Pretend your out on a date, with a new guy or gal. Everything is going pretty well, and then suddenly he or she falls apart over the chicken Alfredo. You went from chatty to emotional in 3.5 seconds and now you know everything you need to about this persons past, and the people that graced it. Appropriate? Necessary? Advisable? Hardly.
At some point, no matter how hard or fast you run your past will catch up with you. But when you are dating, it is important to think more about your present and future than the many heartbreaks or sexual endeavors that you have encountered in your life. Your date, is interested in YOU – not the other people or experiences that you have had in your life thus far. And believe it or not, at some point they will become an issue should this relationship continue, anyway!
Interestingly, men and women feel so differently about discussing the past with a date. In a recent survey conducted by Men Magazine, men congruently agreed that women who discussed their past loves on a date raised all sorts of red flags for the men they were with. It was decided that women who talk about how badly they were treated or what a jerk their ex was, in essence are giving away a lot about themselves rather than their past partners (and none of it is pretty). And since most men try to altogether avoid highly emotional or dramatic women, a meltdown about someone from the past simply makes your new date leery about what kind of women you are, and your intentions. For instance, they may wonder whether this date is just an attempt to make someone else jealous, or wonder why you are so insecure and wimpy that you would withstand such awful treatment from a man.
And women, often talk about the past in an attempt to heighten mans protective instinct or his jealousy. Even so, women don’t like to hear about past loves or how crazy the bartender at Studebakers was in bed. They don’t want to know about the blonde you dated, the time you spent scuba diving in Africa with wild women or any other innuendos that give insight into your relationships with other women.
The difficult thing is that since each of us definitely brings our past into the future, what subjects are off limits – and which should the two of you talk about? Following you will find three hot button issues from your past that you should, and should not discuss on a date.
Three Things You SHOULD Talk About with Your Date
- Employment. It’s important to know that the person you are dating has a pretty solid past when it comes to employment. If you are dating someone that has had 14 jobs in 12 months, you are being given some pretty free insight into how responsible this person is. And yes, it matters no matter how good looking or interesting the person seems to be. Plus, by talking about jobs both past and present, you can acquire some pretty pertinent information about where their priorities lie, how passionate they are about their job, what kind of work ethic they have and how responsible they are.
- Family. Go ahead and bring up mom and dad or the siblings to see what kind of reaction you get from your date. For one thing, shared family values are very important if you want your relationship to survive long term. Plus, by listening to what people say about their families – you can learn a lot about how your date feels about love and relationships. Look for red flags or indications that their past is sketchy to say the least and you may avoid some major issues to come.
- Sports/Music/Recreation. It is very important to find common ground, and find some conversation topics that the two of you enjoy. By discussing and asking about the different recreational activities that your date enjoys or participates in, you can create bonds. Plus, if you find that the two of you are Baseball or Hockey fans, this gives you a great destination for a subsequent date.
Three Things You SHOULD NOT Discuss With your Date
- Sex. This one should be obvious, but it often isn’t. Showboating your sexual endeavors or past isn’t the way to solidify a new relationship. Plus, the things you say now, even in jest could come back to bite you in the months or years to come should the relationship evolve.
- The Ex or Exes. Seriously, just hush already. If the subject arises, you don’t have to say any thing more than something like, “I have recently come out of a serious relationship!” And even that may be too much. Try to keep these people out of the conversation, and be evasive if you are asked. The time to discuss the past people in your life is much, much later down the road.
- Your Personal Sad Story. Not only is this a boring topic, but people don’t want to know how you have survived depression, are a recovering addict, have just went through bankruptcy etc. in the beginning of a relationship. This can make the relationship with you seem like too much work with too much baggage, which will pretty much ensure you won’t get another date. Try to keep the conversation about the positive things in your life (without bragging).
And avoid conversations about MARRIAGE! You shouldn’t be on a first, second or even third date and be discussing marriage. In fact men assert that this is one of the number one turn offs they encounter. No matter how strong your desire to be coupled for life, don’t scare away a potential mate by bridging the subject too early.
It is true that you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you find that you get lots of first dates, but not so many second dates – chances are you talking too much about your past and giving away important clues that say, “You are not the person for me!” Modesty, in conversation especially can truly be key.