Who are your exes? How many have there been? Is it important to tell your partner all about them? Each and every one of them?
It depends on how you and your partner choose to handle this type of exchange. Some people need to know about all the people their partner dated, while some are content to know about the people who left a mark in their partner’s life.
When you’re in a relationship, you are expected to tell each other as much as you can. There will come a point when your exes will be discussed, but it does not mean that you have to provide a list. If your partner requires you to list all your exes down, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re willing to give them that list or not.
If, however, they don’t care about who you’ve been with, it’s still necessary for you to tell them about the exes who will pop up in conversations with friends and family. [Read: 15 things you need to discuss together in a happy relationship]
Why do you need to talk about your exes?
In order to have a future, you and your partner need to know the important things that happened in the past. For you to fully understand how your partner came to be, you must be open to knowing about their past experiences and the people who shaped their lives.
You will discuss each other’s family, where you grew up, who you grew up with, and other bits of information that paint the whole picture of your lives. That includes your exes. But why is it so important to tell your partner about them?
#1 You can learn from past mistakes made with your exes. What went wrong? Who broke up with whom? Why did you break up? The answers to these questions will go a long way in helping you and your partner understand each other better. [Read: 5 life-altering lessons you can learn from regret]
#2 You can prevent any embarrassing situations where your ex is mentioned and your partner has no clue who they are. We all know that feeling when your friends start talking about someone you don’t know. For your partner, it’s worse when the people around you are talking about an ex your partner doesn’t know about.
#3 You can warn your partner about your ex’s presence in your life. Some exes are here to stay, especially if they live in the same zip code. Let your partner know, or else they might end up being besties with your ex while they’re at the gym.
#4 You partner will be able to sympathize with certain issues that you had to deal with. Some past relationships are more traumatic than others. If you share that with your partner, they will be able to better understand why there are some things in your life that you have difficulty dealing with.
#5 You and your partner will feel more secure because you managed to share something very personal with each other. It’s a scientific fact that people grow closer when they share personal stories with each other. What’s more personal than a story about your ex, right?
Who are the exes you should mention?
Some people have been around for a long time, and it’s understandable that they may have accrued a certain amount of exes that may seem overwhelming. Some exes, however, are so inconsequential that they don’t deserve any recognition.
I’m talking about the ex that lasted for a week or the ex that didn’t count. It’s up to you to reserve any importance to whomever you wish to discuss with your partner. With that being said, there are some exes that need to be discussed, even if the purpose is just to let your partner know they exist. They are:
#1 The first ex. Whether it was in kindergarten or in 7th grade, the first ex is a necessary point of discussion because your partner will find it extremely entertaining.
#2 The ex you were first intimate with. Your partner will want to know who took your virginity. How it happened, where it happened, and how you felt after – it’s all included in the discussion.
#3 The most serious ex yet. This person is the biggest competition in your partner’s eyes. It’s not because they’re scared you might leave them for this ex. They will be more concerned about what they can do to keep you in their lives, so you won’t end up going back to that ex. [Read: 10 signs your past relationship is holding you back]
#4 The other serious exes. The only reason they’re included in the list is because someone might bring them up in future conversations.
#5 The ex your parents hated. Your partner can learn a lot about what not to do from this ex.
#6 The ex who’s still not over you. This ex is persistent and still waiting in the wings. Your partner needs to know about it, so there won’t be any misunderstandings in case this ex decides to pursue you.
#7 The ex who’s still in your life. This is the ex who may be a friend or someone who lives really close by. They can also be close to your family or friends. Your partner will want to know of their existence, in case they end up being in the same room. [Read: 7 reasons why staying friends with your ex won’t work out]
#8 The ex that you regret the most. Some past relationships are more painful than others. Your partner deserves to know about these moments in your life, so they can see where you’re coming from and know how to properly handle your present relationship. [Read: What I learned when you broke my heart]
How do you broach the subject?
Now that you know which exes you should discuss, the next problem is when you should tell your partner. If they don’t want to know who your exes are, leave it at that. Still, you should always be open to talking about it, in case they change their mind. You can also wait for them to ask you about your exes. If they don’t, you should still broach the subject, in case they’re too shy or scared to ask you about it.
You can safely talk about your exes when you’re a month into your relationship. If they ask earlier than that, you can decide whether the time is right to talk about it.
Discussing past relationships can be painful for some people, but it can also be cathartic. Some problems may arise if you don’t discuss past relationships, like sudden encounters or messages from exes that pop up out of nowhere. That’s why it’s better to be transparent about your past. Just remember that sharing these things will help you and your partner have a more open and lasting relationship.
[Read: The right way to talk about past relationships without ruining your current relationship]
While talking about exes is never truly comfortable, keep in mind that your experiences shape you into who you are today, and your partner deserves to know what part your exes played in that.
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