I’m quite honest and vulnerable when I’m dating. Perhaps it partially comes from being a writer—I regularly pour my heart out for tons to see. Whatever the cause, I share a lot when dating. Some may call it oversharing but I just call it being authentic.
What’s oversharing to someone else isn’t oversharing to me. The word “overshare” is kind of hard to me because I don’t share too much information that I’m not comfortable with my dates knowing, but the barometer is different for other people. For example, many people think that sharing that I’m not only sober but a person in recovery is too much for early dating. It’s not oversharing for me, though. It’s just enough information that I want to share with the person.
I don’t want to pretend to be someone I’m not. To me, sharing some intimate details of my life is important. I like to show up just as I am rather than hiding certain aspects of myself. Personally, I think it makes me more authentic than if I were to keep things under wraps that I really wanted to share. I’d rather say that I’m being authentic than that I’m oversharing—it sounds truer to me.
I do have boundaries—it’s not a free-for-all. Just because I’m saying that I share a decent amount of information early on doesn’t mean that I have no boundaries. Sure, I share the status of my sobriety and I also share about mental health, but I’m not going into extreme detail about these things. I know what I feel comfortable sharing and what I don’t. I’m also not talking about past relationships or anything that I feel to be inappropriate for discussion in early dating. I definitely have limits.
I’m trying to break the mental health stigma. In particular, I share about my mental health in casual conversation early on. Many people would say that this is too much, but I try to break the stigma by treating it like any other health condition. I guess it doesn’t matter what others say because I’m doing what’s right for me. Plus, I’m not saying that I lead with, “Hello, I’m Ginelle and I have bipolar disorder,” but if someone asks me what I’m doing today, I don’t mind casually saying I have therapy. I’m down to break the stigma.
I’d rather know if someone’s freaked out sooner rather than later. If my talking about things that are core parts of who I am freaks someone out, I know that they aren’t my person. Some would tell me to tone it down to attract someone, but I can’t be someone I’m not and I’d rather not attract someone who isn’t a good fit. Instead, the right person will be happy to meet me where I am—I truly believe that.
I’d rather get certain things on the table. There are particular things like my sobriety that I need to get on the table ASAP. I like to be honest about some details because they can know how important it is to me that they don’t use drugs. We can see if there are deal breakers for either of us sooner. I don’t like to hold things in, knowing that I’m going to have to see what their reaction is eventually. I’d rather just get it out there.
The shock factor is kind of fun. Some people are super surprised by how straightforward I am sometimes. It’s kind of fun to see their face light up or to get a text thanking me for being so honest. I appreciate having a little fun shocking people because I don’t mind sharing what I’m sharing.
People are actually attracted to my vulnerability. I’ve found that more often than not, the people that I’m talking to are drawn to the fact that I’m so candid. It actually helps them to open up a bit more and to share with me certain things that are personal and important to them. I open a door to us both being vulnerable, which is a lovely thing.
I’m in communities where sharing a lot is normal. I go to 12 step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and meditation meetings where sharing deeply is encouraged. We’re told to get down to the good stuff and put it all out on the table. I know this setting is different than on a date, but I’m now trained to be super honest about where I’m at.
I’d rather overshare than undershare. There may be some level of perfect sharing, but I don’t know what that is. I only know that for me it’s being a bit more vulnerable than your average person, which some would call oversharing. I’d much rather be this way than to be someone who under shares, or who isn’t able to open up at all. I’ll take my open heart any day, thanks.
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