Posts Tagged ‘love’

The Warm-up Talk

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Some of you reading this message are single and intend to marry. Some of you have proposed and others have been proposed to. Some of you are in serious relationships leading to marriage. Some of you do not have any man or woman in your lives. No problem; we are in February and you can meet someone and in less than 8 months get married. So if you are reading this, there is hope for you and there is something I want to share with you.

My advice is very simple and straight to the point as I always love to make it. Before you marry, have a thorough premarital counseling. It is very important. There are some traits and attributes in your potential spouse the effects of which might only come up in the future. Counseling will open your eyes to them and it can help you decide whether you want to go on with the marriage or not. And should you want to go on, steps to take to accommodate them or manage these traits and attributes. Counseling will also tell you what to do and what not to do to have the best of your marriage. Again, It will further open your eyes to many things and give you better meaning to them. I will recommend Bishop Dag Heward-Mills’ ‘Model Marriage’ to anyone who wants a counseling material to read.

Again find yourself a mentor or someone who is old and commands certain amount of respect in your eyes and be accountable to. YOU would need someone who can look into your face and rebuke and correct you if you are going wayward. Esther had Mordecai, David had Nathan, Hezekiah had Isaiah, Solomon, however, had no one; which was why he messed big time.

Start saving Money or start buying stuff towards the wedding and the life thereafter. If you want to save money, have a separate bank account for that purpose and save in there. Decide how much you would want to put there on monthly or weekly basis. You can make it a percentage of whatever income that comes to you. When the time comes for buying stuff, Men, let the women buy their own engagement stuff, after all she will use them. Both of you must agree who would wrap them. But of course it must get to the man before the day of the engagement. Men do not insist on buying the engagement stuff otherwise she might end up not using them…ever. If she tells you to go ahead and buy them because of where you are located, or her faith in your taste, fine then. Women for the sake of respect, use the things brought to you for the engagement. It shows you appreciate them. Some men go through hell raising money to put up engagements and weddings.

During this period of preparation, there will be a lot of tension; Please fight the issue not the person. Men, soften your stance on some of the issues. Wedding colors, seriously? Do not fight over it with her. Let her choose her colors. Be happy to help if you are invited to. If you are an artist and your wife is color blind yet she insists on choosing the colors, then na waaah for you. Lol. You can still talk to a couple of people she respects and see if they can change her mind to come along with you. If you can’t get her to come along, then allow her; after all the wedding is all about her. The décor and all that too is for her to arrange. The food and drinks and all the ko mininis? Well for money sakes, the man has to have a say since he has the cheque book. With the menu, well, let the woman help out unless she is from the greener side of the country where culinary sophistry has not yet landed. With that too, you do not have to fight, you must discuss it. If the man insists, then woman, step back and let the man contract a caterer he feels can do a better job. But men, remember it is a lifetime event; do not play ego with it.

Men are not supposed to see the wedding dress, so either she is buying her own stuff or you are giving her money to buy it. The only exception is where he is located where a better collection of wedding gowns are available and has to buy it and bring it to the woman. Men back off from her accessories.

Both of you must agree on the number of people in the bridal party. Discuss with your bridal party if they would want to take up the cost of their own clothing. If they are willing, then you are blessed; it is money saved. If they are not willing to foot that cost, well then, you’ve got to consider the number of people in the party… unless you have cash to pay for it all. Ladies want to have it all large and long; are you willing to foot the cost? If not, let the man have a say. Do not drain him.

Both of you must agree on the choice of metal for your rings. Yellow Gold is perfect, White Gold is en-vogue, and platinum is the ish. If you can’t afford gold, silver is not bad…for starters. Ladies do not put pressure on the men to buy Platinum rings when he can’t afford many other things. And do not force him into getting you a ring with a huge stone which will cost him a fortune. After all it is just a wedding; there is the real life of marriage to live after the wedding, do not enter it bankrupt.

Ladies, be willing to soften your stance on the date to have the event. He is the man so give him that respect. If you have genuine reasons why it has to be done on date A or B, discuss it with him. No drama, no emotional blackmail. Do not attempt to influence his choice of clothes unless you both agree you can help him out in a better way. Always talk to his best man if he proves difficult on any issue….unless the best man is worse off… then you can talk to a trusted brother or cousin or his father. If by this time you do not have that relationship with his family, cancel the wedding…you are not ready to marry.

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~PG~

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ImageMost couples tying the knot don’t want to wait until the honeymoon to know if things are going to work in the bedroom, and would agree that having sex before marriage is an important way to establish if there’s a basic level of sexual compatibility.

But — without getting into the moral pros and cons of premarital sex — that may not always be the case.

“Just because you have good sex, and a lot of it, before marriage doesn’t mean it will be that way for your entire life,” says social psychologist Justin Lehmiller.

“Our bodies and desires naturally change over time in response to both age and major life events, such as having children, and these changes don’t affect everyone in the same way. This means that one partner’s sexual needs and wants often change at a much faster rate than the other’s, resulting in discrepancies that can precipitate conflict, adultery and divorce.”

You can’t judge the rest of your sex life by your current experiences, especially if you’ve had a whirlwind romance. In the beginning of your relationship, you’re both under the influence of a potent biochemical cocktail of infatuation hormones.

“A person’s inherent need for sensation is not necessarily obvious in the early stages of a relationship, when love itself is a novelty and carries its own thrills,” says Marvin Zuckerman, a professor at the University of Delaware whose research involves sensation-seeking. “It’s when the sex becomes routine that problems occur.”

That’s why I recommend that couples talk openly and honestly about sex — whether or not they’re already having it — before they walk down the aisle.

“As a newlywed sex educator, I’ve been surprised at how much marriage has changed our sex life in ways I would never have anticipated,” says Emily Nagoski, author of the book “A Scientific Guide to Successful Relationships.”

“Based on my experience, I think that the best thing a couple can do is talk through a wide range of hypothetical scenarios — what if one person’s interest in sex changes a lot, either increase or decrease? What if one of you gets cancer or is in a car accident and loses sensation below the waist? These ‘what ifs’ aren’t about having a plan for every contingency; they’re about practicing your collaborative problem-solving skills.”

But talking about sex isn’t always easy, even for couples who plan to share everything with each other. Most of us have had some sex education somewhere in the past, but nobody ever taught us how to have a constructive conversation with a partner about the sex we’re having.

“When you’re not able to openly talk about sexual preferences with your partner, those bedroom problems will resurface in other aspects of their relationship, and can lead to misdirected frustration,” says Patty Brisben, a sex education advocate and entrepreneur.

For those couples who are too inhibited to get this conversation started on their own, a trip to a marriage and family therapist should be a priority.

“Premarital counseling provides a safe space for couples to discuss their sexual hopes, fears and expectations,” says Ami Bhalodkar, a New York marriage and family therapist. “Counselors can help couples initiate and engage in conversations about sex in ways that are tailored to their particular style of communication, cultural/religious background and overall level of comfort and emotional safety — be it through journaling, making art, reflecting on poetry and music, playing a card game or participating in a speaker/listener dialogue.

“Regardless of the methods used, once couples have broken the silence around this issue, they report feeling incredibly relieved and more secure and optimistic about their sexual future together.”

So keep an eye on the long view. “This person is going to be sleeping next to you every night for the rest of your lives — decades, hopefully,” Nagoski says.

“Without making a little effort to try new things, it can get routine, fast. Trying new things together isn’t really about the things you try, it’s about the sense of adventure as you explore together.”

If you’re curious about whether or not you and your partner are on the same page, you can each take the survey entitled “What Are You Up for in the Bedroom?” created by Kristen Mark, author of the book “Good in Bed Guide to Sexual Adventure.”

By talking about your concerns and expectations now, you can build a strong foundation for a healthy, happy sex life — till death do you part.

Says Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure: “The key is to become sexually empowered and confident before marriage. For some people this may happen by being sexually experienced before they meet their potential spouse, but it’s also about taking care of their sexual health, feeling good in their own skin, knowing what turns them on and off and being communicative about their needs, wants and desires.”

 

Source: http://lifestyle.myjoyonline.com/pages/relationships/201301/100695.php 

cnn.com

ImageBy most accounts the first year of marriage – barring that all too brief honeymoon phase replete with sex and lots of it – is difficult at best. 

There’s something about marriage, the act of committing to each other for life, that brings with it all sorts of unrealistic expectations and unexpected tensions. Many newlyweds, even those who lived with their spouse before getting hitched, have no idea what “marriage” is going to be like. How could they? No one ever tells them.

To be honest, marriage can be like peace negotiations during times of war, especially during that first year. Both sides know that it’s in their best interest to unite and work together, but they can’t help but cling to their independence and whatever it was that launched the war in the first place. 

Unlike warring nations, however, couples should have love at their base. This can help them reach agreements faster – or at least it should. But first they have to realize that marriage isn’t some sort of fantasy. Neither of them is going to change over night. You are going to fight sometimes. And marriage takes some getting used to.

Knowing marriage secrets – those things that no one bothered to mention while you were picking out wedding colors and china patterns – can go a long way to keeping the peace and getting through that difficult first year. Here’s what you need to know about marriage:

Marriage is hard work

All that wooing and communication that took place during your courtship needs to be part of your marriage, too. People often think that they can rest on their laurels once they’re married. They figure, “I’ve got the girl or guy now, so why do I have to send flowers, remember birthdays, be romantic, or discuss problems?” 

This is flawed logic. It is actually more important to remind your spouse why you are so lovable than it was when you were just dating. After all, now you have to live with each other, and you know the other person’s every flaw. If you want someone to put up with your bad habits, such as leaving dresser drawers open or spending way too much time in the bathroom, you better give them reasons to stick around, too. 

Also, no one wants to feel as though they are being taken for granted. It can breed resentment. Showing your spouse you care – even if it’s just with a kiss goodnight or a love letter in his lunch – helps him or her forget about all the rest. More importantly, these demonstrations, including talking about everything from your day to whether to have children, reminds your spouse why he or she chose to marry you. By the way, although it is work, none of these actions should feel like chores. You should want to do them and get pleasure out of them, even communicating about difficult topics that need discussing. Isn’t this all just part of love, after all?

You have not won the lottery

People tend to think that having a dual income, which is what usually happens when couples first marry, is like winning the lottery. They feel as though they are rich. That’s rarely the case. Yes, you will probably have more money if you join your earnings. Not every couple does. Some keep their finances or part of their finances separate. Others put all their money together in one account and they own everything together, too. That’s great. 

Regardless, you will have more expenses. Your earnings double, but so does your spending. You’re paying for the medical care of two people, food for two people, shelter for two people. And since many young couples quit living like they are in a dorm, you might find yourself spending on nicer furniture, tools for cooking, and the like. In any event, you should avoid living too large. Save your money and make sure you don’t get into financial hot water. Remember, you’re in this marriage for the long haul and you have many, many years to be together. Think about having money for a house, vacations, children, and retirement. All those years and experiences will require serious funds, so start to save now.

Marriage takes some getting used to

Hearing yourselves referred to as Mr. and Mrs. X… will sound strange for a while. And it might take a few months – or even that whole first year – to get used to being married. Being someone’s husband or wife is different from being a boyfriend or girlfriend. This is for life. This is for better or worse. There’s no out now. When you fight, you can’t automatically think about leaving. Your lives have been legally intertwined. You can’t just stop calling to break up. You have to try harder and you have to work more and you have to nurture the relationship, so that it keeps growing. Beyond your new title, you have to get used to your new responsibilities. The fact is that you must think of the other person now whenever you are making plans, from ordering take-out to investing your savings. Getting a wedding ring and taking vows is just the first step. You’re not automatically going to understand your role after that. You will grow into the job as time goes by.

Sex won’t be as bad as you think

You might have heard that marriage is where sex goes to die. But that’s not at all true. In fact, most studies have shown that married people have more and better sex than single people. Duh! You have a built-in sex partner. No need to go to a bar to pick up someone. You can just roll over in bed. Yes, over the course of your marriage, you will have more and better sex than your single friends. However, you must realize that no one can sustain the levels of passion that they might have had at the start of their relationship when everything was fresh and new. And real life gets in the way of sex. 

You will have nights when you’re too tired for sex or you would both rather watch your favorite TV show. That’s all right. In fact, that’s part of the comfort of marriage. The key is to give up the TV show once in a while for a roll in the hay. When you do, make it good, really good. Truly focus on each other and make sure you’re both satisfied, and enjoy.

In-laws will get on your nerves

I know. I know. You have a great relationship with your in-laws. Your besties. That’s fine and well. But the day will come (it probably already has) that they will say or do something that annoys you. It might be something small that you can overlook, but it will happen. It’s a normal part of life and family. If the in-laws are doing things that you cannot overlook, such as dictating decisions for the two of you or coming over all the time or being just plain mean, then you have to speak up. The first step should always be to talk to your spouse about his or her family. Then, have him or her talk to them on your behalf. Your spouse, after all, has a closer relationship with them and they won’t feel as attacked by him or her. 

Remember, that you and your spouse are your own family now. Try not to get too worked up by the extended family outside your circle of two. By the way, your in-laws might find you annoying, too. Don’t be surprised to hear that from your spouse. Try not to take it personally. Look at yourself objectively and determine if they have a point. Then, try to make changes to improve the relationship if you can. It’s always better to get along with your spouse’s family, so try to make the relationship work.

You will have your moments

Throughout your marriage, but especially at the beginning, you might find yourself questioning your decision to marry. You might even mourn your single life a bit. There are pros and cons to every stage of life, and you might miss something as small as sleeping in a bed by yourself once in a while. Then, your spouse might do something upsetting like telling his friends about your sex life or leaving the wet towels on the bathroom floor for the millionth time. You’ll find yourself longing for the single life and regretting this marriage. It’s all right. This doesn’t mean that you’re headed for divorce. It just means that you’re human. 

Most people second guess the decisions at some point. It’s how you deal with the doubts that matter. When you start to regret your decision, try to remember all the reasons you wanted to marry this person. Think about the loving gestures and the things you would miss if the marriage were to end. You’ll probably find yourself forgetting about those doubts in no time at all.

Source: About.com

Whether you adore your partner’s parents or barely tolerate your in-laws, your rapport with them can have lasting effects on your own romantic relationship. In fact, according to new research, it could even predict your odds of staying together over the long haul.

For the study, which will be published in a future issue of the journal Family Relations, Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and author of “Finding Love Again,” followed 373 couples who were newlyweds in 1986. She asked the men and women to rate how close they felt to their in-laws, on a scale of one to four, and then tracked their relationships over time.

After 26 years, Orbuch found that when a man reported having a close relationship with his wife’s parents, the couple’s risk of divorce decreased by 20%. Yet women who said they had a close relationship with their husbands’ parents saw their risk of divorce rise by 20%.

It makes sense. A lot of men (myself included) look forward to the idea of gaining a new family when they get married. It’s a chance to have a “mom” and “dad” without many of the entanglements that they have with their own parents: They can enjoy a ballgame or a home-cooked meal without feeling judged or hassled.

Plus, guys are less likely to worry that their in-laws are interfering in their relationship. Men tend to identify as a provider first and a father and husband second, so they don’t find their in-laws’ input particularly threatening, Orbuch says.

“Close in-law ties between a husband and his wife’s parents are reinforcing to women and connect him to her,” she said. “When a husband gets close to his wife’s parents, this says to her: ‘Your family is important to me because I care about you. I want to feel closer to them because it makes me feel closer to you.’ And of course, that makes us as women feel really good.”

Being a daughter-in-law can be much trickier. On one hand, a woman may be more likely to form a bond with a man’s parents when she wants to change something about him or get him to agree with her about an aspect of child-rearing — essentially, trying to get his parents on her “side.” This closeness can result in a unified front against the husband and, as you might imagine, is apt to infuriate him.

Yet a tight relationship with the in-laws can also backfire for many women: Closeness may give a mother-in-law a greater sense of access and ability to cross boundaries and meddle, which can seem threatening, particularly if a woman feels that her in-laws are interfering with her identity as a wife and mother.

Orbuch says that in her long-term study, she found in-law ties to be very stressful for women.

“If women are close to their in-laws, especially early in marriage, this interferes with or prevents them from forming a unified and strong bond with their husband,” she said. “Also, since women are constantly analyzing and trying to improve their relationships, they often take what their in-laws say as personal and can’t set the clear boundaries.”

Here are some tips for getting along with your in-laws and strengthening your relationship with your spouse.

Get to know them. Don’t limit face time with your in-laws to the holidays, when everyone may be feeling more stressed. Spend time with them socially on occasion, and get acquainted with them as people. This is especially important if you’re a man, because caring for your wife’s parents shows her that you care for her, too.

Know your limits: If you’re a woman, let your in-laws know that you want a loving relationship with them, but set some boundaries. Just because they’re your husband’s parents doesn’t mean you should tell them everything.

Maintain a careful distance: This is especially true if you have kids. Don’t let in-laws use their desire to visit with your children as a way to invade your life, and don’t allow them to critique your parenting skills. Just because you have given them grandchildren doesn’t mean in-laws should have an open door at all times.

Keep things cordial. Don’t insult your in-laws, even behind their backs. If you have an issue with them, talk reasonably to your partner. Even if your spouse complains about his or her parents, stay quiet. No one likes having their parents attacked.

Put your relationship first: Defend your relationship against outside threats — even if that means your in-laws. I meet so many couples whose anger stems from one or both partners feeling undefended: “He lets his mother walk all over me!” “She never stands up to her father, or stands up for me!” If this kind of behavior persists, it can poison a marriage. Instead, make it clear that you expect your spouse to defend you without lashing out or being passive-aggressive.

Remember, you married your spouse, not his or her parents. But you can make the holidays — and every day — a bit brighter by forging realistic bonds with them.

 

http://lifestyle.myjoyonline.com/pages/relationships/201301/100294.php

ImageThe truth may save or destroy a relationship. Read on to see if it’s ever okay to fib a little.

Opinions about family and friends

There’s a reason that mother-in-law jokes exist: Because so many women take issue with the women who raised their men. Does that mean you should be honest about what you think of his mom, his father, his best friend or anyone else in his life? “Absolutely,” says relationship coach Christy Little Jones. 

“Authenticity is one of the most important principles to obtaining a healthy and whole relationship.” Think about why people lie: Usually it’s to avoid an uncomfortable situation. But when you’re comfortable, you can communicate without offending him, Jones says. There is a caveat, however: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Tell the truth with kindness and sensitivity.” If he takes offense, explain to him that you’re not trying to be hurtful, just honest with him.

The ex question

What should you say when your beau asks how many men you’ve slept with? “Sexual history questions are a trap,” says Mira Kirshenbaum, author of I Love You But I Don’t Trust You. “Just say, ‘I don’t to go into that. My life is with you now.’ Details will just open doors that lead to bad places.” Where you should be forthright and open is when an ex makes contact with you, even if it’s a harmless email. “Always disclose this. Keeping it hidden is what gives it a heap of meaning,” says Kirshenbaum.

Do I look fat?
It’s not just women who seek reassurances about their appearance. If your man asks how he looks when he’s on his way out the door to something important, “Don’t ever say anything negative, especially about things he can’t change,” says Kirshenbaum. 

If he has on the wrong shoes or would look better in a different tie, offer that advice. If a growing gut is the issue, wait for a quiet time to have a frank discussion. It’s all about how you word things: If he needs to lose weight, suggest doing more physical activities together. If his thinning hair is turning into a comb-over, tell him how trendy a bald head is these days. “And be sure to let him know you still love and desire him,” adds Kirshenbaum.

Interactions with other men

It might be a flirtatious exchange at a friend’s barbecue, an emotional connection with a co-worker or maybe there’s a drunken kiss at the company party. How much should you share when it comes to interactions with other men? 

When it comes to harmless flirting, Jones says: “Assess your intention in divulging this information: Is it to make him jealous? Do you need more pursuit from him?” If that’s the case, instead of sharing information that could ignite insecurities, be honest with him about what you need from the relationship. 

“While being honest may seem scary at first, I have not met a man who doesn’t like knowing what his woman needs and desires. It’s innate for him to want to provide it,” Jones says. If it’s a more serious physical or emotional interaction, you should also take the honesty route, which will build a stronger relationship in the long-term.

Less-than-proud purchases

Most of us have overdone it while shopping, whether it’s buying unnecessary shoes when we’re supposed to be saving for a new house or splurging on spa visits when your man wants to focus on putting away for retirement. When it comes to shared expenses/money do you need to disclose your spending habits to maintain a healthy relationship? “Don’t ever lie about this,” says Kirschenbaum. 

“You will be found out and you will be thought of as a petty, habitual liar.” If you’re concerned about the price of something, talk about it first. Explaining your desire for it and see what he thinks. You’d want him to do the same if he wanted to make a large purchase, and most likely you’ll come to a mutual agreement.

How you spend your time

If you want to grab a quick drink with a friend after work, does your man need to know? “Always tell,” says Jones. “What if something happens to you? He might think you’re somewhere you’re not, which is a safety issue. Tell him what you’re doing and where you plan to be and compromise on a time that you will return home.” This isn’t about asking for permission, it’s about respecting the fact that you’re in a relationship and someone cares where you are and what you’re doing.

What you eat, drink, read and watch

Whether it’s reading Fifty Shades of Grey for the third time, watching a Kardashian marathon, having a second bowl of ice cream, third latte or fourth glass of pinot noir, sometimes women feel insecure about their behavior and try to hide what they deem as shameful activities. 

“In a relationship, there is a secret pressure to measure up to the standard that we think our significant other desires in us,” says Jones. If he loves you, even behaviors that he doesn’t find as attractive won’t matter, which works both ways. Be yourself and he’ll be more comfortable doing the same. And if he doesn’t love you the way you are, or vice-versa, it’s probably time to move on.

Your true color

If you spend a pretty penny to maintain a Christina Hendricks red, a beachy Gisele Bundchen blonde or a chocolaty Angelina Jolie brunette, you may hesitate confessing that it’s not your natural color. This is especially true if your boyfriend tells you how beautiful he thinks it is or that he hopes your kids have that hair color. 

Does it hurt to let him believe that it could be a possibility? After all, who can figure out how those dominant and recessive genes work when it comes to hair color? “Yes, you’ve got to tell him the truth,” says Kirshenbaum.

Together time

What do you say when he asks you to go for a hike in the rain or a football game in sub-zero degree weather, when you’d much rather be curled on the couch with a magazine and cup of hot cocoa? “By sacrificing what you want to do to spend time doing what he wants to do, it tells him ‘You are important to me and I value you,'” says Jones. 

While it may be difficult to leave the cozy comfort of the couch, doing so shows him your love. Deeper intimacy often follows. So go ahead and tell him that it’s probably not your number one activity for the day, but that you’d love to spend time with him so you’re game for whatever. Besides, he’ll be more open to doing your preferred activities in the future.

Sexual healing

He asks if it was good. It wasn’t. He asks if you orgasmed. You faked it. He asks if you’ve had better than him. You say no. Are these lies, usually told to protect his ego, serving a good purpose? No. But this subject requires a gentle and loving approach, says Jones, because it’s where men are most vulnerable. 

“Be courageous enough to set the standard of what you want by communicating and exploring each other in a safe environment without judging,” says Jones. “You will have an amazing sex life without having to lie or compromise each other’s needs and desires.” And stop faking it. You’re not doing him – or yourself — any favors. And that, in itself, is a lie.

Not top chef

His idea of cooking rarely extends beyond a microwave and a can or box, but he’s insisted on making you dinner. As you take your first bite of the appalling looking meal, he looks to you for a reaction. “Make a big deal about how much you appreciate his effort,” says Kirshenbaum. Remember, the male ego can be fragile, so if you want him to try and do sweet things for you, they need to be well appreciated. If he asks for cooking advice later, however, feel free to offer it.

Your health

Does he need to know you had a yeast infection in 10th grade? Probably not. But anything that you currently have, such as a sexually transmitted disease, that could potentially affect him, physically or emotionally, needs to be disclosed “as soon as possible,” says Kirshenbaum. 

If you’re unsure of how to tell him, seek advice from a professional who can give you tips on sharing information about a health condition and how it affects him. With any information you consider withholding, always remember the golden rule: Would you want him to lie to you?

 

source: http://lifestyle.myjoyonline.com/pages/relationships/201301/100201.php

Sharing a secret
By Marti TrgovichDating someone new means sharing idiosyncracies, emotional baggage, and experiences that have shaped your lives. But what if that includes a health secret?

Jill*, a 33-year-old New Yorker, knows that finding Mr. Right also means telling him she has bipolar disorder. Though she takes medication, she still lives with symptoms like insomnia and a nervous smoking habit.

So how much should you reveal about a health secret? If you’re considering spilling the beans, here are eight tips to help.

Practice what to say
Rehearse with a friend or therapist, says Ken Robbins, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Laurie Davis, an online dating expert, suggests asking a friend what sounds most intimidating and then smoothing it over.

Mark Snyder, a 32-year-old writer from New York City, used to dread telling a new boyfriend that he was a recovering alcoholic. “I often blurted out, ‘Oh, I don’t drink. Sorry.’”

However, as he got used to talking about his condition, “so did the ease with which I told a man not to expect a tequila-scented smooch at the end of the night,” he says.

Never tell on a first date
“Never tell someone on a first date,” says Davis, who is based in New York and Boston.

That doesn’t mean you should lie, but revealing too much too soon “may color how your partner sees you,” Dr. Robbins says. “It defines you before you’re ready to be defined.”

If you’re worried your health secret might be a deal-breaker, ’fess up by the fourth date, says Rachel A. Sussman, LCSW, a New York City therapist and relationship expert. That way, if your secret does make a big difference, you won’t have wasted too much of their time—or yours.

Be casual yet confident
Davis suggests saying, “I feel like we’re heading in a great direction, so I wanted to tell you something.”

Be sure your delivery is drama free; don’t make a big deal about it, Dr. Robbins says.

Allison*, a 30-year-old marketer from Baltimore, casually tells dates about her multiple sclerosis (MS).

“I’ll work it into another aspect of our conversation,” she says. “It’s a lot easier to tell someone I have MS as a side note in a conversation than to sit down and have a formal discussion focused solely on MS.”
Don’t have this conversation in bed—or anyplace you associate with intimacy
Amy, a 29-year-old graphic artist from Chicago, always tells boyfriends about her hepatitis C, which she got through a blood transfusion at birth. “They have a right to know,” she says.

Any talk about your condition—whether it’s communicable or not—should take place in a neutral spot, like a park, Davis suggests. “Do not tell your partner during intimacy. Telling your partner your health secret means you are opening up to them, trusting them, and becoming more vulnerable,” she says. “The place you choose to tell them should reflect this.”

Seek out relationships online
If you’re nervous about rejection, you might be more comfortable dating someone with similar health issues. Many sites cater to people with specific conditions, and they’re a great way to be up front with potential mates who are in the same boat.

Daters with STDs can check out STDFriends.com or PositiveSingles.com, while Whispers4u.com is a great site for people with disabilities, according to Davis. NoLongerLonely.com helps those with mental illness seek partners. “(However,) you should discuss the volatility of your specific condition with your doctor before signing up,” Davis says.

Know when to give your partner space
Even if you deliver a snag-free speech, it’s possible there could be an awkward moment. “(If that happens), say, ‘I can tell by your expression that this is a lot to digest and I completely understand, and I’ll give you the time and space to do that,’” Sussman says.

Then, offer some physical distance but stay in contact, Davis says. “Give them the following day to breathe and think,” she suggests. “Call them on the third day if they haven’t reached out to you. Let them know that they are still on your mind and you can’t wait to see them again.”
Don’t take rejection personally
“A good person will listen and be kind and not judge, but if (your health secret is) something they can’t live with, that doesn’t make them a bad person,” says Sussman. “It just makes them a bad match.”

And there can be multiple reasons for a rejection—many of which have nothing to do with you at all. “If your mother was an alcoholic and you date someone who’s an alcoholic, you might have to make a choice that it’s not healthy to be involved with someone in recovery,” Sussman says.

Accept support
Tiffany Sanchez Conover, 28, a store manager from Indiana, fell into a deep depression after her grandmother died. She didn’t tell her husband how she felt because she wanted to figure it out on her own.

Eventually she caved and welcomed his support. “He would stay up late to talk with me just so I wouldn’t feel lonely late at night…” she says.

Married couples need to be open to avoid hiccups in the relationship, Sussman says. A counselor helped Tiffany cope, and Sussman says that therapy and support groups—whether online or in person—are excellent options.

Facing an awkward conversation? Use these tips from Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, and you’ll never scramble for the right words.

When you’re in the elevator:
No need to talk to a stranger. But if it’s someone you know or, worse, your boss, say, “Hi,” then “Have a great day” as you get off. You’re being polite but not pressuring her into a stop-and-chat.

When a friend is going through a tough time:
Whatever it is, she no doubt needs to be heard. So ask how she’s doing, and say “That sounds frustrating,” or “What happened next?” to let her know you are truly interested.

When you’re at a party with strangers:
Lead with what brought you both there. Ask “How do you know the host?” Common ground is a great ice-breaker.

Kimberly Holland

Health.com