Wondering or having concerns about your partner's past is pretty normal, so what should you do if you're feeling that way? Dorell says that "honesty with a touch of diplomacy" is the way to go.
"Why do you want to know?" Dorell says you should ask yourself. "Why are you concerned? Is it a gut feeling or are you feeling insecure? It's important to check in with yourself before you have the conversation."
When you feel up for having a conversation, Dorell says you can start the discussion with a simple "I'm curious about X — what do you feel comfortable sharing?"
"Or better yet, you can lead with sharing something personal about your past and then invite them to share back," Dorell says. "The key is to never make them feel like they have to be on the defensive."
If you've been with your partner for a long time and learn something about their past that feels concerning, Dorell says it's important not to jump to conclusions.
"Consider the source of where you found out the information and how important it really is to you now," Dorell advises. "If it's a deal-breaker issue, then bring it up. Otherwise, let it go."
And what if learning about your partner's past has left you feeling a little jealous? Dorell says it's important to "recognize that it's your own insecurities."
"Your partner is not responsible for your emotions — only you are," Dorell says. "So instead of seeking validation [or] approval from them, focus on yourself and all the wonderful qualities you bring to the relationship. Ask a friend about your best qualities. Focus on you. It's okay to feel whatever you feel, but remember — they are with you now."
At the end of the day, Dorell says that your trust in your partner and how it relates to their past goes back to knowing yourself and your needs.
"It all goes back to knowing what you can and cannot deal with when it comes to someone's past," Dorell says. "No one is perfect. You have a past too. And there are always going to be things that we aren't proud of, but what matters is how you've let those past choices shape who you are today and how you show up for your partner today."
As Dorell explains, making mistakes and going through bad things in our past can ultimately have a positive effect in the end.
"Sometimes we have to go through really tough times in the past to appreciate the present and be the best partner," Dorell says. "There are no accidents!"
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