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Managing Secrets and Strongly Held Convictions During the Dating Process

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 4th 2016

Some people have secrets that they carry around with them. A child may have been given up for adoption. A chronic disease may be present. At some point in any growing relationship there will come a time when some of these secrets will have to be shared with one's partner if the relationship is to be honest. Knowing when to best share such secrets is important. Secrets that may put the health of your partner at risk (such as having active STDs like Herpes or AIDS) should be shared at the very beginning of any relationship. Secrets that do not put the health of your partner at risk can be held onto for a while. It takes courage and bravery to tell a secret as your partner may possibly leave you because of it. However, if your partner's life will be impacted by your secret if he or she becomes involved in a relationship with you, you owe it to him or her to tell them about it. Disclosure of illnesses should take place before things are fully committed, but well after multiple initial dates are completed and things are moving along towards a committed relationship.

If you have convictions and goals that you know you are unwilling or unable to compromise on, you are best off sharing those relatively early in your relationship. If you can't compromise on a goal, such as having children, then you are not doing yourself any favor to be out with someone who doesn't want children. Revealing your strongly held convictions early on allows your partner to learn where you stand and let you know where he or she stands. In this way, incompatibilities that will make a happy shared life difficult to achieve can be identified sooner rather than later.

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