Here are Bobbi Palmer’s very specific guidelines to help you learn about your man’s past in a way that is respectful yet direct, and gets you the real information you need to help you decide if he might be a great potential partner for you:
1. Focus on him, not his relationships.
A relationship is a “thing.” These are actually three separate entities:Him, Her and the Relationship. In the spirit of discovering what this man is made of and how he might fit into your life, you want to learn out about HIM – not the relationship and certainly not her.
Wouldn’t it help you the most to know how his relationships formed who he is today? What did he learn? How did it make him a better person? What will he use of his past to make his future (potentially with you) brighter and better?
You can learn these things about him by asking questions like:
** What are some things you learned from your past relationships?
** What were the positive aspects?
** How does having been in that relationship make you who you are today?
** What will you do differently?
Do you see the difference? No war stories…just learning more about him.
And here’s are a couple extra tips: Men think before they talk! Many women process verbally, but most men don’t. So when you ask these types of questions, give him time to think before he answers. Literally, ask the question then be quiet. Silence is ok…in fact men value it. ☺
It is not a good sign if, after thinking about it there is nothing positive he can say or doesn’t have a clue as to what he got out of the relationship. Red flag!
2. Be ready to share meaningful information about yourself, in a positive light.
Model for him what sharing about oneself in this way is like. “One important thing I learned after my marriage broke up was…..” Set a positive, open tone that lets him know what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown.
Tell the truth, but be sure to share the ultimate positive that affects who you are today. “My breakup was difficult for me but I finally learned…which has helped me so much in relationships ever since.”
This is a perfect opportunity to get in some of your nuggets about what kind of mate you want to be and what kind of relationship you value. (Nuggets are magical pieces of information that help men get to know you in a remarkable way.)
Please do some careful thinking about how you want to express yourself honestly and be prepared to share. Because when you open up this topic, it’s a fantastic opportunity to dig deep and get to know very meaningful facets of each other’s personality, lifestyle preferences, problem solving skills, etc.
3. Do not go down the TMI rabbit hole!
Being able to manage conversation with men is a powerful skill. When you do this, you can stop this from turning into a “let’s bash our exes” session.
It’s tempting, I know, especially if you have common stories such as being cheated on, or exes with substance abuse issues. Check yourself and him and keep the conversation positive and about YOURSELVES, not your exes or the relationship.
If you find the conversation going “there” you can redirect with something like this:
** When it was finally over, what did you learn from the experience?” ** How does that experience affect your dating life now?
If he can’t see anything positive or if, after you redirect he keeps talking about “her” that is a clue he hasn’t moved on…so you should!
It’s perfectly wise to want to know as much as you can about a man in order to make a good decision about whether he’d be a good mate for you.
When the time is right to learn more (maybe after a couple or few dates), keep your questions about him, and your comments about yourself. As long as neither one of you goes down the TMI rabbit hole, this conversation will be positive a turning point in your relationship… one way or another!
– Bobbi Palmer, The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women Who Are Over Age 40
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