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What You Need to Know About Your Partner's Past Relationships

No, we're not recommending that you stalk your partner's exes. But there are certain details of your partner's past relationships that you need to know before walking down the aisle.

Given the fact that people tend to get married later than generations before, it’s only natural that we have more serious past relationships under our belt before settling down. This is generally a good thing, as we can learn more about what we do and don’t want in a significant other. It gives us the chance to test the dating waters before settling on one person to spend the rest of our days with. There are some negatives, however. It might kill you to imagine the hard, cold fact that the love of your life was once totally in love with someone else. While we’re certainly not recommending that you replay scenes of their love affair over and over again in your head, it’s not a bad idea to broach the topic now and then with your S.O. The more you know about his or her past romantic affairs is not always better, but you should know certain things.

Keep reading to find out what’s worth knowing about your love’s past relationships.

Why they broke up

Did they split amicably or was it a messy break up? This might matter for you down the line should your relationship ever come to an end. If cheating had anything to do with why they split, and it was your S.O.’s fault, you need to know. “One cheating breach of trust episode can be repaired and amended, but a history of multiple cheating episodes is a sign of a bigger issue,” warns Fran Walfish, Psy.D., Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent.

How they dealt with conflict

Whether you just started seriously dating your partner or you’ve been together for years, you may already have an idea of how he or she tends to deal with conflict. Some people like to address it head-on while others tend to be more passive. How your partner solved communication issues and arguments with his or her past romantic partners might be a looking glass into how he or she will handle them with you. “You need to know from their past relationships that you have a willing participant in open communication without defensive postures,” says Walfish. “You want to know that your partner has self-examination skills and a capacity for accountability who won’t always blame you for problems that arise.”

If they ever had any STDs

Assuming your partner was sexually active with his or her ex, it’s worth inquiring whether or not he or she was exposed to any STDs during past relationships. While some, such as chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis are curable, others such as herpes, hepatitis B, HIV and HPV are incurable, meaning they’ll stay with you for life. “Both of you have a right to know up front what kind of health you are in and if there is anything to be concerned with a past partner,” says Audrey Hope, celebrity relationship in Los Angeles, California.

If they owe anyone money

Whatever the reason might be, if your significant other is making payments to an ex, you should know about it, especially if the two of you are considering getting married and fusing your bank accounts. “This info is vital because as you embark in a legal relationship, you are now responsible as one,” says Hope. “His or her debt and money troubles becomes yours, so you should be fully aware of what you’re getting into.”

Whether your S.O. has regrets

Is your partner totally over his or her ex? While you probably don’t want to ask this question flat-out, it doesn’t hurt to do some investigative digging. You deserve to understand how the relationship fizzled out. By learning this from your partner you can gauge a sense of how he or she feels about how it ended. Does he or she have regrets? “This give you a sense of how much self-reflection your S.O. does and how much responsibility they are willing to take when you have relationship problems,” says Julienne B. Derichs, LCPC in Highwood, Illinois.