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When Dating How Soon Should You Talk about Your Past?

We have repeatedly mentioned that communication leads to lasting relationships. But, talking too soon about your recent divorce or other difficult issues can be a problem. And, some people have things in their past that they would just as soon not have everyone know about. Nevertheless, when the relationship gets to a certain point you will want to share some of this with the person you love. So, when dating how soon should you talk about your past? And, do you have to talk about it at all?

Several years ago the newspapers covered a story of an old woman told her secret on her death bed. She had been a spy in the First World War and even had a medal hidden away. Even her husband did not know that his wife was a national hero, albeit a hidden one. On the other hand, there are men and women who got into trouble with the law earlier in their lives. Perhaps they served time in prison. Now they have turned their lives around and are living normal lives. How soon should such a person talk about their past with their new friend?

How Soon to Talk about Your Past

If you have a secret in you past, like jail time, it makes no sense to talk about it on the first date or when you are first chatting online. After all, you may not like this person and may never see them again. On the other hand, by the time the two of you are being intimate and talking about a life together it may be past time to “come clean.” Telling your story too soon may simply scare off the person before they get to know you. Wait too long and you risk having your new friend accuse you of deception and outright lying. The best time is when you and your friend have moved past the first couple of dates and perhaps have a future together. So, how do you do this?

How to Talk about Your Past with the Person You Are Dating

WikiHow has good advice for how to tell a loved one about your criminal record. This advice can be tailored to fit any past history you need to tell them about.

Telling someone about mistakes and painful experiences from your past can be hard. You may feel wounded, but still feel like you did something wrong. There are things that you may be worried you will be judged for. You may be afraid to lose your loved one’s respect. On top of this, you may have lied or lied by omission; however, you will likely find that telling something you are hiding will lighten your mental burden. Your loved one will have an easier time understanding if you practice what you are going to say, discuss your feelings openly, and apologize sincerely.

They go on to suggest specific steps for how you should talk about our past.

  1. Choose your words
  2. Include details
  3. Explain how what you did relates to them including the lessons you learned so that how you got in trouble will not happen again
  4. Take your time working through what you want to say
  5. Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse
  6. Pick the right time and place
  7. Speak honestly and apologize if you believe that you previously misled them
  8. Let them know that you are telling them this because you care for them and want the relationship to work
  9. Speak from your heart
  10. Accept their response even if they are hurt or angry or never want to see you again.

And, if have questions, answer them as clearly and honestly as you can.

A common concern with issues like a criminal record is if it will affect your life together in later years. You need to answer this as honestly as you can.

A person may be tempted to tell their story in parts but the risk here is that your friend will believe you were trying to mislead them. Practice your story. Tell your story. And, move on either with or without your new friend.




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