The longer you’re with a partner or get to know a potential partner, the more you will discover about their past. Even though you know the past is the best predictor of things to come, people do change. So, it’s important to note the past and look for clues that they have changed since then, or not.
Haven’t you done things in the past, that have taught you valuable lessons? Haven’t you changed since then? We all learn lessons from mistakes and sometimes their effects are life-changing.
Sometimes people do not learn the lessons and continue to make the same mistakes over and over. That’s why you must keep your wits about you and be observant enough to see if your partner has changed. Even so, you need to know that he or she is not likely to have a relapse.
You want to look for patterns that repeat themselves.
How they talk about their ex may be a clue about what you may be facing. If they have nothing good to say, chances are when they are done with you, they will have nothing good to say about you.
On the other hand, if they are transparent about the things that went wrong and the part that they played in a past relationship, this is a good sign the next relationship (potentially yours) may benefit from the lessons they learned from their past relationship.
If they intimate details about physical abuse in their former relationship (even if they make it sound like a joke) this may be something to take note of. If it looks like he or she loses his or her cool and has a tendency to fly-off-the-handle, this may indicate trouble down the road. You might want to think about ways to protect yourself or avoid the situation altogether.
You will never have to tolerate and abuse in any relationship. Thankfully, in our modern day and age (unlike in the days of our grandparents) you can simply opt out or an abusive relationship and move on.
Some things that you learn about your partner may feel like a bigger deal than they are because of fear, jealousy, or deeply buried wounds that you’ve collected over time. Do not make your potential or current partner pay the price for someone else’s sins.
You might get a twinge of fear or are emotionally triggered because an ex- had more previous partners than you and moved on too quickly for your taste and hurt you in the process. That doesn’t mean that everyone who has had a lot of partners in the past isn’t going to love you incredibly. If you think you’ll have a tendency to overreact, best just let it be.
Be careful about the questions you ask, and if you don’t like the answers, try not to be too judgmental if you don’t get the answers you expected. Allow your partner to have the available bandwidth to be honest without feeling that the (potential) relationship might be put at risk for the sake of openness and honesty.
What if your partner had a checkered past or a previous occupation or vocation which might be questionable? You might jump to the conclusion that such a person might be untrustworthy. Not necessarily. Being able to be open and honest about your past is a key ingredient in successful relationships. And like it or not, people are not just simple two-dimensional beings. They grow, change, and evolve if given the opportunity. Some more successfully than others, but it happens all the time.
It’s very rare that anyone stays exactly the same all their life, though some are consistently predictable much of the time.
When you’re talking about the past, you can get furious about exes. You can ask (maybe start by telling something about your’s first, a bit of quid pro quo) but be careful not to confuse that twinge of insecurity for your intuition. It’s a common mistake that anyone could make.
It could rob you of any potential you and your partner might have had. Keep your fears in check.
Trust is the most important thing between you. If you want it, you must think about giving it first. Set the example and given the opportunity your partner will rise to your level of trust.
You need to figure out what you can and can not tolerate. This is your life.
Love like it’s the only thing that matters because it is.