We’re all adults here. There’s no skirting around the fact that we have sexual and romantic history with other people that were not the love of our life, prior to being with the person we are with now.
While we don’t think it’s a great idea to make past relationships our favorite topic with new loves, it’s also not healthy to pretend they don’t exist altogether. The past is going to come up, comparisons are going to be mentioned, and even trauma may be discussed and thus, new boundaries set. This is all fine and good, but how do we know we are doing it in an appropriate way that won’t hurt our new relationship? Michelle Afont, relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and multi-published author whose most recent work is The Dang Factor, weighs in.
“When it comes to talking about your ex in your new relationship, less is definitely more,” she starts. “The less you talk about him/her, the more you truly are over him/her. Incessant talking about your ex is a sure-fire sign you may not have moved on,” and we can only imagine that’s how it will come off to our new S.O.
So how do we let it come up? Afont tells us straight up that “the healthiest way to talk about your ex (if you must) is in a positive (but not too positive) light. The old adage—if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all—has never been truer when it comes to your ex. This is true because the mindset you have of your ex when you enter a new relationship sets the stage and foundation for your new journey to love.”
Maybe you’ve been burned, and you need to set some ground rules. Or maybe your new partner is super curious about how things ended or why, and wants to press you for juicy deets. It’s OK to divulge a little to quell their curiosity once and for all, but Afont tells us that “revealing too many details from your past relationship can often be used against you in your new relationship.” You don’t want to set a stage for what your new partner should expect. After all, you’ve grown and changed from your past.
This is why Afont suggests that those nitty-gritty details of your past relationship should be off limits. “Why not start your new relationship with a clean slate—no preconceived expectations or ideas of how you may have behaved with an ex or what your ex was able to get away with?”
But before Afont closes out, she knows that the pressing questions may not stop until your loved one receives something satisfactory. “If you feel the need to answer a question such as ‘Why did you guys break up?,’ then a general answer such as ‘We were in two different places in life’ or ‘We did not share the same vision for our future’ is more than enough information to reveal. If your ex was unfaithful, a simple ‘He/she was not a loyal partner’ is enough.”
Be kind, be soft, be as vague as possible while revealing just enough to let your new person know your boundaries and your needs. And Afont begs us to remember, “The more time you spend bashing your ex, the more opportunity there is for doubt to creep into your new relationship.”
Up next, shop the newest items from the Poosh Shop here.