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POLL RESULTS: Full Disclosure?: (15 comments)

POLL: Full Disclosure?

Friday, October 09, 2009 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: I'm a 39-year-old guy, happily divorced. This summer I re-met a very special woman whom I knew growing up. We get along very well and are having a great time together. While I was divorced, I had an affair with this woman's friend (who does not live nearby.) To be fair, I spoke to the woman with whom I had the affair about seeing her friend. While it felt strange, she wanted the best for me and her friend and encouraged me to pursue her friend. Also, I had been hyperactively dating on match.com for quite some time (which I heartily recommend) and have slowed down to focus on my new relationship. I’ve discontinued my match.com membership, have been cleaning house of lingering relationships, deleting mobile numbers and e-mail address and the like. Meanwhile, I've been honest to these women about why I’m doing this and trying to part as friends. I am doing my best to minimize temptation. Disclosure is my question. I want to be honest with this special woman yet, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. In the spirit of honesty, should I 'fess up to this short affair with her friend, which happened in the past year? Should I 'fess up to the magnitude of my hyperactive match.com dating? Or might I be best off let sleeping dogs lie?

POLL: Should this guy disclose his dating history to his new sweetheart?
 
38% (347) I'm a man and I say yes
 
42% (383) I'm a man and I say no
 
9% (83) I'm a woman and I say yes
 
9% (85) I'm a woman and I say no
898 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
Caffeine
Lover

Posts: 46

Registered:
Feb 2009
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 01:26 AM (#49599)

Women don't want to know every detail of "our" man's past, but we hate surprises. So if there is the danger of some woman or other coming up to you when you are with this special woman and making some unfortunate comment, tell her ahead. No details though, please. We don't want to know what you did with whom and what the two of you looked like during your activities. We don't want to know what other women did or did not or did better than we. It's probably enough if she knows you had a very "active" dating time and have cut back on it now.

(What do you mean, "minimize temptation"???)


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Stevarooni
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From: KCMO

Posts: 64

Registered:
Jun 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 06:35 AM (#49601)
In Response to Caffeine (#49599):

That's the gist of what I was going to suggest. It's a mixed answer compared to the poll. No, don't tell her who, where, when, what. Yes, tell her that you were "active" in your dating life. I don't think that you actually need to use the phrase man whore, but saying that you were very actively dating, but you're glad you found someone after all your searching wouldn't be out of hand.


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TheOriginalJes
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Posts: 205

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 09:24 AM (#49602)

I think that you have bigger problems, here.

Why did you even bother to consult the woman with whom you had the affair? I think that your feelings for her are stronger than you are willing to admit.

Although your desire to minimize temptation is admirable [term loosely used, here], a healthier perspective would be that you feel you no longer need these phone numbers, emails, and dating services in your life. What are you feeling as you go through all of these things? If you're feeling a twinge of loss, rather than nostalgia as you clean house; then perhaps you aren't really ready for a commitment.

Honestly, to me, the way this post comes across is that you are quite happy to be playing the field.

-"Also, I had been hyperactively dating on match.com for quite some time (which I heartily recommend)..."-

Hyperactively dating!? Do you really see these sites as escort services?

-"...and have slowed down to focus on my new relationship. "-

Tell me why this is so important to you. What about this woman makes you run to a former lover (and, I assume that she's still married) to ask for her permission, or confess, or whatever you did?

And please be honest with yourself, Mr. Happily Divorced.


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Lucky
Lover

Posts: 3

Registered:
Jun 2009
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 12:35 PM (#49603)

I'm not going assume that you're not being completely honest with your self. One can't infer that much into the text of your question (given that text has no tone). I'd just like to share my experience and what I'd like to hear as a woman.

I favor honesty. I like to be an open book, so that I don't have to keep track of what lies I've told to whom (or as it would be in your case, what names or times I'd prefer to omit). However, my honesty over the years has been off putting to my boyfriend. To agree with those who posted before me, don't go into details, but then again, you probably knew that. The trick in my case was to let my guy know that when I talk about old boyfriends it's purely in a friendly capacity.

Other people made you happy before you met (or in your case, reconnected with) this lady. This *is* a good thing. Instead of just disclosing your past to avoid a potentially messing situation, you might try to integrate this disclosure into a conversation about how and what you want to change in your life.

You seem like a reasonable guy, so just make sure you know why you want to change your life- and dating style. Who are you making this change for? If it's for her, you're setting both of you up for disaster. Why are you changing this now? Are you bored of the hyperactivity and she is good for you right now? If so, honesty on this front will be tricky, but it's not a bad reason to start a relationship with this woman.

Lastly, and you probably knew this. I do recommend honesty, especially concerning your mutual friend, but pick your moment, and words, carefully. Shoot for an opportunity to discuss how you both are shaped by your past, rather than a potentially guilty confession. The difference between the two could be the difference between an uncomfortable surprise and the beginning of suspicion that those dogs aren't actually asleep.


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Azerik
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Posts: 35

Registered:
Apr 2009
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 12:42 PM (#49604)

If she doesn't ask, don't tell.

Don't hide it. Don't avoid the topic. But don't sit her down and give a play by play. If the subject comes up, or it seems like she should have the information, then tell her.

In the early stages of a relationship the focus is on the two of you together. Later on your past may come up, wait until then.

Just remember to be honest and don't leave anything out to try and minimize. If she can't handle the truth, then the relationship wasn't meant to be. If the relationship is strong then it won't matter in the slightest. Do NOT hide anything, it WILL come back to bite you.


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ErikTheRed
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Posts: 25

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Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 02:23 PM (#49605)

First of all there are three questions here, one of which is asked in a way so as to make its answer contradict the other two, so I'm not sure how intelligent or valid a "yes or no" poll is.

My disclaimer - I think that honesty is the best policy in a relationship. If the relationship can't handle honesty, then it's built on a pile of crap. That's great if you want to grow plants, and not great if you want to grow anything else.

From your remarks that you're shutting down other relationships to focus on her it sounds like you're doing the right things in general. I also believe in "hyperactive dating" for single people when they don't have an extremely promising relationship to focus on - otherwise they get trapped in unproductive relationships.

With regards to the questions:

"Confess" implies that you're actively hiding it from her. You don't have to volunteer the information unless you believe it's important to her. I'm pretty sure she knows that you're not a virgin. Most women don't want to hear about previous relationships (denial and insecurity issues), but if they ask then be up-front. Don't assume she's an idiot, but don't let her live in denial either. There's no need to bring it up unless you have reason to think that you were doing nothing except sitting around pining for the day you'd be with her, and that a misconception of that nature would affect her feelings towards you. As a basic philosophical issue, any denial or insecurity issues she has are to be left to her unless she gives you a specific reason to butt in. Now, I'm assuming these issues exist because they do with the vast majority of women (I blame romantic fiction). If they don't with her, then you're one heck of a lucky guy (I'm pretty lucky myself in that regard)!

Just remember, that there's nothing morally wrong with having dated her friend first. If she has a problem with it, then it's her problem and it's up to her to fix it. If she doesn't then that says good things about her character.


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TheOriginalJes
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Posts: 205

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Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 04:52 PM (#49606)
In Response to Lucky (#49603):

Not inferring is admirable. But, what can you understand from someone's actual admissions, as they do convey point-of-view?


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TheOriginalJes
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Posts: 205

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, October 09, 2009 - 04:55 PM (#49607)
In Response to TheOriginalJes (#49606):

And, for the record, text does convey tone. They teach that in schools all around the world.


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Murgatroyd
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Posts: 300

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Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 01:27 AM (#49608)

Hmm. Although Mr. Happily Divorced gives us quite a bit of information (verging on TMI at times) there are still some ambiguities about his relationships with Special Woman, Woman's Friend, and the Ladies of Match Dot Com that will affect the advice we give him ...

This summer I re-met a very special woman whom I knew growing up. We get along very well and are having a great time together.

* So what are your intentions toward Special Woman? (I wish you'd given us names to use, even fictitious ones!) Are you seeing her exclusively, do you intend at some time in the near future to date only her, or will she just be primus inter pares?

* Does she see only you? Or does she intend to see only you at some point in the future?

While I was divorced, I had an affair with this woman's friend ...

* You had an "affair" with Woman's Friend. Was she married?

*Is there any reason that Special Woman should think less of you if she found out that you had been shtupping her friend?

* Is Special Woman the jealous sort?

* Are you worried that Special Woman will think that you are still shtupping Woman's Friend?

Also, I had been hyperactively dating on match.com for quite some time (which I heartily recommend) and have slowed down to focus on my new relationship.

* "Slowed down" does not equal "stopped." Are you simply thinning the ranks of your bed buddies to reduce complications, or do you intend to quit seeing everyone except Special Woman?

* How much does Special Woman know about the other women you've been seeing? Does she know you had a Match.com membership? Does she know you've given it up?

In the spirit of honesty, should I 'fess up to this short affair with her friend, which happened in the past year? Should I 'fess up to the magnitude of my hyperactive match.com dating?

* How much has she told you about her past sex life? How would you react if she told you detailed stories about those three-day weekends with the Dallas Cowboys?

C'mon guy, talk to us!


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CasualNotice
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Posts: 49

Registered:
Jun 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 07:25 AM (#49611)

Honestly, if you've been sexually intimate with any (or all) of these women, you have an obligation to inform your renewed love of the scope of your activities. I'm not saying give her a full list of names and addresses, but she should be forearmed with at least the scope of your dalliances.

You should certainly tell her that you have had relations with her friend, because it will otherwise come up in conversation between the women and you'll look like a sneak if you don't.

I also strongly suggest that you visit your doctor and get yourself checked for STDs.


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TheOriginalJes
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Posts: 205

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 09:12 PM (#49615)

*"lingering relationships"*

Speaking of which...

*"While it felt strange, she wanted the best for me and her friend and encouraged me to pursue her friend."*

Felt strange to whom? How?

But, did she encourage you toward disclosure? Did you ask her to do it for you? Did she offer? Is this even the kind of thing that could bite her in the bum? We don't know what her husband knows, or if she's even still married.

*"Meanwhile, I've been honest to these women about why I'm doing this and trying to part as friends."*

How honest have you been? How many women are we talking about? Do they know about each other?

Is there something about your relationships that could cause them to end as "less than friends"?

I've been assuming something here that I shouldn't have.

When did this affair happen in relation to your re-connection with your new Ms.?

Not that it could be a major sticking point. But, if it was after you met again, and before things turned more serious; then yes, you may be shooting yourself in the foot, anyway.


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Murgatroyd
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Posts: 300

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Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 04:56 AM (#49617)

*"Meanwhile, I've been honest to these women about why I'm doing this and trying to part as friends."*

How honest have you been? How many women are we talking about? Do they know about each other?

Is there something about your relationships that could cause them to end as "less than friends"?

Heh. I think Mr. Happily Divorced simply has been trying to be diplomatic about delivering the message: "Sorry, babe, but although I like you enough to occasionally shtup you when it's convenient, I've recently met a woman I actually care about ... so I now view you as a complication in my life that I'm getting rid of. No hard feelings about being an also-ran, OK?"

I suspect that if delivered undiplomatically, this basic message might actually induce some women to not "part as friends" ...

Is this even the kind of thing that could bite her in the bum? We don't know what her husband knows, or if she's even still married.

Jes, you seem to be assuming that Ms. Friend is or was married at the time Mr. Happily Divorced was intimate with her. Is it because he used the word "affair"? I interpreted the word as indicating that he had a continuing sexual relationship that included emotional involvement with her, and not just a casual arrangement for good company and occasional sex as with his thousands of Match.com women. (Are you a Brit or an Aussie? Perhaps we use the word "affair" differently.) On the other hand, if Ms. Friend was indeed married, then that probably would explain why he doesn't want Special Woman to find out about his past relationship with her.


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TheOriginalJes
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Posts: 205

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Monday, October 12, 2009 - 10:02 AM (#49622)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#49617):

-"Jes, you seem to be assuming that Ms. Friend is or was married at the time Mr. Happily Divorced was intimate with her. Is it because he used the word "affair"?"-

Actually, it's because of the way he used "affair". (And, you;re right. I am assuming. But, I'm just a plain American.) What would make her an affair and the others just dates? The way he used it implies, to me, that there was something forbidden about the encounter(s). And, it certainly seems obvious to me that she (Ms. Friend) meant a bit more to him than any of his other "lingering relationships" - (I love that, so much).

If that weren't true, then his only other concern would be that she would tell Special Woman before he did. I don't see what the big deal is. He was divorced. If anything, it would be Ms. Friend's bad, if it were an "affair". Which leads me back to my question about when the hook-up with Ms. Friend occurred in relation to re-connecting with Special Woman.

-"On the other hand, if Ms. Friend was indeed married, then that probably would explain why he doesn't want Special Woman to find out about his past relationship with her."-

I'm not so sure that he doesn't want her to find out, anyway. The general aire of his post seems a bit braggadocios to me. He's proud of what he's been doing, and wants us to know about it. If he knew for sure that Special Woman wouldn't leave, he might've performed it for her in interpretive dance.

After all, he says that he wants to "be honest", but doesn't want to "shoot himself in the foot", as if a lack of honesty wouldn't produce the same results.

It's entirely possible that his house-cleaning isn't to slow anything down (he never said stop), rather to preempt the possibility of some late-night booty calls messing up what could just amount to living out a childhood fantasy. (To be fair, I believe that he does want more than that.)

Now, I'm wondering if Ms. Friend knows about him and Match.com?


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Murgatroyd
Lover

Posts: 300

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 04:11 AM (#49632)

He's proud of what he's been doing, and wants us to know about it. If he knew for sure that Special Woman wouldn't leave, he might've performed it for her in interpretive dance.

Jes wins the thread!


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Gil
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Posts: 2

Registered:
Oct 2009
Re: Full Disclosure? (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, October 18, 2009 - 01:21 AM (#49702)

If you're going to let her know, also let her know WHY you're letting her know, and how special she is to you.
you can also show her your match.com membership status as further proof that you're looking for that one special person and that's that.

I think you should let her know.


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Discussion: POLL: Full Disclosure? | Login/Create an Account | 15 comments
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