Sharing something about yourself that you are hesitant to reveal with a new date is always nerve racking. You wonder whether it really has to be told, about the timing of the share and about what questions will follow. Coupled with that, is uncertainty about how the other person will respond and whether your revelation will be a deal breaker for them.
Here are three tips to help you plan for what, when and how to tell your new date about a potential bombshell.
Everyone has their own list of deal breakers that would rule out a potential date or at least, give them pause about starting a relationship. A July 2016 Relationup survey identified the top 6 issues that were “must tells” early on in the dating process.
Your true age - It is commonly accepted that people lie about their age and post younger pictures of themselves. So, people don’t generally care that you fudged the truth, but they do worry about how far off your stated age you really are. Anything more than 2-3 years can be problematic.
If you smoke - Smoking is a non-starter for many people. So, if you are smoker who said you weren’t, you just may find that your date has a zero tolerance policy for it.
If you have a child - Some people desire to date a single mother or father, but it is a whole different ball game than dating someone who doesn’t have a kid. Make sure that your date is up for this type of relationship before you get too far along.
If you have been married before - The days of stigma around divorce are long gone, but it is still be jarring to find out too far down the road that your new love had a previous marriage. Red flags are raised about why this information wasn’t disclosed sooner.
If you have a history of addiction - Not everyone desires to be involved with someone who is in recovery and may have an ongoing commitment to a twelve step program. If the person can’t be supportive of you then move on and find someone who is.
If you have/had a major medical/psychiatric condition - Some people are nervous and uncomfortable about becoming involved with someone who has chronic medical issues. You want to make sure that your find a supportive partner who will be responsive to your needs and the ups and downs of your condition.
If you are planning on disclosing, then you have three choices: disclose upfront, reveal the information early on or don’t reveal the information until the relationship is heading towards something more serious.
If you are upfront and disclose quickly, your transparency lets your potential mate know that you are a person of integrity- forthright and honest. This gives the person an opportunity to understand and adjust to what it means to be part of your life and to determine how they want to proceed.
The longer you hold onto the information, the greater your chance is of finding yourself caring for someone who doesn’t yet know “the real you”. And when they do, you are increasing the possibility that they will feel blind sighted and manipulated and both of you will end up being broken hearted.
Disclosing personal information is often followed by pointed questions, if not immediately then after. You have three choices ahead of you: be an open book, postpone the questions or shut them down.
The more open you are to sharing the details in an honest and detailed way, the greater the propensity is for your date to respect you and appreciate your openness. No manipulation here! The more vague or withholding you are of information, the more red flags your date will have and the blanks will likely get filled with worst case scenarios.
Fear of being rejected can propel you to choose not to reveal an important piece of information about yourself to a potential mate. But then you are building your relationship upon a foundation of shame and the thought that “If they only knew the real me, they wouldn’t want to be with me” will be swirling around your head. . So, take a risk and be open and know that you don’t want to be with anyone who can’t accept you as you are, warts and all.