When we start dating, it's considered poor form to ask about your partner's exes. SoNaughty.com looks at when you SHOULD bring up your significant other's ex. Jealousy isn't an attractive attribute in a partner. We don't want our partner to be a jealous person, but we often also have to deal with our own jealousy towards our partner's past. It's a very difficult thing to juggle, and something that at some point in every relationship, we tend to turn a blind eye to for a moment. We understand that each of us want to know about our significant other's exes, so we look at it as a win/lose situation where things even out, and we each get something out of the information exchange.
It's always best to go through at least the first couple months of a relationship without bringing up each other's dating history. If your significant other decides that they want to talk about their ex, or ask about your ex, THEN you can talk about it. In our experience though, it's always best to just leave it be, and not bring up exes at all unless absolutely necessary. It demonstrates a lack of trust on your part that could cause problems in your relationship.
If you're still not convinced that not asking is the right answer, read on and let us break down some possible situations you might find yourself in.
Maybe your significant other and her ex are still friends. If that's the case, it can be easy to sometimes slip into a jealous state of mind if say you're at the same party, and you see that they're having conversations that maybe make you feel a little insecure, and worry that they might still be into their ex. If there was anything to worry about, you need to realize that your partner wouldn't be having these talks with her ex in front of you. They'd be doing it behind your back. Try being cool, and being friends with them. It's obviously not the most natural thing to be friends with your significant others' ex, but it's not impossible depending on how their relationship ended. If they've moved on and are dating someone else, things are a lot easier then too.
If your partner still being friends with their ex is troubling to you, and you can't get past it, then it's reasonable to bring up the topic, but remember that you don't have the right to tell your partner to stop being friends with anyone. If you push too hard, you're risking your relationship because of something that YOU need to work out.
Have you ever remained friends with any of your exes? It's not as uncommon as you may think it is. If you have, then that's great. You understand that there isn't always something going on, and perhaps you've even been on the receiving end of an ex's new partner giving you a dirty look from across a room, or your ex telling you that they can't be friends with you anymore because of a controlling partner. Those situations aren't fun for anyone. The question of whether or not you've remained friends with any of your exes is also an interesting question when you want to look back on your past relationships, and see why they fell apart. Sometimes we date people who we like a lot, but when it comes down to it, they just aren't the one for us.
Sometimes breakups are REALLY messy, and one party just can't let it go, even if the other has already moved on and is dating someone new. If you find yourself in this situation where your significant other's ex keeps calling them, and they aren't having it, you can offer to step in to help. This could open up a bit of conversation about their relationship, and why the ex might be continuing to bother your significant other. If they're clearly upset about the phone calls, this is definitely a time for you to ask your significant other about her ex, and what the situation is. As always, be sure to stay calm, but let them know that if they want you to intervene, you're happy to.
Hopefully this isn't the way you have to find out about your partner's dating history, because it will stoke the flames of your jealousy, and you could find yourself wanting to confront the ex. Unless things are really bad, we encourage you to avoid this at almost any cost. It will go poorly. Trust us. What if you confront the ex, and wind up betting beat up by them? That will be emasculating for you and it will further entrench them into you and your significant others' lives because of whatever legal charges that could come from the encounter.
This is a big one. Just don't do it. Ever. If you're friendly with your significant other's friends, and think that you've become close enough with one or two of them that you can try to ask them instead of your partner about their ex, you have a rude awakening coming your way. Those friends can certainly be your friends (maybe you're incredibly likeable and charming), but they'll always be your partner's friend first! Even if they do drunkenly let something slip one night while you're hanging out and your partner's gone to the bathroom, they're going to remember that, and they're going to tell your partner that you were interrogating them. If that happens, you can expect to get an earful from your partner once they find out. They'll be mad at you for talking about them behind their back, and for being so dumb as to think that their friends liked you more than them. They'll say that if you want to know something about them, than to just ask them, and they'll strongly tell you. Your trust in them will also of course be brought into question. Probably rightly so.
Trust, or lack of it is often brought up as a point of contention between partners when the topic of exes comes up. One partner can say that if they trusted them, they wouldn't care about their dating history, while the other can throw it right back in their face that if they trusted them, they wouldn't be keeping 'secrets' from them. You see where we're going with this. It can get very ugly, very quickly. More often than not, if you're curious, it's for unbecoming reasons. There's no point in knowing if there are certain things that could end up being deal breakers, and affecting the trust levels in your relationship. Ruining a good relationship so you can know about your significant other's previous relationships is one of the most boneheaded things you could do.
Chances are that after you've been together for long enough, both you and your significant other will slowly begin to tell each other stories about your exes without even realizing it, or treating them as a big deal. These stories are just parts of your past, and are experiences that have helped form you into the people that you now are. Without these experiences, you might not even like each other. Sure this method of finding out about your partner's ex takes a lot of patience, and you're probably not going to get the really juicy stuff but you'll get a good enough taste to hopefully calm whatever concerns or jealousies you might have been feeling. If you were concerned that they found their ex more attractive than you, or if they were better in bed than you, or if they made more money than you, these might remain mysteries forever unless you decide to risk a big fight, but if you're together now, it shouldn't matter. Enjoy the occasional glimpses into your partner's past, and leave it at that. If you're jealous, you're being a bad partner, and should probably look into getting some counselling.
There's sure to be something in one of your prior relationships that you don't want your significant other to know about. Think back on all of the people that you've dated. What was the craziest thing you've done in a relationship? Is your current partner the best lover that you've ever had? If they aren't, do you want to tell them that? Maybe they don't want to tell you the same thing. What's the big deal? If you think that you might not be as good a partner in any area of your relationship when compared to your partner's exes, then it's UP TO YOU to improve yourself, and become a better partner to your significant other. It's not up to them to try and pretend that you're a better partner than you actually are. Those are your insecurities. Step up and make it so that you have nothing to be jealous of, no matter who your partner has dated in the past.
If you feel insecure about certain aspects of your relationship, talk to your partner about that. Communication is key to a healthy relationship, and so long as you aren't comparing yourself to your partner's exes, or putting the pressure on them to make you feel like you're Superman, then they'll very likely be happy to talk to you and assure you that they are happy with you, and don't want you to change.
If you actually aren't at all jealous, and don't care about your partner's exes, this is ironically the only real time that asking about them can be advised without any reservations. If you and your partner have been together for a long time, and you both know and are secure in the belief that you'll be together for the rest of your lives, then there isn't a whole lot of risk or threat to your relationship to be had when having the discussion. It might come up at a point where you've been together for ages and are struggling for something to talk about. You'll think back to how it once seemed like an important thing to know about, but then eventually that curiosity and jealousy faded as your relationship and love strengthened. Depending on how bored you are, you might actually bother to have the conversation at this point; laughing and loving that you have someone in your life that you can tell the wild stories of your past relationships without being worried about them having a negative reaction.
So the short answer to the question is that you should definitely not ask about exes early on in relationships, but through examining the options that we often have available to us, the long answer is that you shouldn't just not ask early on in your relationship, but you should try to put the conversation off for as long as you possibly can. Instead of worrying about your significant other's ex, you should be focusing on why you want to know about them so badly, and what you need to do to reduce your jealousy without having to put your relationship at risk by making things uncomfortable by broaching the topic before your partner is comfortable with talking to you about their dating history, and then in return, finding out all about yours. Live in the moment, and appreciate the good things that you have currently. Don't let pettiness or jealousy put yours and your partner's happiness at risk. It's not fair to either of you, and if you can't get past it, it frankly doesn't make you the greatest of partners, and perhaps you're not ready for a serious relationship, and you should look to date someone else who's not so interested in settling down right away either.
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