Getting Serious? Here’s What You Should Know About Your Partner’s Past

A young woman looking out a window as her boyfriend looks at her and wonders about her past.

A lot of advice about relationships and marriage revolve around the future because, of course, you are committing to a future with your spouse. But in order to have a healthy future with someone, you need to know important details about a person’s past. If you’re in a serious relationship that’s headed toward marriage, you should have a good sense of who they are before you commit to moving forward. Here’s what you need to know—and what some warning signs might be.

Know How Their Serious Relationships Ended

No one really loves to have the ex conversation, but it’s a necessary one to have before you can really commit to someone. How many relationships has your partner had and, most importantly, how did they end? The best way to go about finding this information is by asking your partner—not by stalking their ex on social media.

Most everyone has relationships that didn’t end well, but you should know if the relationship ended because of something traumatic like infidelity, money problems, or if a situation occurred when someone left abruptly while living together. If your partner owes an ex money, it’s especially important to know this before you tie any of your finances together or choose to move in together.

Though it’s important to be open minded and understand that many people are able to grow and change—especially if these bad breakups happened a long time ago—you should still be aware if your partner caused a lot of harm in the past.

Know Their Sexual History

Two pairs of feet in a bed signifying an intimate encounter.

Although it’s probably best to skip the intricate details (you don’t want to know that much), you should have a good sense of your partner’s sexual history and know things like whether or not they have ever had an STD or got someone pregnant (or had a pregnancy). In this day and age, it’s likely that the person you are with has a sexual past—and that’s perfectly OK—but you should at least be honest with each other about your sexual history.

Know Their Financial History

If you’re considering that this person might be “the one,” then you should do what you can to find out about their financial past. Is your partner a saver or a spender? Are they in severe credit card debt? Do they pay their taxes? How do they communicate about money? These are all things you should know before you agree to enter into a permanent partnership with someone.

That being said, no one is perfect and it’s important not to judge your partner for past financial transgressions—especially if they are working hard to improve their financial position or pay off any debt.

Know What Their Family Relationships Are Like

A young man having coffee and laughing with his older father.

Family is important, and how a person treats their family is indicative of how they’ll treat you in many cases. When you’re about to commit to your partner, you should know about their history with their family. Have they ever had a falling out with their family? How close are they to their family now? If there has ever been severe family issues, arguments, or longstanding bouts of silence, this is something you should be aware of.

Know if They’ve Been On-Again and Off-Again with an Ex

Many people have that one lost love that they think about from time to time. If your partner has an ex that they’ve been on-again and off-again with, this is something you should know about—especially if they are still regularly communicating.

It’s going to be difficult to move forward with someone if they always have that other person on the back burner, just waiting for their current relationship to fall apart. An on-again, off-again ex is something you should know about before you get in too deep.

However, it’s important to be empathetic here. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a loving, supportive family. If there is a history of abuse or neglect, be understanding of these scenarios if your partner keeps their distance from family.

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