Things you should never reveal to a partner

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By Rory Gibson

It’s not rocket science. Honesty and communication are the glue that will ensure a good relationship just gets better. But is total honesty really a standard to aspire to? Are there not things you should keep to yourself, even when pressed by your lover?

The answers are a resounding no, and an emphatic yes. Look, some things are hard to hide or shouldn’t be kept secret even if you wanted them to be, like all those years you spent in prison or the fact that you’re scheduled for a gender-reassignment operation in a month’s time. They fall in the need-to-know category.

Mentioning that you had been married before, and married before that, might be useful. Children? Definitely throw them in the information mix. If you’ve got any weird relatives, better get them front of mind before they spring any surprises.

On the flip side, I don’t think you need to tell your new squeeze that you’re a train spotter just yet, or that you’re distantly related to Ivan Milat. And declaring an interest in blood sports like hunting or politics can be kept as a pleasant surprise down the track.

But there’s one thing you should never reveal – your sexual past. Make no mistake, you’ll be interrogated about it but it is not in your interests to be honest about it. Unless you’re a virgin, that is. In which case tell all if you wish, but even then you run the risk of being branded a liar, so probably still best to reveal nothing.

It is a rare person indeed who isn’t curious about their partner’s amorous past, and the questions will arise eventually. Don’t buckle in a misguided desire to be totally honest. On this issue, either exercise your right to silence or at least lie by omission.

Past relationships are generally irrelevant to what the future holds for you in a new one. It shouldn’t matter what you’ve done with whom before.

But the fact is it does.

For a man there are pitfalls aplenty. Tell a new partner about your previous girlfriends and at some point you’ll be asked to make comparisons. Show photographs maybe.

“What was Charlotte like?”

“Why did you break up with Maude?”

And this one should have a warning light flashing … “Jane is pretty isn’t she?”

Before you know it, in the middle of a row, you’ll be accused of wanting to get back together with your ex, Candy, because she has nice breasts or you’ll be emotionally thrashed because you went on a holiday to the Maldives with Celine but you’ve only been to the Gold Coast with the new flame.

Fellas, I recommend saying you went out with your high school sweetheart (they’re acceptable) for a while, and after that you were just wandering in the wilderness for years until your new girlfriend rescued you from the misery of being single. Do not waiver from this story.

But men don’t have it nearly as bad as women do when it comes to unfair judgements about their previous sensual adventures.

Here is a rule of thumb: it doesn’t matter how many women a man has slept with, he will consider any lovers you’ve had other than him to be too many.

It is crazy that, even in this modern world of sexual freedom, men are granted a nod of admiration for being a player but women are still regarded as promiscuous if their number slips into double figures.

Sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox is adamant you should not reveal your sexual history.

“I don’t think it’s a question anyone should answer,” she says.

“The reason why is this: numbers mean nothing without knowing the circumstances. Reducing your sexual history to a number doesn’t work.”

To illustrate her point she drew on some research she did for one of her books.

“I interviewed two women, both were around 30. The first had slept with 26 men and the second with four.

“No prizes for guessing which girl would be judged the harshest by a partner.”

But when she dug deeper, Tracey found that the circumstances around how those women acquired their lovers told a different story.

“The girl who’d had 26 lovers had averaged around two lovers a year since she was 17 and been mainly single,” reveals Tracey.

“The girl who’d slept with eight men put four of those notches in the bedpost during one resort holiday (a weekend actually) while her then-husband stayed home and looked after the kids.

“Now what do you think?”

She says people will judge you no matter what answer you give when asked about past lovers and the assumption they make is usually wrong.

“Which is why I don’t care who’s doing the asking – whether it’s your partner, mother, best friend or beauty therapist – your answer to how many lovers you’ve had is no answer.

Do you agree with Tracey? Are there some things you should never reveal to your partner? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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