In today’s video, I want to share a few thoughts for people who are bothered by their partner’s past, and wondering whether their partner is being entirely honest with them.

If you’ve ever thought, “What if My Girlfriend is LYING About Her Past?” you are not alone.

Zachary Stockill: I got a comment on a YouTube video recently from a young man who wrote to me saying, basically, “My girlfriend’s past bothers me. And what’s worse, I feel like my girlfriend is being dishonest about her past or even lying. What if what she’s saying about her past isn’t true?”

So in today’s video, I want to share a few thoughts in response to this question. I think you’ll find this useful if you’re bothered by your girlfriend’s past, or maybe your boyfriend’s past, or husband’s past, or wife’s past. If you’re bothered by your partner’s past, and you feel like they might not be being entirely honest with you, I think you’re going to want to see today’s video, I’m going to share some thoughts that I think you’ll find helpful and hopefully clarifying. 

If your girlfriend’s past bothers you, and you feel like your girlfriend or your partner may not be being entirely honest or may be lying about their past, my first question to you would be: do they have a habit of deception, generally?

Have you caught them in little lies before? Have you caught them lying about little things in the past? Or maybe big things in the past?

What if My Girlfriend is LYING About Her Past

Have they demonstrated a habit of deception in multiple areas of their life? In some areas of your relationship beyond retroactive jealousy, beyond their past? 

What I’m getting at here is do they lie a lot? Have you been feeling that tension in your gut? Like, “something’s off, here.” You know, have you been trusting your intuition? And has your intuition been telling you, that this person is generally deceptive? I mention this because it’s pretty unlikely that someone is lying or deceptive about only one area of their life, or one topic, or one subject. If someone is being deceptive and dishonest about their past, chances are pretty good they’re deceptive and dishonest about multiple areas of their life. So if you’re concerned that they might be being slightly dishonest about their past, think about whether they’ve been deceptive in other areas of their life.

I’d also mention that a lot of people, men, and women alike, are somewhat dishonest about their own sexual past, their relationship histories, etc. I don’t know about you, but we’ve all, at least most of us, myself included, have made certain mistakes in the past; certain choices, certain nights, certain people that maybe we want to take back. Now I’m not saying this to excuse someone who’s blatantly lying, someone who’s lying about big life events, someone who’s been married three times or someone who has children from a previous relationship and won’t admit it. I’m not excusing any of that. And I’m not excusing deception, more generally, I’m merely trying to explain it, to try to encourage some degree of empathy. 

You might want to ask yourself: am I completely, one million percent honest about every single encounter, every single person, every single evening in my own past?

And if the answer is yes, congratulations. But if the answer is no, you’re certainly not alone. A lot of people are going to tell at least somewhat white lies about their own sexual past, their own dating experiences, their own relationship history.

But once again, this is not to excuse what I would call very serious lies. For example, if I met someone, and they were dishonest about the fact that maybe they’d been married before, or maybe they’ve been divorced before, or maybe they, I don’t know, made pornography before, or maybe they have children from a previous relationship, and they’ve been lying about it for some time… For me, this would be a clear deal-breaker, and this wouldn’t be something I’d have to think about at all. Because if someone’s willing to lie about something that big a deal, what else are they lying about? 

And for me, honesty is a big deal, especially honesty about significant things like that. For me, that would be a deal-breaker. By the way, regardless of whether my girlfriend or partner is lying about their past, I wouldn’t date a generally deceptive person in general, because:

If someone’s lying all the time, you don’t have a relationship. You have a mirage, you have a fantasy.

So I don’t care how sexy they are. I don’t care how wonderful they are. I don’t care. All their wonderful personality attributes… If they’re a liar, I don’t want to be with them. 

I don’t think any healthy relationship can be built on habitual deception.

Now, this is for me, this is not for everyone. I’m not saying that everyone has to view building trust this way. I’m not saying that everyone has to see the world as I do. 

We don’t need seven billion Zachs running around the world… way too much.

Anyway, the way I build trust is slowly over time. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t immediately 100% trust someone right away. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, I try to trust them, you know, in little ways, building up over time, until they give me a reason not to trust them.

But to give you a very clear example: I trust my current girlfriend today way more than I did a year ago. And it’s not like before, she was being untrustworthy. My point is simply that I think

The only way to really know who someone is, and to really, truly trust them, is to watch their actions over long periods of time. 

Notice that I didn’t say “words,” because as you seem to imply in your message to me, talk is cheap. People can talk a big game, and they’ve got nothing to back it up. People can lie and deceive others about who they are and what they want, and their past and their future, and their present all the time. But if you really want to know who someone is truly watch their actions over long periods of time, and don’t pay a ton of attention to what they say. How many coaches are on YouTube with zero testimonials, zero references, nothing backing them up? But they talk a big game, so they can build a business overnight. 

And by the way, if you’re wondering, “how can I be sure that I can trust my girlfriend is not lying about her past?” Here’s the thing: you can’t. There is no way to be one million percent certain that that person is telling you the truth.

Now, I’m not saying it to go out there and be suspicious of everyone and all the rest. But I really think at the end of the day, our only real option is humans, if we want to be in love, if we want to be in a relationship is to accept this idea that 

Every relationship is a risk. Every relationship is a gamble. There will always be that inherent element of uncertainty and risk. 

What if My Girlfriend is LYING About Her Past

Yes, some people will hurt you. People can betray you. People can lie, people can cheat people can steal. There are all kinds of risk associated when you bring anyone into your life.

But the alternative is way worse, in my opinion. The alternative involves never choosing to love anyone. The alternative involves never being in a relationship. Or alternatively, the alternative involves just constantly being skeptical, and constantly digging into what people are saying, never trusting anyone, never taking that risk. Just constantly fretting; checking their phone every time they leave the room, being paranoid, being suspicious, and never really enjoying any relationship. 

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take the risk. I’d rather take the gamble. And maybe I’ll get burned. Maybe I’ll get deceived. Maybe I’ll be screwed over. But you know what? It’s worth it. To me, the risk is worth it.

Because I’ve been in some absolutely incredible relationships in my life. I’ve met some remarkable women who have shared some years with who I’ve spent some time, and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, regardless of the future, regardless of anything else. To me, the risk is worth it. 

And I really see that as the only practical solution in these kinds of relationships when you’re in these situations: to decide to trust someone until they give you a reason not to trust them, and to build trust with that person slowly over time, based on their actions rather than their words. 

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.