Have you ever had someone tell you their “deep and darks” when you hardly know them?
Maybe you’ve come away from a conversation with someone you don’t know very well and felt that you’ve overshared.
How much should you share with someone at the beginning of a relationship? Should you spill your guts so they know what they’re getting into? Why shouldn’t you tell too much too soon?
Telling your deep and darks requires a relationship that is reasonably solid. It must be able to bear the emotional weight of sharing deep things. This strength comes with time and develops gradually.
Telling someone you barely know about your inner fears or struggles can be awkward for them and it creates an emotional bond that is too heavy for the fragile relationship to bear.
Telling too much too soon in a romantic relationship builds an emotional connection which creates the need for physical expression.
Too much emotional connection too soon will demand too much physical expression too soon.
As a result, the relationship may crash and burn, or the physical side of your relationship will progress too fast.
The goal in the beginning of a relationship is exploration not connection. It is not to find out, or reveal, all past secrets, but rather, where you both are headed.
While your past has shaped you, it does not define you.
You are no longer the mistakes of your past or the result of things you have done. You are who God is making you today.
Create healthy sharing boundaries for yourself and hold back on some things until the relationship has progressed.
Does that make you dishonest?
No. Honesty doesn’t require completely exposing yourself before you trust someone.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6 KJV
Don’t give away parts of yourself that could be trampled on, misunderstood, or used against you.
Don’t give away more of yourself than has been earned by somebody.
Getting to know someone is a process and sharing deeper things requires trusting the person you are sharing with. Trust is built over time and careful discovery of the other person.
Get to know the other person – their ambitions and food preferences, what their personality and family is like, their lifestyle preferences. Save the deeper things for later.
One more thing before we jump into what not to talk about: Watch out for the tendency to overshare on social media or through texting. This is easy to do because you’re not face to face and can “hide” behind a screen. Oversharing through texting will propel the relationship forward faster than normal.
Related: 10 Red flags in dating relationships
It’s hard to know how much to share, so let’s look at what not to share.
This is a bad place to begin. Don’t talk about the things you did wrong with your ex. Don’t talk about previous heartbreaks. No one wants to spend time rehashing a previous relationship right at the beginning of a new one.
Don’t share your entire life story of abuse or a dysfunctional family. You still don’t know who you’re talking to.
Your sexual history is a very personal part of your life and you don’t need to share it, even if someone asks. You are not defined by your sexual past but it has shaped you, so if the relationship progresses you will need to share this at some point. You may be tempted to blurt this out at the very beginning because you are afraid the other person may hear it from someone else. Rather lead with who you are today, not who you were.
This is a personal topic meant for a relationship that is deepening. Talking about it prematurely puts pressure on the
Don’t talk about how much you make, owe, spend, or give. It’s personal. Every personal revelation deepens the emotional bond with the other person.
Telling someone you are struggling with depression or anxiety may be off-putting to them and risky for you. You have to be able to trust the person with this intimate information. This kind of conversation has to be earned.
This is one of the most intimate things a couple can do, and it creates a close connection. You are not in the season of binding, you are in the season of exploration. Save your praying together for later.
Emotional conversations are binding. They draw people together. Unpacking too soon will bind you to someone too soon and make a breakup more painful, or you may reveal things you later regret if the relationship doesn’t work out.
Start in the shallow end and progress to the deep end.
For more on this topic listen to Debra Fileta’s podcast 10 Things Not To Talk About Too Soon
Are you an oversharer? Which of these points is most helpful to you?