either one of you has a sexually transmitted disease.
    • You should always discuss these issues before making the decision to have sex with a new partner.
  3. Keep conversations about exes to a minimum. When you first start dating someone, you should keep any unnecessary details or talk about past relationships to a minimum. Avoid over sharing at this stage in the dating cycle. Instead, opt for a process of gradually sharing once the person you are dating becomes your partner.
  4. Give your new relationship time to develop. While talking about exes can be an important part of open communication with your partner, you should allow your relationship time to develop on its own before adding in the ex. You should avoid in-depth conversations about exes for at least the first three dates so that you and your new partner can develop your own set of relationship goals and experiences.

Talking about Exes In An Established Relationship

  1. Think about your motivations. Being clear with one another about why you want to discuss exes is an important part of having a healthy conversation. If you are talking about past relationships to coerce your partner into a specific behavior, you should reevaluate why you are sharing that element of your past.
  2. Set ground rules. Before you and your partner begin a conversation about exes, you should agree on some common ground rules. These rules will vary from couple to couple, but having rules in place will allow both partners to be open and honest while remaining comfortable.
  3. Agree upon appropriate questions. Once you decide on some basic ground rules, you can work together to agree what types of questions are appropriate to ask. For example, you might agree that it is okay to ask why you broke up with an ex or what you learned from the relationship. You might also decide that it is inappropriate to ask about an ex’s sexual performance or preferences
  4. Keep the conversation focused. Having a focused, candid conversation with your partner about past relationships can help build trust and encourage communication. Once you set ground rules about what, precisely, you will be discussing, make an effort to stick to the issues at hand.
    • For example, if you agree to discuss general overviews of past relationships, avoid going into details about your former mother-in-law.
  5. Be judicious with details. While it is important to be open and honest with your current partner while discussing exes, you should minimize the details. Providing your significant other with detailed accounts of past sex lives and relationship woes is unnecessary. Give details when necessary, but avoid lengthy narratives that might spark insecurity in your current partner.
    • For example, you should avoid providing or asking about intimate details of your sex life with exes.
  6. Tell the truth. When you’re discussing past relationships with your significant other, it’s important that you are honest with them. If you lie to your partner, you are missing a critical opportunity to build trust and practice open communication. While a detailed account of your past isn’t necessary, it’s important that you are honest and open.
    • If your current partner asks why you broke up with your ex, you should provide them with an honest answer. You can say, for example, “He did not support my goal of returning to nursing school.”
    • If you feel uncomfortable answering a question, try saying, “Jim, I do not feel comfortable answering that question about my relationship with my ex, I would prefer to leave it in the past.”
  7. Think about your partner’s feelings. When you decide to have a conversation with your significant other about past relationships, it’s important to take the other person’s feelings into account. Talking about exes can make both parties feel vulnerable and it’s important to take this into consideration when you decide what you will or won’t be sharing.
    • For example, you should avoid discussing intimate details of past sex lives that might make your partner insecure.
  8. Concentrate on positive outcomes. When talking about your ex, try and stay focused on what you learned from the relationship and how those lessons made you a better person. Breakups often fuel self-growth, and relaying this to your current partner can help them understand why you are the person you are today.
    • For example, you could say, “While our breakup was messy, I really benefitted and grew from becoming financially independent and being able to pursue my own interests without constraint.”
    • Keep in mind that complaining about your ex may give people the impression that you are not over them. It can also take away the focus from your new developing relationship.
  9. Know that talking about exes can help you know each other better. When you talk with your partner about past relationships, both of you can gain insight into how the other person grew into who they are today. Relationships are learning experiences that test your needs and boundaries, and talking about them will help both of you better understand each other’s character, history, and behavior.
    • For example, you might learn that your current partner was really hurt by his ex lying to him. This will help you understand that he values honesty in a relationship.
    • Or, your new partner might learn that your ex did not take your opinions into account. This could enhance his communication with you in this new relationship.
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