Social Question

CuriousMoi's avatar

How do I ask a guy about his past if he hasn't mentioned it yet? Is that my right?

Asked by CuriousMoi (33points) February 27th, 2014

I met a guy on an online dating site in early January, and we talked for about a month and a half before meeting up. We finally went out this past weekend and really hit it off and have talked every day multiple times a day since. He asked me out again the following day, but I was stuck at work. Since then he’s talked to me about another date, but we haven’t set a day (the date was only a few days ago).

When I had originally seen his online profile – I noticed that he mentioned he said that he had kid(s) and that his longest relationship was 6 years. It didn’t bother me too much then, he is 32 and I figure that at this point that’s going to be common. (I’m 26).

I’ve always tried to delicately bring it up – dancing around the question without being invasive or nosey. He’s told me that he wants to ‘begin a family’ at some point, etc. It’s starting to bother me that he hasn’t even so much as mentioned his past. I’ve brought mine up in hopes that he would as well, but to no avail. So I finally decided to do a little Facebook research and came across an old page that he had, which in turn connected me to his (ex?) wife’s page and a picture of their son. All the pages haven’t been updated since early January 2013, as far as I can tell.

Is it my right to ask him about his kids/past relationships? And how do I do that? (Without sounding like a stalker of course). My gut reaction is to give people the benefit of the doubt and I automatically jumped to the conclusion that maybe something traumatic happened and he’s possibly not ready to talk about it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, he could still be married.

I found this all out last night. He’s messaged me since, but I can’t find it in me to be calm and collective so I put off messaging him back until this morning, and I’m not sure what to say being that I’m confused and a little angry. Having an (ex?) wife and a child are a big deal and I feel like that’s something that someone you’re possibly going to date needs to know. It would not have been a big deal if this was brought up in the beginning. Just as a side note – he is incredibly sweet and mild mannered, and he is a bit of a geek so from what I can tell he doesn’t seem like the cheating type (is there a ‘type’?). He has emphasized that loyalty is important to him.


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15 Answers

Seek's avatar

Now THIS is a dating question! The paragraphs! The punctuation! The details in the details pane!

Whenever your next date is, feel free to ask casually whether he has kids. It seems a bit early for the past-relationships question, but kids are great small talk fodder.

He might even be worried you could be turned off by the idea of him already having kids, and be waiting for you to bring it up.

crushingandreaming's avatar

I am certainly no expert at all, but i reccomend to ask do you have any kids? then ask have you ever been married and just ask like that.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, just ask the questions you want to know and do not jump to conclusions and write an epic fiction novel in your head about this situation.
You are responsible for asking the questions that are important to you if they are on your mind. Don’t start a potential relationship expecting the other person to be a mind reader and follow your protocol.
This is often a huge communication problem in relationships, dumping all your shoulds on the other person.

“He should have told me this already.”
“He should KNOW what I want…to hear, see, do.”
Don’t should on yourself and others, ASK the direct questions!

KNOWITALL's avatar

Of course you have every right to ask about a potential boyfriends past. I’ve had two bad experiences prior to my marriage with guys being complete liars to hide their shady behavior, or being deadbeat dads, or whatever, so if it matters to you, ask. Just remember there are three sides to every story, his side, her side and the truth. Meeting his family may give you the opportunity to gain some insights without asking him directly, too.

Cruiser's avatar

You mentioned that you noticed he had kids in his profile and it didn’t bother you then and really shouldn’t bother you now. Like @Coloma said…“do not jump to conclusions and write an epic fiction novel in your head”.

He has already cracked the egg by saying he wants to begin a family and since he lists kid in his dating site profile you can say that you are interested in discussing more about his desire to have a family especially in light that he already has one.

zenvelo's avatar

Their is a fine line between what’s appropriate at the beginning, and what’s not. In essence, anything in his profile or that he has brought up is open for discussion.

So if he has kids listed in his profile, you can ask about them, how often he sees them, how he gets along with their mother. And how long he has been single. But don’t ask (yet) about why they aren’t still together.

And you don’t get to ask about sexual history until you are going to have sex, and then only to the extent of sexual health, not specific details.

And, you might as well come clean right now with having looked at his FB page. Own up to it, be ready to explain why. If you have any intent at all with this working out as a relationship, don’t start it off with suspicion and lack of trust.

janbb's avatar

@zenvelo ‘s advice is great!

And also, kudos for a great, cogently written question.

filmfann's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I love you.

@CuriousMoi You have every right to know this information, since you are talking about a long term relationship. Good luck!

jca's avatar

I would just say “So tell me about your kids?” and let the conversation flow.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Ask him questions now before you get in too deep. If he beats around the bush answering then you know there is something wrong with this guy. He might have something to hide. Don’t be afraid to ask.

jca's avatar

If you are considering spending a significant amount of time about a person, letting them into your life emotionally, having them in your home, around your personal belongings, considering a long term relationship, etc. then to me, you have a right to delve and know. Some might say not, they may say it’s none of your business, but in my opinion, if you’re going to trust someone, no holds barred, then all should be on the table. He lays it out, you lay it out, and you make decisions and go from there.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Some people mention their kids only so it won’t be some big can to open later, but feel protective and don’t want to talk about them right away. It’s like celebs with the press. “I’m fair game, but leave my kids to have their own lives. Neither of you know at this early point whether there is any real future for you together. Kids need to be left out of brand new relationships.
Regarding his marriage, you can ask, but if he was inclined to lie on his profile, he will continue to lie so long as he can get away with it.

jca's avatar

@CuriousMoi; Do you know for sure that he is currently single or not in a committed relationship?

CuriousMoi's avatar

@jca As far as I’m concerned he is single – that’s what was stated on his dating profile. There’s no way of really actually knowing though unfortunately (ah, the beauty of the internet – I haven’t brought up the issue of kids just yet but we will be going on our third date tomorrow, and if he doesn’t bring it up I suppose I will casually work it into the convo, even though I still feel like it’s not my place.

@zenvelo Maybe I’m reading into your advice wrong, but, out of curiosity – when you say ‘own up to it’ and ‘come clean’, are you implying that my going on public domain and googling somebody is a wrong doing? I think it’s very common place with online dating now – especially given that I’m a 26 year old female not looking to be minced meat on the side of the freeway. It’s not like I hacked the CIA database to access his social security and such. Sexual history isn’t even on my radar at this point, either. I specifically stated that I’m not looking to be invasive at all – I just feel like having that kind of a history is an important piece of your identity and as such will be with you for the rest of your life – and in turn will effect anyone that you bring into your life. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even feel as if it’s something that I should have to bring up, I would have preferred that he addressed the situation and been proud of it. **Shrugs*, maybe thats just me. I do agree about starting off on the wrong foot, that’s why I turned to a group of internet strangers before jumping the gun.

zenvelo's avatar

@CuriousMoi It isn’t Googling him that would bother me, nowadays when you give someone your name, it’s open season on Google. It was the going into Facebook, and then going into the ex-wife’s page and the pictures that seemed to me to be a bit too far. And I say “own up to it” I don’t mean a big confessional “so sorry”. Just tell him, “I was looking you up on Facebook because I like seeing pictures, and I saw your ex and your son.”

My point is, be upfront about looking him up online, so he knows.

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