Is talking about past relationships so bad?

Is talking about past relationships in a new one such a bad thing?

I read so many articles strongly suggesting to not compare, not talk, not ask your partner about past. I think it needs reconsideration.

How you can create healthy, true relationship and I assume this is what you wish for, without knowing the person?

Everyone of us constitutes from past, present and possible future. If we don’t take into account past which is one of the strongest factor, mostly deciding about reactions and the way the person is in present and forms our future, then we can only create perfect illusion, but we will never get to know who the person really is.

Consider this: if you are about to step into relationship with someone, you need to be aware that you are about to interact with all his, her past: pastlovers, family, etc.

This is already proved by modern psychology, even quantum physics. We all emanate certain kind of energy, magnetic field. Others feel our not only moods but generally what aura, atmosphere we are creating around ourselves, whether we are conscious of that or not. You may like someone thinking : I like him for the way he is, but if you look closer you will find out the person emanates certain, rare kind of peace, not so present around other people. Going deeper you know certain types of people make you feel good, better, while others not. We all are influencing one another, whether temporary or permanently, long enough to have similar reaction toward someone almost all the time you get into contact with.

In a romantic relations by closeness, making love, emotions you temporary, at times merge with someone. Not knowing who you are and who your partner is you may lose healthy borders of where you end and the other one starts and what else, who else is involved.

There is even saying: you are not making love to the person you chose, cause after him, her follows lovers, parents, so on. You may not know about it, but surely you will feel it that something feels strange, is off etc. Of course you can ignore it if this is not that troubling, but most of the times the closer you get to someone the stronger you get involved in the situation of your partner whatever the person deals with.

In my opinion the way to create a relationship that has a future is to be honest to yourself and your partner about who you are, what you are learning, what stage of your personal growth you are. It is about seeing clearly, recognizing all the things your partner is showing you, not ignoring what he, she shows regarding of what was said and taking responsibility for your personal growth.

If your relationship didn’t last, you may be sure that you ignored quite a lot of details that later on, no wonder, blew up in your face.

Let me use the comparison to a kingdom. You have your own kingdom and getting into relationship with someone is like merging two kingdoms. You have an army with different characters, some of them are nice, some of them are nasty. They simply are. They will merge with the characteristics of your partner. If you don’t know anything about your army and whom you have to your disposal, it may overtake you, so are you ruling your army or you are ruled by it? If you are ruled, then surely you will be ruled by additional army of your partner. By meaning an army I have in mind such roles as: roles operating on emotions: fear, anger, jealousy, love, compassion, generosity, etc. and roles such as protector, fighter, victim, entertainer, peaceful person, lover, funny person, deep person, and whoever can come in your mind that you associate with.

Why roles? You are not always loving, not always angry, but certain roles, emotions happens, although generally you may emanate for people as someone very generous or courageous.

The roles are there to use them right. If you stick to one identity as being protector, then surely in relationship you will block other ability to stand up for self. Having wider range of roles and fluently exchanging them according to the situation, gives you more possibilities to react accordingly not only in relationships but in every life situations.

As I love the comparison to martial arts, as a warrior uses all kind of possibilities, not sticking to any particular, so not using only hands, but all the body and techniques, adjusting perfectly to the environment, so it works in life. Using only one thing, as hands in interaction to the opponent is not enough. All is in a constant movement, flow and new situation requires new applications. So it is with roles, being one identity only makes relationship already dead. If someone perceives himself, herself as always peaceful person and will stick to that image, no matter what, then you cannot expect to have a wild lover.

I claim that knowing yourself is enough to recognize potentials of possible relationship even if the other one is reluctant to say openly about past. Somehow we all are result of our past, so no matter how someone will try to resist and not share with you who he is, the past will bleed through. All you need is to be attentive and not create an illusion of someone you want to love at the first place.

Attentiveness at the very beginning of every interaction is crucial, because only then you are objective enough to see more. Later on, if you start liking this person, you will ignore things that won’t align with what you want. It has to do something with natural perception and psychological inner system of protecting yourself from unwanted things, that disturb your perfect image.

It is also most difficult thing to do, cause the other one will always try to introduce himself, herself from the best perspective. This is why little signals play such important role. Be aware however than professionals can monitor their behaviour to the perfect details, so psychopaths.

Nobody will show you voluntarily his, her worse sides.

How to recognize the most you can? Often by asking questions to self such as:

- Is the person talking a lot? What is the quality of it?

- Is the person quiet all the time? What he, she is quiet about?

Relationships any kind of could be so much of fun if we would have more courage to be honest. How bout this:

- Hey I am learning about standing up for myself?

- Great, I am going to cross your boundaries. Let’s train how you can protect yourself.

Typical for the training in martial arts where you approach student, teacher and you are conscious both are learning. You see the situation clearly. If there is something more, then explore it. If there is only this, then learn, teach and make the best of it and mostly have fun.

How about this:

- I am in relationship, but I am drawn to you somehow. I don’t understand this, but my boyfriend is jealous about you although I never hanged out with you. I was not communicating about it to him and to you for years, but perhaps it will be wiser to see who you are for me. Otherwise if affect me, him and you, I believe. Why not discover truth about it. Maybe you have a message for me and once I know, it will be transformed and I can continue with my boyfriend. Maybe you are the one for me, then at least I wanna know the truth to make the best decision for all of us.

Why we never say what we really want? Is the fear so strong that we cannot even think it for ourselves in our own head? Probably yes.

Coming back to the beginning, I claim that talking about the past, backgrounds is the first thing to do if you wanna have truthful relationship. And yes compare them. How else you will learn about yourself, what you want if not by a contrast?

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Comments 10 comments

Marlena Oechsner profile image

Marlena Oechsner 4 years ago from Wisconsin

Interesting hub. I do agree that you need to know about past lovers, but for goodness sake! I do not need to hear his ex-girlfriend's name every single day as he laments about some adventure they had together. I'M with him now, I don't need to hear about the past (as in FIVE YEARS AGO). All you need to know is: how long they were together, why they broke up, how they feel now. If they were together for eight years, broke up because she cheated, but he still loves her, watch out! If they broke up because he didn't want kids, you might want to evaluate how you feel about that. You don't need to hear stories about the ex for years after.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

I feel like it's really important to be open and honest, but there's a fine line between honesty and sharing too much. It's difficult, though.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I don't know that it's bad to talk about past relationship. I think the problem comes when you discuss it too soon as you're trying to form a new one. Voting this Up and Useful.


Joanna Pilatowicz profile image

Joanna Pilatowicz 4 years ago from Germany Author

Thank you for your comments, that's a really useful feedback for me.

Good point Marlena, if a man is with you and talks constantly about ex, and the way he talks about it counts too, then you pretty soon know that:

- he didn't deal with the past to enter in relationship with you

- his level of consciousness won't surprise you in the future, if you pay attention now, you simply know what to expect (if she will reappear, he will go with her)

So I would say: let's believe in what people show us, not what they say. And this I know need to be addressed in more details, as Natashahl mentioned: indeed there is a fine line in differentiating things. It will be such a big difference already if a partner would state at the beginning:

- Look, I didn't deal with the past, but I am strongly drawn to you, let's be attentive and see what best we can be for each other.

Alocsin, now I don't really know about "too soon" as I had an experience when I heard about past at the second meeting, but it wasn't date though. Perhaps the problem lays somewhere else: in the attitude. If two people meet with idea of date, they are behaving different way than if they meet with openness to maybe become friends first, partners in doing things together. That feels more free for me and doesn't put limits to what can happen. I personally prefer that.


teenboyproblems profile image

teenboyproblems 4 years ago from Nebraska

I agree about talking about past relationships as well, however I do agree with Marlena. After awhile you get tired of inadvertantly being compared to others, ESPECIALLY those from their past relationships. I understand getting the basics out of the way, but when they compare you in every way to their past love, FOR YEARS, it makes you feel less than perfect. There should be a limit. Great hub. Voted up


Joanna Pilatowicz profile image

Joanna Pilatowicz 4 years ago from Germany Author

I see how this "fine line" needs to be well defined. Although it can be personal preference how much we want to hear, the situation according to the circumstances may be far more complex.

I will address that in another hub, still something comes to my mind: If a friend tells us in details what was important in his, her relationships, how he/she felt, it is an expression of trust for us, closeness, connection and letting us into his, her life. If by chance he/she compares us to someone from past, then it may be important for us to learn more about ourselves, our place in his, her perception, so it is important information too. If the connection will turn into romance, relationship, love, all this information may be very grounding for both partners.

However as you (Teenboyproblems, Sheila and Marlena) stated if in 2 years our partner tells us how much loves another, not us and all was perfect about someone else, then of course we need to redefine everything and very likely change the partner or never cross previous line: being just friends.

My conclusion for now is: all depends what and how someone says about past.


Marlena Oechsner profile image

Marlena Oechsner 4 years ago from Wisconsin

Joanna, I agree that it is really touchy...it depends on who is being talked about, how much, and why. My boyfriend talks about his ex-wife, but he talks about things that went wrong and why. It's more of a note-taking session for me. When I see why their marriage disintegrated, it makes me think about my actions in our relationships. But I don't want to hear about the good times. I know it sounds funny, but I don't want to know how happy they were...he's with me. Talk about how happy you are with me. But I could give examples for hours...thanks for offering an updated conclusion. :)


Joanna Pilatowicz profile image

Joanna Pilatowicz 4 years ago from Germany Author

Marlena, you are very welcome and thanks for sharing with me your thoughts. What you write about not wanting to hear about good times makes me curious. I would dig deeper why. You don't have to answer me, but maybe you like to find out yourself. ( I always practice questioning myself, it is very revealing :) )

Sharing about good times with ex may be also important information and all depends in what coincidences, with what intentions revealed. It may happen that this may even connect the partners more. I would say every case is so individual and needs such approach. I could keep on writing about it, so I better post another article :) soon.


Marlena Oechsner profile image

Marlena Oechsner 4 years ago from Wisconsin

Joanna, Thanks for your insights. I practice questioning and answering myself too (usually when I'm alone in the car). I think the reason I don't like hearing about the good times is because I always wonder if their "good times" are better than the good times we are currently having. I feel like I always have to compare myself to an ex...which is something no one should have to do, but everyone does.


Joanna Pilatowicz profile image

Joanna Pilatowicz 4 years ago from Germany Author

Dear Marlena, I am sorry I didn't reply to you straight away, planning to really write about it more, however I am collecting quite a lot of experiences of different situations people are encountering in their relations, so mine and so far I am not any smarter to just say that it is so individual, personal thing to know how much to share and how much we are capable of hearing from others. Perhaps everyone of us has to draw certain lines, which is not easy at all, as everything has certain consequences and not always we are able to predict all of them. So I guess it is about asking self many questions: do you prefer your partner is not telling you anymore about his past? what does it mean that he shares that with you at all (motives are different, it may be he feels comfortable enough, trusting you. Other motives are indeed to make someone jealous); how would you like to react, be in such situation? do you need to compare yourself? I hope that this will be still helpful for you. If you like to share, I will be glad to hear from you.

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