He’s Your Date, Not Your Therapist
The perils of over-sharing … and the pluses of including little calculation in your dating life.
I was once warned not to tell a guy too much when we first start dating. I said screw the warning! I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m going to be the real me, lay all the cards out on the table and the guy can take them or leave them.
And to a degree, that’s a great thing to do … at a certain point in a relationship.
I disregarded my friend’s advice at first, but as the number rose of guys who became notably alarmed when I brought up topics like “daddy issues,”struggles with eating disorders, or times when I just had my heart obliterated, I began to realize there was something to my friend’s advice.
I hate admitting it. Because that means learning a thing or to about tact, about restriction, about calculating. Three things I have to do all the time in my work life and three things I wanted not a hint of in my love life. But not every relationship built on a little calculation is superficial. In fact, taking the time to feel someone out before printing out your therapist’s notes on you and presenting them in a manilla envelope (No, I’ve never done this. It’s an exaggeration. Honest!) can actually lead to an even more meaningful relationship.
Women are pretty much constantly told that men can’t handle emotional topics. With that in mind, we’ve developed a fear of coming off as dramatic if we ever seriously emote about something. We often deal with this in one of two ways. A.) We never share any of our inner thoughts with a guy; or B.) We share them all at once, straight from the get-go, to make sure he can handle it. Better to find out now rather than later when you’re actually attached to him, right? Not entirely…
The excuse of many women for over-sharing early on in a relationship is, “I’m going to show him who I am.”
But here is the issue with that: when you tell a guy on date 1, 2, 3 or just too early that you have trust issues, that you had a certain traumatic experience when you were young, that your dad was an alcoholic, it seems like you are your issues, and that’s all you are. Because those topics are overpowering.
Take this, for example: “I love sci-fi movies and my mom walked out on me when I was 5.”
Hmm…which statement is your date going to most likely mull over for the rest of the night AND automatically deduce a dozen other traits about you from? Probably not your favorite film genre…
You shouldn’t be ashamed of your past. Everyone has had ugly experiences that have scarred them and shaped them. But you need to show someone that you’re a stable, happy person who has worked through their “issues” before bringing up those issues.
In the meantime, there are other ways to determine if a guy is emotionally mature besides spilling all your dirtiest, darkest secrets and watching him squirm. If a guy is comfortable talking about deeper, more “taboo” topics in reference to other people, you can usually assume he will be comfortable in the future discussing less comfortable topics in relation to you. If he is a generally kind and understanding person, he probably wont’ pull a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and turn into a completely insensitive jerk when you later on reveal more personal details about your life.
Tell us: Are you guilty of over-sharing too early on in the dating process? How do you feel about guys who over-share?
Julia Austin is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle and love+sex for a number of media outlets including Discovery’s PlanetGreen, LipGlossCulture.com, and QuickieChick.com, a site dedicated to giving busy women quick and easy workouts, recipes and lifestyle tips to better their body and mood. When she isn’t writing she is planning her next trip or sharing dating stories with her friends at happy hour.