How to Accept Your Partner’s Past

While it’s not always easy, accepting your partner’s past is part of any relationship. Whether you’re hung up on their past relationships or concerned about mistakes they’ve made, try to remain objective. Remember that everyone has baggage, and you can’t erase the past. Aside from major red flags, like cheating on all of their exes or a history of violence, give them the benefit of the doubt. Focus on how your partner treats you in the present, and work on developing a trusting relationship with them.

EditManaging Your Emotions
Notice when you’re thinking intrusive thoughts. Learn to recognize obsessive, black-and-white thoughts and catch yourself when you jumping to conclusions. It’s one thing to think about your partner’s past or experience emotions about it. However, try to identify when your thoughts race or if you take a past event out of context.[1]
Emotions such as anger, sadness, and jealousy are normal. For instance, it’s normal to be sad or cry about something bad your partner did in the past. If you’re jealous or insecure about your partner’s ex, it’s okay to vent to a loved one about it.

On the other hand, try not to obsess over your partner’s past relationships, scour their exes’ social media accounts, or dwell on a minor mistake they made years ago.

Challenge obsessive or all-or-nothing thinking. When you notice intrusive or irrational thoughts, question them. Remind yourself to stay objective, look at facts, and chip away at irrational suspicions.[2]
For example, suppose you’re suspicious that your partner isn’t over their ex, but there isn’t any actual evidence. Ask yourself whether you’re being reasonable if you start dwelling on your jealousy, thinking the worst of your partner, or obsessively looking over their ex’s social media profiles.

Tell yourself, “Stop. It’s normal to feel jealous, but I need to manage my thoughts and actions. I can’t control my partner or their past, but I can control my reaction. They haven’t given me any reason not to trust them, and I’m jumping to conclusions.”

If you have suspicions, it’s better to be honest with your partner instead of convincing yourself of the worst.

Seek advice from a trusted friend or relative. Vent your feelings to a loved one, and ask them for a fresh perspective. They can help you figure out whether the issue is a matter of your perception or a legitimate cause for concern. Confide in someone who’s objective, and keep in mind anything you say may influence that person’s opinion of your partner.[3]
For example, suppose your parents are already on the fence about your partner. Talking to them about your partner’s flaws could just worsen their opinion. If you work things out and accept with your partner’s past, your parents could still resent your partner, and you’d be caught in the middle.[4]

See a therapist if you’re not sure how to handle your partner’s past. If you have trouble coming to terms with your partner’s past or managing your feelings, an individual or couples counselor can help. They can offer a fresh perspective on your relationship and, if necessary, address broader trust issues.[5]

EditPutting Their Past in Context
Think about things you’ve done in the past. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Remind yourself that everyone has a past, and that no one is perfect. Make a mental list of your exes, mistakes you’ve made, and other examples that are comparable to what bothers you about your ex’s past.[6]
Imagine if your partner questioned whether you have feelings for your ex or judged you for a mistake you made 10 years ago. You’d probably think it’s unfair that they’re judging you for things you did before you even knew each other.

Remember that you can’t change the past. Your partner can’t erase their past, and you shouldn’t expect them to have a completely clean slate. Everyone brings baggage into a relationship. It’s up to you to figure out whether or not you can accept your partner’s baggage.[7]
It’s okay if you need some time to come to terms with your partner’s past. But it’s not fair to hold a grudge against them or to bring up their past during a fight. If they did something horrible and you can’t accept it, it’s better to end things than continually rake your partner over the coals.

Don’t define your partner solely based on their past mistakes. Take into account who your partner is now and how they treat you in the present. Try to see the bigger picture, and look for broader patterns instead of magnifying a single action. Put things in perspective, and think about how you’d feel if your partner judged you based on a single mistake.[8]
Say your partner told you they cheated on one of their exes a long time ago, and that they feel still horrible about it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should distrust them.

Ask yourself if something they’ve done is a deal breaker. Although everyone messes up, it’s okay to draw a line in the sand. Small, one-time mistakes are one thing. However, don’t feel like you have to accept major warning signs, such as a long-term pattern of bad behavior or a serious crime.[9]
Suppose your partner told you they’ve cheated in each of their relationships. That’s a pattern of suspicious behavior, and it’s okay to have serious doubts about their ability to commit.

Say they were arrested in the past for violence, and you’ve seen them punch walls, slam doors, and break things. This is a pattern of violent, potentially abusive behavior. Other abusive behaviors include screaming at you, threatening physical violence, and attempting to isolate you from loved ones. If you’ve observed any of these red flags, ending the relationship is probably the best option.

If they lose their temper but haven’t directed their anger toward you, and if you’re interested in working things out, you still need to set ground rules. They should consult a mental health professional about managing their anger.

EditAddressing Your Concerns with Your Partner
Bring up your feelings in a calm, respectful manner. Avoid bringing up something from their past in the midst of an argument. When you’re both calm and in good moods, ask them to talk. Tell them something’s been bothering you, and you want to be honest with them about it.[10]
Say something like, “Can we have a chat? I’m been feeling anxious ever since you told me about how much you used to party. I’m not saying you can’t have fun, but that kind of lifestyle isn’t for me. Do you think you’ve gotten it out of your system?”

Listen to their side of the story. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and let them give you the context. Maybe they told you about something they did in passing, but you didn’t get the whole story. Avoid jumping to conclusions, and try not to make assumptions about what goes on in their head.[11]
For instance, don’t just assume that your partner still has feelings for their ex. Instead of letting your suspicions fester, say, “I know you and your ex were together for a long time, and that’s pretty intimidating. They make me feel insecure, and I don’t want to come off as jealous, but I need to know that I can trust you.”

Hear them out, but trust your instincts. Bear in mind there’s a difference between an explanation and an excuse. It’s one thing if your partner offers a legitimate explanation and puts something from their past in context. However, go with your gut if you think they’re trying to pull the wool over your eyes.[12]
For example, say your partner had a problem with drugs or alcohol. They explain how they took steps to address their addiction, and that they’ve been sober for a long time. Rather than make excuses, their words and actions offer proof that the past is in the past.

Suppose your partner often hangs out with their ex alone. Maybe they’re constantly praising their ex, or they say things like, “That outfit reminds me of something my ex would wear.” Even if they try to explain it away, that’s pretty good evidence they’re not over their ex. It’d be wise to question if they’re ready to commit to a relationship with you.

Communicate openly, but don’t overshare with each other. As your relationship deepens, you and your partner should feel comfortable being vulnerable with each other. Let your partner know that it’s safe to talk about past experiences, mistakes, and regrets. Encourage honesty, but keep in mind that, for some topics, neither of you need to share every little detail.[13]
For instance, telling each other about your likes and dislikes in the bedroom helps build intimacy. However, neither of you need to go into detail about being intimate with an ex.[14]
Some people just don’t want to know about their partner’s past relationships. If you know you’re prone to jealousy, tell your partner you don’t really want to hear about their exes.

Discuss getting STI tests if you’re worried about their sexual history. If you haven’t already, talk to your partner about sexual health. It might be an awkward subject, but try to be matter-of-fact. Without putting them on the spot, suggest that you both get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI).[15]
Suppose you find out the person you’re dating has been with a lot of people, and you’re having trouble coming to terms with it. Talk to them about it, and mention that sexual health is an important topic for any couple to discuss.

Try saying, “I know it’s awkward to talk about, but they say you should be upfront about sex and health. I get tested regularly, how about you? What do you think about getting tested together?”

EditLearning to Trust Your Partner
Focus on how they treat you now. Ask yourself if your partner has given you any reason not to trust them. Assess your relationship rationally, and think about how your partner has acted since you’ve been together. How they treat you in the present is more important than what they might have done before they knew you.[16]
It’s normal to be afraid to trust someone, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past. Tell yourself to stop when you start feeling suspicious or jealous. Stay objective, and focus on your partner’s words and actions in the present.

Respect your partner’s privacy. Never snoop through your partner’s things or try to read their texts or emails. Think about how you would feel if they invaded your privacy. If you have reasons not to trust them, discuss your concerns with them instead of snooping.[17]
If you do find evidence, confronting them with it will let them know that you’ve invaded their privacy. You’ll both be defensive and accusatory, and neither of you will trust the other enough to have a productive conversation.

Distrust doesn’t necessarily have to do with cheating. Say, for instance, that your partner drank a lot or used drugs in the past. You might not trust them when they say that’s in the past if you’ve seen them drinking a lot or they’re suddenly prone to mood swings.

Talk to your partner about behaviors that make you distrust them. Choose a calm setting to bring up your concerns. Think about what you want to say beforehand, and come up with specific reasons that you distrust your partner. Try not to come off like your accusing them, but let them know the particular actions that have you on guard.[18]
For example, tell them, “Please don’t feel like I’m attacking you or accusing you of anything. But you told me you’ve had some anger issues in the past, and I’ve noticed you’ve been losing your temper a lot lately. Is there any way I can help? Maybe talking to someone can help you keep your anger in check.”

If you think they still have feelings for an ex, say, “It bothers me when you talk about how great your ex is or what you used to do together. I feel like you’re drawing comparisons between us. I’m glad you’re on good terms with them, but I’m concerned you still have feelings for them.”

Try not to let mementos of their exes bother you, within reason. Keeping a photograph of their ex on their nightstand, for instance, is unreasonable. However, don’t read into every little reminder of your partner’s past relationships. Holding onto mementos doesn’t mean your partner is still hung up on an ex.[19]
Suppose an ex made a really nice drawing of your partner’s dog. Keeping the drawing doesn’t mean that your partner is still crazy about the ex. If their ex gave them their favorite mug, using it to drink their morning coffee doesn’t mean they wish they were still with the ex.

Remember, you can’t pretend the past never happened. Your partner can be nostalgic but still be committed to you. As long as they treat you right and you’re both happy, don’t let their ancient history get in the way of your relationship.

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Today in History for 20th December 2018

Historical Events

1892 – Pneumatic automobile tire patented, Syracuse, NY
1907 – Explosion at Yolande Alabama, coal mine kills 91
1912 – Paul Claudels “L’Annonce Faite à Marie” premieres in Paris
1918 – Eugene O’Neill’s “Moon of the Caribees” premieres in NYC
1944 – Archbishop De Young and bishop Huibers condemn black market
1978 – H. R. Haldeman, Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff released from jail

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1758 – Othon Joseph Vandenbroek, composer (d. 1832)
1833 – Samuel Mudd, American physician (imprisoned for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth), born in Charles Country, Maryland (d. 1833)
1861 – Ivana Kobilca, Slovenian painter, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia (d. 1926)
1943 – Angel Tompkins, American actress (Gloria-Search), born in Albany, California
1972 – Scott Slutzker, American football tight end (Indianapolis Colts), born in Oakland, California
1983 – Adrián Varela, Mexican singer, born in Culiacán, Mexico

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

860 – King Ethelbald of Wessex
1022 – Elvira Mendes, wife of Alfonso V of Castile (b. 996)
1679 – Johan Maurits, count of Nassau-Siegen, dies at 75
1965 – Egon Freiherr von Eickstedt, German anthropologist (classified human into races), dies at 73
2009 – Mairoon Ali, Trinidadian comedienne and actress (b. 1954)
2017 – Bernard Francis Law, disgraced American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church (1982-2002), dies at 86

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Organize a Kitchen

A disorganized kitchen can be a big headache! Being able to quickly and easily find the items you need can save you time and unnecessary stress. Before you start organizing your kitchen, sort your belongings according to use. Next, arrange your countertops and organize your cabinets and drawers. Finally, you can create extra storage space if you need it.

EditSorting Your Belongings
Purge any items that you don’t need. Cluttered cabinets make it hard to find what you need. Don’t keep items that are only taking up space. When deciding if you need something, consider the last time you used it if it’s in good repair, and how many of that item you own. If you don’t know how to use the item, let it go.[1]
Pass your unused items along to a friend or donate them to a local charity. If you have a lot of items you don’t want or need, consider having a garage sale.

You may have items like holiday dishes that you don’t use often but still want to keep. If you don’t have enough cabinet space to keep them in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to store them elsewhere.[2]

Clean your kitchen from top to bottom. Dust the outside of your cabinets, appliances, and any decorative items. Use a soapy rag and clean, dry cloth to wash and dry the insides and outsides of your cabinet, as well as your countertops. Sweep and mop your kitchen floor. Wash and dry any rugs or other cloth items that you keep in the kitchen.
You want to start with a clean slate! Since you’re removing everything from your kitchen cabinets and drawers, this is the best time to clean them. Additionally, you don’t want to put your dishes and appliances on top of a layer of dust or grime!

Create activity zones based on how you use your kitchen. Knowing how you’ll use your kitchen makes it easier to decide where to keep your items. Here are some zones you might incorporate:[3]
Coffee or Tea Spot: Place your coffee pot or tea pot in an easy-to-reach location. Store your mugs and coffee or tea nearby.

Food Prep Station: Provide space to prepare your dishes. Place your cutting board, knives, measuring cups, and related items near this space.

Cooking Station: You’ll likely center this area around your stove. Keep your cooking utensils nearby, as well as your oven mitt.

Serving Station: If you have space, you might include a spot for serving your food. Choose an empty countertop, and keep your serving spoons nearby.

Choose easy-to-reach places for your most frequently used items. These items should be easy to take out, use, wash, and replace. Keep them at eye or waist-level near your dishwasher, sink, or stove. Don’t stack items like pots and pans if that means you have to dig to find what you want.[4]
For example, you might put the dishes you use daily in an eye-level cabinet close to the stove.

Group similar items together. For instance, your categories might include mugs, pots, dinnerware, and storage containers. Storing these items in the same spot will make it easier for you to find and grab what you need.[5]
After you have your items sorted into similar groups, check that you don’t have too many of one item. If you have more than you need, it’s a good idea to let some go.

EditArranging Your Countertops
Keep rarely used items off your countertops. Place items you don’t use often inside your cabinets or store them outside your kitchen if you’re short on space. Only store items you frequently use on the countertop. This makes it easier for you to work in your kitchen every day.[6]
For example, you might keep your microwave on the counter if you use it daily, but put away your toaster if you only use it once a week.

If you’re short on cabinet space, place any decorative items you’d like to display in your kitchen in an out-of-the-way location, such as on top of your cabinets. Don’t clutter your cabinets with decorations.

Place commonly used appliances and kitchenware on the counter. Designate which areas need to remain empty, such as your food prep area. Then, find a spot for items you use daily, such as your microwave, coffee pot, dish rack, and cutting board.[7]
Make sure you know where your power sockets are before you decide where to place your items. You’ll need to put your appliances in a place where they can be plugged in.

Keep your most used kitchen utensils in a jar near the stove. This includes items like your stirring spoon, spatula, spaghetti server, and slotted spoon. Only place items you use often in your utensil jar. Store items you rarely use but want to keep in a utensil drawer.[8]
A large jar or canister works great for storing your utensils. As another option, you can use a clean vase.

Install a magnetic strip to hang your knives. Keep only the knives you actually use, such as your chopping and paring knives. Let go of your extra knives and knife block, which can take up too much space on your countertop.[9]
If you have knives you use occasionally, store them in a drawer.

Donate your unused knives and knife block.

Put a small shelf by your sink for your hand soap and sponges. A tray gives you more space around your sink. Place your soap, dish sponge, and towel on the tray. Then, place your sink stopper and bottle scrubber below the shelf.[10]
You can find an over the sink shelf for your kitchen. Alternatively, get creative and use a cake stand as a shelf!

Keep items like cooking oil and honey on a dish or tray. It’s normal for your oil or honey to drip, making your bottle sticky. This can gum up your cabinet or countertop and make your other items sticky! Place your oil on a small dish or tray that you can wash often.[11]

Place fruit and vegetables in a basket or bowl on the counter. It’s common to store un-refrigerated produce on your countertop. Keep your produce together by placing it in a stylish bowl or basket. Then, set it on the counter where you can easily access it.[12]
Put your fruit where you can easily grab them for a snack. If space is an issue, you might place your vegetables farther back on the counter until you need them to prepare your meals.

EditOrganizing Cabinets and Drawers
Designate each cabinet and drawer for a specific item or items. Then, arrange your items in the cabinets and drawers. Place the items you use often near the front of your cabinets to make them easy to reach. This makes it easier to store similar items together so you can quickly find what you want.[13]
For example, you might designate a large cabinet for your dishware, a small cabinet for mugs, a bottom cabinet for pots and pans, etc.

You might have one drawer for towels and pot holders, one drawer for utensils, and one drawer for extra cooking tools.

Keep your cleaning supplies under your sink. It’s easy to forget about the cabinet under your sink, but it’s the perfect place to store your kitchen cleaners. Keep your cleaning wipes, sprays, soaps, and sponges under the sink.[14]
If you need more storage space, install a shelf or decorative baskets under your sink.

Use trays with compartments to organize the contents of your drawers. Choose a tray that is the same size of your drawer or smaller. You can place your items in the tray and in the space around it, depending on what you’re keeping in the drawer. This lets you organize your utensils, measuring cups, chip clips, and other items.[15]
You can use a tray with multiple compartments or several small trays with just one compartment. Choose the solution that works best for you.

Arrange items on small, easy to remove trays to keep cabinets straight. Trays are a great solution to easily access the back of your cabinets without digging. Choose smaller trays so they are easy to remove and replace as you need items.[16]
For instance, you might use trays in your top cabinets so that the items you’ve stored in the back of your cabinets are still accessible.

Put pantry items in clear bins to make them easy to find. Empty your foods into food storage containers to cut down on clutter and keep the pantry organized. Pour foods like cereals, grains, and baking supplies into stackable containers. Then, arrange them neatly in your pantry.[17]
Group your foods into categories. For example, stack your cereals together, your pasta noodles together, and your baking supplies together.

Use a file sorter or magazine holder for items like lids or baking sheets. Put the file sorter or magazine holder inside your cabinet, then put your lids or baking sheets into it. This allows you to store the items upright, keeping your cabinets uncluttered and your items within easy reach.[18]
Choose a sturdy metal file sorter so it’ll stay upright.

Both plastic and metal magazine holders will work well for your kitchen storage.

Place items on a lazy susan to avoid digging for the thing you need. A lazy susan spins, allowing you to have easy access to all of the items it contains. They come in several different sizes. You can put a lazy susan in your cabinet or pantry to store spices, canned goods, or other items.[19]
A small lazy susan works great for spices, while a larger lazy susan might be a great option for canned goods.

Keep your junk drawer clean with small, lidded containers. If you have a junk drawer, maximize its use by keeping your items sorted into smaller containers. Label the containers so you know what’s inside them.[20]
Go through your drawer regularly and get rid of the items you aren’t using.

EditFilling Your Refrigerator
Place ready to eat foods and drinks on your top shelf. This includes pre-packaged foods, eggs, and leftovers. The top shelf is easiest to access. Plus, storing these items at the top of the refrigerator helps prevent contamination because no foods are placed above them.[21]
Store drinks that are too tall for the top shelf on the middle shelf of your refrigerator. Avoid storing them on the door, where it’s warmer.

Keep your raw meats on the lower shelf of your refrigerator. This prevents them from leaking onto your other ingredients and contaminating them. However, check over your meats to make sure they aren’t leaking before you store them, as they can spread bacteria. If you find a leak, repackage your meat and clean up the spill using an antibacterial cleaner.[22]
Protect your crisper by placing your meats in a plastic container that fits on your lower shelf. If the meat leaks, it’ll leak into the container, not onto your produce.

Put raw produce on the middle shelf or in the crisper. Keeping your produce on the middle shelf makes it easier to pull it out when you’re ready to cook. Plus, this keeps it above the meat in your refrigerator. However, your crisper can control humidity and provide the best environment for your fruits and vegetables, so you might prefer to keep them there.
If you use the crisper, make sure you don’t overfill the drawers, which makes it harder to find what you need.

Keep your condiments on the door of your refrigerator. The door is the warmest part of your refrigerator, so the only safe thing to store there is your condiments. Group them according to type so it’s easy to find what you need.[23]
For example, put jams and jellies together, group marinades together, and put all of your sandwich dressings in one spot.

Put your cheese and lunch meats in the cheese drawer. Most refrigerators have a small drawer below the top shelf where you traditionally store cheese. If you buy sandwich meats, you can also place those in the cheese drawer. This keeps your cheeses safe and easy to find.[24]

EditCreating Extra Storage Space
Use the space on top of your cabinets or refrigerator. Don’t let your vertical space go unused. Store or display items you don’t use often. Here are some ways to maximize the space you have available:[25]
Store your rarely used items, such as holiday dishes, in decorative baskets.

Arrange your favorite cookbooks for a stylish storage solution.

Keep your wine rack on top of your cabinets.

Put your decorative items in out of the reach locations.

If you have a lot of space above your cabinets, install a shelf to allow for extra storage.

Store items on a rolling cart if you’re short on cabinet space. Opt for a stylish cart that fits your kitchen decor. Rolling carts give you more space for pantry items, cookbooks, and cooking supplies. You can also use a cart to conveniently store your coffee and tea supplies, if you’re a daily drinker.[26]
You can find a cart at your local department store, home goods store, or online.

Use an open bookshelf for easy access. A bookshelf can hold extra dishes, extra appliances, pantry items, cookbooks, and decorative items. Place your bookshelf against a wall in your kitchen or along the side of your refrigerator if space is limited. Arrange your items so that they’re visually appealing.[27]
A bookshelf is a great way to create functional decor!

Install shelves in your cabinets. Shelves are a great way to add more useable space to your cabinets. Stacking items can make it hard to get to what you need, but adding an extra shelf lets you create small stacks that are easy to access.[28]
For an inexpensive option, use collapsible plastic shelves. You can find these at a department store, home store, or online.

Put hanging hooks on walls or inside of cabinet doors. Place your wall hooks on the wall behind your stove or above your sink. Install hooks on the insides of cabinets to hold small items or items you use often. Hooks can hold pots and pans, decorations, measuring cups, towels, etc.[29]
You can use Command hooks for an easy option that won’t damage your wall or cabinet doors.

If you’re going to be hanging a heavy item, like a pot, you might install a sturdier hook.

Hang an over-the-door shoe organizer on your pantry door. Use a shoe organizer on the inside of your pantry door to organize food or other kitchen supplies. The small pockets on the organizer are great for keeping track of a lot of small items. You can also add labels to the pouches if you like.[30]
This can be a great solution for people who have kids. You might place your child-friendly snacks in the shoe organizer so your child can easily grab them.

Get a mobile kitchen island for storage and counter space. A mobile kitchen island has wheels so it can be easily moved around the kitchen to suit your needs. Not only will it give you extra counter space on top, but you’ll also have space to store the items in drawers, cabinets, or open space on the lower portion of the island.[31]
Mobile kitchen islands come in different sizes and can range in price from affordable to expensive. They’re available at many department stores, as well as home improvement stores. You can also find them online.

Install drawers in your bottom cabinets to maximize the space. You can find drawers designed for installation inside cabinets. Drawers will allow you to access the back of your cabinets with ease. Instead of digging in your cabinets, you can pull out the drawer and grab what you need.[32]
If you aren’t handy around the house, you might hire a contractor or handyman to install your drawers.

It’s a good idea to experiment with different arrangements until you find one you like. Notice what works and what doesn’t for your life.

If you keep a “junk drawer,” clean it out frequently to make sure you aren’t holding onto clutter you don’t need.

If you choose to put spices near the stove, choose a spot where they will stay cool and dry. Heat and moisture will spoil the flavor, and you will have to replace them much more often.

When you buy items to create a specific recipe, it’s best to group them together to make it easier to cook.

Organize your items according to how you actually live, not how you think you “should” live.

If you have children, don’t forget to install or adjust child-proofing, especially on lower cabinets. Be especially sure that knives, liquor, and cleaning fluids are stored safely.

Before you buy organizational shelves and containers, go through your items to make sure you really want to keep all of them. Purchasing items you don’t really need will only add to the clutter.

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EditQuick Summary
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