When you’re beginning a new relationship, the last thing you want to talk about is your ex, right? Not necessarily. Dishing about your former flame early on allows you to cut the b.s. and get into the details that really matter—like why the last relationship ran its course and if you’re destined for a similar (unhappy) ending. After all if she’s a lying, cheating d-bag, wouldn’t you rather know now?

Also, the way a person talks about their exes and past relationships speaks volumes about who they are. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather know early on if someone is the jealous type or confident, rude or can respectfully disagree, and if they have a sense of humor or don’t understand my sarcasm.

While I do agree first dates should be fun, there’s a way to playfully discuss taboo topics that can actually be pretty hot. Some of the best dates I’ve ever been on involved discussions on controversial topics and a healthy (keyword, healthy) debate. When you’re being both flirty and direct, the attraction level—and understanding—goes up tenfold. Here’s why I highly recommend it.

1. You’ll make better use of your time.
There’s nothing worse than going on a first date and feeling like you’re being interrogated. Those rapid-fire questions about what you do and where you’re from are monotonous and boring. Sure you can start there, but I want someone to challenge me. Ask me something bold or out of the ordinary. Bringing up these subjects sooner rather than later can create intrigue and potentially deepen a connection—or show you there’s a lack of connection. Either way, it tells you something you should know.

2. You’ll learn a lot about the person.
I’m a firm believer that if you don’t want to talk about your past relationships, there are potentially unresolved issues like jealousy, insecurity or resentment. Although this doesn’t necessarily have to be discussed on day one, I’m happy to talk about it if it’s brought up. Discussing a romantic partner’s past and vice versa is crucial in getting to know someone on a deeper level, developing a healthy sex life and ultimately growing with that person. If you’re not on the same page, it won’t work.

3. You’ll have more fun.
If we’re being honest here, dating sucks. Sometimes you feel a connection and sometimes you can’t wait until it’s over, but either way, you should try to make the most of it. When it comes to people you truly connect with, explore a bit! I’m not saying scare them off and grill them on every detail of their past relationships, but being vulnerable lets you to push past the silly notion that you have to act “cool” on a first date and can actually bring you closer. Which I don’t need to tell you has some pretty sweet benefits of its own…

Photo: iStock/BraunS