Are you sharing too much too soon?

As a dating coach, a common question posed to me is “When is it a good time to let a date know about my past?” Some quickly ‘bare all’ in order to build intimacy, to prove their honesty and openness, or to see if their date will accept them. For others, it is simply a matter of not understanding what type of information is appropriate to share during the early stages of a dating relationship.

While I can appreciate the reasoning behind early disclosures, too much too soon can create doubt and insecurity, or even create a premature ending to a promising match.

So, if you struggle with how much to share or know you spill too much too soon, follow these three great dating tips:

Firstly, dating is for getting to know someone new and exploring the attraction. In the meantime that person is a stranger – not a best friend. The more intimate details of your past should be left until a relationship has been asked (not assumed) and you feel comfortable that they are a safe person to open up to. Otherwise, you run the risk of sharing too much.

Some topics that are appropriate to talk about during the early dating stages:

  • Light, cute and funny stories from your past and growing up
  • Surface background information about past jobs hobbies or current interests
  • Your current career and goals
  • Cuisine, movies, theatre, arts and other lifestyle preferences
  • Past stories about school, university and any upcoming plans for holidays etc.

Conversations to avoid:

  • Details about your ex’s infidelity, how it scared you away from commitment, or other dramatic stories including your huge credit card debt or ongoing family issues and anything else that evokes pessimism, anger, disappointment or a shoulder to cry on
  • The highs and lows of your dating experiences on and offline
  • Criticising your date
  • Using the entire date discussing your kids
  • Religion and politics – share some views but keep it simple as over sharing can scare someone away
  • Your health issues

These types of conversations can be scary and off putting for your date. This was the case for a client I was coaching. She had spent too much time complaining about her painful past during the first few dates that the guy decided he couldn’t get involved because he felt she had been through too much.

This brings me to my third tip. Even if you think you have met the right one, you still have to discover through experience if that is true. So avoid telling your date what a great mum or dad they will make, how many children you want or that you are in love. Also keep the rest of your life going and avoid spending every waking moment talking on the phone or being together. This includes praying deeply for one another as you are more likely to create emotional ties too quickly.

Remember: Healthy relationships grow gradually. They begin with mutual attraction, interests and chemistry, but grow patiently and steadily, while compatibility and common goals are explored.

Action Step: Are you revealing too much information about your past too soon? What boundaries do you need to develop so that you can grow a healthy relationship steadily?

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