In today’s video, I’m going to share why it’s usually a bad idea to ask your partner endless questions about their past.

So, why is it important to be strategic about asking about your partner’s past?

Zachary Stockill: If you’re a retroactive jealousy sufferer, there’s the impulse to ask your partner questions about their past. But what do you do if you believe there may be genuine deal breakers in your partner’s past. If you don’t want to know certain details, but need to know certain details about their past. Or, you just like to get a better sense of their past to get a better sense of who you’re dealing with.

I get a lot of emails from people writing to me saying that there’s something about their partner’s past that they really want to know. Or their curiosity about what their partner’s past is driving them crazy. Because they think that there could be genuine red flags in their past.

We want to know a certain detail or a certain fact, ask the question, and hopefully, we’ll get an honest response.

However, it doesn’t often work out like that. And here’s why, if you go to someone and you start asking them very pointed details about an episode from their past, what is this person’s gut response going to be? How are they going to feel when you start asking them certain questions.

Try to put yourself in this position. And try to think about how that would feel if I were to come up to you and start asking you very pointed personal details about your own past?

You are immediately going to be defensive and reluctant to share certain details because on a certain level, you’re going to start feeling judged. You may start holding back certain details. Because human beings in general, are a social species to the core. We hate feeling judged by our peers. We don’t want to be socially ostracized and we don’t want to fall out and be banished from our social group.

And thus, when you start questioning someone about their past, they’re immediately going to get on the defensive. If you’re putting someone on the defensive, you’re not going to get an honest answer to the question you’re asking. Or you might get half of the truth, but not the full truth.

Because again, this person’s going to start feeling judged.

A lot of guys are going to their girlfriend or wife, and asking very specific pointed questions to them. Making their girlfriend or wife feel harassed, unsafe, and they feel like they’re going to be judged harshly about events that happened many years ago.

Many of these women also start panicking in these moments, because maybe they can’t recall certain details that happened years ago. And their boyfriend or husband can often pick up on this nervous energy. This nervous energy is not necessarily an indication that their wife or girlfriend is lying. Quite often, this is actually an indication that their wife or girlfriend literally doesn’t have that memory available anymore.

That little detail about that one night, 13 years ago, has escaped her consciousness. But this can very easily be misread as someone being deceptive and playing around with the truth.

So if you want to learn about someone’s past, and you want to get the honest truth, what should you do? What is the solution?

If you want to learn about someone, number one, stop making them feel judged for who they are. The point is to get the truth, without making someone feel judged.

I’ll give you a perfect example. I’ve been hosting one on one coaching calls for over eight years, hundreds and hundreds of calls. Men and women around the world, I’ve heard every possible story you can possibly imagine. Sometimes people will sign up for a call with me and they’ll be cagey with details and reluctant. And I need to assure them that this is a judgment-free zone. They can be completely transparent, so I can be of best service to them.

So it’s so crucial that people don’t feel judged if you want them to really share the full truth about who they are and where they’ve been.

Let them reveal and divulge to you who they really are. Because if you give it enough time, and you present an environment in which that person doesn’t feel judged, they will open up about who they are and where they’ve been because it’s safe.

And if you give someone enough time, I believe in the vast majority of cases, they will tell and show you who they really are. . All you have to do is not make them feel judged. sit back and listen.

Pay attention to what they share, taking little notes, mental notes. This is such a better solution than interrogating them and making them feel like they’re in an interrogation room.

Being accused of murder or something like that doesn’t work. It’s a lousy practical solution. So I really believe this is the best way forward when it comes to asking about your partner’s past.

If you really want to know who your partner really is, slow down the courtship process.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.