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How to Talk about a Past Relationship with Your Partner

talk about past relationships

In a relationship, there comes a time when your new lover asks about your past lovers. Find out how to talk about past relationships the right way.

Past relationships are tricky affairs.

What starts off as a fun round of twenty questions can turn into an icy chill in no time if you aren’t careful.

Finding out more about past relationships is never a good thing, but like all inquisitive fools, we go looking for dirt in our lover’s past.

And when we do find the dirt, we dirty our hands and are left with a stench that lingers for a long time after the discovery.

Talking about exes and past lovers may feel like a bag of bricks lifted off your back, but it may come back to haunt you again though your present lover.

If your new lover has popped the past relationships question to you, and you find no way of avoiding it with a smile or a wink, perhaps you should learn how to talk about past relationships and make sure you don’t find yourself in sticky ground by giving the wrong answers.

How to talk about past relationships

The next time you come face to face with a question about your past relationships and the number of notches on your bed, keep these pointers in mind.

It’ll help you answer well and your partner will hear exactly what they want to her, rather, what they should hear.

The do’s and don’ts of confessions

First of all, you have to understand that all of us have a past. At times you may find yourself in a relationship with someone who’s not dated many people. When you go out with someone who really doesn’t have a sexual past as exciting or brag worthy as yours, you really have to think twice about telling all your secrets.

You’re with this special person today because of the coincidences and relationships you’ve experienced before. And you really don’t have to feel bad about your extensive list of past lovers once you’ve settled down with someone else, but you do have to be careful about what you say to your new lover.

Remember, you can still tell the truth to your new lover without going into explicit details.

Past relationship confessions

When you start going out with someone seriously, one of the first questions you may face after reaching a certain level of closure may be about your old flames. Everyone wants to know how frisky their mate has been in the past, and they want to know as much of their partner’s past as they possibly can.

But what you reveal can change your relationship, always remember that.

You may have had previous partners, one night stands or even sex buddies. Or you may even have participated in activities that are way past your lover’s moral barrier, so watch what you say. Try to avoid talking about your sexual partners as far as possible, but if the push comes to shove, then go for a very low figure, based on your partner’s personality. Never ever make your partner feel second-best, or third or even fifteenth-best. Your present lover is special, and this is the person you want to be in love with, for the rest of time. Let them know that. [Read: Should you ever confess to cheating?]

Talking about the details

Even if your sweet love asks you to talk about your feelings and wants explicit graphic details of bedtime activities with your ex, don’t do that. Things could only go from bad to worse. If your ex lover used to call you “tongue twister”, “mind blower”, “Mr. Yummy”, or “Ms. Perky”, just avoid mentioning that tiny detail. It’s not necessary, and it is definitely not going to help. [Read: How to pick a pet name for your lover]

And if you’ve had a few one night stands or even made out with a total stranger, you’re on dangerous grounds.

If you don’t say anything, there’s always the odd chance that your partner may find out anyways. On the other hand, even if you’re a great lover, the fact that you had a few one night stands or experienced a sex-with-a-stranger fantasy, will inadvertently change the way your new partner looks at this new relationship. Really, unless someone’s had a one night stand themselves, can they ever understand the real circumstances that led to the sex in the backseat or would they just think you’re a horny perv who just can’t wait to stuff or get stuffed?

When it comes to talking about the intimate details, skip the parts where you went sowing your wild oats or let anything that walks enter your doorway. It’ll change your partner’s perspective about the relationship. But do bring the topic up someday, when you’re in a seasoned relationship and have built enough trust for your partner to overlook your wild earlier days.

Making the comparisons

When there’s talk about past relationships, there’s always bound to be comparisons. If your lover wants to know who’s bigger or who’s better, answer without thinking. Of course, it’s your current mate who’s the best, right?

A little white lie can help your relationship go a long way. You would only reassure your mate, and would help them feel better about themselves if you keep them happy in love, even if one of your exes was so good there were burn marks on the bed sheets after a scorching session in bed.

This is corny, but your past is history, and your future is a mystery. But work on your present, and make your partner feel like they’re the best. Eventually, they may well be the best part of your life! [Read: How to be happy in a relationship]

Talking about sexual pleasure

So have you had sex in the back seat of the same car you’re driving now? Or have you made out on a rocky cliff you haven’t been to with your new lover? Or have you kissed one of your exes for over an hour and have never kissed your present amore for anything more than five minutes? Worry not. And tell not.

Things like these don’t really have to be spoken. And for crying out loud, it’s your lover we’re talking about, not your priest. You can tell a bit, but never go the whole nine yards like it’s going to improve your relationship or something! Trust your instincts and the moment your relationship feels threatened, quit talking more about it or going into explanations. [Read: Handling insecurities in a relationship]

And if you ever see your partner’s lips quivering, their eyes getting wider or their nails digging into your upholstery in the middle of your confession, ahem, you’ve gone too far already!

Save your secrets

As much as you want to reveal all and hold no secrets in your romance, you should understand that some things are better left untold. A conversation about past relationships can be compared to walking into a haunted house. We all want to hear about it, we all want to experience the story, and we want to walk in and explore every little detail. [Read: New relationship advice for a good relationship]

But once you’re too far in, you’d only regret it or pay a huge price. So before understanding how to talk about past relationships and going into your next revelation about your past relationship, think hard and ask yourself, can both of you walk out of it unharmed? If you can, then go right ahead and get into the details. If you can’t see a satisfying ending by exploring your past, seal the doors of your past and throw the keys.

[Read: A past confession gone wrong!]

After all, talking about past relationships has no happy ending. Follow these tips on how to talk about past relationships and at least hope for a satisfying and simple ending, and a happier present relationship.

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15 thoughts on “How to Talk about a Past Relationship with Your Partner”

  1. Soulsista says:

    So, I had the talk about my past. Not willingly but I did and it went exactly as I thought it would. It’s being brought up with more questions, than I bear to answer. I don’t understand why when I’m with him making him happy. I don’t understand why he wants to talk about my past when it makes him unhappy and have me walking on eggshells so our relationship won’t be destroyed. Having this conversation is like zip lining with nothing to hold onto while on the rope. This article was very helpful, I wish I would have read it before having the conversation.

  2. Alex says:

    I think we ask our partners about the past for a few reasons:

    1) our own security as your new love. We want to be the best. And we are hoping we have been the best and are subconsciously trying to pry it out of you.
    2) curiosity. But mostly security.

  3. johna fistiki says:

    Well….this has been an eye-opener hasnt it! You wanna hear a story about me?? Of course you do!!
    It all started when my partner and I moved in together for convenience reasons after dating for five months. I work from home so sometimes get distracted by things around the house. One day while my partner was at work I noticed her lap top (you know where this is going now don’t you) open on the dining table – she had been applying for work you see. Anyways, she was reluctant to show me any photos of her in the past so I realsied that this was my chance to do a bit of snooping….and snoop i did!
    Sure enough I found her photos, nothing incriminating at all, all above board and perfectly innocent, happy tiimes with friends, her family, her ex of six years, nothing to worry about (although I always make the conscious decision to delete all photos of ex’s when I begin new relationships, I cant expect everyone else to do likewise, i know that.
    The problem is that I snooped further and found three word documents saved that were emails written by my girlfriend to her ex. They had broken up in 2010 and she shortly after moved to the UK. at the end of this year when she realised that she was coming home to no job, no money, and not much at all, she began to miss him in the hope he would take her back. And worse for her was that she had found out the he had moved on and was happy in a new relationship. This crushed her and she did what many people would have done in the same situation and poured her heart out in the hope of getting him back. Now for me to read all this almost killed me, I was an absolute mess inside. How could she feel so much for someone and let them know it only eight months before me? How could she tell him their first sexual encpounter was amazing and it got better and better ever since? Ours certainly wasnt amazing – we were drunk after a night out and I lasted maybe 2-3 minutes? She even went as far as to sware on her deceased fathers grave that she truley wanted him back! This once again made me feel awful considering I was unfortunate to never meet her father.

    I confronted her about my actions and her reaction was one of complete embarrassment and shock that I would be so deceitful. BUt since then she has explained that in the whole six years she never really loved him at all and that I am the only man she has ever loved. Yet I find this so hard to believe. I have uncovered numerous lies she has told but I do not have the courage to confront her about them because I am so affraid of her reaction. I truley love the woman – despite the fact I was deceitful in the extreme – my curiosity certainly got the better of me.

    Now Our relationship, as far as i’m concerned is struggling because I do not know whether she is telling the truth about anything. She openly admitted to telling me she lied to her ex often just to keep the peace and make things easier and I have witnessed her mother even suggest she lie about things “because it’s easier that way”. I come from an honest family and I believe that the truth is always best in every situation. If the tructh cannot be handled then move on

    What the hell do I do?

  4. Mina says:

    Never tell your past to your new boyfriend or girlfriend it will destroy the relationship iv experinced it i told my boyfriend about my past and he became so insecure he started making up his own past saying he lost his virginty with his ex after 3 years later he admitted it that he was a virgin when he met me and he ddnt know how to tell me we argued about his fake past for nothing for 3 years im not with that loser no more what a saddow insecure childish boy to create his own past up after knowing i had more sexual partners he had a choice i told him everything before getting together what a sad loser

  5. Anthony says:

    I have never had a problem with my GF talking about our past relationships, everything from sexual details to likes and dislikes. But hey, we are almost of same character and loves adventurous talks. It did bring out some insecurities but again we totally overcame everything.
    FACT: if you have to talk about your past, weigh the consequences of what you are about to say and who it is you are telling. The past is like the haunted house in a horror movie, you feel like you wanna see to the end but you are not sure whether what you are about to see is really worth it or not. The level of trust is what determines what you can talk and what you cannot.
    But again, use your wisdom on this…..

  6. rrrrbbbb says:

    I accidentally read an old message on my bf’s facebook account with this girl that she met online, I know his ex gf but I’m curious why he didn’t tell me about this girl. Based on the facebook message, they met somewhere and it seems like the girl liked him so much, I think they had a one night stand. I was shocked because he said I was his first.I don’t know if I need to ask him about it, I felt like he didn’t love me because he lied to me.

  7. Marcel says:

    Interesting topic. As a BM, I am single, no kids, no drama, debt free and eedtacud. I prefer being single because it’s easier. Women=less money, less time to get things accomplished in my opinion. People prefer not to become an item these days due to so-called super equality rights, feminism has definately played a major role in the decline of commitments. Most women are masculine and a ton of men of today’s generation is feminine? (in my opinion). Hope this helps.

  8. jaybo says:

    So the advice is to lie? That’s the way to build a relationship.

  9. larz0 says:

    I don’t know why, but women seem to be the worst offenders in this area. My girlfriends have said, unprovoked, the stupidest things to me about their pasts — things no one would want to know. Meanwhile, I’m always careful and considerate to shield them from unnecessary details.

    I’m tempted to start returning like with like:

    GF: I wanted it every night with the last guy.
    BF: My last GF always swallowed.

  10. Mr. Beancounter says:

    We have been married now for 4 years. I told my wife about my past relationships because she likes asking me about it. But now she make fun of it by bringing topics and compares. I don’t understand why she’s so interested in hearing about her? She gets angry calls me a lair.

    I am being honest with her but she treats me bad. This is emotional abuse, I have never been interested in discussing her past because I believe that what matters is our present and future and what happened in the past is not relevant to us. She is penalizing me by not touching her or having sex with her.

    What should I do?

  11. Peter says:

    I ended a relationship recently with a lady I dated for three or four months. We both have our sexual pasts, but my ex gf would share details that I just didn’t need to hear. I grew up in a way more conservative setting while she grew up with parents with open relationships and kinky fetishes. She told me she was a stripper for four months while she was in college. My response was “ok, that’s a first for me; let’s not share that one with my mom!” Then one day she texted me some really racy pics of her stripping at the club she worked at. It was a little unsettling to me and I let her know it was too much history for me. No judgment of her history; just don’t want to have it be waived in our present. She’s a bisexual and would often talk openly about her sexual antics with other women like it would turn me on. I would again tell her that I have no issue with her past, but just don’t need to hear about the details. Then, the zinger came at the end of the relationship. We were out at a wine bar drinking wine and sharing a nice time together. She then goes into this story of when she was in Thailand and brags about how she hired a bar girl in a sex bar to give her oral while all the men watched. She then hired the woman to go back to her hotel room to have sex. I stopped her as she was telling more and just said again, I’m just not comfortable with so much info. She got upset with me and accused me of judging her. I told her straight up that based on her jealousy and insecurity issues, there would be no way I could share such a story with her. I wouldn’t anyway out of respect. There was no apology or expression of regret.

    I lost respect for her that night and it really bothered me that she felt it was ok to run over the boundary I had clearly defined earlier. The incident caused me to really take inventory of the relationship and I chose to break up with her a few days later. She didn’t get it even after I broke up with her. All she’d say to me was “you couldn’t handle my past” and my reply was “you couldn’t stop trying to make your past our present”.

  12. Taylor says:

    I am 37 and I have had about 17 years of back to back serious monogamous relationships. Today I am just dating around, playing the field, meeting people and having fun. I’ve met this amazing 25 year old girl who is like a carbon copy of me and like a lightning bolt striking me I’ve just lost interest in all the other 10 girls I have been seeing, I havent talked to them in weeks.

    This problem seems to recur with my dates and especially with this girl. Being 25 and from a conservative family, she’s only really had one serious boyfriend.

    It is difficult for me to not talk about past experiences that have happened over the past 17 years, and almost all of them involve one ex or another. Sure I could talk about things that happened 20+ years ago but I highly doubt that this girl wants to talk about things that I did when she was five years old or younger when I was already an adult.

    But she like all the rest get annoyed when the exes come up. I dont pine for any of them or talk about how great things were or anything, just sharing experiences ranging from funny things that happened while camping to annoyances or even how one girl was straight up psycho and tried to kill me. This doesnt just happen with this girl, it happens with older girls my age as well.

    I dont understand how we are to be expected to hit the “Delete” key on so much of our past simply because another person was in the picture then. I understand that someone who loves us today does not want to hear about someone else loving us in the past. Of course if I was to say something along the lines of “Oh, me and Julie had such great times”, or “Oh, me and Magda had such hot sex” that this would be uncomfortable as it would insinuate that I was still loving them. But to talk about shared experiences (one of these girls I was with for nearly 10 years) with someone so close and intimate it is very difficult to recant the story without involving the other person.

    I wish that there was more ilterature on this topic for people to read, especially for women from womens’ perspectives but also for men who have a jealous tendancy.

    There was obviously something that I loved about each of these women I was in a serious relationship with (cohabiting, I was even engaged to one) – but there was also a reason why things didn’t work out. Our past experiences make us who we are today; and those past experiences make me into the man that my current girl has grown to love.

    This topic should not be quicksand. Obviously nobody wants graphic sexual detail but I find that people are far too sensitive on the topic of exes.

  13. Gigi says:

    This is way overthought. If you can’t discuss everything openly, then find someone else that prefers not to discuss his or her details openly. I’ve found being open & comfortable enough about even sharing details brings two people closer & assures both people involved in the relationship, that despite each other’s pasts, you two are a flippin fantastic match. A little jealousy will quickly pass if there’s complete trust & mutual respect for one another. Be honest. I give my best to someone who gives me their’s. I don’t care about his sketchy past & he shouldn’t care about mine. In the end, I’m with him because we’re a good fit. Bring on the honest men that have a little healthy jealousy (like myself) but can read my clear spoken & unspoken messages that HE’s the man for me & I’m ALL his now. The rest were just stepping stones to the best.

  14. Johnny says:

    wife and I never talk about our past sex Lives,
    but the other nightwhe I had her at the E.R. While waitng on some
    results,she told me about something from years ago.
    A supposed Seet Heart of her family came by, hr famiy
    was gone to town, she told me he made some advances
    and they got laid, afterwards he told her that hewas getting married.
    I ust wonder why she told me about ths, I’m not mad. Just confused
    can somoe explain why she told me

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