You’ve been holding something back from the guy you’re dating.
You want him to like you. You don’t want to bring up any deal-breakers right when you’re getting to know each other.
Maybe, if you wait just a little longer, he’ll be so into you that it won’t matter. He’ll brush it off when you tell him. It won’t change anything between you.
But you can’t be CERTAIN…
Which is why the thought of saying anything makes you nervous.
How can you tell him without wrecking the good thing you’ve got going?
Can You Get Away with Not Telling Him?
You’re not the only one with secrets.
NO ONE is completely honest in the early stages of dating.
Dating is a lot like social media. You only share the things that make you look good.
And that’s okay, as long as you understand that’s how the game is played.
What you see isn’t necessarily what you’ll get if you end up in a relationship together. He’s got a bad side, as do you and I and every single one of us! Perfection is a Photoshopped illusion.
The longer you’re together, the more you’ll find out about each other. In an ideal world, you’ll feel so connected that nothing you reveal will change how he feels about you. But we don’t live in an ideal world.
Every single person has expectations about the kind of person they want to date. They want to know about potentially disqualifying information as soon as possible. They feel betrayed if their date isn’t forthcoming with that information.
You know how you’d feel if someone you were dating was hiding the fact that he had a criminal conviction, a mental illness, an STD, or a history of drug abuse. Would you feel better or worse if you’d gotten emotionally involved before he finally told you?
But most secrets aren’t as big as that.
You may worry about telling him that you’re in between jobs, or you’re living with your parents at the moment, or you’re divorced. You may worry about telling him about something that happened to you in the past or a health condition you struggle with.
Dr. Randi Gunther offers a guide to help you decide what and when to tell him. It’s called the Law of No Negative Surprises, and it states:
“Any data that could ever hurt a potential partner must be disclosed before it does.”
Oversharing Not Necessary
What’s great about this rule is realizing that you don’t have to tell a new guy everything.
You should only share what you feel comfortable sharing…
UNLESS you know something that could potentially hurt him.
Some secrets are yours alone. And some secrets aren’t going to hurt a potential partner unless you end up in a committed relationship.
A man you’re casually dating doesn’t necessarily have to know about your debt, your dysfunctional family, or your medical history.
But if you embark on making a life together, he does need to know about areas of your life that will be relevant once you merge bank accounts and start a family.
He Knows More than You Think
You also need to consider whether he’ll find out about something you don’t want to share via other means.
These days, it’s easy to find out information about people online. A study found that 61% of us always or usually google a new date, and 76% of us spend 15 minutes or more digging up details.
If you have shared something online, expect that he’ll find out about it. Don’t hide it. A breach of trust, even if it’s about a small matter (like your age), can derail a budding relationship.
How to Have the Conversation
So you’ve decided that you need to tell him. How can you have that conversation?
Open up the conversation by telling him how much you enjoy being with him and noting that your relationship is getting more serious.
For example, you could say, “I love how much fun we have together. I feel like we’re getting closer and closer. Thank you for bringing so much to my life.”
Then explain why you want to share something with him now. You might say:
“If we keep going like this, I hope we keep feeling closer and closer, like we can talk about anything. I don’t usually share a lot of private stuff with the guys I first meet, because I don’t know if I can trust them yet. I feel like I can share so much with you.”
Then reveal what you haven’t told him.
“There’s been something I wanted to talk to you about. I haven’t talked to you yet about X, because I wasn’t sure if our relationship would go anywhere. But now that it feels like the right time, I wanted to tell you this.”
Don’t apologize for not telling him before. You have a right to decide when the time is right to tell someone, as long as you follow the Law of No Negative Surprises.
Most importantly, don’t apologize for your secret itself. In particular, you want to avoid saying anything like, “I can understand if this changes your feelings about me.”
If your secret proves too much for him to handle, then be grateful that you know this now, before you got any more involved.
But in most cases, you’ll find that divulging your secret brings you closer together than ever. Relationships thrive on intimate disclosures. Love starts with letting each other in.