When you first start dating someone, it can feel like you want to tell each other everything. Whether you're out on a date, or lying in bed texting until 2 a.m., the convo never seems to die down as you ask questions and tell stories. But eventually, there will be things you should tell your new partner that don't come out as easily, and aren't as much fun to talk about.
While it's always OK to keep some parts of your life private, there are certain things you'll need to share, especially if you see this relationship going somewhere. You don't have to delve deep during your first date, or even during your first few months together. But eventually, you should consider telling each other about the tough stuff, like health problems and family issues.
It can be tricky at first, especially if you're worried about your significant other's reaction. But the more open you can be, the better your relationship will be. "Your partner should be a means of support," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle. And being honest with each other is the best place to start.
You'll also want to know if there's something they won't be able to handle. "It’s important to say things early on because if your partner isn’t accepting or supportive, it’s better to know now so you can move on from the relationship," Hershenson says. With all that in mind, here are a few things you should consider talking about, when and if you're comfortable in your new relationship.
What You Like (And Don't Like) During Sex
The beginning of your relationship is the perfect time to lay the course for your sex life. So, as you get more comfortable together, don't be afraid to speak up about what you like and what you don't like.
"Choose your moments carefully, be delicate and sensitive, but definitely bring it up," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "It can take a lot of time for things to come out otherwise, and some people spend a great amount of time in a sexually-repressed state, while their partner is totally oblivious." And where's the fun in that?
Any Addictions You've Had (Or Have)
While it can be difficult to open up about this topic, if you see your relationship going somewhere, you may want to let your partner know about any past or current addictions.
"Issues with addictive behaviors such as spending, substance use, disordered eating, or gambling can destroy a relationship if it is hidden from your partner," Hershenson says. "Addiction can make you feel you are leading a double life and once your 'secret' is out, you can use your partner for support."
Not only can telling them bring you closer and help them to better understand you, but if any old issues come back again, they'll know how to help.
Any Mental Health Issues You May Be Struggling With
Another things that's tough to admit? Mental health issues, all thanks to the stigma that's surrounding them. It can be difficult to share what you've been through, especially if you're worried your significant other might freak out or leave. But if they're a good partner, and an understanding person, telling them will only make your relationship stronger.
"Mental health issues interfere with your ability to be present and find enjoyment in life," Hershenson says. Once you tell your partner, they might be more understanding when mental health issues may be causing the interference, and may even help see you through.
How Your Family Handled Love, Anger, Etc.
How your family handled big emotions — like anger — can shed some light on how you might act in your relationship going forward. "This isn’t a crystal ball, but it does provide insight into the programming and modeling [you may have] experienced," therapist Jessi Leader, MA, LAMFT, tells Bustle.
So share what you've been through, and ask your partner to share, too. "This gives the couple an opportunity to take inventory of what they liked and didn’t like about their unique model of partnerships," Leader says. "Having conversations about your values, what you want to change, and what your definition of an active partnership is is incredibly important to longevity and health in a relationship."
How Good (Or Bad) You May Be With Money
"Just like sex, talking about our relationship with money can also be very vulnerable," sex and intimacy coach Xanet Pailet, tells Bustle. "Sex and money are the 'third rail' of relationships. There are often expectations around money (e.g. who pays for dinner, vacations, etc.). To establish trust in the relationship it’s important to have these conversations upfront."
While you don't have to hash out your financial history on your first date, you can start talking about money openly. And as the relationship progresses, be open about things like debt — as well as your financial goals for the future.
Your List Of Allergies Or Dietary Restrictions
This one may sound weird, but since many relationships revolve around food — dinner dates, brunches, snacks while watching Netflix — you should chat about allergies ASAP. As Backe says, "It needs to be addressed sooner rather than later."
At the very least, it'll save your partner from spending all night cooking a dinner that you can't even eat, and it can help you decide where to go on dates going forward. But more importantly, it can help prevent dangerous situations from happening.
Health Issues That Impact Your Life
If you have something chronic going on, it may be tempting to hide it or put on a brave face for the sake of your partner. But if you want or need support, they should know.
"Diseases which affect your day-to-day are something you may want to bring up, should the situation present itself," Backe says. "In any event, don’t try to cover it up. If you are serious in your desire to pursue a meaningful connection, your partner will find out anyway."
So it might as well be in your terms and in your own words, Backe says. But talking about it can also help give your partner any information they need to help you, when and if they need to.
Any Situation With An Ex That May Still Affect You
If you're coming into this new relationship with some baggage from the past, it might be a good idea to let your partner know, whenever the timing is right. Not only will this type of conversation help you learn more about each other, but "shedding light on past relationships will help your partner better understand what does and doesn’t work for you," Pailet says.
For example, you might want to talk about why a past relationship turned toxic. "Sharing the lessons that you learned from these relationships will also open up a discussion about your own relationship challenges," Pailet says, "and hopefully enlist your partner as an ally in your desire to not repeat negative behaviors and patterns."
Whether Or Not You've Been In Love Before
If you're both new to this whole dating thing, you might want to update each other on whether or not you've ever been in love. "This one is tricky, but if you really like someone and want to build a strong relationship, it's important you both understand where you are on the love spectrum and if you've ever been deeply in love before," says Myra. "You may learn you relate to love differently, or learn not so subtle clues about how to effectively navigate your relationship for the better."
The Things You Need In Order To Be Happy
Do you require a decent amount of alone time in order to decompress? Do you kind of need nine hours of sleep, and hate to be woken up? Are you all about hugs, or do you prefer personal space? Whatever it is, tell your partner what you need to be happy.
"This is not meant to be exhaustive, and part of the fun of a new relationship is finding out things about each other," Pailet says. "But it’s really helpful for your partner to know some critical pieces of information around your comfort and safety."
The beginning of your relationship is, after all, the perfect time to be honest and open about these things. And the more info you can give each other, the easier it'll be to have a healthy, happy, and supportive situation going forward.
This post was originally published on 12/13/2017. It was updated on 6/5/2019.
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