Sharing Your Flaws

OK, so you acknowledge that you're not Mr. Perfect. Well, of course she wants to be dating a fantastic guy, but she doesn't really expect perfection any more than you do. You don't . . . do you?

Anyway, most people have some weak spots or negative past experiences that affect how they behave in relationships. But sharing those flaws and mistakes is part of letting your sweetheart know what makes you who you are.

If she can't handle the real you, then you're not likely to have a successful long-term relationship, right?

Not So Fast
Most people say they want honesty in a relationship. But in order to be honest, you have to trust that your partner will listen to you and respect your feelings. If you feel the need to disclose something about your family or your past, hold off until you know you have built up trust with your sweetheart.

Caring Comes First
Before sharing sensitive information with your girlfriend, you need to feel that the relationship is worth it. Show her that you care by listening to her feelings. She'll reciprocate if she cares enough about you. You need to know you have an empathetic listener before you reveal too much. You certainly don't need a partner who will use your flaws against you when you have disagreements.

Not a Dumping Ground
If you want to share your weaknesses and fears with your sweetie, do so in a way that respects her needs too. Don't treat her as your emotional dumping ground. She's not there to listen to all your problems 24-7. She wants to feel supported too. So open up a little, but give her a chance to share too. If you really feel the need to dump, then find a therapist instead. It goes without saying, but you shouldn't let her treat you as her therapist either.

Let Go
The reality is that a lot of emotional sharing in relationships is unplanned and just comes naturally. Events happen that give you an opportunity to talk about past experiences and current feelings. Taking a risk and opening up to your sweetheart is part of the process of getting closer. So if you're interested in a long-term relationship, use those opportunities to talk and listen. Over time, she'll learn to recognize your hot buttons and you'll learn to soothe her fears. Ideally, this sharing will help you both get better at avoiding emotional pitfalls and boosting each other up so that you're stronger together.

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