I’m a little clingy, I am still figuring out how to really forgive and forget, the trauma from past relationships and abuse resurfaces from time to time, I promise you that 90% of the time I will opt to stay in the house as opposed to going out, I wear my heart of my sleeve and emotions on my face, I prefer not to wear makeup, I struggle with insecurity from acne scarring, my idea of “sexy” is wearing an over sized shirt around the house, I am attracted to women (and men of course), I really enjoy classical music, I went to counseling for depression and never told my family, my love languages are Words of Affirmation and Quality Time, I think monogamy should be fluid, I have no intention of making my relationship and/or marriage a prison, I cry…a lot, I have a nagging fear of being left, I don’t think sex on the first date is a bad thing nor does it make a woman “less than”, I can be a pretty head strong, I identify as a feminist, and I prefer pancakes over waffles.
From an early age, the line between truth and fallacy is made very clear; it was bad to lie and good to tell the truth. Yet, as we get older we come across circumstances and situations where that rule is bent; where we aren’t able to tell the truth or the truth isn’t revealed right away.
Or we may withhold the truth all together.
Is that bad? What ramifications are there for not telling the truth? Are others obligated to our “truths”?
How does transparency (or truth telling) and dating go hand in hand?
In the early stages of dating, we go through what I like to call the “screening process“, where we ask questions of potential partners to get an idea of what they are like. (During this time we may also stalk their public social media accounts to get a better understanding of who they are – I am super guilty of this!)
“What’s your favorite thing to do?”
“Where are you from?”
“What’s your favorite food?”
“Did you graduate from college?”
“What’s your favorite movie?”
“Do you like Cardi B?”
You know, seemingly important questions that allow us to decide if we want to reply or leave that person on read.
The next stage digs a little deeper and is what I refer to as the “investigative process“, here we ask deeper questions that invoke a higher level of connection and discussion.
“Have you ever cheated or been cheated on?”
“Are you sexually active?”
“What was/were your ex/exes like?”
“Why are you single?”
“What are your expectations in a relationship?”
“Do you eventually want to be married?”
“How many kids do you want?”
“Do you want kids at all?”
These sort of questions allow us to begin figuring out if this person could fit into our lives. Do they check all of the hypothetical boxes we have in our head for the “perfect partner?”
During the “investigative process,” some questions may be tough or scratch the surface of something(s) that we aren’t quite ready to reveal yet. I know I am always a little hesitant to share all of my truths out of fear of being taken advantage of or seen as weird/sensitive/damaged. I mean the more someone knows about you essentially the more vulnerable you become. You become anxious for their reply/response, wondering how they will perceive what you just shared. I know plenty of times, I’ve thought: please don’t think I am a freak.
Frankly, I know I am not comfortable with revealing all my truths to someone who may not be in my life long term. How do we balance that? How do we give people enough that they have a clear understanding of who we are and what we want all while protecting ourselves and our truths?
A few years ago I was sexually assaulted. It took me a long time to own that truth and feel comfortable sharing it with others, but especially to potential romantic partners. I didn’t want them to fear the trauma that was associated with that attack or my sensitivity to the subject. I was afraid that men would look at me as if I was damaged or broken. I also didn’t want to deal with someone prying into something that was so delicate to me, asking questions of who/what/where/when/what did you do wrong?
Moreover, in recent months my views on monogamy have shifted. While I still want a lifelong partner/husband, I’ve found that the idea of sticking with one person forever and ever is a bit… unrealistic. I’ve gotten away from shaming people for being curious and opened my mind to exploring and finding out what makes myself and my partner happy. Subsequently, I’ve been more transparent in my wants/needs, attraction to women and found a place that I feel comfortable as it pertains to a sexual/romantic relationship my boyfriend/husband and possibly someone else. *shrugs*
Both of the aforementioned truths are things that I wouldn’t share right away, but I believe both to be exceptionally important in understanding who Devin is. I’ve learned that we all want to be validated and it’s important to share your space/time/energy/love with someone who validates all of you.. the good truths and the ugly truths.
I want to share my space with someone I can be transparent with. Period.
Devin, how do I do or find that? I know that’s what you’re wondering.
Well, as simple as it sounds, go with the flow. Feel out the conversation and person and determine when and/or where the right time to disclose something is. I have no problem sharing that I love pancakes and like to cuddle right away, however, speaking of my abusive relationships and views on monogamy may be something that comes a little later (if at all).
I also suggest not having tough conversations via text; pick up the phone or wait until you are together. Reading vs. hearing significantly impacts our interpretation of what we are receiving. Lastly, pay attention to their responses to what you share – are they stand off-ish, engaged, or down right ignoring you?
Dating is hard..really hard. I’ve been single for more than a year and I’ve learned more about myself and my wants in this intentional time then I have in a long time. One of the most valuable things I have gathered is to stand in your truth and find someone who will stand right beside you. Any and everything else can move around.