Sunday, 17 July 2011

Revealing sexual skeletons in the closet

When you are older and lived a full life, you’ve done many things and made many mistakes. Therefore, the question about what to reveal to a potential partner becomes more challenging. 

If you reveal too much, you just annoy or bore the other person.  You may even give a false impression of who you are now. If you leave out something critical that pushes one of their buttons, they may freak out and leave you. Of course, you don’t want to lie or leave out something important they need to assess the viability of the relationship.  It’s better to not start something than to have it end in tears later.

A commenter to this post blames his candour re his sexual history (as a child./teenager!!!!) for his marriage break up.  This illustrates the risks of disclosure, especially when dealing with volatile and sensitive people.   

Note: It you react badly when people tell you things, they will stop telling you things.  

I've learned to be more circumspect about sharing and also to be very broadminded and non-judgemental towards other people. However, these learnings come with age and some people can't get there, so I don't expect everyone to be like me.

Note: You have to be responsible about what you share – some people just can’t cope with some stuff.

I've learned that people change throughout their lives and it’s important to let them change and recognise them for what they are now, not what they were back then. Men particularly seem to have wild times and then settle down. Children and teenagers also do really crazy things - holding their adult self responsible is really not appropriate. They often do things not knowing what they are doing, especially if adults have not educated them about stuff.

If you are a Christian - then it's also really important to think what Christ would do - and that is He would forgive and forget he heard it. I’m not saying that you should put yourself in danger, just that if your partner did something silly and there is no threat to you, that you should just leave it in the past.

The wife in the post to which I refer above should have told her husband of her past so her husband could treat her gently in those respects, e.g. I was raped by a relative and therefore mention of anything that reminds me is a trigger for a meltdown. I've told His Awesomeness, when it was required, of those things I'd rather forget and which push my buttons and he has had the grace to be thoughtful and supportive.  

Note: By talking with people, you can gain an understanding of what is important to them and what would upset them. You can use this to guide your disclosures.

I believe that some things remain between an individual and God, particularly childhood silliness that does not reflect the person as they are now and which will have no impact on a potential partner/current partner and their children. For example, if you tried to have sex with the family pooch when 13 years old, but are now totally revolted by the thought and everyday live up to the norms your prospective partner values, why bring up childhood silliness?  I'd just say, “well I did some silly things as a kid - you can be sure I will supervise and educate my own kids so that won't happen in our family.”       

Note: we all did silly things as kids!

To conclude, I only expect to be told and I only tell what is pertinent for the person I am telling. I expect questions to be answered and to answer questions truthfully. For example, if contemplating a sexual relationship I give a brief sexual and relationship history without compromising the privacy of other people. I also provide a brief list of my general preferences and general requirements. If contemplating children, I'd provide a summary of genetic factors. I forgive and overlook the mistakes of others. I DO NOT overlook misuse of information I have divulged and the use of it to persecute or otherwise harm myself or others.

You only need to bring the important things into focus ...

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