Adar I 5768
To Tell or Not To Tell?
I was wondering if you could give me some direction about how much or how little to tell a boy about my past. Boruch Hashem, I am a different person now, I have done teshuva and have very much moved on to a better place! However, many things really did happen, and I’m not sure how much to tell a boy that I am dating. Does he really need to know the details of what went on and with whom? It is soooooooooooooooo embarrassing! I am really not that person anymore and this is very much behind me.
This issue is bothering me so much- please help me out!!
Thank you for your time!!
Name and Seminary withheld by request
Dear JemSem Reader,
Thank you for a very important question! Many girls are in the exact same boat as you are – and this is unfortunately a common issue in the dating world. The bottom line is that you should not mention your past at all. He doesn’t need to know details even if the dating leads to engagement and even after you are married. It will always be detrimental to your relationship with him.
In practice, as you date him and get to know each other better, he will understand from much of what you are talking about that you weren’t always as you are right now. But, as I mentioned, you should never mention details.
When discussing your question with a posek, he fully agreed that ones past should not be discussed. Furthermore, he gave a good suggestion as to how you should respond to questions about your past. He said that if he is pressing you for details, you should say something along the lines of, “ my rabbeim have told me that it isn’t tznius to talk about it, and I am not comfortable talking about it. It was what it was, I am not that person anymore, I don’t define myself by those things at all and I have moved on from there.” If, after telling him you do not want to talk about your past, he is pushy and tries to get more information from you anyway – perhaps you should think twice about continuing to date him. This may come from a controlling instinct and means that he does not respect your right to privacy.
A case in point: A former student recently told me that she unfortunately didn’t listen to this piece of advice. To her tremendous dismay, the boy she was dating asked her for details of a relationship she had with a boy she dated in her past. She figured if he was that interested, maybe it was okay to talk about it. Well, she told him the whole story with all the sordid details, and he got very upset and broke up with her.
There is however, one thing that most poskim say a man should know, preferably just prior to getting engaged, when the relationship is quite serious. That is, if a woman is not a besulah. She has the option of letting someone else tell him. But, it does have to be mentioned for two reasons.
1] The halachic factor: There could be halachic issues with the marriage if he thinks he is marrying a besulah.
2] The emotional trust factor: When he finds out, it could certainly cause problems in shalom bayis.
I am, of course, giving you general guidelines. Every case is individual, and you should get guidance of exactly how to proceed with your specific situation.
I hope this is helpful!
May you and our entire JemSem readership who have worked on themselves, developed and changed, merit a very special zivug b’zman karov!!
With Warmest Wishes,