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Asking your partner about their recent or past relationship is a way to satisfy the curiosity you have about their past life. Different people act differently to the question. That is why this is a controversial topic. However, there are reasons why to and why not ask these kinds of questions, especially if it's a potential partner.

Down to a new relationship, everything is roses and flowers, and love is renting the air. You will be curious about your partner's past life before you came in. You will want to know if they've dated before and how their old relationship was. You will be curious about what led to their breaking up with their old partner. Is this important? Being curious is one thing, but going the extra mile to ask them these questions is different. It's often believed that the past should stay in the past. However, depending on your partner, it can be cool to ask about their past relationship, but this will not apply in all cases. The last thing you want is to piss off your partner by talking about their ex.

Leave The Past In The Past

The person you want to date or started dating has been dating someone before you. Their relationship history might not sound that important since they are already getting over them, and like you are looking for a new partner, they are too. However, knowing about their past relationship is not all that bad and can help you greatly in the future as you will know what you are dealing with. Consider asking only genuine questions about their past relationship, and there is no need for details not unless they are willing to share. It is not advisable to ask about their sexual past, like their body count, as this can be a major turn-off to a potential partner. Here are some things you need to know if you must ask about their previous relationship.

Marital History

Not everyone will fall under this bracket, but you must find out since Marriage is a huge commitment. The other thing is that if they are divorced, keep in mind that divorce comes with crucial baggage. However, not all divorce baggage is negative. Your partner was ready to settle with that person, and a part of their partner will remain with them. The baggage might vary from parenting responsibilities, financial commitment, or the death of their partner. however, if your partner has not yet settled, it is easier and better for you.

Friends History

Consider knowing your partner’s friends. Many may brush this off since it may not seem important. The world is round and seems to be so small nowadays you might find out that your partner knows the same people you do. The last thing you want is to be introduced to his ex and find out that they are your friend. This is not a common instance, although it can happen. Ensure you ask about your partner’s past relationship.

Commitment History

According to Hoff (2003), you need to know about your potential partner's commitment history if you are looking for a long-term relationship. You also don't want to be the first person this person has dated when you are in your twenties. This can be hectic, keeping in mind that experience is the best teacher, and they might be a lot to handle. Determine how long your potential partner has been in a commitment and how long their relationships had lasted before you came into the picture.

Benefits Of Asking Your Partner About Their Ex

For Emotional Availability

Dating requires a lot of work and this is especially if a partner wants something that their partner doesn't have. According to John & Gross (2004), you can be dating, but your partner is not emotionally available, which can be unhealthy for you. You should know that your partner's ex might still be in the picture, which may be why your partner is emotionally unavailable. This conversation might be uncomfortable for your partner, but it is important if you are looking for something long-term. You don't want to hurt in the future because your partner is into their Ex and they are still emotionally attached. You must know about their ex, and their reaction will tell a lot. Ensure to be keen.

For Emotional Intelligence

This is the ability to recognize and manage one's own emotions and others' emotions. This trait can well experiment through the topic of an ex. There is a reason why they are their ex. Your partner is emotionally intelligent if they can tolerate this topic and act fine with you asking. Ensure to pay attention to how they react when they bring up the topic and their willingness to talk about it. They can control their emotions and yours if they are okay with it. An emotionally intelligent partner will save you from trouble and heartbreak in the future.

To Understand Each Other's Triggers.

You must know or have an idea of what led to the break up of your partner and their ex, as Brenner & Vogel (2015) suggested. You will know what triggers them. It was a behavior that your partner hates or something that their ex did that pissed them off to break up. However, don't pry too much on their past relationship since this may turn them off. Consider having a conversation than fighting with them. Learn about the triggers to understand how to manage them in the future.

Personal Growth Perception

There is no proven link between personal growth and relationship success. Relationships are always meant to grow each other as partners. The success of a relationship is also based on the ability of both parties to manage conflicts and overcome adversity. Going from one relationship to another poses a new challenge, and you grow through experience. Knowing about your new partner's past relationship is important to understand whether they learned from the experience.

Factors To Consider

Do You Have Any Right To Know?

This is a crucial question and what probably has got you puzzled. You have no right to inquire about your partner's past. You can be curious and maybe ask, but whether they want to share or not is up to them. Remember that they don't owe you any explanations of what happened in the past.

You Have No Right To Judge Them.

They are building trust if your potential partner opens up to you. You have no right to judge them from the things that happened or the things they did in their past relationship. According to D’Argembeau et al. (2008), a person’s past is not a reflection of who they are in the present; leave the past in the past. This is why it's not advisable to be too concerned about their past relationship. You will be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Would You Be Comfortable With The Questions Yourself?

Put yourself in their position and ask yourself whether you want them to probe into your past. You should not demand any information from them as they should not from you. Relationships are about equality, and it's a give-take situation.

Past Issues Aren’t A Reflection Of Future Issues.

Everybody is liable to change, and we do so occasionally. If there is something wrong that your partner did, then this doesn't necessarily mean that they will repeat it in the future. Let's say someone cheated on their previous relationship, and this should not be a reason to lush them out just yet. You need to give them a chance and see whether they've changed.

Is Asking Considered A Bad Sign

The issue of judgment often factors in questions about one's past. This may not happen in rare cases, but you will often be hit by thoughts of judgment about the person. Asking about your partner's past also puts them in a weird position, and they may not be honest with you. This may also change the ambiance and the relationship between the two of you. Asking is alarming, and if you can, it's better that you don't ask your potential partner about their past.


Whether you should ask your partner about their past relationships is only up to you. Considering the benefits and factors above, you can weigh whether you must ask what you know about your new partner's past. Everybody is different and whether they are to open up or not is also their choice. Keep in mind that they don't owe you any explanation about their past.


Brenner, R.

E., & Vogel, D. L. (2015). Measuring Thought Content Valence After A Breakup: Development Of The Positive And Negative Ex-Relationship Thoughts (PARENT) Scale. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 62(3), 476.

D’Argembeau, A., Feyers, D., Majerus, S., Collette, F., Van Der Linden, M., Maquet, P., & Salmon, E. (2008). Self-Reflection Across Time: Cortical Midline Structures Differentiate Between Present And Past Selves. Social Cognitive And Affective Neuroscience, 3(3), 244-252.

Hoff, G. (2003). Power And Love: Sadomasochistic Practices In Long-Term Committed Relationships. California Institute Of Integral Studies.John, O. P., & Gross, J. J. (2004). Healthy And Unhealthy Emotion Regulation: Personality Processes, Individual Differences, And Life Span Development. Journal Of Personality, 72(6), 1301-1334.