I admit, I made an out-of-the-box move. It wasn’t a bad move, and no banks (or any other establishments) were harmed as a result; but I did have a very interesting conversation spurred by a thought provoking question. Let’s start at the beginning.
A friend and I had met after work recently for a bite to eat. While we were chatting, I noticed a guy at the bar eating alone. He was fairly attractive and nothing seemed extremely out of the ordinary about him. I had recently taken down my online dating profile and was considering a more organic approach to meeting someone. I was convinced he kept looking our way and on a whim, I did something I have never before tried. I took out one of my Hope Boulevard/Mid-Life Joyride business cards, wrote my name and number on the back and as we walked out, I placed it in front of him and kept going. I know…he could have been married, traveling on business, or a bank robber, but hey, I just wanted to try. He called before I got out of the parking lot.
We exchanged names and chuckled about what I had just done. He admitted, that no, he had not been looking our way at all. (So much for my guy radar.) He seemed pleasant, funny, interesting. He had moved here a year ago for work. He was single, a few years older than me and not a hit at all on the creep meter. We talked briefly and agreed to talk again the next evening. He was curious about my website, blog and book and said he was going to check them out. He did call the next day, as promised, and the very first question he asked was this, “Don’t you think you should know everything there is to know about someone by the third date?” Apparently, my blog had encouraged him to ask me something he had obviously been stressing over.
Whoa, that was not exactly the type of question I was expecting. It felt like there may have been some unresolved business from a previous relationship floating around, but I did my best to answer. No, I did not believe you could know everything there was to know about someone by the third date. That wasn’t even possible. “What about important stuff, stuff that could impact the relationship. Like, what if I were a bank robber? Wouldn’t you want to know?” That was the first of multiple times he would reference what I can only characterize as a preoccupation with robbing banks.
In all fairness, I don’t think he actually robbed anything; bank or otherwise, but he did seem to be very interested in how much information should be shared when first meeting someone. It is quite a good question, but not one so easily answered. He went on to tell me that he had been dating this woman, who after several dates, revealed she had once been a drug addict. She had been clean over a decade, but this news was still very distressing for him and was eventually the cause of their split. He believed she should have told him much sooner (by the third date). He felt ‘damaging’ information should come out sooner rather than later. What do you think?
It’s a tough call. My response was that I don’t think I would have told him that soon either. When you first meet someone, the last thing you want to do is relive all your past mistakes. We talk about leaving the past behind us, moving forward, a new day. So where is that fine line between letting go of our mistakes and sharing what we have been through with our new partner. When is too soon? How long is too long? I am not sure there hard and fast rules. There needs be a comfort level with someone before revealing the painful parts, a budding trust that they will not use the information against you or judge. On the flip side though, what would YOU want to know, and when? What are your deal breakers? Or walk aways? How soon do you expect to find out someone else’s or share yours?
I usually try to answer a question or offer a solution when I write to you guys, but in this case, I’m not really sure myself. Dating is a process. Trust is built in tiny steps. It takes time to create a safe and comfortable atmosphere. I guess my advice is this: If there is something in your present situation (health, family, finances) that could cause an issue/complication/struggle for a dating partner, you should be honest and upfront about it. If there is a particular area you are sensitive to or have a problem with (previous substance abuse, criminal record, specific behaviors), then you should also be clear at the start what they are and that you would not handle a surprise of that sort very well. However, if there is something solidly in your past (or theirs) and situations have been overcome, I do not believe anyone is obligated to share them until such a time where THEY are ready.
There isn’t a magic number of dates and there isn’t a set amount of information to know in a pre-determined time frame. If two people like each other and communicate openly and are willing to forge a bond, these things will unfold in time. To rush, or be rushed, is an unhealthy sign and to have someone walk away is a sign of the walker’s unresolved issues and not yours.
As it turned out, this modern day Jesse James was not the one for me. He did end the evening on a lighter note though by offering to show me his ‘mask.’ The idea that I was sitting with a man who said the words out loud, “Do you want to see my mask” was a little disconcerting, but it was all in good fun and turned out to be a leather face scarf for bike riders. I’m still unclear as to his fascination with robbing banks nor do I agree with his third date ‘information share’, but it was a nice evening, great meal and a spirited conversation with a fun guy. Not a bad outcome for a random business card slide.
My Hopefuls, I trust you guys out there are being safe in your pursuits, strong in your beliefs and solid in the pursuit of what makes you happy. Today is your present; unwrap it with joy and determination. And always, always, always….
Hope With Abandon
I’d love to know our thoughts and comments about information sharing; when and how.
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