How to come clean to your partner about past relationships
Thinking of coming clean to your partner about your past relations? Before you take the step, read on what experts have to say on thisUpdated: Nov 17, 2018 11:12 IST
In life, we often date many people before finally settling down with someone who we know is perfect for us. If you are lucky, your Mr Perfect can also be the first person that you date. But something that we all have to deal with in our relationship is the issue of disclosing our past to our present partner — either the one you are planning to settle down or someone you have just started dating. In many cases, people completely refrain from disclosing their past to their partner. But, what if he/she gets to know about it later? Isn’t that a bigger risk? Dealing with this dilemma is surely not easy.
How to deal with it?
According to Kavita Mungi, mental health counsellor, revealing about your past depends upon many factors such as the kind of relationship you share with your partner. She says, “If your bond with your partner is based on honesty and both of you are in love, then it is better to reveal the past. If both the partners are clear that this is a new life and mutually decide that they wouldn’t like to know each other’s past, then it is better to start with a clean slate. One has got to know the new partner well and think that such knowledge will be accepted with maturity.” However, Dr PD Lakdawala, psychiatrist, Bhatia Hopsital, gives a different perspective. He says, “It is important to reveal important facts of life, which is necessary for a relationship because for some people it is important to know the person he/she is dating. This may further strengthen your relationship since the partner knows that you are being truthful to maintain trust and understanding in a relationship.”
Drawing the line
It is also important that one doesn’t disclose everything about the past, there has to be a limit to it. Mungi says, “Perceptions of relationships are coloured by the old ones at times. It is best not to share intimate details of the past relationship or make comparisons. As they say ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’, do not try and bring up any information regarding past partners in anger or to cause hurt.”
Get the timing right
When you come clean about your past it is also pertinent. Dr Lakdawala says, “The person you are with wants to know you. So, it is best to tell your partner about your past in the beginning before you get too attached.”
Effects of disclosing your past
Many people tend to be conservative in their thinking, and this aspect gains importance when it comes to disclosing your past. Lakdawala says, “Knowing about the partner’s past may matter or affect the other partner to the extent that the relationship may break. This is the case with conservative partners who do not believe in a sexual relationship or sex before marriage.”
Relationship expert, Kinjal Pandya says that, often, disclosures about your past relationships can affect your everyday lives. She adds, “Some partners can get judgemental about you after you tell them about your past relationships or give more details about your dating aspects. This judgemental view can play into many major and minor quarrels and arguments that are part of everyday lives in a relationship. It can also be misused by a partner as a weapon of putting the other person down whenever he/she wants to sort out an argument.” Also, some people intend to keep no secrets in their new relationship, especially, with the person they are settling with, and in this bargain, they end up achieving an opposite impact by disclosing more than they should have.
Nilesh Parker, a BPO employee, and Prabha Narayan, who works in the hospitality industry (names changed), got married a few years back. Nilesh had many paid sexual liaisons and no girlfriends before marriage. He wanted to come clean and did so three months after they started dating. He even told Prabha about the kind of extramarital affairs his family members had. He wanted to tie the knot to Prabha and thought he was doing the right thing by keeping no secrets, but this ended up harming his future. He says, “From that day, Prabha stopped trusting me. She started checking my phone and emails almost every day. A couple of years later, we got married, but her suspicious nature hasn’t changed. She still checks my phone and keeps a tab on me when I am out of the house.”
However, disclosing your past can have positive effects as well in many relationships. Pandya says, “Your partner will treat you as an honest person. And, this trust will strengthen your relationship and bring stability in the future.”