When it comes to relationships, one topic that seems to constantly be debated is how much you should tell your partner. With regards to your past – is it best to tell your partner the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Is it necessary for him/her to know the worst things you have done, every mistake, regret etc? Or is it better to keep certain things from your partner, especially if that was part of a chapter in your life that is now dead and gone?
Granted, honesty is a necessary factor needed to build successful and long-lasting relationships, but how honest should you actually be?
The younger me- when I believed in the Disney kind of love would say the whole truth and nothing but the truth! After all, one of the main requirements of truly loving someone is to accept them for who they are 100% – warts and all. However, the older I get the more I realize that the notion of the truth setting you free isn’t so simple.
I asked some friends and family members for their thoughts on this, and I got a varied mix of answers, like:
“Be honest to a certain extent, not everyone can handle the truth.”
“Tell the truth, but don’t offer information if you don’t have to.”
“I’d prefer my partner to tell me everything that could possibly come out as some point.”
“I don’t like surprises, so it’s better I hear about my partner’s skeletons from them rather than someone else.”
One of my favourite and most politically correct answers came from my mother who said rather cryptically “Tell your partner everything, but with caution’. ” (Erm what exactly does that mean mum??)
There are certain things that you should obviously tell your partner without them asking – important things like if you’ve been married before, gone to jail, have children with someone else etc. Basically anything that is necessary for them to know now or anything that is very likely to come out. Most of the people I asked did say that it’s an easier pill to swallow if their partner tells them the not so good news about their past as opposed to hearing it from someone else. There’s no definite answer, but each answer is clearly down to what you and your partner consider important or ‘need to know’ information.
For example, ladies imagine this scenario, you’ve been dating a guy for about a year – everything is going well, and your future together looks very promising. Then randomly you find out through a friend of a friend that he was violent towards an ex-girlfriend. You’ll probably be in shock, because this is the first time you’ve heard something like this about him. You eventually decide to confront him about it, and he admits that it’s true. He explains that it happened many years ago – just once and it’s something that he deeply regretted. He did his best to make amends and has never lost control or been in a similar situation since then.
If this was you, would you be able to accept that this is something that happened in his past and that he is no longer that person? And more importantly, is this incident something that he should have told you about? If I was in that situation, I would want to know from him first rather than hear it from someone else.
According to some of the people I spoke to about this, sometimes it’s best to keep certain things from your partner. A friend of mine had been dating someone for about 6 months and got to a point where she thought it best to confess ALL about her sexual past. A few busy bodies had told him about one or two people that she had dated casually, and he asked her about it. She had fallen heavily for this guy, and had hoped that he would be able to trust her completely if she told him about her past without holding back. So she told him EVERYTHING, as in she gave names and situations (if they just hooked up once or whatever). Although her past wasn’t that scandalous, the ‘total-confession moment’ was the beginning of the end for them. He couldn’t let it go, and he would bring up her past and throw it in her face during every argument. She had to cut all ties with the people she had mentioned during her ‘confession’ and anytime he heard any of their names from her or anyone, it was a brand new argument. They eventually split up, and she later told me that in retrospect she would have kept some things to herself.
As much as you would want to have a solid trusting relationship with your partner, you must ask yourself if they can handle knowing EVERYTHING about you, and in turn can you? Some things will definitely come out at some point, and dealing with that situation could strengthen or irrevocably damage your relationship. So do you give your partner information about your past on a strictly need to know basis or do you come clean and tell them the TRUTH and NOTHING BUT THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH about your past to possibly avoid any surprises and hope they completely accept you for who you are now?
What do you think?
ToolzO is an award-winning on-air personality who currently presents ‘The Midday Show with Toolz’ on the Beat 99.9FM and the Juice for NdaniTV. You can find out more about Toolz by visiting www.ToolzO.net