Men and women are different in a variety of ways, that much is easy knowledge. But one of the major differences I've noticed as of late, is the amount of information that is disclosed in relationships.
I think it is easy to disclose information up front in a relationship. I'm not saying that if a guy asks me out on a date, I immediately blurt out, "I dated this guy, this guy, and this guy, and this is why I liked him, and this is why we broke up, and this is how I feel about it." But, usually, when I start talking to a guy and find myself liking him, and I can see myself dating him, I try to sit down with him and have a talk where I let him know certain things about my past that I feel are important for him to know. My opinion is, that these occurrences have helped shape me into the person that I am, and he needs to know them before he can truly decide whether or not he wants to be involved with me.
For instance, in several of my previous relationships, I have been verbally and physically abused. As a result of these events, I find myself unable to handle when a guy begins to get angry with me. I shut down, I'll flinch, and I'll usually just apologize for starting the argument in the first place in avoidance to protect myself from what previously happened. It is not that I feel like the guy I am with, or any guy for that matter, is going to assault me. It is simply that I cannot always predict who is going to resort to violence and try to avoid bringing anyone to that point. I feel this is something important for me to disclose in the beginning so that a guy can understand why I break down when someone yells at me, why I may cringe when someone goes to touch my face for the first time, etc.
I also tend to be friends with many of my exes. It is not that I still seek out a relationship with them, but usually when a break up is impending I try to talk things out with that person instead of creating some huge drama-filled blow out. I try to reach a mutual understanding with that person, that they are not evil, and I am not evil, and that if they ever need anything I am there for them, because I still respect them as a person and a friend, even if things have not worked out. Therefore, I find it imperative to disclose who some of my exes are, why we dated, and why we broke up a few months into the relationship in the off chance that I am going somewhere where they will be or a similar situation. I feel like disclosing this beforehand is important. I tend to dislike when someone mentions something after the fact. They go to a party and then they say to you, "Oh yeah my ex was there," and when you ask, "Did you know she was going to be there?" they reply, "I figured she might." I understand to guys you omitting this information may be because you feel it is irrelevant because she is no longer part of your life or you have no interest in her. What men need to understand is that you would demonstrate the same behavior if there was something to hide. If you were still in love with her, and you were looking forward to going to the party to see her, you wouldn't tell the girl you were with. So in both cases, you do not tell your significant other and then she is left to wonder which is the case this time.
I feel like mentioning beforehand is always the better bet. I think it helps you get to know the person better. Some people say that men are taught that disclosing that information gets them in trouble, and that may be the case with some women, but I try not to let it affect me. I would rather know the person I was with fully, their past, their baggage, etc. It helps me understand why they are the way they are. So why do guys seem to frown upon girls who share their past? Why do they see it as we have some attachment to the past and aren't willing to move on?
Our lives are like legos. We get more and more pieces and put them together to create who we are. Every once in awhile we can take apart the pieces and reassemble them in a different way, but we're always using the same pieces to help complete us. Each moment in our life is a lego. In my opinion, when I marry someone, I want them to know what all my legos represent and I want to know the same about them. Why is disclosure considered to be such a bad thing?
I understand that the past is the past, and some people would rather leave it there. But, if you feel like you can spend your life with someone, wouldn't you rather know the things that result in who you are as a person? I think that disclosure can help you better anticipate how the person feels, and make you more empathetic to their situation. If a person was abandoned by their father, you know they are going to try damn hard to be a good father. If a person was cheated on before, you know they are going to be a bit paranoid and distrusting of you for awhile. It helps avoid arguments introducing your past up front because you understand the person better. So blogging world, I apologize if my disclosure to you about my past, or my feelings makes you uncomfortable from time to time. That's just who I am. I enlighten you on my past experiences because I find that relationships in my past have failed. Then later, as we matured, when having a discussion with them, I found that if I had known more about their past, I could have adjusted my behavior slightly and perhaps we would have lasted longer. One of the keys to a lasting relationship is honesty. Another is trust. How can you trust someone if they are not honest with you? Hiding significant details from you is a lie; it is omitting the truth. Just because it may not seem significant to you, does not mean it is not significant to them. I'm not saying to blurt out all of your past transgressions, but get to know the people you are with. I am always seeking knowledge, especially other people's knowledge that they have gained from experience in their own lives. People can surprise you with what they know. People can surprise you with their beliefs. But usually something in their past has caused them to feel that way. Get to know people on a more personal level, understand why they do what they do. It will create a more intimate relationship.