How to Discuss Past Relationships with Your Future Spouse

A happy couple leaves on their honeymoon

Your future spouse is your best friend, your confidant. and your family. Nothing should be a secret. For most couples the past is the past and you’re both moving toward a new future. That said, it’s important to share your past with one another so that you know why you are both the people you are today. Sharing about past relationships can be hard, but there’s also a reason you’re not with the person anymore. Here are some things to discuss with one another that will only strengthen your future as a couple.

Timing

You don’t want to bring up past relationships on a lunch date to cram it all in within an hour. You can slowly talk about it, or you can sit down and just hash it all out when you are both ready and have some time to concentrate. It’s a tough topic, so you want to be in a place where you can focus and really listen to one another. You also don’t want to wait too long to have this discussion. The day before your wedding isn’t the best time to open old wounds and throw feelings everywhere.

A couple sit on the floor after an argument

Have Patience

Be patient with one another. Sometimes past relationships are all about broken hearts, so it can be tough to talk about them. Understand there may be hurt feelings involved and be patient until the other person is ready to talk about it. Explain to your future spouse that there is no judgement, whatever the story is, and you are ready to hear when he or she is ready to tell. Help your soon-to-be spouse feel more secure telling you about the past. If he or she was the one to do the heartbreaking, that can be just as tough to talk about in some instances, knowing he or she hurt someone else.

Be Honest

Talk about what you learned from certain relationships and why they broke apart. This will help strengthen that part of your relationship in the future. If you broke up with a past partner because one of you worked too much and you had no time together, focus on balancing your work and home life a little better. If you broke up because of a difference in whether one of you wants children, this is extremely important to share so that your soon-to-be spouse can talk about his or her beliefs on children.

Each relationship built you both as people, so the lessons you learned are things you will take into your future together. You learned from getting your heart broken that you don’t want those same things to lead to another broken heart in the future. It’s important to be open and honest about these experiences.

The Numbers

Talking about numbers can be downright scary. The number of people you’ve slept with, and the number of people you’ve fallen in love with can be a horror movie because it brings back way too many memories. You don’t want your future spouse to think you’re wild, but you want to be honest. No matter what your numbers, just be honest because your past is your past. The number of people you’ve fallen in love with can be toughest because your future spouse might feel competition to “beat” that person for your heart. Remember, he or she has already won your heart and the other person is in the past. There’s a reason that love fell apart. Help your future spouse understand the other person did shape who you are, but that is all.

A couple sits on the couch after an argument

Don’t Compare

Your future spouse really cannot compare to anyone in your past. He or she is bigger and better for you in every way. Even if this isn’t the exact truth, don’t ever talk about comparisons. Don’t ever tell your future spouse that your ex was more thoughtful or a better cook. It just doesn’t matter. Leave your future spouse feeling superior in every way and don’t even talk about comparisons.

What to Keep to Yourself

There truly are no secrets with a future spouse, but you can leave out tiny details if you want from your past. If you had pet names with your ex, your future spouse really won’t gain anything from knowing this. You don’t have to divulge the best gift they ever gave you or intimate details only the two of you would know. If it isn’t going to help your current relationship in the future, there is no reason to divulge the information.

Ask Questions

Leave room for one another to ask questions. Your future spouse may wonder about something you had no idea about, and it is easily answered. Feel open and honest enough to ask the other anything you would like to know. If you want to know random things like what they thought of the ex’s family or their favorite date together, just ask. It might be awkward to hear some of the answers, but you’ll feel better knowing everything about one another.

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