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In every relationship, the past comes up in conversation.
And while a guy thinks that he should know certain information about his girlfriend for future reference, he is really better off being happily oblivious.
You see, the truth isn't always the best option. Our egos are easily bruised, so a woman should take a careful approach when talking about her ex. Here's what we hate to hear, along with suggestions on what to say instead.
Things He Doesn't Want to Hear About Your Ex
Cosmo and AskMen.com teamed up to discuss what we hate to hear about our new flames' past relationships. Here, the male editors of AM tell Cosmo girls how to bend the truth so you don't bruise his ego.
1. Don't say: "Everyone loved him."
A guy likes to think he is the best man you've ever dated and that he's the favorite of all the important people in your life: siblings, friends, and especially your parents. When your new guy finds out that everybody loved the old boyfriend, his confidence wanes. It's bad enough that his girlfriend has certain expectations. Now, living up to the group's expectations might be a tall order.
Say instead: "They liked him but didn't know the real person."
It will make gatherings with friends and family easier if your guy is blissfully unaware that everyone in the room might be wishing the old boyfriend was still in the picture. ("He was so good at Pictionary!") Let the new guy know that while the ex was loved by all, that was only because they saw one side of him, not the person you were around. Even if the new guy isn't Mr. Popular with Dad and e-mail buddies with your best friend, you're the only one who really has to like him. He will get better at Pictionary too. He has been practicing his animal shapes.
2. Don't say: "He made good money."
Did the old boyfriend make a ton of money? Keep that info to yourself. If the new guy finds out he makes less money than what you're used to, he will feel incompetent. Men like to feel that they can provide everything for their women, from the romantic to the store-bought
Say instead: "Salary isn't that important as long as you do what you love."
Let's hope this is actually how you feel. But seriously, a guy can feel insecure if he decides he will never make enough dough to buy all the things both of you want in life. Just remind him that it doesn't matter how much we make, just that we are happy. Also remind him that he doesn't have to spend every dime he makes on making you happy. He can make you happy spending money on himself. He can start by buying some clothes for going out that don't involve his favorite sports team.
3. Don't say: "He broke my heart."
Relationships end. More often than not, they don't end smoothly. While this admission of past heartbreak at the hands of the ex might sound like a reassurance for the current relationship, it actually means something completely different in the mind of the average male. Even if the ex was a jerk, and you never want to be with him again, the fact that you are still dwelling on the past or carrying baggage makes it seem that in some odd way you still think about the ex. He doesn't want to know you think about the ex for any reason.
Say instead: "We've all been hurt."
Even if the ex ripped your heart out, don't make it seem like you are hung up on it. You are with a great guy now, and that's all that matters. He might have experienced the same in a previous relationship, but do you want to hear all about how some woman scorned him and he is still licking his wounds? Let the past live in the past.
4. Don't say: "He is doing great."
Some couples keep in touch after breaking up. There's usually nothing wrong with that, as long as it remains on a platonic level. The ex and the current boyfriend have probably never met, so is it really necessary to let him know what's happening in the old boyfriend's life? Your current flame doesn't really care about your ex's pregnant sister, or his upcoming audition for Top Chef. He is just asking, "Have you talked to your ex lately?" to find out how much you two stay in touch.
Even if you e-mail constantly or talk once a week, it's best just to let the current boyfriend think that you don't really keep in touch with the ex. He doesn't let you know about his past relationships and how awesome those women are doing. (And they are doing awesome, so don't ask.) Don't give updates about the ex to the current boyfriend. He honestly doesn't care, and it will only lead to arguments or an official boycott of Top Chef.
5. Don't say: "He brought me here once."
Neither of you is naive. Both of you led a life before love thrust you into each other's arms. But when it comes to doing things as a couple, it's best to pretend you've never been anywhere. Ever. You spent the previous few years locked in your apartment living life through a view finder you found in your parents' basement. ("Hey look, the Grand Canyon!") Every experience is new and something that you and the current boyfriend are sharing for the first time together