General Question

tennesseejac's avatar

To you, how important is total honesty in a serious relationship (marriage potential)... even when discussing past relationships with your current SO?

Asked by tennesseejac (3778points) March 3rd, 2009

Sometimes I dont want to know details of past relationships and dont think its necessary to bring up my entire relationship history (especially the sex stuff), or if a crude idea pops in my head I dont want to tell exactly what Im thinking for fear that she will think Im crazy.

Im all about honesty in a relationship, but is there such thing as being too honest?

Do you believe in the saying “What they don’t know won’t hurt them”?

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15 Answers

cdwccrn's avatar

Honesty is important. So is discretion and compassion.

laureth's avatar

I wouldn’t hide major things (like “I used to be a man,” or “I’m married to someone else” or even “I grew up in NYC”), but there are some delicate matters that really aren’t any of their business unless you want them to be. Someone’s SO doesn’t usually want to picture them having sex with someone else, especially if it was anything other than plain vanilla.

So, I agree with you, Tennesseejac. Be honest about the life story, the major things, the need-to-know health issues… but leave out some of the Jerry Springer moments, at least until you’ve been together a long long time.

This reminds me of that movie Clerks, where the guy finds out how many guys his girlfriend has been with. Some things don’t add to the relationship, ya know?

marinelife's avatar

Honesty is important.

Sharing every detail of your sexual past in not a good idea. You can provide brief synopses of any big relationships in your life, but leave it at that. That goes for both of you. For example: “I dated a girl in college. We lived together for a couple of years, but we grew apart, because we wanted different things in life.” The end.

As to thoughts. Only share what you want to. Think carefully about sharing stray thoughts.

Clearly, if an important issue or feeling comes up for you that is key to your life and relationship that should be shared.

Dog's avatar

Honesty is critical to keeping a relationship healthy.

But what you are referring to is divulging possibly damning history that is irrelivant to the current relationship.

Laureth makes an excellent point Unless the information is of a nature that your spouse has a right to know then your past history is off- limits.

Also- not knowing everything about your spouse can make the marriage more interesting

onesecondregrets's avatar

There’s never such a thing as being too honest. I believe it’s a main component to any relationship, not just with a significant other. There is such a thing as giving too many details which seems to be what you’re talking about but seeing it as honesty.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Yes, you can be too honest. “Kiss and tell” is not required. I think it’s important to impart some information about people who were important to you in your past, because they’re part of who you are today, and you might run into someone from the past, and it’s nice to know if you run into someone how they fit into a person’s past.

But not details. A good rule of thumb is to only tell what you wouldn’t mind your SO’s mother knowing about.

wundayatta's avatar

If your partner asks, then it’s relevant, and I see no reason to hide it. If you did some things you were ashamed of, but have changed, you should talk about it. If she can’t handle it, do you really want to be living a lie with her, and her unable to accept parts of you?

If you truly care about each other, then no detail should be a deal breaker (god, I hate that term). If it does cause problems, that’s good to know.

Details are relvenant if someone thinks they are relevant. You don’t know until they ask or you tell. If they don’t ask, it probably isn’t relevant to them. If they do, it is. Tell as much of the truth as they ask for.

We all have a history. It’s part of what makes us who we are. If you have to hide it, that seems like a problem to me. Again, I’m not telling you to volunteer it, but I am saying you shouldn’t have to hide it either.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I agree with daloon. Answer all questions honestly, but don’t feel like you have to volunteer all.

casheroo's avatar

I’m completely upfront with my husband, I have before we even got married. We don’t lie to each other at all, and I already knew about his prior relationship to me since I was friends with him during it. So, I didn’t have any questions about that. He asked me stuff sometimes, and I’d tell him. If what I was saying bothered him, he’d tell me he didn’t want to hear it. It’s pretty simple.

Bri_L's avatar

I would say “I am disease free” is fine. “I slept with 50 people and am disease free” is uncalled for. I think it is a matter of comfort that you and your sig other have to work out.

Be careful though, my wife asked a question she ended up not wanting to know the answer to even though she thought she did.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I think “I’m disease free” is one conversation, and “there were three people in my past who were important to me, and one in particular who is now married to ___”, is another.

girlofscience's avatar

Personally, I only find true intimacy in complete honesty.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I think that complete honesty means not lying when asked. It’s not necessary that you share every detail, but as was mentioned before, major things should definitely be shared. One of the best parts about a relationship is being able to tell each other just about everything. My ex shared a lot of very personal stories about his father’s death and the emotional weight that accompanied it, and it was one of the most intimate times we had together. I shared a deal of my own past, good and bad stories and secrets, and it was an extremely gratifying experience.

Trance24's avatar

I believe honesty is a key factor in a serious relationship, especially if it were something like marriage. As far as past relationships go unless you feel it absolutely necessary to mention something, why say anything unless they ask. You do not need to spill your life story on all the people you have been with. There are some things your SO will not want to know. If they ask you a question about your past relationships or anything for that matter then tell them. The key is not to hide anything.

cwilbur's avatar

I think honesty and trust are both important. This means that, as @TitsMcGhee says, you don’t lie when asked. But this also doesn’t mean that you tell the complete and unvarnished truth when asked—“I’d rather not discuss that, actually” is often a wise response, and it can be fully honest as well.

The real problem is not in honestly saying “I don’t want to talk about that,” but in lying.

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