Ideally, you’ve processed the outcome of your last relationship before you’ve entered into a new one, but of course that isn’t always going to be the case. People are messy and complex because, well, they’re people 🙂 And love is love, and it just might let itself in unannounced before you’ve had a chance to tidy up the place.
The decision to talk about your exes with your partner is highly individualized and involves a ton of considerations: what to say, when to say it, and how much (or how little) to say – just to name a few.
What to say – If you are going to talk about your past relationships, it is best to talk about what you learned and how that helped you grow as a person. Try not to speak bitterly about your ex (or worse, vent); bitterness is not flattering on anyone, and your partner will wonder if you’re truly over that relationship.
When to say it – Most would probably agree to keep ex talk to a bare minimum in the beginning since a new relationship should first establish its own dynamics before being tested against each party’s respective baggage. In the beginning, try to give that sweetness and romance room to bloom.
How much – This depends on your particular dynamic as a couple, but most would probably agree that going into too much detail is not a good idea. However, if you don’t go into any detail at all, your partner might construct their own version of your ex that is too good to be true, i.e., someone they’ll never be able to measure up to. Sharing some detail could also help foster trust and openness, two qualities we all know are essential to a healthy relationship.
Talking to your ex
There are a number of reasons you might still talk to your ex: friendship, family (for example, if you two have kids together), work, social circles, social media, or it ended gracefully and you simply want to.
That said, it is important to be considerate of your partner too. If you notice that they are uncomfortable and/or if it’s possible that you and your ex might be sharing too intimately (bordering on inappropriate) or too often, you might need to take a hard look at that and make some adjustments. It would also be a good idea to have a discussion (one or many) about those boundaries with your partner and revisit as needed.
We’ve all experienced it.
Put simply, heartbreak changes you, and the pain can still surface from time to time, especially if certain behaviors trigger or are triggered by those old memories. For example, if you were previously cheated on, gaslit, or worse – you might, at times, act withdrawn, cold, snappish, suspicious, jealous, or insecure.
If you are aware of your own triggers and behaviors, try discussing them with your partner so they can be more mindful and sensitive when you’re dealing with emotions related to past hurt.
Take on jealousy
Jealousy is something that I have personally struggled with, and one way I sometimes ease the pain is to eroticize it. This is not always easy to do, and it does not always work, but few things are hotter than fantasizing about your partner in the throes of pleasure. If you’re familiar with the song Mr. Brightside by The Killers, you know that the protagonist is driving themselves into a spin, imagining all the things their partner is doing with someone else. Channeling that frenzied emotional energy into sexual expression, I’ve found, can help release it. If you’re interested in this idea, I wrote more about it here.
Image credit: Thirdman, Pexels