How much do you talk to your lover about your past relationships? Should you do it or not? The answer is yes and no. Talking to your lover about your past relationship feels liberating on many levels. Seems like a healthy thing to do. It gets things out in the open and builds trust.
But often times, there is a good chance of this scheme backfiring. While sharing about your past relationships may feel great at some levels, you must know when to stop. Many people make this mistake of going into intricate details and sharing TMI (too much information) about their past relationships with their lovers. It ends up disrupting their present relationship. The reason this could be damaging to your present relationship is surprisingly simple.
What Your Lover Goes Through
It is not easy or pleasant for your partner to picture you with someone else that way. Not even if it was in the past. In their mind, they like to picture you only with themselves. “But that was in the past! It is over now” you may argue.
Painting Scary Pictures
Our mind thinks in pictures. And when you go into details about your past relationship, you are essentially painting pictures for your lover. And in these pictures you are close with someone else in an intimate way, physically or emotionally.
For your lover these pictures are being painted NOW, while you are innocently sharing about your past. Basically, you are putting them through a lot of pain in the process. And the pain is being caused NOW through those scary mental pictures. In the present. It may feel to you that you are bonding with your lover over this process of sharing. But very often, we get so engrossed while sharing our past that we lose track of where to stop. We step way over the line. All this while our lover is silently bearing this torture.
If it is that painful, why don’t they say so?
Human mind being what it is, loves stories. It does not really discriminate between a good story and a painful story as long as it is an interesting one. And any story related to you and your past is bound to be an interesting one for your lover. Therefore, they listen intently. Most of the time, even when they realise that listening to the story of your past relationship is causing them pain they continue to listen. They even ask for more. Our mind hates unfinished stories, doesn’t it? Even if they are painful ones.
What It Does To Your Relationship
What happens next is pretty scary. Over a period of time these stories of your intimate past relationships and the associated mental images begin to haunt your lover. Their mind starts to swim in those unpleasant mental images of you being intimate with someone else. This has a snowball effect and keeps increasing. The mind is imaginative. Before your lover knows it, they are painting scary pictures of their own about you and your past lover’s intimate time together. The cycle of self torture starts. This slowly builds resentment towards you in their mind. It happens on the subconscious level. Your lover is going through pain and their mind starts seeing you as a source of all this pain and misery. They may not even be aware of the reason they suddenly start resenting and hating you.
When It all starts tumbling downhill
At first the resentment is slight and subtle. Then it slowly increases and takes visibly ugly forms. They start fighting with you for no apparent reason. In essence, they start hating you for relating with someone so intimately in the past(yes, even if it is in the past). It was past for you but for them, the mental images are formed in the present. An ideal lover will be able to look past all this but let’s face it, how many of us really has the emotional maturity to do it?
See how a seemingly innocent process of sharing about your past relationship jeopardised your present one. Is it worth the damage? So what is to be done. Should you not share your feelings associated with your past relationship with your lover? Yes, it is healthy and liberating for you but it may be painful for the other person. Do you want to be inconsiderate towards them? This person loves you. Do you want to be selfish about it and go on sharing just so that you can feel light? What about the torture you are inflicting on the other person in the process?
To Share Or Not To Share About Past Relationships
The answer is : Do share. It is indeed healthy and liberating. But be very conscious and alert while doing so. Do not cross over to areas which involve physical or emotional intimacy.
Being aware and alert while sharing and knowing when to stop is a way of showing your care for your lover. If you still feel the need to share intimate details of your past, do it with someone else. Share with an understanding friend or a counselor. Write it in a journal if that’s your thing. Spare your lover the unnecessary torture of picturing you with others. It is just not worth damaging a beautiful relationship.
It is OK to share why the previous relationship didn’t work. It is OK to share the feelings of hurt that you went through in your past relationships. But as soon as you sense that you are crossing over to areas which suggest physical or emotional intimacy, stop. Take a deep breath. Smile and change the direction of the flow of the conversation. You owe this much to the person who loves you so much.
Know When to Stop
Whenever the conversation turns towards past relationships, that’s your cue. Be alert. No matter how emotionally mature you think your lover may be, it is best to leave certain areas of your past relationship untouched. No good comes out of discussing details of physical or emotional intimacy. Moreover, you run the risk of sabotaging a perfectly good relationship over something which happened in the past. Even if your lover asks you for intimate details (yes, that happens) take a firm stand. They might pout for sometime but it will spare them from a vicious cycle of negativity which could potentially damage your relationship.
The present is by far the most important and the most beautiful time of our lives. The people we love in the present matter most to us. While past serves its purpose in teaching us lessons, we should not allow it to disturb our present. We learn our lessons and move on. The same applies for relationships too. Use your past as a lesson. Do not allow it to ruin your present relationship. Let go of the past, live in the present and love in the present.
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