How to Talk to My Partner About... My Criminal Records

Are you going hide or tell the truth to your perfect partner?

By Fred S.
How to Talk to My Partner About... My Criminal Records

Your Past Catching Up with Your Relationship

Criminal records are not always blatant and they do not make a show. They are something you disclose by choice or else your partner gets wind of it from elsewhere. You might leave some crumbs or act like you have something to hide. This will prompt them to undertake a background check, which is a wise decision in itself. If there happens to be a mug-shot of that one time when you were charged for drunk-driving or arrested for any other offence, your beloved partner is ultimately going to find out.

It might not be the secrecy that may be a problem. In many cases, being accused of a crime or having been involved in an abusive relationship that led to legal troubles might alter your personality negatively. Your partner might notice that you are triggered by some peculiar action. The legal proceedings, jail-time or even the shame in itself might make you depressed. Many criminals tend to develop anger issues.

All these signs make it obvious that your deeds in the past are haunting you and might sabotage your relationship for good.

Should I Hide Or Tell The Truth About My Past Criminal Records?

Love is blind. The cupid victimizes you as and when it wants. You get into a relationship and start to share your life with someone. The feeling of having someone in your life who truly cares for you and respects you is unparalleled. There is nothing in the world that you would not do for your significant other. But, to be a good partner means to be completely honest with them.

Having a criminal record is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if your actions and their consequences have changed you into a better person. Making mistakes and going astray is completely human. If you really want things to work between you and your partner in the long run, you need to come clean to them about everything you have ever been through. Sharing with them your past might help them understand you better.

If you have grown up to be an improved person who believes in kindness and taking action in the positive direction, there is no chance your partner will be mad at you for being who you were a very long time ago. Humans change over time and under different conditions.

Hiding anything that can be verified over time or is in the knowledge of others around you might endanger your relationship. Partners wish to be a safe haven for one another. Not being entrusted with the dark aspects of your life might hurt them, because they might eventually learn about your secrets. This might instil in your partner the notion that you do not trust them enough.

Many people might consider not being truthful about criminal records as lying. At some point, if they bring your records up, choosing to keep that information away from your loved one may bruise your relationship. Also, it will make them insecure. Depending on your criminal records, your partner might feel unsafe around you and deem themselves as the possible future victim of any of the mistakes you might have made back then. Do not make your romantic partner go through such emotional turmoil by keeping back something that will eventually be known.

How To Tell Them About Your Criminal Records?

Being very clear is crucial to allow your loved one to comprehend you better. Following are some of the many things that you should take care of while coming clean to your beau:

1. Always go for full disclosure

It does not matter if you have more than one criminal record if you have changed and worked on yourself. Make sure that you tell them each and everything. Hiding something to make them feel better might be a temporary measure that can do permanent damage if you are going long-term.

2. Do not hide your emotions

Whatever you felt in the moment you committed the offence, you need to tell your partner about it. Many people might cross a line under peer pressure, if that has been the case with you, you should mention it. The circumstances that pushed you against the law and how you made amends should also be discussed. Remember, emotions are nothing to be ashamed of especially when articulating them to someone you really love.

3. Tell them how you got out of it

Whether you served jail time or had to go for counselling after you were charged, narrate all of it to your partner. Make them a part of your healing journey to help them fathom how the remorse stemming from your mistake actually turned you into a better person.

4. Ensure a good time and setting to inform

Do not bombard them with the information when they are already not in the mood to listen. The conditions should be calm. There should be no external or internal stresses for any one of you at the time of disclosure. Otherwise, even the kindest of your words and the most earnest of your intentions might feel like a jab to them.

At what stage of dating should I inform my partner?

It is preferable that you tell them about your past troubles as soon as possible, but not too early in the relationship when they hardly have seen the good side of you. Taking just the right amount of time is important.

Do not disclose your criminal records in a rush or when you two are going through a rough time in the relationship. Hurrying it will not allow them the time to process these facts about you and sharing it too early will act as a deal-breaker as they would not have had the time to know you. In the latter case, the only thing that will stick with them would be the fact that you violated the law.

But, do not make it too late either. Delaying might give them enough time to dig up information on their own or let them receive the sad details from someone else.

Tell them a few months into the relationship when you realize that you two have come to known each other well enough that when you tell them about your records, they would be able to make a fair comparison between the past you and who you are in the moment.

What To Do If Someone Find Out Before I Can Inform My Partner?

If there has been a mention or exposure of your records before you have had the chance to tell them yourself, it might be problematic.


When this happens, understand that your partner will rightfully be feeling very betrayed. Keeping your past a secret might pinch them and make them angry at you. Do not expect them to understand you in that very instance. Allow them to express themselves to help them get rid of their pent up emotions. Do not blame them for not understanding when it is all too new for them to handle.


If they learn it from some of your friends, they might even start doubting them. When your criminal records become a gossip, it is highly likely that a lot of things that your partner might have heard might just be made up. You can only learn about what they know and who they got to know it from if you listen to what they have to say. It is understandable that you might be feeling hurt yourself, but you need to give them your complete attention to have the chance of telling them the truth and refuting any misinformation.


When things have calmed down and the time is right, make sure you tell them everything. Explain to them how you were afraid of losing them and were waiting for the right moment to tell them. Show them through examples from your time together and actions that you are a better person now and are ready to make more amends because your partner motivates you to improve.

Let go

If, however, they choose to end things with you, respect their decision. In the end, we are all are our own person and we should not be forced to be with someone against our will. Let them go. Indulge in self-care without allowing anyone to determine your self-worth.


Some mistakes are a blessing in disguise. It is better to own up to them and move on with the intention of never making them again. We all have had our fair share of regrets, what we do with them determines who we are.


If you want your relationship to last, you need to stop hiding things. No façade lasts for too long. In the event that your partner learns about your criminal records from someone other than you, it might cost you your peace of mind. Accept your imperfections, forgive yourself, move on from the person you don’t want to be and open up to your loved one when the time is right. If they truly are meant for you, they will accept you with all your flaws.


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