Dating Disclosure 101
Considering how popular social media is these days, privacy is fast becoming a thing of the past.
With lengthy chats pre-IRL meeting, and the prevalence of dating apps, we can feel like we know someone before we’ve even shaken their hand.
How do we know what, when & how to disclose our vulnerable and personal details?
Past partners, kinks, gender orientation and identity, and romantic and sexual preferences, it can all become a minefield to navigate.
Lucky for you, I’m here to help you traverse those murky waters.
Do I Even Need To Disclose?
So, it would be pretty hard to start this article anywhere else. Do you even need to disclose these personal things about you on a date? Put simply, yes, you do, and here’s why. The person you’re dating needs to learn about you, gosh dang it! So don’t hide who you are out of fear that it won’t be a match. If it’s not a match, that’s great. The sooner you find out the better. No need to waste anyone’s time.
Unfortunately, in my work I often see the main reason for withholding information while dating isn’t only fear, it’s also shame. You may feel nervous that you’ll be judged for your desires, so you keep them in. I understand that, and I have so much empathy for folks that make that choice.
It’s scary to be vulnerable, and it puts you at risk for major disappointment and heartbreak. But here’s the thing, if the person you’re dating would judge you for your preferences, they aren’t the right fit for you anyway.
So, yes, you do need to disclose some personal information about yourself and your desires when dating. Which leads me to the next question I’m often asked; “what do I have to disclose?”.
What To Disclose When Dating
There are A LOT of different things you may want to tell your date, to make sure your interests line up and you’re on the same track. Far too many to list here, but they usually fall under a few key categories:
-Personal Identities: Gender identity, sexual orientation, preferred pronouns, etc.
-Current Life Circumstances: Living situations, physical/mental health and wellness, children, STI status, other relationships, etc.
-Past History: Previous relationships, traumas, etc.
These are just examples to help you get started, but really are only a drop in the bucket of communication. What you choose to share with your date should be personal to you. It’s so important that you share the aspects of your life that feel relevant to a new partnership, even if it feels vulnerable (or nerve-wracking) to do so.
Being vulnerable with your partner creates an incredible moment for intimacy and bonding. Also, bringing a loving presence to your vulnerabilities can help them become a new means of perception which you can use in all future relationships and interactions.
So now you understand the importance of why to be vulnerable in communication when dating, and you also know what types of disclosures can be relevant, you’re left with a burning question; “How and when should I tell my date these things? Don’t worry, I got you there too.
Setting Up Successful Disclosures
Location, location, location. It can really make a positive difference! I always recommend keeping these types of conversations out of the bedroom. Preferably in a neutral, peaceful time and space. Like over the paper while sipping tea at the kitchen table together on a Sunday morning. Or in a coffee shop on a fun afternoon date. While strolling through a park. Watching the waves at the beach, you get it.
In terms of when during the dating dance you’d like to disclose, it’s up to your own comfort level. I wouldn’t advise sharing every single thing on a first date. But, it’s certainly good to have a sense of what is most important to you in a partner, and what things are lower-level issues. Once you know how important each thing is to you, you can address them in that order.
For example, maybe it’s crucial for you to have a DD/lg dynamic (Dominant Daddy or Caregiver and little girl/boy/person) in your relationship. But, you’re not too bothered if your partner has any children from previous relationships. So, in this case, I’d recommend testing the waters for DD/lg interest within the first 1-3 dates, and seeing if the topic of children naturally arises.