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It Might Get Loud

I caught up with a former coworker recently who told me that she had a dating dilemma. She had to tell her new man that she has a checkered past and she wasn’t sure how he would react. Carmen grew up in foster care and then went to a group home as a teenager. She made a lot of mistakes as a troubled teen and has a bit of a criminal past.

It’s nothing outrageous and it was a long time ago, but she is concerned about how her boyfriend will perceive her. She admits that he can be pretentious and she is afraid that he would get upset when he finds out that she didn’t grow up like he did, in a wealthy family.

When you are dating someone knew, how worried are you about opening the closet of skeletons? What if your skeletons are fresh and new, and in the not so distant past? Do you reveal it before an exclusive relationship has begun?

Have you ever dated someone that shared something about their past and it was a huge deal breaker for you? How did you handle that?

296 comments Add your comment

Stan

August 13th, 2009
8:45 am

If it is a deal breaker, then he is not the ONE. Simple enough…just move along.

Dan

August 13th, 2009
8:51 am

Good morning,

I don’t like to be surprised by revelations during a relationship (”39?”). Tell me before it gets serious, let me make a decision as to how to react to what you’re telling me and then how I/we will proceed.

I mean, put it out there (the good and the bad) and let the person make an informed decision about, potentially, who they are dealing with.

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
9:06 am

In between the commercials of ‘America’s Got Talent’ (my love’s new love) I was watching ‘Gary Unmarried’ and his dilemma was his ex-wife befriended his new love and he was afraid that the ex would tell the new-new some very unfavorable things about him leading her to no longer being attracted to him. Ironically the character received unsolicited advice from his early teenage son telling him to tell Ms. New-New himself. Everything that he thinks would harm his new relationship should she get the info from the ex he should just come out and tell her. Fortunately for him some of the stuff that he revealed was not disturbing to Ms. New. But we know that’s television and television has been known to romanticize and downplay the harsh realities. We live in a very unkind and shallow society.

All that to say she should tell him before he finds out some other way however still be selective in what she reveals. There is a certain thing as TMI. And sometimes while we think we are doing the right thing it can be harmful.

Just from what you posted her past doesn’t seem to be that bad. But the level of judgment is in the ear and heart of the receiver.

IMO when revealing something about yourself that could be less than honorable you should set the person up to be prepared to hear some awful news or info. i.e. “I’m about to tell you something really bad about myself”. Don’t do that. I say just let stuff come out in casual conversation. You are not hiding thing by not giving your entire life history on the first date. In fact the first date is not for that.

MR. Unknown

August 13th, 2009
9:15 am

I don’t like surprises, period!! If theres something in your past with the potential to just drop out of the sky and land on my head… Im going to be pissed, real pissed. I also don’t like looking stupid, like everyone in the room knows about your past except me thing.. Feed me the info bit here, a peice here, so that I can just digest it…

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
9:16 am

The more I think about it it’s a damn-if-you-do and damn-if-you-don’t situation. The people in this society that we live in will say they don’t want to be overloaded with your personal information when not in a serious relationship. But out of the other side of their neck will say they want to anything that may be unfavorable about you so they can decide if they want a relationship with you.

Heck outside of homosexual acts, child molestation, murder, a history of domestic abuse and animal mutilation everything else I would consider just a down slope in your life.

No one is perfect. If you grew up in the Gilbert-Huxtable household, don’t think less of me because I didn’t.

I was not wealthy growing up, my parents were. My feeding spoon was not silver. It was more like plastic. LOL

Professor...she works hard for the money

August 13th, 2009
9:18 am

…stepping in only for a minute. Whew, does anyone want to help me out with some of this work? I am trying to get my desk cleared before I go out on leave.

Good Morning All:

I will be brief…

When you are dating someone knew, how worried are you about opening the closet of skeletons?
Not worried at all, for the most part I have a pretty nice past and the stuff that made me a little grimy most men peeped that from the start it is part of the attraction, so they are cool with the story behind me.
What if your skeletons are fresh and new, and in the not so distant past? My bones are old and decayed…just a distant memory-adding flavor to my life.
Do you reveal it before an exclusive relationship has begun? See answer #1
Have a great day blog folks…hopefully I will be able to check in.

Professor...she works hard for the money

August 13th, 2009
9:20 am

@Mr. Unknown…I truly feel you I agree 100%. I do not like surprises and I d@mn sho don’t like looking like a fool. Tell me what’s up…I am a big girl and I can handle it one way or the other aka STAY or LEAVE.

Dan

August 13th, 2009
9:21 am

@Raqi

WD’s post was about her friend and her new dude, not a date. My assumption at this point is that they are “together”.

Based on that assumption, if I were in the dude’s shoes, I’d want to know whatever.

Ultimately, if you are confident about the person you are (mistakes and all), telling someone about them shouldn’t be a problem. Unless it’s still a potentially criminal matter, who cares?

Pretty Wings( The Sun is Still Shining)

August 13th, 2009
9:26 am

Ohayo gozaimasu Bloggers:

Good Topic WD!
Let me preface my comment with:
“Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone”

There should be full disclosure and let the chips fall were they may. The right time to have the discussion is when they ask….. If what has been shared brings you closer, then you have your answer and if it does’nt move on.

Being transparent is a huge part of the process of building a strong relationship.

India Arie
Testimony 2
“I told him my biggest secret, then he told me four and that made me love him more”.

Have a Great Day! :P

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
9:27 am

Dan I didn’t say he was just a date. Where did you get that from?

Professor...she works hard for the money

August 13th, 2009
9:30 am

@PW…great post!

Dan

August 13th, 2009
9:30 am

The “first date” comment at the end of your post.

Leggs

August 13th, 2009
9:33 am

Good morning. Great topic.

When you are dating someone knew, how worried are you about opening the closet of skeletons? I wouldn’t be worried. We all have a past, and we all have done some dumb stuff over the years. Even if I had a criminal record, I would reveal that upfront (not the first day) and let you deal with it the way it fits your soul and your position in life.

What if your skeletons are fresh and new, and in the not so distant past? Do you reveal it before an exclusive relationship has begun? Hmmmm, so fresh and so clean. Yes, I would.

Have you ever dated someone that shared something about their past and it was a huge deal breaker for you? How did you handle that? No, I haven’t. I doubt I could date someone who murdered someone, and I definitely couldn’t date a man that has been in jail for domestic violence.

@Professor, “stuff that made me a little grimy” – I like that.

MR. Unknown

August 13th, 2009
9:38 am

LOL, I have a quick question, off topic… If I let the elevator door close in someone face on purpose, would that be consider lack of tact.. The reason I let the door close in her face, was because she is the same person that let it close in my face. She is the type, if there is one negro on the elevator, that is one to many. Orrr should I have killed her with kindness… Sorry, you should have seen the look on her face.. lol Whatever it felt good.. haha

M.

August 13th, 2009
9:41 am

I have dated someone who when discussing their past, it was a little checkered, but also this could have happened to any of us. Like she had a child and then got married behind her parents back. Its funny because I don’t know if she was rebellious because growing up she had more than we did I am sure. I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters (I am a twin and my 2 brothers are twins to). All in all, who am I to judge? I have no contractional obligations to anyone, so if you have something that I don’t like, I can move forward without her.

@Wise Diva

Good topic, another aspect that relates to this and we should examine are “GRAVE SECRETS” i.e., I am going to the grave with that. What about the things that only the closet people or only you know? Will we ever tell our mates and will EVERYONE be playing with an open hand, or is it if they ask you will tell them? Like that time you went on that all-girls trip to Jamaica or guys that business trip you had to take to Phoenix….I will stop there lol…

Pretty Wings( The Sun is Still Shining)

August 13th, 2009
9:41 am

I gotta leave the blog with this ole’skool on tune………….

Don’t Ask My Neighbor
Song

You’re wondering if
I care about you
Is there some cause
That I should doubt you

Oh, I can see, boy
That you don’t know me very well
Uh uh, you’re so unsure

And you run here and there
To ask my feelings
Friends only guess
They can’t say really, oh

Don’t ask my neighbors
Don’t ask the friends I hang around
(Never ask the friends I hang around)
Uh uh, don’t be afraid
To come to me (come to me)
Don’t ask my neighbors

anonymousella

August 13th, 2009
9:45 am

my policy is this: i keep my past under wraps unless it’s affecting my present, and i don’t reveal the details unless i have to.

in your friend’s case, though, it sounds like she may be worried about nothing. i would think that by the time you’re serious enough to have a conversation about your family and upbringing, i think you know whether you are in it for the long haul. that’s information that may raise an eyebrow, but not scare him/her off.

plus, i have noticed that people reveal their class background pretty quickly if you’re paying attention. he probably already peeped that she didn’t grow up wealthy, though he doesn’t know that she was a foster kid. if he was that pretentious, he would have bounced.

M'

August 13th, 2009
9:46 am

Dan is baaackkkkk!…lol

If it ain't Sexy, it ain't Cool.

August 13th, 2009
9:47 am

Three Words Daily – Dream impossible dreams.

Professor...she works hard for the money

August 13th, 2009
9:48 am

Confession: I just thought about this…a few years back I went out to dinner with this guy. We had spoken on the phone quite often, but it was our first (and last in-person date). I will never forget he laid everything on the line good, bad and the ugly. Dude told me about his bad credit (he said it was because of his ex) to his mother having a voodoo spell cast on her to all of his hopes and dreams and his aspirations. I left the date tired and depleted and I felt like I knew too much too soon. Most of all I felt too tired to get to know the rest of him.
I really don’t feel like I was judging him, I just feel like it was too much for a first date…or maybe I did see a heap of mess that I did not want to deal with…who knows and who cares?

D Dub of the MSP (formerly of the ATL)

August 13th, 2009
9:49 am

We all make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. The question is what did you learn from the experience.

It is better to find out from the source about what’s going on than to start figuring things out and lie about it. I dated someone in the past that told me one thing, but when I asked about anything that didn’t quite add up, she would get defensive and/or change the subject. I got to the point where I hardly believed anything she said and cut my losses. Had she been honest with me from the beginning, I honestly believe that I would have been OK with the truth – it really wasn’t that serious… but lying about it and insulting my intelligence gets you nowhere.

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
9:50 am

Like she had a child and then got married behind her parents back

M(dot) I agree with you. That there ^ is no reason to paint someone black. It’s just life.

If it ain't Sexy, it ain't Cool.

August 13th, 2009
9:51 am

Yes. I have done things in my past that would cause some to give me the side eye. As I learned better, I did better.

I would be far more concerned with the possibility of a checkered present than the history of a checkered past. However, there can always be circumstances that are exceptions to the rule.

The Real Rell - operation vanilla pudding is on!!!

August 13th, 2009
9:54 am

good topic diva…i have dated former “street walkers”…”drug dealers”…”accessories to murderer”…”kidnappers”…and straight grimy street chicks….but again that was there past not there future..i did not judge them…nor did it impact my choice in them…my maturity level and timing was the cause of the demise of the above relationships…everyone has a past period….i mean that “conservative” chick you know from cali…could have been the hood strawberry for all you know…what does it matter….accept the person you with now…

If it ain't Sexy, it ain't Cool.

August 13th, 2009
9:56 am

Mr. Unknown – I am often surprised by the lack of elevator etiquette that people exhibit. Most notably, trying to get on before allowing people to exit. I always think to myself, “Ya damn nitwit. Does it not occur to you to step to the side for two seconds to allow people to get off and then there is more room for you to get on.?” Sheesh

As to your particular situation – ya’ did what ya’ felt like doing at the time. However, I always like to try to be the bigger person. (Although people make it VERY hard sometimes.) I just remind myself of this: You can’t be big and little at the same time.

I’m done.

Professor...she works hard for the money

August 13th, 2009
9:58 am

@Rell that is quite a list and it is good that you can look beyond the past. I wonder just how many of us can truly do that without those thoughts giving away in the back of our minds.

The Real Rell - operation vanilla pudding is on!!!

August 13th, 2009
9:59 am

i found one of my favorite songs this morning…cause i am in that mood….naomi – white….lyrics below.but the lyrics with the beat is the bizness….is it friday yet

And what I do is what I feel
And what I feel is where I have to go
And where I go is where you are
My love, my fear, my beating heart
My simple answer that I’ll never know

And what I say is what I know
And what I know is what my senses say
And what my senses say is this
That when I’m sceptical is please
And when I dare to take on, makes my day

And where I go is where you are
My love, my fear, my beating heart
My simple answer, that I’ll never know

And what I say is what I know
And what I know is what my senses say
And what my senses say is this
That when I’m specptical is please
And when I dare to take on, makes my day

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
10:02 am

Dan you misunderstood what I was saying but oh well by now.

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
10:06 am

Growing up in a group home she should tell him that she had a whole lot of brothers from a myriad of different mothers. That would break the ice.

Professor...she works hard for the money

August 13th, 2009
10:06 am

…I am out I don’t see any volunteers to help me with these PS.
I will say this before I go human beings are walking contradictions. We say we don’t judge or care, but we still have that doubt in the back of our minds. We claim that we are ok with something and three months later we have an epiphany that changes everything (or we talk to friends that change our views). We curse and praise in the same day and sometimes within the same hour. Not to mention we try to act big, but most of the time our words and actions are below petty on the measuring stick.

So as for revealing your past to someone you are probably subject to what that person is feeling at that moment and those feelings can change two weeks, two days, or two hours later.

Leggs

August 13th, 2009
10:09 am

@Mr Unknown, yes that was tactless. A tit for a tat. Not a good look on grown folk. Killing w/kindness would have been better. BUT, IT WOULDN’T HAVE FELT AS GOOD! :lol:

Grace

August 13th, 2009
10:13 am

I sum it up as we all have skeletons in our closet, some greater than others. At this point in my life there is nothing that surprises me when it comes to one’s past. It’s the past, unless you are still participating in it, then I’ll have to take a detour. I have a past, not as checkered but it’s a past that might raise a few eyebrows. As long his past doesn’t include, a murderer, child molester, drug dealer, a woman beater or a player, I will see him as a person who lived alot of life.

Wise I would email you but I don’t have your email address.

THE INFAMOUS DK

August 13th, 2009
10:16 am

You know I tell all my prospects about my past eventually and keep it on a need to know basis.. I’ve never been to prison but I have had some charges expunged, had a little probation and some house arrest but all that made me who I am.. Do I regret the mistakes I made? Yes and no. I do because I would never want my Son out there doing the things I did. Hustling did pay for college (no Student Loans)cause I knew I couldnt just run around here and hustle all my life. I think my past makes me a rare find because I’m reformed and can function in any environment. I see things other people would never see or pay attention to. Ive learned things a book could never teach you. The bad side of it all is.. I dont advocate anything Ive done over the years because the scars and the friends lost could never be reconsiled with the money I made. If I could give the cash back and see my patnas again I would. I have severe trust issues. I think the worst until you show me different. Ive seen things a war vet wouldnt talk about. Do I think I’m thugalicious? No because meeting me you would never know about my past. I have to accept the good with the bad becuase I didnt let the streets kill my joy or harden my heart so I consider myself lucky.

M. (pronounced M dot)

August 13th, 2009
10:19 am

@Raqi

Thanks for specifying.

@Blog

So what if you met someone and alot of the checkered past was old but they said that they have changed? Its funny because its a small world and I met this girl who I thought was realy high strung etc but through volunteering, I worked with a guy who knew her in college at FSU and let’s just say what he told me was shocking….

That’s the bad part about this business…people can recreate themselves especially in a place like Atlanta with alot of transplants. Don’t you all miss the good days when you could just ask around and find the dirt on someone and save yourself the heartache?

THE INFAMOUS DK

August 13th, 2009
10:25 am

I believe in Honesty from the begin because if you are gonna have to accept me for who i am because I do. I accept me for me and at the end of the day thats all that matters. I can look myself in the mirror every morning and be ok with me.

If it ain't Sexy, it ain't Cool.

August 13th, 2009
10:25 am

Grace – Men with “playa ish” in their PAST do not bother me so much as one with “playa ish” in their PRESENT.

M-Dot – Even in asking around, you should always consider the source.

Tazzee

August 13th, 2009
10:26 am

Morning Folks! I believe in disclosing my skeletons early on. Especially since most guys look at my life now and think that I’ve always been fairly straight-laced. If someone can’t handle my past, they aren’t the one for me.

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
10:28 am

you should always consider the source

Thursday Morning Gospel at WMIA.

THE INFAMOUS DK

August 13th, 2009
10:29 am

If someone can’t handle my past, they aren’t the one for me.

Tazzee – I can dig that

Kym

August 13th, 2009
10:32 am

Good Morning All,

Wisey I think she should tell him and I think his reaction to whatevea she tells him will be a good judge of his character. Growing up in a group home or foster care so what? Teenage trouble with the law..please I can make a list of 10 things(each) some well known folks kids did and are still doing even now..really lets not go there. All that should matter is what is she doing now. If this guy means her any good(I am channel granny today I see) then he will take her teenage indiscretions and upbringing with a shrug and a grain of salt.

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
10:33 am

I am lead to believe that it’s really only the ones who haven’t done anything worth talking about or mentioning that claims to have the problem with other folks past.

Some people have yet begun to live. And never will.

Tazzee

August 13th, 2009
10:35 am

M dot – I would give the person a chance to show that they’ve changed. Especially if the dirt was done in college. At this age, I don’t give too much creedence to anything done greater than 10 or so years ago.

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
10:35 am

Like Infa said up top, our past is what made us who we are now. Had most of us avoided life events and taken a different route we would not know what we know now nor be the one that we are.

M.

August 13th, 2009
10:36 am

@If it aint

Of course we should consider that but would you rather have some info with a grain of salt or no info at all?

Raqi

August 13th, 2009
10:37 am

I would give the person a chance to show that they’ve changed

Tazzee I too agree because if they have not changed it would show. And better yet it probably would have already shown.

For Real

August 13th, 2009
10:39 am

Mistake: Left the milk sitting on counter

Checkered Past: Did a 5yr bid for fraudulent check writing

Mistake: Forgot to walk Fee-Fee

Checkered Past: Shoplifting

Mistake: Left the toilet seat up… well naw you got two hands too

Checkered Past: Killing 4 people then running home and trying to cover it up

Grace

August 13th, 2009
10:40 am

M dot I remember those days, having the advantage of asking around about a particular person does save alot of heart/headache. In a big city you don’t have that opportunity to do that, you have to take the person’s word and hope they’re being forthright about it.

Dan

August 13th, 2009
10:42 am

@M’

Question: why would anyone “ask around for dirt”, when the person that could best give you that information is the person you’re dating?

I mean, if they revealed the information, fine now you know. If they don’t reveal something that pops up later, the fact that they didn’t share it with you tells you something about that person.

Either way, asking around tells you nothing about the person in the present tense and how they conduct themselves now; asking around gets only old information that may or may not be relevant.

And really, for me, asking someone besides me tells me more about you – regardless of what you find.

M.

August 13th, 2009
10:42 am

@Grace

You know it! When I lived in Chicago or was in college in Minnesota, somebody knew somebody and could dish out the dirt, and this was before google!

@Blog

If you could pay to get some valuable information about the person, other than a background check, would you?

selema

August 13th, 2009
10:43 am

i feel like the things that happened in your past are what made you are in the present and if whoever your significant other is cannot look past that and see the good in you now then they are not worth worrying about, Your a better person than that and you should know that.