Author Topic: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?  (Read 2899 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2014, 08:35:35 AM »
Hi all,

After cancelling an engagement in the spring, I've recently (very recently, and only very tentatively) started dating again. A dinner here, a meet-up for coffee there. At what point, if ever, do I owe an explanation about that engagement? Is there a procedure for doing so? I realize that at this point it is My Business and that past rel@tionships shouldn't be a topic of discussion, but it was a rather time-consuming event over the last year.

When you get far enough along that the question becomes pertinent.  Some guys will run the other way immediately just on that fact alone.

This. It's a dealbreaker for some men. So it's only fair that you disclose it once the relationship is getting serious.

TurtleDove

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2014, 08:42:03 AM »
For some people, the fact another person has experienced a significant relationship in the past is a value add. I know for me, I wasn't specifically looking for someone who had been divorced or who had kids, but as someone who had been married before and who had a child it was a bonus to find that my now DH had also experienced the demise of a significant relationship and learned from it, and that he would understand that when it comes to kids from another relationship the child has to come before any new relationship. Someone who had no children or no significant relationships in his past would not likely have been a good fit for me.

So bottom line - be honest, without providing too much "flavor." You don't need to wax eloquent about an ex's positive attributes, and certainly going on and on about what a horrible person an ex is does not make you (general) appear to have good judgment. So be straight - I had relationship X, I learned A, B and C. You wouldn't want to be with someone who cannot accept a fact about your past anyway, would you?

miranova

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2014, 08:21:39 PM »
Bottom line for me.  Some people would run, some people would respect the fact that you were ready to make a commitment, so I'm not going to live my life and make decisions based on what I think people want to hear.  I'm just going to be honest.  If my honest history makes them run, then we are not compatible.  If my honest history doesn't make them run, great.  But I'm going to be honest.  Of course timing, and how you bring things up matters a great deal.  It can come up naturally or it can be awkward. 

For me, if I later found out a serious partner of mine had been engaged and had never told me and had no plans to tell me, I would feel lied to and we would not be compatible.  Maybe someone else he dates later would prefer not to be told.  Great, then they are compatible.

I just don't think it's wrong to want to know these things about someone you are dating, so I'd err on the side of giving people the truth, and letting them decide how important it is to them.

miranova

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2014, 08:25:02 PM »
On a funny note of talking about exes, my Dh and I have a rule.  We can talk about the ex if our current spouse "wins".  In other words, he can tell me that he is so glad I'm financially responsible because his ex was not and it was a constant source of stress.  He can express appreciation that I don't cause him that stress.  He can mention that, because I "win" in the story.  However if she were a better cook, I don't need to know.  It's worked out pretty well for us!  We can be lighthearted about it.  There is no secret that we were both married before so never mentioning the other person at all in any context would be weird.

Allyson

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2014, 01:23:06 AM »
That's cute, miranova! I had a problem with a former boyfriend where he would talk about grand gestures he'd done for his ex. It really hurt because he'd never done anything like that for me. But he didn't realize the implications of talking like that; it just came up in conversation with a few other people about this elaborate thing he did for her.

Runningstar

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2014, 06:55:47 AM »
On a funny note of talking about exes, my Dh and I have a rule.  We can talk about the ex if our current spouse "wins".  In other words, he can tell me that he is so glad I'm financially responsible because his ex was not and it was a constant source of stress.  He can express appreciation that I don't cause him that stress.  He can mention that, because I "win" in the story.  However if she were a better cook, I don't need to know.  It's worked out pretty well for us!  We can be lighthearted about it.  There is no secret that we were both married before so never mentioning the other person at all in any context would be weird.
Yes!  This is so sweet and is the underlying message about your prior engagement - he was just not the "one" for you.

Lynn2000

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2014, 10:56:28 AM »
In terms of urgency for disclosure of life events, I'd go with an order of

- Currently married to someone
- Has kids
- Divorced
- Broken engagement

So something that should be mentioned as the relationship progresses, but isn't first date revelation material.

This is where I fall. To me, an engagement is a big deal, though not as big a deal as the other things above it on the list. But still pretty high up there in terms of stuff I would want to know as our relationship is beginning to turn serious. But for me it's not the mere fact, it's also the other circumstances around it and what the person has taken away from it. I mean, there's a big difference between, "I was going to spend the rest of my life with him, planned this wedding, made these preparations, and then two weeks before I found out he'd cheated on me. Now I'm extremely uncomfortable with the idea of making a long-term commitment to someone," and "We were together a while, we decided to get married but hadn't taken any steps towards it. Then we realized we didn't have the same goals, so we broke it off. I really want to find someone with the same goals, that I can make a long-term commitment to."

So at whatever point in a new relationship you'd have that kind of conversation, about your long-term goals and such, the engagement should definitely be mentioned.
~Lynn2000

BigBadBetty

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Re: Do I need to reveal that I was engaged?
« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2014, 07:24:37 PM »
Bottom line for me.  Some people would run, some people would respect the fact that you were ready to make a commitment, so I'm not going to live my life and make decisions based on what I think people want to hear.  I'm just going to be honest.  If my honest history makes them run, then we are not compatible.  If my honest history doesn't make them run, great.  But I'm going to be honest.  Of course timing, and how you bring things up matters a great deal.  It can come up naturally or it can be awkward. 

For me, if I later found out a serious partner of mine had been engaged and had never told me and had no plans to tell me, I would feel lied to and we would not be compatible.  Maybe someone else he dates later would prefer not to be told.  Great, then they are compatible.

I just don't think it's wrong to want to know these things about someone you are dating, so I'd err on the side of giving people the truth, and letting them decide how important it is to them.

This is how I feel, too. I am not saying that I need to know on the first date. It is just one of those things that I would think would come out naturally in conversations as you get closer. My friends has a broken engagement. While it was devastating at the time, I think everyone sees it as a blessing now. The marriage would have been a disaster. They have both grown so much since then. Yes, it would have better to have never got engaged. However, I think it also take guts to say it's not working, let's not go on with the wedding. I've met too many people who went on with the wedding even though they knew that it was the wrong decision.