What to do About Dating Part 2: Being Upfront
Honesty is one of the most important elements of any type of relationship. Whether it's dating, marriage, friendship, family, or even a hook-up. If people aren't honest about who they are and where they're at, there is bound to be trouble.
It's the age old story. One person is there just for the night. The other person wants love and marriage. The discussion of what they really want never happened. They have a date and then the next day... I'm sure you know where this story is going, and it doesn't end well.
If both parties had been more upfront about what they wanted and where they were at, a lot of heartache and drama could have been avoided.
But, how do you approach these topics? When are you upfront about your life, and when is it okay to wait until later to bring up certain issues?
Not long ago, a friend of mine on Twitter was discussing this topic of being upfront. (She gave me permission to reference this conversation for this post, by the way.) She is asexual, and was trying to figure out when you're starting to date someone is it appropriate to bring this up. The last I checked, there wasn't a box to check on OkCupid for "asexual." So... when do you talk about it? Before you meet? The first date? When you start to get physical? It's a really great thread and some awesome advice, so I highly suggest you clicking the link to check it out.
I'm not in the same situation, but I could get where she was coming from. While I'm not ace, I am a virgin. (Yes! We do still exist! We're like unicorns!)
Some of the more detailed dating sites and apps do give you the opportunity to ask questions about this, but I've found that I still need to find a way to bring it up while getting to know a guy. So far, I haven't found a solution.
Most of the time, the conversation ends up being them asking me personal questions about my past relationships, expecting me to explain myself, them thinking that I judge them for having a sexual past (By the way... I totally don't. As long as you're safe and everything is consensual, I don't care.), or it turning into an argument.
It's shocking to me how rare a reply such as "No need to explain yourself, it's your body and your choice and I respect that" happens. When it does, I'm pretty floored.
Part of me hates that most of the time I have to bring this up before I even meet the guy. I don't want it to be an expectation or an automatic write-off. These aspects of someone's life are very personal, and if me, or someone like me, doesn't want to share right away, that should be okay.
But at the same time, if that's what the other person wants, shouldn't they know this about me before anything happens? And if they're going to be a jerk about it, don't I want to know sooner rather than later?
I've found this to be an issue also when it comes to my disability. One of the very first dates I ever went on from an online app, I had talked to the guy for a couple of days and we met up for coffee. While, on my profile I had a fully-body photo, the guy didn't put together the pieces that I was small. (4'2 to be exact.) Let's just say... it was awkward. I learned the hard way that this is something I absolutely need to be clear about upfront.
One of my favorite YouTubers, Sitting Pretty with Lolo, gives advice about online dating with a disability all of the time. She suggests while your first profile pic can be whatever you want, be sure that one of the next ones shows your disability. (If it's visible.) For Lolo, that would mean a picture in her wheelchair. For me, while the wheelchair on occasion is something I use, the bigger one for me is being sure I show my height.
Then, Lolo suggests being sure you mention it once in your profile, then move on. Thankfully, most apps and sites give an option for sharing your height. (Although, a couple have automatic options and they don't always go as low as I need, which is really frustrating.) Later, somewhere in my profile (among all of my other awesome attributes!) I mention that I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. (OI) I've had a couple of interesting pick-up lines from that to be honest!
I still make it a habit to mention it before I meet a guy to be on the safe side. It's usually awkward, and I don't always know how to bring it up. Most often this conversation goes better than the "hey I'm a virgin" one, but can still be awkward because I don't know how to weave it into conversation. Yet, I know I have to be upfront because once you meet me, there's no way of avoiding it.
I definitely want to go more into detail about dating and having a disability, but that's another topic for another time.
These are the two biggest topics I think about when it comes to being upfront about myself right away. But, there are so many other things too where it can be tricky figuring out how and when to bring it up. Smoking and drinking habits, if someone is divorced, if someone has kids, political views, etc.
Frankly, if it's a good conversation I don't mind diving into some of the "real stuff" right away. But even then, a lot of these things can be incredibly personal, and I don't think someone should be forced to talk and share them before they're ready. But when dating, when is the appropriate time?
I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this and how they've handled these things or give any insights. Sometimes I feel so silly asking these questions because I think I should have enough dating experience by now to have other thoughts. But, it is what it is, right?
Like what you read? Consider buying me a coffee. This simply helps me to offset costs (ex. paying for my website domain) so I can continue to create quality and professional content - along with you receiving my lifelong love and appreciation!