Why The Past Should Stay In The Past

I’m of two minds at the idea of past relationship secrets remaining hidden. I can see an argument for both sides because depending on the severity of the secret; it may or may not be relevant to your current relationship.


First, the word secret is in and of itself is a gaslighting term. Once a partner hears the word secret, it can set off alarm bells in the other person’s psyche. Because almost always ‘secret’ has a negative implication. One could perseverate on what their partner is holding back, and what it means for the state of their relationship. It can see them fall down a rabbit hole of insecurities and speculations that could be very damaging to his or her relationship.


Many times when a relationship ends, so does the dynamic that has occurred between the couple. I always say that when two people get together, it’s like two countries joining, to form one super country. However, learning to rule this country amicably can be a rocky road. So whatever occurred during this time, may be better left in the past, dead and buried, along with that relationship. Though, when deeper issues are at play, letting your partner know what you are dealing with is crucial. Your partner could help you work through these difficult concerns. Also, being honest and upfront shows how comfortable you are with your partner, and letting them know what you are going through is a true sign that you are ready to heal. Not to mention, that you trust this person enough to be vulnerable with them.


I’ve asked several people the question: Do you think past relationship secrets should always be kept hidden? Here are their unique and very diverse answers.


Emma, 26


Absolutely! Whatever happened in my past relationship is mine to keep. If I don’t think it’s affecting my relationship now, then I have no reason to share it. If my boyfriend wants to share any secrets with me, I welcome it, but I would never expect him to.


David, 59


I have never kept any secrets from my wife. We have been married for 39 years and we know each other inside and out. Maybe it’s because we were married so young, and didn’t have time to develop many relationships before, but we have always upheld the principle of never keeping in secrets.


Amy, 41


I’m remarried, so when my ex and I decided to separate after a very tumultuous time together, I didn’t think I would ever marry again. But, since I started dating my new husband, I have been like an open book. I didn’t realize I had a lot of healing to do from my time with my ex, and my husband has been a wonderful shoulder to lean and cry on. I made sure to tell my new husband everything that went on, in order to not fall into the same patterns again.


Carolyn, 34


The past is just that, the past. I don’t want to bring any of that negativity into my new relationship.


Jude, 39


I have nothing to hide from any of my past relationships. No secrets, any hidden addictions or anything like that. I’m open and honest with everyone I date, so they can take me as I am.


Dan, 28


If I have secrets from my past, they are just that – secrets. I don’t feel the need to share anything with anyone – dating or not. What’s the point of a secret if it doesn’t stay that way? No, thanks. I will keep them for myself and only myself.


Sophia, 45


When I started dating after my divorce, I didn’t realize how much I was carrying around from my past relationship. When I found my current partner, it took me a while to open up with him because I spent so long so guarded. After letting him know what happened during my marriage, we grew closer and he understood me so much better. Our whole relationship took on another level.


Sometimes it’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’ a secret will come to the forefront of a relationship. For example, if there was infidelity in your past, this will most probably come up at some point. Big secrets have the tendency to eat away at the person, and the result can come out in a variety of ways, many of them unhealthy. Another very damaging secret has to do with finances – money always has a way of tearing two people apart. These very big and important issues have no place in secrecy when two people are in a long term, committed relationship. It’s best to open and upfront from the get-go, that way your partner won’t feel blindsided by the news when it eventually breaks.


Past secrets should never hold you back from finding love. And if they are, they should be tackled head-on in order for you to move forward in a positive direction, not just for your future partner, but also for yourself. Addressing these issues before they become an even bigger problem is the best thing you can do for yourself. And remember that every relationship will run into their own set of problems, and most experts agree that the more open and honest you are with your partner, the stronger the bond.


Once you feel ready to let your spouse or partner know what you are holding on to, pick the right to tell him or her. Try not to pick a stressful time in their life, and don’t tell them over a text message. Face to face conversations are difficult, but when you can see each other’s expressions and hear the tone of their voice, the conversation can be that more meaningful. If your partner asks for space to digest what you told them, please allow them that. You have been sitting on this secret, they are just learning about it now. They deserve the time to process it, and when they are ready you two can have a more productive conversation.

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