Dating gives people the chance to get to know each other informally with the goal of potentially creating a lifelong relationship. Sharing personal information while dating can help the relationship reach higher levels of comfort and intimacy. However, if information is shared too soon, it can scare off potential partners before they truly get to know you.
First Date Discussions
A first date can be nerve-wracking. This is your chance to present your best self in a first impression that can make or break a relationship. Many people have heard the age-old advice about what topics to avoid on first dates. What might be more helpful to know are topics you should talk about on a first date.
Your Dating Status
In a recent survey by Zoosk, 70% of men and 62% of women said they want to know on a first date if you are seeing other people. Be up-front, open, and honest when sharing your dating status. People date for different reasons, some to find a life partner and others for the fun of meeting new people. Sharing this information right away can help two people see if they are on the same page.
Political or Religious Views
The age-old advice for all dates has been to stay away from politics and religion as first date topics. The argument is that these topics are too controversial and can cause major debates, not the most pleasant outcome for a first date. However, dating advice has changed with the times, and it is okay to talk politics or religion on a first date. The trick is to disclose your personal views within a story about your life. For example, you could say "I'm sorry I couldn't do dinner on Wednesday. I always attend evening church service that day." You could follow that statement with a question of whether your date has any long-standing weekly plans.
You can bring up political and religious views on a first date to serve several purposes.
- If you met because of these views, the topic can help you connect on a deeper level.
- Gauging similarities and differences in personal values early on can help you avoid wasting time.
- These issues are common relationship deal-breakers.
Career and Finances
For those dating with the purpose of finding a life partner, career and financial success translate to security and stability. Telling a date what you do for a living in a quick and concise way can give them a lot of information about what type of person you are. Be positive and brief in your description, this is not the time to bore a date with your annoying co-worker rants.
Financial information can also be brought up in a respectful and discreet way on a first date. A discussion about who will pay for the date can give you clues about your date's financial personality. You can use information about a person's job to estimate their salary instead of asking outright. Digging for too much personal information about finances early on could give your date the impression that you only care about their bank account.
Open Up More After a Few Dates
As you get to know another person, your comfort level should increase, allowing for the opportunity to delve deeper in conversation. Once the awkward nature of the first date is over, you can begin to gradually share more information about yourself and see if this relationship has long-term potential.
Sex is a normal and healthy part of any romantic relationship. That being said, it is important to make your health and safety a priority. As you get to know a person, appropriate sexual comments or stories can give your date the hint that you are sexually attracted to them. While you may not be ready for sex at this point in the relationship, the feeling of being desired by you can help the relationship move from friendly to romantic.
If you feel the relationship is moving toward sexual intimacy, this would be the ideal time to talk about any issues or concerns you have regarding sex. Having these discussions before you're in the act can prevent any additional awkwardness or anxiety.
Serious health problems can be a major turnoff and even a deal-breaker for potential partners. Skipping over this subject on the first date allows people to get to know you first. After a few dates, however, you should share medical information in fairness to the person you are with. A few tips for how to share such sensitive information include:
- Plan Ahead - Think about how you could share the information before actually discussing it.
- Have Confidence - Approaching such a difficult topic with confidence can help others see your strength instead of an illness.
- Choose the Time and Place - Look for a private place that is not too intimate and share what you are comfortable saying.
The Zoosk survey also found that approximately half of men and women seek to discuss past relationships at this point in dating. While talking about your exes can lead to trouble, there are ways to share this information with a positive twist. The focus of any discussion about past relationships with a new partner should be what you learned from the experience and that you have moved on. When talking about an ex you should keep it brief and positive. Explaining too much or complaining a lot will only make you look bad.
You have made it through a few dates and are naturally progressing toward a potentially more serious relationship. At this point, disclosing your desires and goals in terms of future lifestyle can help both people decide if the relationship should move to the next level. If marriage and children are deal-breakers, that discussion needs to happen before making a serious commitment to the relationship. Although you may like each other, differences of opinion on future plans and lifestyle are seldom reconciled once the relationship becomes serious.
Sharing in an Exclusive Relationship
Once you and your partner have decided to stop dating other people and focus on building your relationship, there is a higher level of trust. This is the time when you can feel more freedom to share detailed personal information.
Couples in an exclusive relationship may be moving toward vacationing or even living together. Take the initiative to have serious discussions about salaries, debts, and whether you are a spender or a saver. There are many activities that can help couples start talking about finances in a detailed way.
- Buy a shared item and discuss who will pay how much and why.
- Plan a small dinner party together.
- Shop for a friend's wedding or birthday gift together.
- Start a vacation or date night fund jar where both people contribute toward saving for something fun.
When you enter into a committed relationship, you gain a new family along with your partner. While you may have met some family members by this point, now is the time to get filled in about any major relationship issues within the group. Every family has some problems; if yours are big enough to affect your partner, now is the time to disclose.
The next step after an exclusive relationship is typically some sort of commitment. Let your partner know any standards you hold about when to move in together, how long you prefer to be engaged, if and when you'd like to be married, and at what point you see children in your future. The point here is to share your ideal outcome without pressuring your partner. This is a chance to share how you view the future to see if you both hold similar visions.
Essential Conversations in a Serious Relationship
Couples in serious relationships may be moving toward engagement or marriage. It is essential to discuss personal values and expectations about important issues like parenting, financial responsibilities, and lifestyle before making big decisions about your relationship.
If you haven't already, be sure to disclose all personal financial information at this point. There should be no secrets when it comes to how much you make, savings, debts, and any negative information that could affect your partner in the future. You owe it to each other to have a clear picture of where you stand on finances individually and as a couple. Take the conversation to the deepest level by discussing how you would plan to split expenses, whether you will open joint accounts, whose name will be on major purchases like a house, and what financial contributions you might like to make for your future children.
If you are planning to live together, you will need to decide where to live along with how much you can afford to spend on living expenses and how you will split the bills. It is important for each person to share their needs regarding location, amount of space, and financial responsibility. As you begin to create a life together, your home will be the hub of your life.
If you are both interested in having children someday, this discussion should happen before you are at the point of expecting a child. Ask difficult questions and discuss potential scenarios to gain a better understanding of what type of parents you will be. Starting conversations like this early gives you the chance to merge your styles or end the relationship if there are major disagreements.
General Guidelines for Disclosures
Sharing personal information with a date is important for relationship building, but can be problematic if not done properly. Date safely by sharing appropriate information with trusted individuals. Keep these tips in mind when sharing information at any stage of a dating relationship.
- Follow your instincts.
- Take cues from your date.
- Start by sharing bits of information to see how they are received.
- Be clear, concise, and honest.
Go With Your Gut
Every situation is unique. A general timeline for sharing information when dating can be helpful in gauging what might be considered normal. In the end, it is important for you to feel comfortable with the information you are sharing or withholding at any given point in your relationship.