All of us have our own dirty laundry that we try shoving under the carpet, each time we move on from a relationship and go out with someone new.
But should you let your new mate know about your past escapades?
Should you tell or keep it a secret?
Learn from my experience and use it in your own relationship because quite frankly, making a wrong move can do more bad than good in love.
To tell or not to tell
The strangest things in life can happen at the most perfect of times.
Have you ever experienced something like that?
Like one of those times when everything’s so perfect, and you just run your mouth and decide to talk about a few stupid things.
And in an instant, things just go from perfect to bad, and bad to terrible.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’m talking about confessions, especially about old lovers, to a new lover.
I’ve heard people say that confessions about a former love is the last thing you should tell your lover, and no confessor would ever come out clean, but I guess I was just really, really stupid.
Or maybe I overdid myself.
Quite frankly, I don’t know where I went wrong, but I did. So let me tell you about the mistakes mortals like me make in love, and about how we lose our minds at times. Maybe then, you wouldn’t be as stupid as I was.
Living in a happy world with my lover
Megan and I have been in love for almost eight years to this day. We aren’t married. We’re happy to be in love and decided to get married when the time was right, and the weather, better.
Megan is a wonderful girl, and I’m happiest when I’m around her. She is perfect – beautiful, intelligent, and very funny.
She’s always loved me a lot, and we’re really happy to be with each other. We started going out when she just got out of high school, and I had just joined college. When I first saw Megan, I was smitten immediately. Even before I knew it, I was truly in love.
A few months of courting, and she too fell in love with me. It was her first time being in love. And I… had been in love, a few times, and in physical relationships, a few more times.
Of course, she didn’t know that. Now what was the whole point of talking about it with her anyways? It was my past, and they’re called former flames for a reason, right? Yeah, I had made my little mind up never ever to talk about it with her at any point of time. These secrets were supposed to be so secretive that I had made up my mind to take them to my grave.
As the relationship grew closer, we fell more in love with each passing day. And I can’t remember too well, but I’m guessing a year into our relationship, she first asked me the question I wished she’d never ask me.
“How many times have you gone out or made out with someone before me?”
Answering the wrong question
Now I knew where this was coming from. She wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth, and I’m quite sure that thought had crossed her mind a few times in that first year.
I just looked at her and said, “Well, sweetheart, you’re the first person I’ve been in love with!” and kissed her. We both started laughing and the next thing, I got a lucky phone call, and thank goodness, the conversation was forgotten. But I knew that very moment that she knew she wasn’t my first. Damn, why couldn’t I be more convincing! Maybe it was because I wasn’t ready for that question, or perhaps, I was hoping she’d never ask.
But it was quite obvious she’d want to know. It was her first real relationship, I knew that for sure. She had spoken about it quite a few times, talking about how life changes once you’re in love. I just kept quiet at all those moments, and held my breath, waiting for an excuse to change the topic before she stabbed the question about exes at me.
She had always known that she wasn’t the first person I had been with. Now, she tells me it’s a lady’s instinct.
The question popped up every now and then, and one day, after a good couple of hours in bed, while she was lying in my arms, I asked her if she wanted to know about my past relationships. She jumped up immediately and shouted, “Yes!” Now, I know a few of the seasoned pros may think I did something wrong, but I really did want to tell her.
I never did intend to give her all the details, so I just spoke about my flings and my most recent relationship before her, and about how long it lasted, and why we broke up. She took it really well, and she was quite happy to hear everything I told her. Apparently, it took a huge load off her chest.
The calm before the storm
Megan was fine for a couple of months, and again, the conversations started drifting towards my exes. It never did scare me away, or make me feel uncomfortable. We did have a great relationship, and we used to have fun talking about just about anything, and that included exes and crushes. She wanted to talk about my most recent ex with whom I went out for a little over a year, and she particularly wanted to know about me and her and the together times.
I always used to shrug it off, but my ex kept cropping up. Soon, Megan started wheedling out information about my rendezvous and escapades, and I used to tell her the basic necessities that she should know. Things like why we broke up, where we kissed first, how that girl and her personality was, do I miss her, and the biggest question, “Which base have I been to, with her?” [Read: Funny first kiss story]
I answered all her questions keeping her concerns in mind. Do I think of her or miss her? Of course not, she’s history. Why did we break up? It was mutual, things just didn’t work out. How is she as a person? Quite nice, but she just can’t be compared to you, Megan! Muah!
“Which base have you been to, with her?”
“Err… Megan, do we really need to talk about this?”
“Uhh… Just a kiss, okay, we just used to kiss and a bit more, that’s it.”
“Okay, I’m telling you the truth. I’ve been to second base with her. Nothing more.”
“No, I haven’t been to third base. Oh…kay, I’ve just put my hands in, just once. I mean that. I promise.”
After seven years together, my answers about my sexual progress with my ex had come down to this, that I had been to third base just once, and that it was nothing but a little graze of the skin. I even swore, I had my fingers crossed. You know what was funny? The fact that Megan and I have gone a lot further in bed than what I’ve done with any of my exes, but yet, she just wants to know how far I’ve been with that one ex, almost a decade ago! [Read: How to make your partner feel secure]
Do all people want to know about how many points their lovers have scored with their ex, I don’t think I would really want to know. And even if I did get to know, I don’t think it would bother me. It’s all in the past, isn’t it? We didn’t even know each other before we met. So why freak out and worry so much about it, what say you?
Have you ever been burdened by that line, to tell or not to tell?
Megan and I started talking more about my ex as the days passed by. It was all fine until that great day, when we were all alone at home, no friends, no visitors, no mail, nothing. It was a perfect lazy Saturday afternoon. We uncorked a bottle of wine and sat back in each other’s arms. And talked. Do you realize how lethal this concoction could turn out to be? Drinking. And. Talking. Could there be anything worse?
Taking my confessions to bed
A couple of hours into the wine, and we ended up in bed with the fourth bottle of wine. We started making love and talking dirty, and as we did she asked me about how far I had been in bed with my ex. I was on a buzz, with the different sensations in my body and my head.
“Would you get angry if I told you the truth about my ex?” I asked foolishly.
“No, I swear I wouldn’t mind whatever you say,” she replied cleverly.
And then, I said it all. I don’t know what made me say that, but I went into explicit details. I really don’t know if it was because we were making love, but I told her everything. The sentence that can sum it all up is, “I’ve had sex with a lot of my exes…”
Yeah, now you know what I mean, right?
Would you ever tell that to your own partner of almost a decade, and that too, while having sex with her?! I surely think not.
But nothing happened then. She didn’t slice me off or push me aside. We just ended up having glorious passionate sex. Thinking of it now, I even think we had better sex that day as compared to other days. Just for one moment, at that point of my life when time stood still, I told myself, “You know, Jim, you’re alright. You really are. You know you did the right thing…”
And then, with happy thoughts and wine in my head, I fell asleep. I don’t know after how long, but I woke up to see a blue light. Everything was still groggy, and I tried focusing. My watch blinked 3:42 a.m. I looked straight at the source of light, and after almost a minute, I realized it was a laptop. And Megan was using it. “Meg, what are you doing? Shouldn’t you be sleeping? It’s almost four in the morning…”
“No. Go back to bed. I’m not sleepy. I’ve got stuff to do,” she said without looking.
A fresh start with no guilty conscience
I was too hung over to argue, and flopped back in bed. I woke up the next morning, and somehow, I could see that Megan wasn’t fine. And then I remembered! Gosh, I had told her about my exes and my sexual past the earlier day.
“Megan, hey… if you’re upset about the thing I told you yesterday… Look, I’m sorry I said that okay… It really wasn’t all that…” I started.
She cut me in the middle. “Jim, I’m happy you told me that. Really. But why the hell were you hiding it from me? And the times you’ve promised and told me there was nothing about you I didn’t know… I just don’t know how I can trust you anymore. You’ve been lying to me for all these years. And it hurts, Jim… it really does.”
[Read: How to build trust in a relationship]
I felt awful and stupid at the same time.
Why did I ever have to bring up something that I knew for sure, was the last thing she had to know? I had made up my mind a long time ago that my sexual escapades were secrets I’d take to the grave. I was crazy to have blurted my past out over a bottle of wine. Make that four.
“You know, Jim, what hurts the most was that I thought we were both having sex together and exploring our bodies for the first time. I thought it was special. And now I feel like an idiot. I thought the first time we had sex was special for both of us. I never knew you’ve been putting your thing into other women before me! I don’t want to see your face, I hate you… I feel so cheated… I think we should break up!”
Damn! Damn! Damn!
I was lost inside my head. I was submerged in the blue haze of thoughts, and I could hear the distant echo of Megan’s words. “…we should break up…” and then, realization struck me.
At that point of time, I was pierced by thoughts that I could hardly figure. But I knew one thing. I had said things I should never have told her. By the time I put my thoughts together, Megan had bolted herself inside the bedroom. I knocked the door for a good half an hour. And she yelled back at me to leave her alone. I decided she needed some time alone, so I apologized to her, again and again, and told her I wanted to talk whenever she felt like it.
Things had definitely turned from perfect to messy in hardly any time. Would I have known that I was going to have an argument that would last this long, the earlier day when I first uncorked the wine? All I thought of was ‘happy moments’ just twenty four hours earlier. [Read: How to fix a relationship]
Megan did come out that evening, but she wouldn’t talk very well. And she didn’t want to hear anything about my exes. [Read: How to write a love letter]
The days turned into a week, and then a couple of weeks. We started talking and having fun, but then, there was no sex! Every time I initiated it, she would just push me away with an awkward smile. So what the hell was it supposed to mean? Now I’m being punished for making out with some women even before we both came into each other’s lives. It was unfair. I wouldn’t have minded if she would have slept with someone else too… I guess.
Recovering from my confession
We sat down and spoke about it one evening, and I tried convincing her that it was all past, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I told her I didn’t want to tell her because I was afraid she’d be too upset to understand my past.
And I didn’t want to tell her because it would hurt her. Initially, she was huffy, but as the conversation prolonged, she opened up and started talking back. Eventually, it was another month before we had sex again. It was great, but there was something uneasy about it. And when I asked Megan, she said “I can’t help it, okay? I mean, that thing that goes into me has gone into God knows how many women!”
Damn, it was still not over. I wondered if it would ever be over.
Things came back to normal now, a year later, but my exes still squirm themselves into conversations every now and then. Sex is great again, and we’re happy. I’ve told her about my past sexual escapades, and I’m quite happy about it. I’ve got a clear conscience now. [Read: How to better a relationship]
To tell or not to tell – Do confessions really help?
But thinking about it, I’m just wondering, would my conscience really have been so bothered by it, if I wouldn’t have told Megan?
Maybe not. Maybe I’d just think about it now and then, and forget all about it.
Maybe Megan could have had her peace of mind, and felt special thinking that she was the one who first had sex with me, like I had with her. Or maybe she’s feeling better now, now that she doesn’t have to worry about nagging suspicions about my past.
But either ways, my confessions haven’t really helped either of us. I feel hollow, like I have no more secrets inside me, especially considering that I had made up my mind to take my secrets to the grave. And Megan feels cheated, and hurt.
She says it happened for the better, and she’s happier now.
I say, I still am not sure if that was a good move.
Maybe things would have been a lot better if I held my tongue, and I could have portrayed a cleaner past, and she could have felt a lot more special. She is the most special person in my life, but yet, maybe that one conversation would haunt her, and make her feel less special. [Read: How to be happy in a relationship]
If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t have told her about it. My confession was just not worth the pain it caused her. But then, there may always be another day, a few years down the lane, when I may have told her anyways. But if I did have to tell her about my past a few years down the lane, I’m quite sure I wouldn’t be drunk or having sex with her while confessing!
If you’ve ever been faced with a confession dilemma, I’d suggest you keep it well hidden. A past confession isn’t worth the pain. But if it troubles you, then go ahead and tell your partner. I can assure you, your heart would feel a lot lighter. But would your secrets hurt your mate? That I really can’t tell. But I have a good idea!
[Read: To cheat or not to cheat?]
[Read: When should you confess to cheating?]
If you’re pondering over that big question on whether to tell or not to tell, especially about past relationships, think twice and ask yourself if your partner really needs to know the truth. After all, whoever did say that ignorance is bliss was a wise man!
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