Tips On What Type of Information (and How Much) to Reveal on a First Date
Dear April Masini,
The last time I dated, I was 25 and had absolutely no baggage. Single and carefree, I never worried about what I said on a date -- I just told the truth!"
Now, I'm back in the dating pool and boy are things different. I'm in my 40s, recently divorced with two teenage children. I am a cancer survivor and I am just starting to feel well enough to start going out again. I don't want to overwhelm men on a first date, but to be honest this is all an important part of who I am.
What do I tell them, and when? I need dating advice fast.
Honest and Proud of It
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Honest and Proud of It,
Your instinct to be honest with dates is a good one, particularly since you seem proud of the way you have dealt with some of the more difficult situations in your life. Still, there are some things that are better left unsaid, at least for a while. Give yourself the opportunity to make a positive first impression before laying out the details of your life that are a little bit more messy.
We live in the information age, which can lead to the TMI disorder -- which is known in my house as the Too Much Information disorder, a condition I've personally coined.
Not only can we find out everything about everyone, we can find out more than ever about ourselves, including our potential pre-dispositions to life threatening and life changing diseases and disorders. Genetic testing for pregnant women was just the tip of the iceberg. Many people are finding out if they are predisposed to cancer, what their chances of getting it are, and then playing the odds by having body parts removed to prevent the possible onset of the cancer in that part of their body which they've learned is at risk.
It's no wonder when you're meeting new men you have an onslaught of stuff to tell them. But hold some of it back ...
So, how does this affect dating?
Daters are scared. Divorce looms. Lawsuits for sexual harassment come out of first and second dates. And online dating means you have the resources and alleged responsibility for not only your own orgasms (Thank you Teri Garr in Tootsie), but your own relationships. There's a perceived sense of responsibility for disclosure and investigation that's really mostly perceived and not realistic. If it was realistic, the multi-million (billion?) dollar insurance industry would sell relationship insurance. Trust me. But it can't because there is no insurance for relationships -- or for life.
You can only calculate risks, and Vegas really has the corner on that market.
So when you're dating, it is important to reveal what you know to be true:
Number one: you should disclose if you're single or married. All's fair in love and war, but when it comes to dating, non-disclosure of your legal single or marital status is grounds for being dumped fast.
Number two: you should disclose whether or not you have children and where they live if you do.
Number three: Disclose your job status and living status. If you live with your mom or your ex-wife, you need to disclose that on or before the first date.
After that, you want to leave a little mystery. If you start reporting like CNN over dinner, you're not going to be much of a romantic candidate.
What To Tell ... and When!
So, when do you tell your date that everyone in your family has breast cancer including the men? If you're asked, tell the truth. If you're not asked, wait until you think that this person may be "the one," and then tell them your concerns.
When do you tell your date that your short hair isn't just stylish, but a result of chemo, and so far, you're cancer free? Date one. Recent recovery from illness is part of who you are at this very moment. If you just got fired or got a new job, you'd disclose that on date one. If you just got divorced or separated, you'd reveal that. Anything that's happened in the last six to 12 months that affects your day-to-day life is fair disclosure material for a first date. After all, why waste your time or anyone else's with someone who knows they're incompatible with you based on that fact?
For more advice and dating tips, pick up my book, Think and Date Like a Man!