Ask Wendy

How Much Should I Say About My Ex?

Friday, June 16, 2017
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Hi Wendy,

I’m dating this guy and I like him a lot. He’s asked me what happened with my previous marriage. I started to tear up as I talked about it and he could see I was about to cry going back over the memories and events. I really think I made him feel bad.

The divorce was very hard for me, nine years and he drifted away because of how much we worked away from each other (military). I don’t think I'll ever be over him but each day gets more manageable. So, what do I tell this guy without giving off this vibe that he will be second place?

Hey dater,

I don’t usually dole out advice to wait to date, but in your case, you may want to step back and ask yourself if it’s time or if it’s too early for you to put your heart out there. Right now, it sounds like your heart’s kinda not in your possession—your ex is still holding onto it.

If you continue to date this guy, I recommend you not say anything more about your ex for a minute. Being in “good working order” for dating means you’re not heartbroken beyond words and you’re able to tell a story about a past partner without crying.

Here’s something you can try now to help get you there: Craft an elevator pitch. This is a quick two-liner you can say to anyone you date that doesn’t rely on revealing too much information, and more importantly doesn’t dredge up emotions and cause you to cry. Try, “I was married for nine years and we divorced for valid reasons. I’ll tell you all about it when I know you better.” Remember that the “know you better” part only happens when you can be 100% present with them and when your past is actually in your past.

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