Jake was a party guy in college. He stayed up late, was the life of every social event he attended and was never without a date. In fact, Jake had a lot of dates and sexual partners during this wilder time in his life.

Now, 5 years later, Jake has settled down a bit. He still lives life to the fullest, but he doesn't party the way that he used to-- and he's glad about that.

When Jake met Andrea, he knew that this was the woman he could truly enjoy spending his life with. They've been dating for several months now and Jake still keeps worrying that someone will bring up a story about his “playboy” past in front of her.

Jake continues to ask himself, “How honest with Andrea should I be about my past?”

There are quite a few people who have gone through wilder times in their lives. They may have partied more or been with a string of different partners during those periods.

We're not here to judge anyone who chose (or is still choosing) such a lifestyle. We want to help you navigate the potentially tricky waters that are ahead-- or maybe are here for you right now.

Like Jake, you may have found a person with whom you'd like to create a longer-lasting, committed love relationship or even a marriage. If so, you'd probably like your relationship to be founded on honesty, trust and openness...in addition to passion.

You may worry that your partner will not approve of your wild past. You might even fear that you'll lose this person who is so special to you after he or she learns the complete truth about how you used to live.

The question remains...
“How honest do I have to be in order to maintain openness and trust with my partner?”

Make peace with your past.
First of all, we encourage you to do the internal work necessary to make peace with your past. If you feel guilt or shame because of your former behavior, create some completions.

These may be actual actions that you take to make amends with others, if that's applicable. Completions might also be symbolic rituals that you do that help you to release your past. Ultimately, making peace with your past involves you learning how to forgive yourself.

There's a time and a place to “come clean.”
You probably don't want to open up on a first date about all of your perceived skeletons in your closet!

When you decide that you really like this person and that you could see yourself with him or her in a committed relationship, it's time to decide to share some of those potentially tricky things about your past.

Choose the time and the place carefully.

For example, it's inadvisable to talk about past partners and what you may or may not have done with them while you are being intimate with your current partner.

Find a place that is private and a time when you both are relaxed and calm. If there is tension between you and your partner, resolve that first before opening up about your past.

Be honest, but...
We encourage couples to be honest and open with one another. This sometimes means that you admit to things that you've done that you're not necessarily comfortable talking about.

At the same time we advise you to be honest about your past, we want to remind you that you do NOT have to weigh down your partner with graphic descriptions of your party days or with details of your former partner/s.

We can't tell you exactly what to share about your past and how. This is something that you have to go within and decide for yourself.

You could let your partner know that there are some things about your past that you'd like him or her to know about. Ask your partner if it is okay for you to share this information about yourself.

Also, give him or her the option to stop you when it's enough. Conversely, be open to questions that your mate may have.

Honest communication needs to be an exchange. Allow your partner some control over how much he or she has to hear, if this is wanted at all.

Some people want to leave the past in the past. Others feel the need to know as much as possible about what the love of their life was like in years gone by.

Keep returning to why you are opening up about this.
Make it clear to your mate that you are sharing this possibly uncomfortable information about your past because he or she is so important to you.

Let your partner know that creating a healthy and trusting relationship is a priority for you and, for this reason, you'd like to talk about some things from your past.

If, for some reason, you decide not to share much (or any) detail about some past event or relationship, you can be honest about that too. You might explain that it is too painful or upsetting for you to talk about, but that you are working on healing those wounds within yourself-- and then actually take steps toward that healing.

The intention behind sharing about your past with your partner is promote closeness in your relationship. Remember this and use it as your guide.

Try not to make assumptions about what you think your partner can and can't handle knowing about you. This is not your decision to make and you might find you are very wrong in that assumption anyway.

Use this as an opportunity to hone your communication skills with one another. Speak honestly and keep listening to know how your partner feels.

Author's Bio: 

Susie and Otto Collins help people create more connected, loving relationships and are the authors of a new program Stop Talking on Eggshells For a free report on how to reverse what you don’t like in your relationships, visit Relationship Reverse Report