I read today that Jerry Springer is hosting a new dating show (um, yes…THAT Jerry Springer). I pictured men and women throwing things at each other and guests being pregnant with someone else’s baby, likely a cousin. But that’s not what the show is about.
The show is called “Baggage”, and it offers a chance for three contestants to win “the perfect date”, but only after revealing their three worst faults. They carry bags on stage representing these faults. Then they must try and defend the faults to the potential date. After two contestants are eliminated and one is left standing, the potential date must reveal his or her own baggage. Oh, and the first three contestants include a shoplifter, a woman who relies on psychics, and a control freak.
Anyway, I started thinking about the idea of revealing baggage on a date, and if it’s a good idea. I must admit, I tend to hold back. I would rather someone get to know me and do a slow reveal. Even a few months into the relationship, I am still silent about some things. I won’t go into them now, of course. I don’t know you well enough. (But I’ve never stolen anything.)
I know that keeping silent about my weaknesses has held me back in dating. Many times, guys have gotten frustrated and left. I would rather protect myself than be vulnerable and possibly hurt. Obviously, that never works in building a relationship. But then, when do you reveal your baggage how much do you share?
I’ve been out with a few 12-steppers who told me up front about their battles with drugs and/or alcohol. One guy couldn’t remember 5 years of his life. 5 YEARS. That was a reality check for me. I know it’s part of the process to be open and honest about addiction battles, but I found myself feeling extremely overwhelmed and not wanting to know any details. I usually grabbed my coffee and moved on. But obviously, it took a lot of guts to share that with me, a virtual stranger. How did they get the courage?
And so then, why is it so hard for me to reveal any baggage I carry, no matter how small?
Overall, I think it depends on the person you’re divulging the information to, how important they are to you, and how much you trust them. Which takes time to build. So realistically, isn’t it okay to wait a while before sharing that you have financial problems, or that you still talk every day to your ex husband, or that you tend to keep busy at work to avoid any real intimacy with friends and partners?
What are your policies when it comes to dating and revealing faults? Do you tend to share everything up front with a “take me as I am” attitude, or do you prefer the slow reveal? And where do you draw the line at what you share?