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Opening the Ex Files

I have a three date curse. Without fail. Every third date. He opens the Ex Files.

If I knew exactly how the conversation steered in that general direction I’d have come up with a diversionary tactic by now, but they generally tend to start with, “So I feel like I should tell you about…”. My response? “No really, you don’t have to. Totally unnecessary. Honestly. Don’t talk. How good is this wine/food/view?”. Which always somehow manages to fall on deaf ears…

It is just me, or is opening the ex-files on the third date too much too soon? Actually, anytime to open the ex-files is too much too soon for me. I’ve always been of the opinion that if there’s nothing from your previous relationships (property/finances or custody of children/pets) in your present, then you shouldn’t be introducing it to your future. If he’s a seemingly well adjusted, happy guy who is open to a new relationship and he’s learnt whatever it is those past relationships taught him about having a successful future relationship, that’s all that counts.

But what if there are things from past relationships that need to be shared and laid bare? Then go ahead, by all means tell me about your adorable children/labrador or how the house you bought and renovated together is on the market and should sell any day now…

But then when it comes to talking about your ex, it’s all about the tone you use. If he’s snarling or using words of contempt, calling her/her family crazy, and just generally being negative I can’t help but hear warning bells, as when it’s a negative passion, it’s still passion which means there are feelings that he’s still not over. Girls, heed my advice: run away, don’t walk. Immediately.

However, if he’s calm when he talks about it and resolved to the fact that his experiences have made him stronger and more clear about what he’s looking for in a future relationship and he wishes his exes well (heck, he might even stop and say a brief hello if he randomly ran into them in the street), keep an open mind and let the juicy tidbits flow. You never know what you might find out about him as a person about how he handles himself and deals with his emotions, which is of course a huge factor in knowing your emotional compatibility with someone.

Now, I’m all for being open and honest especially in the early stages of dating, but by not sharing or divulging all the gory past relationship details are you in fact lying? Or is it just sharing information on a needs to know basis? And what is the best time to open up the Ex Files?

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2 thoughts on “Opening the Ex Files

  1. It sounds like one is a little damned if they do, damned if they don’t when dating you in this situation ;)

    I believe above all, authenticity is the key. We all have our stories, experience, baggage and opinions. Some people will tell you this information and it will feel right, comfortable and appropriate whilst the next person will have you gagging on your sushi.

    I don’t believe there is a global solution for this. Remember that how you ‘hear’ and interpret what they are saying is largely based on how you see the world and what you’re looking to hear.

    Just perhaps the reason you’re hearing the things you are is based on your experiences more than theirs. So my question is, what relationships have you had in the past where you didn’t properly close/complete an ex relationship?

    There will never be ‘perfection’ (as it’s subjective) but rather congruence in relationships. My reply is to just be a bit more open and really listen to what they’re saying and why they’re saying it rather than looking for reasons to make a ruling about them. Dating isn’t a corporate timeline/process. It’s a winding trail and just maybe the guy who is wearing his heart on his sleeve who you’re quick to judge is in fact the very thing that would suit you best.

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