Rule #34- Opening Up the Archives

via Adam Jones, Ph.D.

via Adam Jones, Ph.D.

A while back I was on a date; it was going well and I had just ordered my second beer. The chemistry was good, and for a change I was starting to enjoy myself. Soon I was lulled into a false sense of security, otherwise known as flowing conversation.

When out of nowhere came the following: “So, when was your last serious relationship and why did it end?”

Me, trying not to splutter my beer very inelegantly all over my date, and mumbling something about not wanting to talk about it.

I might be wrong about this (yes, that does happen sometimes!) but I firmly believe that the EX files need to stay shut, at least for the first few dates.

Rules for Dredging Up Your Past:

1. This conversation is bound to come up, the question is just when. There really is no good time to talk about your past failed relationships, there are just worse times (like first dates, or during/after sex).

If it comes up, let it, and be honest about why things ended.

2. Don’t badmouth, curse, or rant about your ex! Worst move ever; it just makes you seem a little petty. (Not to mention that there were probably some good things that made you two stay together for so long.)

Avoid sentences like; “That cheating bastard, speaking of cheating bastards, if you ever try anything like that, I’ll lop off your…” – well, you get the picture.

3. That said, there is no need for praise either. It will just make your date feel uncomfortable.

4. Try not to talk about your ex all the time. It may give the wrong impression that you aren’t over them (are you?).

Don’t say things like: “I don’t know where that lamp is from, my ex chose all the furniture”, or “ooo that reminds me of that one time we went hiking and…” Just rethink those kind of stories. 

We all have a past, and we are well aware of the fact that the person we are dating has one as well. But there really is no need to constantly reminisce about it. Mainly, because the last thing you want to do is make your present feel awkward, or give them the feeling that things aren’t quite over emotionally between you and your ex. 

At some point, when you both feel cozy, snug, and secure in the relationship it will probably be a non-issue, but until that point, just get through the mandatory “so we dated for five years, and before that there was…”, and stay away from the ten hour analytic speech about why it ended because of his fear of commitment.


  1. I’ve been with my wife for 6 years now and just recently she told me about a threesome she had with a friend and her friends husband. My wife introduced me to this couple shortly after we met but but never told me about their threesome. My wife has always been honest with me about her permiscous past and I don’t feel like I have any reason not to trust her. This particular disclosure has bothered me though for some reason and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.

  2. Such a good post, and a lot of these things we do without realizing the consequences. When you feel bitter about an ex, it’s easy to describe an ex in a bitter tone. It’s even easier to accidentally bring an ex into the conversation. I think this convo should definitely be saved for when a relationship is getting more serious, it’s NOT a first date topic. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Hahaha! The photograph that you chose as the reactionary face to the man’s “SO… When was your last relationship” question made me LOL because I was concurrently flaunting the same face after reading the question!!! :D

  4. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I really enjoyed this post. It made me laugh a bit, too. In the case of my current boyfriend, we had been together about a month when I came up to town for his 26th birthday. Rather awkwardly, his ex girlfriend (still friends with our current flatmate) ended up at the party. I knew who she was of course. Just tried to be nice. But hilarity ensued :P

  5. nice post you have here…great article..for sure a lot of people can relate with this post.. (I’m one of it)…its quite and indeed true..based in my experienced before (I guess)..well anyway thanks for sharing this notions..

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