Mark: Should I tell her?

Dear Ron,
I had an abortion with my previous girlfriend. I'm not too proud of this bad decision. I haven't told my fiancée. Is it important for her to know or should I just keep going without telling?

 

Dear Mark,

There is a balancing act we sometimes do in life.  In most cases, my advice to each partner on the journey to marriage is to avoid detailed discussions of previous partners as this can cause some anxiety in wondering about all of the experiences with other(s).  This is an issue of maturity, consider: 1) do I have the maturity to not upset myself by wondering, digging, picking, and; 2) do I have the maturity to understand that my new partner had a life before me?  The mature and principled person will choose to live serenely and to allow your new partner to show you, through behaviors, the type of person you've chosen. Choosing this path will strengthen 'impulse control', AKA, 'maturity' and allow us to be more loving towards our partner.  Maturity is desired in both the 'sharer' and the 'listener'; telling too much is the same sign of immaturity as asking too much.

However, I warned you that the other shoe would drop.  It also takes maturity to discern which items must be shared.  Thinking about it for a moment, most would agree that it is appropriate to divulge that we have children, or that we were previously married or that we had spent a significant amount of time incarcerated.  Revealing our significant life events gives our partner some insight into the forces which have helped to shape us.  A man or woman who has been personally involved with an abortion is not a 'bad' person but it is indicative of forces which have helped to shape us.  If we don't share that information, our new partner is at a significant disadvantage in understanding us.

There is another, possibly even more important reason, to share these types of events. When we hold onto important information, information that we know is important to fully understanding us, we have created a secret of omission. Chances are that at some point in the future, the secret will be revealed.  At that time, your partner will always feel cheated.  Cheated by not knowing such a significant fact about the person they love and cheated that the one person in the world they should trust most has betrayed them.  Worse yet, when we know we are 'hiding' something significant, we  create a 'web of lies' to protect our secret. This protective behavior will cause us to subtly, but assuredly, avoid some bids for intimacy from our partner.

I hope this post helps you to decide your correct path; if you are still in doubt, ask yourself, honestly and prayerfully, if you would consider your secret a violation of trust if it were your partner's secret.  And, if you still have questions about what must be revealed, consult with a mentor or go back to the previous page to set up a session with me.

Ron Kaufmann, MA, CO LPC #11336, EMDR Clinician
National Certified Counselor #267299
AASAT Certified Sexual Recovery Therapist
Recovering Hearts Counseling

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