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BN Hot Topic: How Much Information From Your Past Should You Reveal to Your Partner?

BellaNaija.com

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secretcoupleHi Everyone!
Thought a great way to kick off the week should be with a juicy hot topic.
So as the questions states ‘How Much Information from your past should you reveal to your Partner?’
Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems that as Nigerians, our degrees of separation are much closer than the average non-Nigerian add that to the fact that we LOVE to talk!
I like to believe there are various broad stages relating to this.

Stage 1 – Pre-Dating/Early Dating:
You know the drill – Boy Meets Girl, Girl Meets Boy
They find themselves falling for each other
You have talked all night on the phone, had long conversations over sweet cappuccinos at Piccolo Mondo.
A friend of mine, lets call her Kelly believes that you should lay it all bare from the beginning. When she is at this stage, she reveals it ALL. As in numbers (you know what I am talking about), names…the whole works while another friend, Temi is the opposite – for her mystery is key. As little information as possible.
Note that at this stage if things are going well, most parties discreetly start doing their ‘investigations’
Yup, you know the pre-dating background check.
For girls, its more about making sure the guy does not currently have a girlfriend or any disturbing skeletons in his closet while for guys often times they just want to be sure what they are getting into. Is this the real her or is she just putting up a front, what type of guys has she dated in the past etc…
– What do you do at this point?
So what do you think. Do you spill or not?

Stage 2: Dating
You are now officially the newest couple! Yay! Congrats.
People have started ‘hearing’ that you are together. If there are any major skeletons, you know that they will start tumbling out of the closet now. Even the most innocent of information can be made to sound salacious. Why?
Many feel the new to identify, that yes indeed they KNOW everyone and how best to PROVE that than to drop all the bits of information that they know about the person.
‘Oh I heard you are dating Funke, ah I know her very well, she went to QC and then Unilag but she moved to New York but not before dating Bolaji….you know Bolaji now, yes that one. I heard that she was engaged to one Tolu guy in Yankee before she moved back to Lagos last year’
True or not? Any major revelations might put a dent to the relationship.
So what do you do when you start officially dating? According to relationship expert Demi (well, she always seems to be in a relationship so she must be an expert..right?) ‘Even if there are no major soapopera-esque revelations, you should be as open as possible with your boyfriend/girlfriend. You don’t want him/her hearing any information from others before you. Even innocent information can be spun very badly’
So what do you think? Do you spill at this point?

Stage 3 – Engaged to be married
Now you are engaged or at the stage where you know you want to marry her or you know he is about to propose. This is a very happy stage for most couples but can also be very sensitive. Fine, all your cards are on the table at this point but there are some things that you might have never revealed to anyone. Perhaps a traumatic experience such as abuse or something that has been weighing heavily on your mind. Note that especially in Nigeria, ‘family investigations’ begin at this time. Your future partner’s family might start digging into you and your family’s history. Yes, This is a very sensitive time but as this is your future partner, as painful and difficult as it might be, its best to open up.
On the other hand, if your partner waits till this point to tell you he has a secret love child or that he has another wife…you might want to think again.

So back to the question, ‘How Much Information from your past should you reveal to your Partner?’

30 Comments

  1. mysterious

    June 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

    ok…so i just realized my comment came up looking rather wierd,as i had lots of problem uploading it,so here’s the actual comment 🙂

    I’m so happy you raised this issue Bella…for me mystery is the key @ Stage 1, i know a couple of relationships that ended before they started due to too much ‘info’ being disclosed…yes @ stage 2 u can start disclosing,but one should err on the side of caution as nothing is guaranteed. Questions like “how many bfs/gfs have u had?” and what not irritate me.personally, i’m not interested in such because sometimes ignorance can be bliss :-)…and i usually do a bit of background check without asking the dude himself :-).
    having said that, it boils down to different strokes for different folks, if personal disclosure has worked for anyone…keep it up.just my two cents

  2. Suzanna Efiok

    June 1, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I am not a relationship expert but having been in a few myself as well as having been inundated with relationship do’s and don’ts in every magazines from Jet to Cosmo girl, it is a widely agreed point that saying too much too early might jeopardize a man’s/woman’s chance with a new potential mate. No man wants to hear about the abortion you had at 16 nor does any chick want to hear that you asked a girl to have one either…that is what is called Information Overload! Gauge your guy or your girl, get to know them better and then measure out your history over th course of time because as things come up, information will be revealed and received, it’s the nature of things but please, let there be a natural progression, a natural flow to things. I don’t believe anyone should ask anyone how many partner they’ve had, that is a trick question because no matter what, wahala go dey! If the number is too little, then there is the fear that the person lack experience but if the number is too much, there is the horror of you might have ended up with a ho. The better question is “what is your HIV status?!” Let’s start with that for a change.

  3. Somebody

    June 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    There is no set rules for this, however I believe in just going with the flow and being yourself and that includes revealing whatever you feel is important at that point in time. we have to remember people are different and they react in different ways, so it really depends. I’ve been on both sides i.e revealing too much and not saying too much, but really there is no set rule. Also have to keep in mind that sometimes what you don’t know won’t hurt you and in relationships, you cannot know everything about your partner completely..impossible (in my own opinion).. remember the saying familiarity breeds contempt.. that too.
    Also remember the show Moment of Truth…

  4. Aribaba

    June 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I’d say I’d reveal a lot at the dating stage (stage 2)… at that point we’re getting pretty serious/exclusive so it’s better she hears it from me than anyone else. That being said, I never tell 100%… somethings will go with me to my grave….lol. I’ll tell the key stuff though.

  5. Chika Moses

    June 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I say hand over the important information. Honesty is the best policy! :))

  6. randommer

    June 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    i would like to know if he asked a girl to abort o. that one na deal breaker but an easier way to ask the question is, what are your views on the abortion debate.

  7. Olboi

    June 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    They say to each his/her own. Some people take the sagacity of inhibited information as a personal bohaha. I am an advocate for full disclosure before the entanglement of emotions. That way you know what you are getting into with your two’s wide open. A lot of ppl try to protect their ‘appearance’ of virtue by developing a highly developed shortterm memory as opposed the the long term equivalent. I am a proponent of the ‘let it all out movement’, it is tough, it is difficult and it may very well result in the end even before the beginning has a chance, but when you find ‘the one’ you would surely be building on a firm foundation of trust. It also lends an air of confidence to the relationship as those human beings that feel the need to come and offer public service announcements on your partners ‘colourful past’ will not be telling you anything you don’t already know. And finally, no matter how good a verbal klepto you are, you will eventually slip and then ‘holding back information’ automatically turns to you being a lair and that my dear friends is a whole ‘nother ballgame. – Peace and Blessings.

  8. Suzanna Efiok

    June 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I think people are confusing using common sense with what information one shares with a mate with lying and withholding. If you are at the early dating stage, it is just not common sense to tell the man or woman everything about yourself, what mystery is there left? What is there for them to find out about you for themselves? Is it every first three dates, let wind blow open your nyansh like fowl? During the dating stage (6months to a year), you should have an idea how safe your information is with this person and by the engagement stage; they should pretty much have a decent idea of who you are especially with regards to health issues. Nobody will EVER totally know anybody and I believe what my grandmother used to say “a woman must save something for herself.” Familiarity breeds contempt, whenever a man feels he has seen all of your nakedness, his interest will wane. A woman should have a sense of mystery about her, not one of sneakiness, there is a solid difference.

  9. Labby

    June 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Isn’t it interesting that women are always the ones sharing whilst the man remains a mystery for a considerable time. Sharing too much too quickly sounds desparate as many relationships may not work out so why tell so many people about yourself with personal information being held by so many. Stupid and desparate if you ask me.

  10. Zenna

    June 4, 2009 at 12:20 am

    I already told this told this guy i wasnt intrested in him but for politness sake i kept speaking to him; he then i asked if i was a virgin. i promotly told him it was none of his business. How some useless guys think they have a moral right to have an opinion about you cos your female.

    If you not kissing or about to, their is really no reason to layout (especially) your sexual memoire…cos that when it becomes important for medical reasons. Guys would ususally ask personal questions cos they know must girls would feel obliged to be truthful; so you dont look dodgy. But what about the dodginess of the guy.

  11. random

    June 4, 2009 at 12:49 am

    I disclosed all at stage 3. I’m now married with a child and my husband still brings up that thing I told him about me, when he wants to have a dig at me. So I’ll say you really don’t have to disclose all even at stage 3 some things are better not said. You guys have to trust me… xoxo

  12. Luvshoes24

    June 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    OK, so am falling for a guy whose friend av already been with… i don’t know if he knows this but i don’t think it makes sense for me to wait to find out! That being said, i don’t know if this thing is going anywhere, yes we talk all the time and we like each other but we haven’t even kissed… or had a first date!
    Do u think i should tell him now… or wait
    Please help

  13. Blessed

    June 4, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    The heart of a human beign is desperately wicked who shall know it?

    Better keep your greatest secrets to yourself . . .

    Ara l’amo, a o mo’nu

  14. JustThinking

    June 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I think that you should always be HONEST! No head games men. And you can do this and still keep the mystery alive by making sure that you now yourself VERY WELL and you are aware of what level of information giving/receiving you are comfortable with.

    Even when I had not done the deed, any guy that asked me “Are you a virgin” got an EMPHATIC NO but I always followed up with a question of my own which was (and still is) “Why are you asking” (you will be amazed at how much information that answer reveals). If he asks me “How many partners have you had” he gets told that it is frankly none of his business/I don’t want to disclose that information to you yet/ever (depends on if I think I can trust him enough to respect my person). And this is because for me, not only is there no shame in my game … but also my being a virgin or not tells you nothing about how comfortable/uncomfortable I am with my sexuality (which is one of the most important things I look for in a partner).

    The only way you can gauge how much info to spill is by getting to know who the wo/man is. Some people (born again Christians or not) have double-standards while others hold others to the same standard they hold themselves. If you are interested in always being yourself (esp. in your love relationships/marriage) … you will invest the time early in your friendship/courtship to find out how s/he treats others.

    Na the kind wo/man and the kind marriage way you need na him go determine the kind person you go date … not the other way around. You don’t meet a person before deciding for yourself what kind of union/friendship/marriage you need in your life, you decide all that information as you journey through life and then you keep your eyes open for the folks that complement your goals.

    If you need a man who is your partner, your friend, and will always uphold and honor you, you set the standards and let the chips fall where they may. I believe that if you do this, you will not end up with a person who constantly uses information you entrusted them with to get a dig at you. S/He might slip once or twice, in moments of anger, but not always.

  15. JustThinking

    June 4, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I think you should wait till this guy makes his intention clear to say anything. Up till then, and some might say even after that, you have no obligations to tell him what so ever.

    Although I strongly believe that what you did in you past is yours, and your past partner’s, info to discuss as you see fit, I would caution you to make your peace with the potential wahala that might result from having something to do with a guy whose friend you have been with (sexually?).

    Most guys (and even girls self) have not evolved to the level of accepting that. It is a very complicated issue and that is why most people go to great lengths to avoid dating a friend of an ex.

    In addition, I don’t know if you are Nigerian but if you are … You should also be aware of how small our community is and how very quick we can be to pas judgments (esp. on females). You and your friend-whose-friend-you-have-already-been-with-in-the-past might just be talking now but is that what other people will see? How comfortable are you with being the topic of discussion or worse “the-girl-we-all-give-the-side-eye-to-and-tell-our-friends/sisters/brothers-to-stay-away-from”?

    For now it is all innocent between you and your friend-whose-friend-you-have-already-been-with-in-the-past, and it might always be, but seriously …. is it worth it to be “the-girl-we-all-give-the-side-eye-to-and-tell-our-friends/sisters/brothers-to-stay-away-from? For what? For why? For whom?

    At the end of the day, it is your own comfort level that will determine how far you go and how much you tell.

  16. ProudlyNaija

    June 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I concur to the comment made by Suzanna Efiok. A woman should not spill all, an example that comes to mind is that of the former presidents son, Gbenga Obasanjo who told the whole world and all who care to listen of that which his wife told him in confidence. If you have not killed anyone, been to jail, hijacked a plane, then please keep it to yourself. Seriously though if you think it may have an effect on your marriage e.g. a child outside wedlock then ask God for wisdom in telling him/her but please do it at a stage when the guy/girl don kolo for you 100%.

  17. Nneka

    June 7, 2009 at 1:01 am

    I can almost bet it that he knows. Depending on how close they are guys are super loyal to eachother and not as discrete as ladies are with their friends. Don’t say anything for now especially since it sounds like you are in the pre-pre-dating stage (yes! 2 pres). Co’mon, like you said YOU DON”T EVEN KNOW IF THE RELATIONSHIP IS GOING ANYWHERE! Naaa, would be a bad move I’d say. No wisdom in it.

  18. Lh

    June 8, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    any guy that wont love u for who u were,r and will be is not worth ur salt…if u cant be open with him, then why r u with him in the first place?!

  19. olive

    June 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I revealed to my husband all about my exes and stuff…way back when were just friends. And I am now regretting it every single day. He is always bringing up stuff i told him and then he sulks for days!!! For those who are wondering whether to tell all or nothing…Dont Tell. Fullstop.

  20. silva

    July 21, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    true, men hv a way of usin things 4rm d past against us, wyl dey xpect us to just accept watever rubbish dey did b4 in silence. i dn’t tink a woman shld reveal all, see wat gbenga obasanjo did with d info his wife gave him about her dad, granted nt all men are lousy like dat, bt i dn’t thnk a chik shld reveal all. some thins ’bout ur past & ur family shld be secret…

  21. Bussy

    November 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    I think, the earlier u tell him the better it would be. am sure u would not want a situation where ur dating and he then finds out from another source about ur previous rel. with his friend. This would probably hurt him and bruise his ego, at that point,the trust begins to drop or even worse a break up.Let him know what he is getting into.

  22. Linda Lopez

    November 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Abeg, no tell all o! It’s not d same when a woman does it cuz then we’re looked down upon by dis whores who call themselves “men.” Yes! I said it. Men could be whores as well.

  23. sola

    December 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I bet with you,Guys don’t worth it,You tell them now and they will later spit it back at you.Infact i hate meeting guys.I’ve done it twice and they’ve done the same thing.So pls no tell them oooooooo.Dem no deserve am

  24. Tira

    December 6, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Being truthful brings trouble and on the otherhand not being truthful brings much more trouble. so i would say, please keep your secret till when the space is there.
    I once told one of the ex-boyfriends dat i since i lost my virginity i have not had sex till date and i told him i wont have sex till i get married,he was happy but he kept talking about it. and demanding for sex at the same time. i would rather keep my stuffs to myself. like they say what you dont know wont harm you

  25. DD

    December 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    There are some past that need to be told if the need be and there are this UGLY ONES you need to keep to urselves ladies cos no man can afford to bear it when they listen to dat story of urs even if he loves u. we all are humans and someday we must visit that story.

  26. Sarah

    December 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I tink u shud tell him besides it happened in d past and if he truely loves u, he ll accept u back at ur worst n if he doesnt, dat means he doesnt deserve u at ur best.

  27. omotoke

    June 4, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    im confused o, isn’t love supposed to cover for everything else? a man shd love his woman IRRESPECTIVE of her past. her present ‘good’ ways shd make him care less about her past. dats y its called PAST. A man who digs too much abt a woman’s past isnt real, if u ask me……..how abt dealing wit the present

  28. umukohwoarhien

    October 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Its different strokes for different folks. Am engaged now and at first I gave out as little info as possible and somewhere along the line he started asking questions and since I knew he was bound to find out I spilled the whole thing on our engagement trip its not like it was a huge sin compared to what he has committed before he met me now all I spilled is causing a rift between us and I am on the fence cos I might not marry him eventually. I mean what do they actually want from us.

  29. lola

    October 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Me, I aint telling nuffing!

  30. commy

    November 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    actually,i hav my own past,but i wont review all past to my guy because he might wake up one day to use them against me,becos they pretend as if they lv u sincely,but when the time comes,dey use all u told them to abuse u.

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