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#13766 - 01/21/04 09:04 AM Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Em Offline

Registered: 01/19/04
Posts: 38
Loc: North East Ohio
I have a question about how much to tell women that i've had relationships with that were greatly affected by my past. I'm just now starting the recovery process. I've hurt girls by my behavior, control issues, sabotaging, pushing away, withdrawl etc.. I have a strong desire to share some of my past with them so that they are left with an understanding of why things were the way they were. I'm not thinking about contacting people out of the blue. But the girl i most recently had a relationship/freindship with and my longest relationship that ended years ago. Both girls have been in my life to some small degree in recent months. Is this a good idea, or is this a moment of distorted thinking?

My intent is to put those relationships in the proper context of my life. Most of what I blamed them for and most of my deep pain i was left with from those relationships were more about me and my past then the circumstances involved with those women. I don't know. I could use some 2nd opinions on this. Thanks.

#13767 - 01/21/04 03:29 PM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
survive75 Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 304
Loc: Massachusetts
I don't think it's a bad idea to remedy what you can of the past so that they can have some peace of mind and you can too. But do what you feel comfortable doing and only disclose what you feel okay disclosing about your abuse.



"Even though I know/I don’t want to know/Yeah I guess I know/I just hate how it sounds"

#13768 - 01/21/04 05:23 PM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Sinking Offline

Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 577
Loc: Took my ball and went home.
Like Sean said, be careful what you share and pay attention to your comfort level. Think about what you want to say before you say it. Think about where this should take place, for both of you to be comfortable. I think it's a good idea. Once I let out my secret, I decided that it makes no sense to keep any secrets anymore and I feel cleaner because of it, despite the fact that, in some cases, it has backfired on me. Be aware of that possibilty too. They may not be as understanding as you'd hope them to be, but you will have cleansed yourself and offered them an explanation that they probably deserve. Good luck, don't rush into anything and prepare yourself as best you can.

#13769 - 01/21/04 11:34 PM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 1984
Loc: Flint, Michigan
Hello Em,

First and foremost keep yourself safe and comfortable without endangering others.

Hiding your past from your gfs, while they are being affected by it, only confuses and hurts them. I know the affects of my SA have hurt the relationships I have had, thus I am single and alone today.

Let them know about your SA. At the appropiate times and at the level you are comfortable with. This definately isn't first date material. You don't need to give them all the nitty gritty details. An "I was sexually assualted" is a start. Fill in the details as you feel comfortable and the need arises, to address the concerns of the both of you.

Take care,

Pain is Temporary; Quitting lasts Forever. - Lance Armstrong

#13770 - 01/22/04 05:24 AM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
scarman Offline

Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 74
Loc: London On Canada
I told my Ex wife via a note after we had split up. I said in the note that I didn't want to ever talk about it with her, but felt that she deserved to know why I am the way I am. I'm glad I did. It helped me put some closure on my failed marriage. So, yes I do think it is a good idea to let your past partners know why you are the way you are. But, as the others have said, be carefull as to how much info you are willing to let out. Think well before you speek on this....


scarman stands for the tatoos I have, and also the emotional scars I've accumulated from my past.

#13771 - 01/22/04 03:29 PM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA

Be sure you know what kinds of responses you are willing and able to accept from them. I have thought about the few relationships I had before meeting my wife, and whether it would make sense to let those women know about the "hidden baggage" I had. I have no desire for any rekindled relationships. I love my wife and kids. They are my life companions today. If I really considered doing some explaining, I'd discuss it with my wife first, and even accept her right to veto the idea. After all I am wed to her, no one else, and glad for it. If you have a relationship now that is important to you, consider how contacting such important people from your past might affect your relationships in the present.

I still have not decided for myself, but I have considered that it might not be a big deal to them, at this point, in their own lives. I'm not sure how I would handle hearing something like disinterest, if it came to that.

Shawn's suggestion sounds like it might be the best approach for me, if I were to do something like this at all.

Random ramblings. Take it for what it's worth.



"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

#13772 - 01/22/04 09:56 PM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Em Offline

Registered: 01/19/04
Posts: 38
Loc: North East Ohio
Thank you for you advice. I'm going to go ahead and write letters to two girls who I have had relationships with and have ended badly. My behavior was not understood by them at the time it was not understood by me. I'd like to make peace with the past. Things were not all my fault, they had major faults and acted badly. But I'm not going to concentrate on that. I do not want to have relationships with either one of them again, that's not what this is about.

I want to own my past, and be honest about my past. I believe it will help me stop living in the past. This is part of that. And while I have mixed feelings about what I really think of them, even when I believed so strongly that I loved them, I had doubts if I actually liked them. I think they deserve if they want it an honest explanation of what was going on inside of me, and of what caused me to act in ways that were not good for a relationship. Control,sabotaging, withdrawl, anger, extremly hurt feelings for little things, etc...

One other thing that they both have in common, is that they both feared after the relationships ended badly, that I would commit suicide. They were very right in those fears. That's a lot to put on a person. I'd like them to know that if nothing else I'm on a road to recovery.

I'm not sure exactly what to tell them. I'll figure it out as I write. I'm not really concerned with the response actually. I'm going to be honest. If they find understanding and comfort in that, then good, if they do not, and have a negative reaction, then I'm prepared for that. They don't really have the power to hurt me as much as they once did. I'm learning more and more that the power over my own feelings is mine and I have a say in how I feel.

I am not currently in a realtionship the most recent one ended months ago, but I only learned that it ended for good a couple weeks ago. When I learned that the girl had secretly moved on during a break. This brought back so many feelings of being betrayed and not being able to trust people. As I look back, I pushed her away a long time ago and never committed in the first place out of fear.

I hope sending these letters will help me to put things in the proper place and move on.

Thanks for your responses.

#13773 - 01/23/04 12:18 AM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Don-NY Offline

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
Hey Em,

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, "don't". This is all based on my gut reaction to your posts and the fact that as you have said, You are very early in the recovery process.

This is a big step, and one that can very easily backfire. This information can be used against you if either of these women have any ill feelings.

Even if it is not used against you deliberately, once something ike this is out, it can easily become public; become gossip and twisted and as they say "An elephant in the parlor."

Sure, go ahead and write the letters, but don't send them yet. Writing it out could be very beneficial for you. You may understand more or see things differently - there are all sorts of benefits to writing it out.

But think, and think again about what the consequences could be of sharing this, and your reasons for wanting to.

Yes, honesty and truth are best. But keeping the truth to yourself, sometimes, is not the same as lying or denying. In fact, it is an important part of civilized behavior, and it is often an important part of taking care of yourself.

Finally, take a look at this article about Disclosure and Confrontation. There are more ideas in there you should consider.


If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

#13774 - 01/23/04 05:22 AM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Em Offline

Registered: 01/19/04
Posts: 38
Loc: North East Ohio

I'm afraid I wrote and sent the letters before I read your post. I read the article you linked to on your post. I'm glad I did, it helped me realize that I'm comfortable with sending the letters. I believe I did it for good reasons. I didn't say anything out of emotion, I thought it out and kept on topic. I'm not very concerned about the response. I said in the letters that no response is needed, that's not what it was about. I feel like it was a helpful step.

I feel ok about it. This isn't something I could have done even a week ago. I was in a good mindset when I wrote the letters. It was a difficult thing to do, but I feel I was careful enough, and did it in the right way and for good reasons.

thank you for the responses, advice, and thank you Don for the very helpful link.

#13775 - 01/25/04 09:58 PM Re: Should you tell ex girlfriends?
Leosha Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I think it depends on what your goals are, with telling them. I had only had one girlfriend, prior to starting to deal with this, and we had broken off because I was not able to be as intimate with her as she wished. When I saw her last year, I was able to talk with her some about this, and explain. She was very understanding, and accepting, and we remain friends now. I think it was a good circumstance, and went well. I hope if you do decide to do that, it works well for you also. I think it is just important to not have any expectations of it. Good luck.


Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963


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