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Should I Tell My New Girlfriend I've Cheated Before?

Is Confessing Past Dating Indiscretions Honest or Selfish?


When I do something wrong or embarrassing, no matter how big or small, I tell someone. It's usually something I've done while alone or to no one I know, so it's not a confession per se, but it's always about me unburdening myself. I want to hear "Oh, I've done that," or someone to just laugh it off with. It's why our weekly Sunday Confessional is so popular: saying (or writing) our misdeeds provides release — and great reading material!

But like all things, the confession thickens when it comes to relationships. Today in Group Therapy, a man wants to know if he should tell the new woman he's seeing that he cheated on a past girlfriend by seeing a prostitute. Part of me says, if he's been tested for STDs, hasn't done it since, and has no intention of doing it again, then why bring it up? Is it to ease his conscience or build a foundation of trust?

Honesty is not always the best policy, so is confessing the sins of past relationships, which have no lasting effects (i.e. STDs), honest or selfish?

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tjfranco tjfranco 5 years
Depending on the severity, I'd say it could be a little selfish to open up. Call me skeptical but I feel that if a guy I was starting to see told me his past indiscretion, I'd wonder if he was offering being honest with me or himself by offering a disclaimer, as if to say "well, I've done this in the past so if I was you I wouldn't put it past me to do it again" or something equally daunting. If no true harm would come of it again, why bring it up in the first place? Take it to the grave I'd say.
stephley stephley 5 years
People's confessions about past behavior is going to be colored by any left over anger, guilt, sadness, etc. so you get a view into the person, but not necessarily a good picture. I ask about details a person's past only on a need to know basis - if the information is vital to us moving forward. Otherwise, I don't feel the need to judge them by or meddle in their past dramas.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I think in this case he's just being honest about his past. He didn't do it to this girl, so it's not like he's unloading his past discretion on her to make himself feel better. He's honestly telling her the type of guy he was and he should follow it with what the experience taught him.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
I think it's honest, but it depends on how far into the relationship you are. I've cheated before and I get turned off when a guy asks about it before he's had a chance to get to know me.
Epicdoodle Epicdoodle 5 years
I would appreciate the honesty. I don't think its selfish, I think its the right thing to do. If I'm entering a relationship I have the right to know what I'm getting into!
testadura67 testadura67 5 years
Frankly, I always ask. Not about the prostitute thing per se, but if he's ever cheated on someone. I have never dated a guy who has cheated on someone prior to dating me, who has not also cheated on me. It's not something I could tolerate, and I feel I have the right to know.
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