“Is it OK to talk a little bit about your past relationships on a first date? I just got out of a 5-year relationship and I’ve grown a lot as a man since I started dating my ex. How do I answer this question if it’s brought up?”
Ah… the ole “past relationships” question! I can totally understand why you would ask this. On one hand, we are told never to bring our baggage into a new relationship. Start fresh. But then, our past experiences, both good and bad have made us what we are today. So we have to acknowledge that we all come from somewhere and that (most of us) have a prior dating history.
One of the things I have learned both from coaching and dating in my own life is sort of a contradiction. Be honest. But not too honest! I know, easy, right!
Let’s put it this way. If you ate at a restaurant and you didn’t have a good experience and someone asks your opinion and you say, “God! It was horrible! They didn’t have our reservation, the service sucked and my food was overcooked.” How is that going to be perceived? They will sense that you may be a glass half-empty person and are full of some vitriol.
Now if you answered, “Eh, it wasn’t the best place I’ve ever eaten. I was curious about it and it was interesting to experience it, but I think I’ll look for some new places to eat.” You got the same sentiment across, but it doesn’t come from a negative place.
When asked about your past (which she shouldn’t do unless you are further along in the relationship, but **shrugs** it’ll happen), be honest, but honest in the way that brought you to your NOW. “I was lucky enough to find someone to spend some years together with. It didn’t work out but I learned a lot and feel like I’ve grown up. Now I know what I definitely do and don’t want out of a relationship.”
You’ve diffused the “bomb” and still sound like a positive, interesting person who is ready to move forward!