My Dad Grew Up In A Cult & Other Secrets I Keep For The Fifth Date

It can be hard to know when to open up about the skeletons in your closet when you’re dating someone new. You can’t do it right away or you’ll seem like a lunatic and you can’t leave it too late otherwise they become a secret. I feel like the fifth date is the best time to open up about this stuff.

My dad grew up in a cult. You’d think I wouldn’t need to mention this one at all to a guy I’m newly dating, but hear me out. Thankfully, my dad got out of the cult he grew up in when he was in his early twenties, but the abuse he suffered within the cult has very much stayed with him. I love my dad to bits but there are reasons why he can be quite intense at times, why he doesn’t read social cues very well, and even why some people find him quite intimidating and overpowering with his beliefs. If a guy I’m dating is ever going to meet my parents, he needs to understand where that comes from and that it’s not personal.

I have bipolar disorder. There are so many misconceptions about people who suffer from bipolar that I’m reluctant to blurt it out until I can see the relationship going somewhere. Equally, I’m an advocate for speaking out about mental health and being honest about it rather than covering it up with excuses when I’m depressed. By the fifth date, hopefully any preconceived ideas he had about bipolar disorder have been debunked and he’ll be able to understand it better so I can speak openly about how I’m feeling.

I’m not really that interested in sex. I get horny like everyone but sex for me isn’t actually that important. I don’t care if he’s crap in bed if we click in every other way, and it certainly wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Equally, he needs to know that when we do get intimate, it’ll be vanilla sex and he’ll be lucky if we move out of missionary position. If that would disappoint him and he wants to be super adventurous, it’s better he learns this sooner rather than later.

I have really weird feet. They don’t look weird (much) or even smell at all actually, but I wore high heels from a very young age and have basically ruined my feet for life. I can’t wear flats for very long as my arches start to ache from lack of support, but it’s not always appropriate to wear heels, even a comfy, mostly practical block heel. Sneakers make my toes go numb and I’ve never found a shoe that I don’t need to break in. This can actually impact on my social life quite a lot as I constantly have to carry around different pairs of shoes to change during the day. Some days I just have to stay in because my arches are throbbing so much.

I smoke a lot more than I let on. I live in Paris where smoking is as common as eating breakfast, but even still, if a non-smoker date asks me how many I smoke a day, my go-to number is five. This is such a lie—it’s more like eight or nine, sometimes up to 12 on a really stressful day. They’ll find out eventually but like to ease them into my addiction slowly.

I’m OCD about table manners. Now, this would be a deal breaker for me, but only if my date can’t change his horrid table manners. It still amazes me how many people eat with their mouth open, talk with their mouth full, and don’t know how to set their knife and fork down correctly to differentiate between taking a break and when they’ve finished their meal. For the first few dates I’ll hold my tongue, but by the fifth date, I’ll be moving their cutlery into the correct position for them.

I’m obsessed with polygamy documentaries. I have no interest in being a polygamist, being in a plural marriage, or even having a threesome but I am totally obsessed with watching movies and documentaries about it. This tends to scare a lot of guys off, but I’m not going to stop watching them, so the fifth date is usually a good time to start hinting at this guilty pleasure.

I’m extremely lazy in many aspects. I’m a hard worker and I put a lot of effort into my relationships but I’m super lazy when it comes to, you know, actually moving. If there’s an elevator, I’ll definitely be taking it; if I can afford an Uber, I’ll take that over public transport any day. Oh, and I really have to be motivated to work out. I’ll also happily let the dishes pile up in the sink until it’s overflowing if that means I get an extra few minutes in bed.

Once a secret, always a secret. There are just some things you should never tell a guy you’re dating, or it’s best he finds out those things through the natural passage of time. Mostly, I’m a what you see is what you get kind of a woman but some things are just better left unsaid.

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