Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Should you tell a new partner everything about your past? (warning mentions abortion)

(77 Posts)
kentishgirl Wed 12-Feb-14 11:56:44

Just a question out of interest (I have no big secrets :-) )

I've just read a thread where someone's husband was told his wife had had an abortion when she was 16 (before she met him). He was upset she kept it 'secret' from him. she just thought it wasn't relevant.

Someone else commented "I can understand why your DH was upset - in his position I would be too, it's a huge thing not to tell someone."

I'm just mulling over this idea that a new OH needs total disclosure. I had an abortion around 12 years ago and it's never occurred to me to tell my newish OH. I'm not ashamed of it, I'm not proud of it, it's not a source of anguish to me. I agree with the OP that it's not relevant, so not going to. Unless somehow it crops up in conversation - can't imagine how - then I wouldn't lie about having had one.Is there really any reason you should speak up on this?

How much do you all think you need to tell an OH about things in your past, if it doesn't effect you or them or your relationship? What else do you think really must, or shouldn't be discussed with an OH?

CailinDana Wed 12-Feb-14 12:03:04

I think in a close, loving relationship partners should know a lot about each other's lives and I think having an abortion is a pretty major life event that should come up at some point. I'd be a bit hurt if say a past gf of dh's had an abortion (and the child was his) and he hadn't told me about it as I would feel he kept something quite significant from me.

Also I feel that if you're going to be with someone longterm you should know their stance on issues like abortion.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 12-Feb-14 12:05:59

I don't agree with the PP. I think everyone has a right to privacy whether they are in a relationship or not and it can be a big mistake to get all your skeletons out of the closet and parade them in front of a new partner. If a past event is never going to be revealed by someone else and is otherwise not going to impact on a current relationship it is entirely acceptable to not bare your soul

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 12-Feb-14 12:07:25

I don't feel you have to tell a partner about a previous medical procedure, which is how I view it.

And frankly I think its tosh that a woman should ever have a need to know that a partners previous partner may have undergone said procedure either confused

JeanSeberg Wed 12-Feb-14 12:11:05

I don't think you owe your partner anything in terms of telling them stuff about your past that has no impact on the present.

Same as the conversations some people seem to like to have on how many people they and their partner have previously slept with.

And I definitely wouldn't consider it any of my business if a partner's previous girlfriend had had an abortion. That was between the two of them at the time and no-one else.

HavantGuard Wed 12-Feb-14 12:13:25

No confused

It would be irrelevant.

WhateverTrevor83 Wed 12-Feb-14 12:13:57

Don't really understand why it's any of a new partner's business. If it ever comes up or he asks you about your opinions about it perhaps you may feel comfortable to tell him. But it was your decision presumably before you knew your partner. Don't really see how it would be relevant (unless there were complications etc that may affect a future pregnancy?).

And Dana... sorry... but in my experience it really wasn't a 'major' life event, but an unfortunate accident that was unpleasant but absolutely necessary and the right decision in my circumstances. It doesn't need to be a big 'major' event if it's dealt with maturely.

CailinDana Wed 12-Feb-14 12:14:25

I don't view it as a procedure GfI.
Cogito - I don't think one should tell a new partner right away but over the long term I think one should feel able to mention it. It's nothing to be ashamed of and no need to keep it private IMO.

Even if I did view it as a medical procedure - my DH knows the major parts of my medical history and I know his. That's normal IMO.

Only1scoop Wed 12-Feb-14 12:17:03

No wouldn't tell him he wouldn't expect me to either

bragmatic Wed 12-Feb-14 12:17:17

My husband knows about mine. It came up in conversation after we were well involved - certainly living together. It was something that had happened 15 years previously and is honestly something that I never, ever think about. As I said, it came up in conversation. It might well have not come up until last week!

His reaction was very forgettable (as in, I've forgotten it) so it can't have been a strong one. Nor should it. He has no right to voice an opinion of me telling or not telling him something that I did with my body that has nothing at all to do with him.

As for my boyfriend at the time having an obligation to tell his future serious partners? Well, fuck that.

CailinDana Wed 12-Feb-14 12:18:14

I'm not sure how something being major relates to maturity Trevor but I view pregnancy as pretty major whether it ends in miscarriage, abortion or a baby. It's not a minor thing in my view.

TheGirlFromIpanema Wed 12-Feb-14 12:19:29

Yeah but its not his medical history if a previous partner had an abortion is it confused

Still, I get that some people see it differently and usually a good partnership means agreeing on such issues, but a past issue is exactly that. In the past.

I'm going on 40 - no way would I ever feel the need to fill a boyfriend/partner in on my entire adult history about anything. Medical or otherwise.
That would be a bit weird imo.

bragmatic Wed 12-Feb-14 12:20:49

Mine was a bit like a pap smear with teeth. A medical procedure, no more, no less. I have no idea what else I would view it as? I had zero emotion about it then (well, apart from relief) and zero emotion about it now. It is not a major life event for everyone.

NigellasDealer Wed 12-Feb-14 12:20:50

i say keep secrets - look what happened to poor Tess Durbeyfield when she came clean!

CailinDana Wed 12-Feb-14 12:21:08

I never said a partner has an obligation to tell. What I said was I'd be hurt if he didn't feel close enough to tell me he'd experienced pregnancy with another partner. I'd feel lied to if he made out our dcs were the first time he'd ever had the experience of a partner being pregnant.

WhateverTrevor83 Wed 12-Feb-14 12:23:41

Sorry - to be clear, I was saying that if an abortion is decided quickly it doesn't have to be a major life event. An unwanted pregnancy terminated quickly doesn't always end in it being a huge life event. Reference to maturity just meant that a decision to have an abortion requires a mature decision - whatever is decided.

Drawing comparisons between abortion and miscarriage isn't fair. OP wants to know if/when to tell about her abortion. My view is she shouldn't have to - and commented that for many people their abortion isn't a 'major life event'. Sorry, but it isn't (not always). And I wouldn't be interested in whether my partner and their ex had one (none of my business!) IMO. That's all I meant! Peace x

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 12-Feb-14 12:23:57

@NigellasDealer. LOL! Do you know, I was thinking of that exact same scene... smile Have always thought that the self-righteous Angel Clare was a far bigger bastard than rapist Alec Durbeville.

NigellasDealer Wed 12-Feb-14 12:24:43

oh absolutely Angel Clare was such a hyocritical wishy washy shit

NigellasDealer Wed 12-Feb-14 12:25:01


bragmatic Wed 12-Feb-14 12:25:42

Yes you did. "Abortion is a major life event that should come up…etc"

It's not a question of feeling close enough to a partner to tell or not. It's often a question of not even thinking about it.

WhateverTrevor83 Wed 12-Feb-14 12:27:18

By the way... it always really annoys me on pregnancy test adverts... as well as the terrible lip-syncing when adverts have originally been recorded in another language - why do they always assume everyone is hoping it's positive?

I'd laugh so much if there was a advert where a girl gets a minus sign and then pours herself a gin ;-)

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 12-Feb-14 12:27:27

YY to hypocritical and wishy-washy... you've just summed up one of my better A-level essays. smile <will stop derailing thread now>

Jacksterbear Wed 12-Feb-14 12:28:32

I've never had a termination, but just to mention that you do get asked about previous pregnancies, including miscarriages and terminations, at antenatal appointments, and the info is included in your antenatal notes, so it might be hard to hide from your dh in future. I remember it occurring to me when I was at an antenatal appointment with dh, that it would be awkward if I did have so etching to "hide"!

Jacksterbear Wed 12-Feb-14 12:29:57

something to hide

TheScience Wed 12-Feb-14 12:31:10

I would tell a significant partner about something like that, but it's not the kind of thing I can imagine bringing up in a new relationship unless it is somehow relevant.

I don't think it is necessary to disclose everything that happened in your past to a partner, even a husband. It's ok to have some privacy. If it was relevant - eg. you aborted for a genetic condition in the past and are now planning a family - then obviously it's different, but "I had an unwanted pregnancy 10 years ago" isn't something you have to tell anyone about.

I must admit though I would be surprised if DP hadn't told me about a significant event in his past, as I believe we know pretty much everything about each other now.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: