If I Spill My Big Secret, Will She Leave?
Ask Demetria: You can't guess her reaction, but here's what to do to make it easier for you both.
(The Root) --
"I have a major secret that I've been keeping from a woman I'm dating. I'm afraid if I tell her too soon, it will scare her away. And if I tell her too late, she will think I am not trustworthy, and she will leave. When do you think is the best time to tell someone serious information?" --G.U.
Just like when you learn a new phrase and suddenly everyone seems to be using it, something similar happens when you have a secret. Whatever it is you're hiding, it's almost inevitable that the subject will be a topic of conversation the first time you meet or go on a date with someone you want to know better. That's actually the best time to divulge a secret -- as soon as it comes up. Just put it all out there and have no secrets.
This is an opportunity that nearly no one takes. And that's fine. Unless your big secret is something that would make you unavailable to date by most standards -- you are married, engaged or in a relationship, or your divorce is not yet final -- you're in the clear about not confessing very early on. Secrets, by nature, are kept because you don't want others, especially strangers, to know your personal business. And no one reasonable will fault you for not spilling to someone you don't yet know.
But if you're interested in being in a relationship and you believe the other person feels the same, it's time to fess up -- before you have sex. If your confession is about an STD, if you slept with someone she knows or with someone of your same sex, she needs to know prior to lying down with you. You don't want to drop a bomb on her after she's emotionally invested -- which, if she's having sex with you, is likely.
Waiting until the person you're dating is in deep to tell him or her a secret is a popular method for confessing, but it's also entirely selfish. It's only done with the hopes that the person cares about the confessor so much that he or she won't leave when the confessor says whatever it is that needs saying. When it works, the secret-keeper often avoids rejection, but the emotional toll it takes on the other person is unfair.
There's also the risk that your partner could deal with your secret, but not your deception. It will be a doubly horrible experience for you if you get up the nerve to confess whatever's been weighing on your mind and you are rejected for, of all things, your timing.