General Question

Kokoro's avatar

How do you get over a partner's past?

Asked by Kokoro (1408 points ) March 12th, 2012

How does one accept the past, whether it’s a few months ago or years ago? Knowing details of a lover’s past relationship(s)? I know it’s not good to hold on to but it’s been difficult.

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27 Answers

jerv's avatar

The only time I worry about what is behind me is when I have my car in reverse.

Blackberry's avatar

Well, imagine if it was the opposite: where your partner was upset that you actually knew and had relations with another person before you met. Just realize how ridiculous it sounds in 2012 to be bothered by someone having a relationship before you. Unless you guys are 14 and expect to be someone’s first?

keobooks's avatar

It seriously depends on what you’re talking about. An ex girlfriend he never sees anymore and lives in another country is one thing. A very recent past of child abuse and drug addiction is a totally different issue. I think we need a little bit of details to give good advice.

zenvelo's avatar

Mostly by knowing they hadn’t met me yet.

Unless your partner was involved in something that would have been a deal breaker before you got together, consider that your past might be equally disturbing to your lover.

I don’t expect a girlfriend to have had an event-less life, and I don’t expect her to get freaked out by my past. And don’t be so damn inquisitive about your partner’s past. It’s past, and neither of you can change it.

Kokoro's avatar

Past lover (has no feelings for) who is still in the area but he has sworn off contact with, because I was unhappy about it. He said he WANTED to stop contact with her cause of how upset it made me, I didn’t ask him to. Their relationship is something I am disappointed about, but I don’t want to judge him. I know people make mistakes. I guess a part of me doesn’t like that part of him.

Coloma's avatar

It depends on what their “past” is all about. Previous relationships, well, none of my business, a history of drug/alcohol issues or chronic infidelities, not a good risk.
It’s a matter of character and while anyone can make a mistake a history of poor character would not be a risk I’d be willing to take.

Either you have character or you don’t, it is not something one should have to strive for.

LuckyGuy's avatar

A person’s past is not truly past until they’ve passed a medical test.

A partner’s previous risky behavior can affect your present – and future. Both people should be tested.

Kokoro's avatar

@zenvelo We had met. Current partner and I were very close friends before we decided to take it to the next level. Now I have trouble “having” all this info he told me in confidence when we were just friends.

zenvelo's avatar

@Kokoro It sounds more like you are dealing with his present. Would he be in contact with her if you weren’t around? That’s a much different issue than dealing with a lover’s history.

Sounds like he has done what he can to alleviate your concerns. You have to trust him a bit for some time. If he has completely broken it off with her, and nothing happens in the near future, consider that he has demonstrated his commitment to you.

Sunny2's avatar

If you can’t let it go, do the guy a favor and get out of his life. Distrust can fester out of proportion and really ruin a relationship.

chyna's avatar

A person is the sum total of his past experiences. Each person has a past that makes them what they are today and apparently there was something about this person that made you want to be with him. If the past is something you can’t get around in your mind, you need to let the guy go. It will be a bad relationship if you keep bringing up things he now has no control over.

wundayatta's avatar

You learned this information when you were friends and it was part of you being friends and part of what you bonded over. Now you’re at the “next level” and it bothers you? Something is not right. This is part of what brought you together.

I suspect there is something going on about him that your subconscious is trying to remind you about. Perhaps it is a pattern of behavior you saw with her and now you are seeing it with yourself. That’s just a possibility. But something is bothering you, and rather than try to dismiss is, I would pay attention to it.

Remember, it should have nothing to do with her, except that she reminds you of it. What bothers you is in him. So let her go out of your mind, and focus on him. What is he doing that is bothering you? It may be something he was doing with her that bothered you at the time. It may be something completely different. But this should have nothing to do with her.

If it does have anything to do with her in reality (not just in your mind), then that might mean he is not over her. You guys need to be honest with each other and with yourselves. Don’t accuse him of things which are purely based on your own fears. Focus on maintaining open communications with him. Be fearless. Talk about what you have to talk about. If you can’t do that, the relationship won’t last, anyway.

marinelife's avatar

You think about the fact that you have a past, and you compare your feelings about your past, (it’s no big deal and you never think about it, right?) and assume the lover feels the same way about theirs.

You remind yourself that they have chosen you and love you.

You, if necessary, get therapy to deal with your own insecurities because this is about you not about your partner.

Kokoro's avatar

@zenvelo I have no idea if he would be. Probably. Nothing has happened thus far, he’s been good to me but I’m still having difficulty getting over it.

Thanks everyone for the advice. I know if I don’t get my head on straight our relation/friendship will not strengthen.

I am positive it’s in my head, for example yes there’s a pattern… but it’s NORMAL things. Like the same things you do with someone you’re with, spending time together, sharing clothes, etc and I know I shouldn’t look at it like that, but for some reason it’s hard?

MadisonPaige's avatar

My husband had a traumatic past, but not from an old relationship. We’re getting through it together.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I answered the question before I saw your clarification. (My advice is still true but might not apply.)

Your user name fits you perfectly. You’re right. It is hard. The difficulty you are having means you are a normal, caring, person.
Good luck to both of you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

By knowing the partner or their past does not belong to you.

saint's avatar

Why suffer. If you can’t handle it, find somebody who has an acceptable (to you ) past.

seekingwolf's avatar

If I can’t deal with someone’s past, then I won’t be with them. Simple as that. I don’t date people with ANY casual sex in their past or if they have cheated once. I do not have that in my past so why would I settle for someone who has that? I find someone who “matches” my past in a lot of respects so there is no hurdle.

I haven’t had an issue with finding partners at all. It’s okay to be picky.

Silence04's avatar

Hey OP, watch the movie “chasing amy”

keobooks's avatar

If it’s over a few years ago and especially if that other person has a new happy relationship, please don’t force your partner not to see them. I am good friends with many of my married ex-boyfriends and my husband doesn’t mind. We’re all happily married and its a sign that we are all emotionally healthy, IMO.

I would really resent my husband if he tried to stop me from continuing a friendship with a guy I dated over 20 years ago in high school who is very happily married with four kids. Even if I wanted it, I wouldn’t stand a chance with him and he wouldn’t stand a chance to steal me away from my husband. With a very small number of exceptions, I never dated anyone that I wouldn’t have as a good friend, so almost all of my old boyfriends are my friends now. Most of them are distant and facebook only, but that’s due more to distance and lots of time between us.

Now if there is some ambiguity in the ex and your boyfriends relationship, that’s not an issue of the past. That’s an issue of the present. If there’s no ambiguity, there is no reason for jealousy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@keobooks GA! I like the way you think. “I never dated anyone that I wouldn’t have as a good friend, so almost all of my old boyfriends are my friends now. Most of them are distant and facebook only, but that’s due more to distance and lots of time between us.”
Once married, that’s how it should be. Nice.

(You missed a shirt button this morning…. there….. Perfect!)

Kokoro's avatar

Thanks all. I’m just trying to balance not avoiding problems that I create within myself. How does someone know to move on to someone else or to fight my own insecurities? Don’t want to lose something that is potentially wonderful just because of myself.

chyna's avatar

Perhaps you need some counseling to figure out if this is your insecurities or something you need to work on whether with this guy or any other guy that may come into your life.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
happylee's avatar

I just don’t care about his past and if sometimes I am reminded of that I just tell myself “let it go and you should be happy today.”

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