How Do I Tell Them About THAT?
Chris Grace - July 23, 2019
Do you have any advice on how to share your sexual history with someone you’re dating? It’s a really tough subject to bring up.
Wanting To Tell Him
Dating is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, and to know and be known by others. Healthy dating and romantic relationships are marked by a growing intimacy and connection with another person. Being able to let your guard down with someone you love and trust becomes one of the sweetest joys of a relationship.
However, here is an important caution: Share your intimate secrets carefully and thoughtfully, and only a little at a time. Keep in mind that time is your friend. A wise person once said, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23.
Debra Fielta in her book True Love Dates says “More powerful than a kiss, more seductive than an embrace, there is something that happens when two people connect emotionally. Something that has the capacity to outweigh even the physical. A sort of ‘emotional sex’ that can be just as harmful and heartbreaking, when it moves too deep, too fast.”
So protect the deepest, most intimate parts of who you are, both emotionally and spiritually. “Be real, be genuine, and be honest, but never without the anchor of boundaries and the weight of wisdom,” says Fileta. Without such wisdom, premature emotional intimacy can leave us vulnerable to heartbreak and emotional damage. And, intimacy can carry you much deeper into your relationship more quickly than you ever intended to go, resulting in the double cost of a broken heart and a broken spirit.
Research shows that healthy trust develops over time, so it is better to wait until you know you can trust someone with those things that matter to you. In other words, don’t share your most intimate personal details or your darkest secrets in the early stages of dating.
As far as any past indiscretions or broken relationships you may have experienced, many experts have found that sharing such intimate details first requires the building of trust and safety. “You only share with people who’ve earned the right to hear your story” (who are trustworthy and safe) says author Brene Brown.
We are clearly designed to enjoy the intimacy that comes from friendships, dating and romantic relationships. Such joy is best achieved slowly, over time, in a relational context that grows as is earned over time in healthy trust and true safety.
Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.