Q: Your partner compliments a piece of jewelry you are wearing. It was a gift from an old relationship. How much should you tell your current partner about the jewelry’s history?

 

A: Context in this scenario matters. Has your ex been an issue for your current partner, even though the past relationship doesn’t give cause for concern? If so, don’t volunteer the information; why cause your partner to question why you’re wearing the jewelry? If your current partner has no issues with your old relationships, you could casually mention where you got the piece and move on.

If you really feel the urge to share that it’s from an ex-lover, examine your motivation. According to your question, your partner didn’t ask where you got the jewelry, so why do you feel the need to blurt it out? Are you looking for attention? Are you trying to make your partner jealous? Or are you simply being honest about the gift?

Bottom line: In this context, less is more when it comes to what you share.

ANDREA SYRTASH,

 

A: If your partner compliments you on a piece of jewelry that was a gift from an ex, keep it simple. “Thank you” is a complete sentence and a comprehensive response to a compliment.

Jewelry from an ex is not going to make a current partner feel confident. You may think it’s just a nice accessory, but to your partner, it represents your connection to a past that your current partner is not a part of. And that can make a new partner feel excluded, competitive, jealous or even insecure.

Is wearing jewelry from an ex worth putting a damper on a current relationship or a new partner’s feelings? If it has a special meaning for you, consider putting that jewelry into a safe-deposit box. Otherwise, sell or donate it. Unless the piece is from an ex with whom you have children who might one day appreciate the jewelry, let it go and move on.

APRIL MASINI,