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How Much Should You Share With Your Date?

DR. DENNIS NEDER AND KYLIEDr. Dennis Neder, Author: "Being a Man in a Woman's World"

"Being able to afford having children doesn't make you a mother any more than having a function reproductive system does. That's just ridiculous!"

Hi Dennis,
I've been dating off and on since my divorce a few years ago. I generally am completely open with my dates, and willingly share information about my life history.

I've just met a gal who is a Psychologist. She has challenged my practice, saying that there are some things that are better not to share with your dates. For example, she doesn't want to know about sexual relations I had with my last partner, and has been unwilling to disclose much about her own recent sexual history. Her stated concern is that I might judge her if I don't like something she's done in the past, or vice versa.

I am curious, is there a general position that psychologists or psychiatrists take on sharing one's life history with people you are dating?

I couldn't agree more - with her.

This belief you have in being totally open and honest; while a lofty goal isn't healthy or practical; let alone possible.

There is a general belief that being totally open and honest is somehow the cornerstone of a good relationship. That's just not the case. This is an attempt by those with great fear of being lied to and a lack of belief and trust in themselves to deal with other's lies, to off-load their own responsibilities onto someone else and to make that person responsible for their personal mental health.

I'm not advocating the opposite here, but trying to be totally open and honest may feel good on the surface but is not otherwise healthy.

Here's the reality: everybody, but everybody lies. That's just the way it is. Lying is such a part of the human experience it's built right into our communication systems. In fact, it's impossible not to lie! Likewise, it's impossible to be totally open and honest too. Trying to hold someone else to a standard of not lying isn't reasonable when we, ourselves can't even meet it.

You're taking that mistaken belief to an extreme by "outing yourself" on things that your dates really don't need or even want to know!

George, nobody buys a novel only to turn to the last page to find out who "did it", and then puts it on the shelf, satisfied. Another part of the human experience is the joy of discovering who our partners (and dates) are. This happens over time as we gather information and build a picture - and sometimes that picture gets changed in both subtle and some not-so-subtle ways. This unfolding of reality helps us to "discover" the other person and frankly, is more than half the fun.

You're trying to unload every truth up front as though your dates will somehow benefit from the knowledge. They won't, and frankly, that just puts far too much pressure on them anyway.

In fact, this psychologist is spot-on. Don't feel that you need to unload (more like "vomit") any part of your life all over someone as though that's "healthy" and will build a solid relationship - it's not, and it won't. Not even if lying was what caused your divorce.

Best regards...
Dr. Dennis Neder

Have a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at for answers.
For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:

Copyright (c) Dr. Dennis W. Neder All rights reserved.
Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Author of: Being a Man in a Woman's World
Dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships.
Start having the relationships YOU deserve!
Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit: 

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