Questions About the Past
I sincerely hope you enjoyed part 1 of this article and, more importantly, I hope you are enjoying the adventure of getting to know the person you are about to marry. In this second part, I present to you 10 questions to ask about their past.
Do you think any feelings of affection or romance could be rekindled with your exes?
Monogamy has been a subject of many behavioural science and psychology research papers. For some, monogamy means absolute physical, emotional and mindful fidelity. For others, it simply means you are free to do as you please as long as you still come home to your significant other at the end of the day. The trick about this question is that it not only broaches on the subject of monogamy, but it also allows your partner to talk about their exes. This will give you an indication, if they are honest, how passionate each relationship was and why each relationship broke down. You are entitled to know whether any of these exes pose a threat to your future relationship with your partner.
Were you ever physically, sexually or emotionally abused?
If any of you have read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, you would understand up to what extent previous trauma of any kind can affect a person’s behaviour, both in and out of the bedroom. However, abuse is very subjective. Each person’s definition is different and how much they can handle before they classify it as abuse is thus extremely variable. Knowing a person’s background, ground rules, and limits, just like in the book series, can actually be quite useful sometimes. They do not have to be rigid rules until the end of time but knowing that your partner has gone through this will certainly help you keep your patience.
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Questions 13 and 14
What did you learn from your past relationships? What were the reasons that your past relationships ended?
I have put questions 13 and 14 together. This does not only give you an insight into what they didn’t like about their exes and how you can prevent future rocky patches, but also what they have learned about themselves. Maybe they will admit certain mistakes they made or maybe they realised certain personality traits which are an absolute no-no for them. Highly highly essential to figure out your “make up or break up” options.
Have you been married before or have had children before?
This will undoubtedly impact your future marriage not only in terms of any alimony payments that might be legally necessary, but also in terms of dividing up their time between you and their ex, and between their children from a previous marriage and their future children with you. You might want to consider spending some time to get to know their ex and their children from the previous marriage.
Questions 16 and 17
Is there anything in your past that might affect our future relationship? Have you committed any criminal activity before?
Besides a previous criminal record, this might also include previous debt or anything which might implicate you in any legal proceedings. It might also include still being in constant contact with exes due to professional relationships. You have to both decide together what exactly might affect your future relationship.
Have you ever been physically violent in any of your past relationships?
It has been shown that people who grow up in a physically violent household are more likely to be physically violent in their own adult relationships later on. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families. It is important to remember that women are not the only victims in domestic violence. In fact, women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults per year. A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death. A 2005 study done in Michigan USA found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more lethargic.
What childhood experiences do you think have shaped your behaviour and character the most?
When I was about 10 years old, I walked into my parent’s bedroom and found my mother crying her eyes out in the bathroom. She told me that all businessmen, which my father was, were dirty and it takes a certain amount of testosterone to be rich. She suspected that my father had cheated on her on his multiple business trips and that she might have a sexually transmitted disease. She also told me that sometimes women just have to turn a blind eye to their husband’s indiscretions to make their marriage work and that it’s more important that he provides for the family. I am now 30 years old and I still remember this incident very clearly. Hardly surprising that her words got stuck in my head and have since moulded my approach to my romantic relationships during my teenage and young adult life. This is, of course, just one example of many instances where childhood experiences have shaped my behaviour.
Would you be comfortable not knowing everything about my past?
I have a friend who does not know how many ex girlfriends her husband had. He does not know how many ex boyfriends she had before marriage. I later found out from another source that her husband, a rich handsome and tall young man from a prominent family, was known as a “playboy” during his university days. She, on the other hand, does have an ex boyfriend who I’m sure she would be mortified to have to admit to. I’m not sure who initiated the idea of not knowing about each other’s past but it has worked out for them. This arrangement however has its drawbacks. For example, not knowing when someone you are introduced to on the street is actually also an ex and not just “someone I knew from work”. It’s not an arrangement that will suit everyone.
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Past experiences are a tricky subject. They can completely define a person and explain every action they take in the future. This could be either to copy successful behaviour or resolve to never do or be such things again due to past failures. Some people may have had experiences that they are too embarrassed to talk about, some people may have been hurt really badly. This may prove to be a difficult 10 questions to get through. Questions 21 - 30 will be coming soon. In the meantime, good luck and happy interrogating!