Maha Monday: My new piece’s past

Dear Maha,

(Name withheld) I have been dating for a few months now. I thought he was perfect until last week when he told me a few things about his past that he’d lied to me about over the past 8 months. [These things] are about his past relationship and now that I know I don’t know what to do with the information and I don’t know if I can trust him. I thought he was perfect! I can’t believe it! I spent all week avoiding him because I don’t know what to do and I am FREAKING OUT.



Editorial Note: I have withheld the “things” referred to above because they are not anyone’s business but theirs. All you need to know, dear Reader, is that he did not rape, commit pedophilia or bestiality. He also didn’t beat his ex-partner. So the things to which our Writer refers are in fact manageable.


Dear Stuck-On-His-Past,

It’s the little things. It’s also the present things, my love.

Here’s the reality of life: When we meet someone we like, we put our best foot forward. Often times, that means that we also misrepresent – hopefully to the littlest degree possible – who we really are and what our past holds. It’s natural that when we’re trying to impress someone, we don’t throw up all over them.

We all have a past. We have all had our very shameful moments of which only the best of our friends are aware because we too can blackmail them with their secrets.

We all have them because we exist in a world where human actions and reactions are not maths, but rather unpredictable. Very often, due to past hurts, vulnerabilities and an inability to be honest (because it has often resulted in our punishment), we tread extremely carefully. We white-lie through the beginnings of a relationship, both platonic and otherwise. Granted, your man’s lies weren’t “white” and his truths are not light in nature. But reality is that we don’t share things immediately because we are scared that this new shiny and amazing person will leave us were they to know us. So we protect who we are until we look at our new piece and see that they love us, and so less likely to punish/leave us.

Do you feel an honest connection with this man? What does your intuition tell you about how he treats you?

Because if it is good, then you need to give him the room to be himself. He did not commit these wrongs against you, and everyone is entitled to have both secrets and a past because none of us are angels and, you know, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”. Through these past experiences, your new boyfriend has become the man that he is today and it is highly likely that without these experiences of ago, he and you would not be compatible today.

It is not in the good times that we grow, but rather it is in the trauma; real growth happens when the trauma is of our own doing, because this is when the Universe gives us the opportunity to choose change.

If you care for this man on any level, you must stop avoiding him immediately. He opened his chest and said ‘hey, look…’ and you ran. Not fair. Painful and damaging to his heart, and we must always lead with kindness and care for those who approach with integrity.

I understand that you are “FREAKING OUT” and I am happy that you wrote because it means you are trying to find a way to salvage the situation. In this, is your implicit recognition that your relationship is not un-salvageable.

You have the opportunity to ensure that this relationship now moves forward on an excellent footing. Very specifically, do not punish him for being honest. Right now is where you get to set the stage on which the rest of your relationship will reside. If you punish him today for telling you the truth, do you think that he will tell you the truth tomorrow.

If you can’t seriously and very honestly engage in this situation, then do yourself a favour and him too: leave him alone to find someone who will love him, warts and all. You too. If you are dishonest about your ability to actually let these things go, then the only other alternative here is that you will become an insecure wreck, only increasing with time. If you delude yourself into believing that you can trust him ‘despite…’ then you are headed for heartbreak and pain. Again, and always: Where there is no trust, there is no longevity. And unless you are a glutton for punishment…

He deserves to be loved along with his past, not in spite of his past.

As do we all.

And you, you have absolutely every right to completely disagree with the above and instead land on I can’t be with someone who has committed this thing in particular in his past. Just don’t prolong your situation more than is necessary and remember that every love is a lesson and that every lesson is one step closer to taking you to your Great True Love because the sooner you stop focusing on his past, the quicker you’ll get around to your present.

In your corner, always.

M xxo


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