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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question
Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Is it ok to discuss past relationships with a boyfriend of

Customer Question

Is it ok to discuss past relationships with a boyfriend of over 4 monts (even if the relationships were disasters)? This happened over the weekend. My boyfriend was asking questions, and I was open and honest about past relationship and why they didn't work, etc. (I have been divorced for 10 years and haven't remarried, yet ;)
Now I'm wondering if that was a good idea and am afraid he will judge me as a result (past boyfriend was a drug user and I stuck around to help him, etc.).
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 3 years ago.
Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your question

Dr. Z :

Typically 4 months is not too soon to be discussing past relationships at all. This is a normal process to talk about your past relationships and what you have experienced

Dr. Z :

After 4 months of being together this is quite common to discuss these issues

Dr. Z :

May I ask, why are you specifically concerned? Did he react in an unusual manner?

Customer:

One of the reasons I'm concerned is because my girlfriend made a comment that I shouldn't have (not that it would be a reflection on me, but that it would show that I will put up with anything). I do value her opionion.

Customer:

The other reason....I tend to think he is judgemental...so now I am worrying that he will think less of me that I would put up with something like that...as if I'm a pushover...I did notice he seemed a little distant the past couple of days, but that could be me overthinking...

Dr. Z :

Well I can understand you concern, but being that you stuck with your ex-boyfriend who was a drug user also shows that you are compassionate. Now your boyfriend may be a judgmental person, but usually the norm is to discuss past relationships at this time frame so that you both get to know each other better. How he reacts though is on him

Dr. Z :

There is nothing wrong with bringing up past relationships and explaining why those relationships did not work out, this is perfectly natural at this stage in your relationship

Customer:

ok--he didn't seem to react in a strange way. I just noticed he seemed not as "available" (could be work...this does happen, and again, it could be me overreacting because of being hurt in the past...which I'm aware that I need to let go, and that part is my problem).

Customer:

ok--that is good to know....thought it was "too much, too soon" type of thing....

Dr. Z :

Most likely it is you over thinking because you are anxious/worried about what you said and also because of your past history of being hurt. I do not believe it was too soon in your relationship to bring these topics of past relationships up with your current boyfriend

Customer:

okay...I just wish I could control being anxious/worried...that's just something I need to work on

Dr. Z :

Well it does take time to control that anxiety/worry, but I can show you some good techniques to help with this. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most evidence based therapy to treat anxiety/worry. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.

Dr. Z :

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

Dr. Z :

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen anxiety/worry symptoms. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Dr. Z :

And also these two books are good too as they contain more treatment techniques to help you

Dr. Z :

So with these techniques you would be able to control your anxiety and worry and help you think more objectively about the situation

Customer:

it's bascially teaching you to change your perspective?

Customer:

It's bascially teaching you to put things in a different perspective?

Dr. Z :

Exactly like that

Customer:

Looking at links now...

Dr. Z :

No problem, let me know if you have any questions or concerns

Customer:

ok..

Dr. Z :

Was there anything else I can assist you with today?

Dr. Z :

Well I am assuming that you are away from your computer currently, but when you get back online and want to continue this discussion, please feel free to reply in the chat box.