How Much to Tell?
Q: How much of my past should I tell my girlfriend? She and I have been dating for 7 months and it looks like we may progress to the next level in our relationship. Before this, I was with a girl and she became pregnant. We both didn't think that it would be a good idea to have the child so we had an abortion. Then she disappeared from my life and all of her friends' lives. Is this something that should be said to my girlfriend now before we get engaged? -- Joseph, 23
Dr. Susan: I can't imagine any reason you would want to keep any important parts of your past a secret from someone you hope to spend the rest of your life with. You can learn a lot about one another by disclosing episodes that are embarrassing or painful. Everyone has secrets they don't broadcast to the world, but your potential life mate should be in the know. Such things often come out in the open later on anyway, at which point it may feel to your girlfriend as though you've been hiding something on purpose. I would say you need to put it out there.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.