You’ve met someone great and have been dating for a little while now. You feel that the relationship is heading towards something more serious and it’s time for the exclusive talk. However, before you do that, you need to share a sensitive piece of information. You are entertaining the idea of not revealing it because you worry that it might be a deal breaker for the other person, but you realize that it would be much worse to reveal it later.
These kinds of situations can be nerve-wracking, especially if you really like this person and want it to go well. Use the following tips to help you handle this disclosure in the best way possible.
1. Have A Face-To-Face Discussion
In this day and age of social media, these things have to be spelled out. This disclosure needs to occur with face-to-face contact where body language and emotional tone can be shared. Texts, emails, phone calls and even FaceTime are far too impersonal for this revelation. Don’t create an environment where misunderstanding can occur. Instead, take the conversation offline and have an in-person discussion in a comfortable, private setting.
2. Don’t Wait Too Long
Your transparency lets your potential partner know that you are a person of integrity. Your early disclosure also 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. Yes, it’s a risk, but your honesty will go a long way in building trust.
3. Don’t Overwhelm Them With Too Much Info
You have to judge your date and what they can handle in the moment. Even though you may have a lot to share, it is best to give the person a high-level understanding of the issue first. Tell them what is most important for them to hear, and invite them to ask any questions. Let them be in charge of the conversation.
4. Answer Any Questions Honestly
Answer everything and answer it honestly – no minimizing or justifying. The more vague or withholding you are, the more red flags your date will see and the blanks will inevitably get filled in with worst case scenarios. The more open you are to sharing the details in an honest and detailed way, the greater the chances are for your date to respect you and appreciate your openness.
5. Be Open To Ongoing Communication
This Q&A session is not necessarily a one-time event. Let them know that you are happy to go over any information that they want to hear, and that they can ask you questions whenever they want. This open-door policy establishes trust and allows the other person the freedom to revisit any information that they need to in order work through their concerns.
6. Don’t Manipulate The Outcome
Let the person work through the disclosure and hold space for their initial reaction. Don’t try and push them into “being okay with it.” Your support demonstrates to them that you can stay connected and support them during difficult times.
Once you have taken this big step, it’s up to your date to decide if they want to continue the relationship. If you two are able to overcome this disclosure, at least you will know that someone is choosing to be in a relationship with the real you – flaws, baggage and all. That is the foundation of a long and happy relationship.
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