Digital Get Down: The hard stuff

Laken Howard, Blogger

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Hello, lovely readers! This bitch is back from a long and hot summer, and I’m ready to tell you all there is to know about what and whom I’ve been doing for the past few months. It was bizarre not writing about my dating life for so long, so, needless to say, I am more than excited to be writing again about my various dating experiences, both online and off.

I wanted the topic of my first blog for the quarter to be semi-informational rather than purely about me, so I’ve decided to advise you on when and how to tell a new partner the “hard stuff.” Baggage comes in many forms — emotional, mental or even physical — and it’s never easy to know how someone will handle news about you that makes you seem less than the perfect creature he or she had envisioned.

One of the most common situations in which you need to reveal something personal about yourself to someone you just met is telling him or her you have an STI. If you have or potentially have an STI, you need to be upfront with your partner, despite how uncomfortable the subject can be to discuss. Even if you’re looking for something more serious and had planned to tell him or her later, you can still be caught off guard when you meet and find yourself back at the apartment with your panties off before you realize what’s happening (trust me on this one). To tackle this particular issue, always bring a condom on dates and be prepared to bite the bullet and say, “If things go further, we need to use a condom because even though it’s totally under control, I have _____ and want you to stay safe.” If the person is worth any of your time, he or she will understand or at least be willing to talk about how to proceed with sex from there.

Something that may not come up for a while but can still have a huge impact on newly budding relationships is the dreaded “ex talk.” Having a serious ex is by no means the worst thing in the world, but it is a sensitive subject when you’re moving on with someone new. Usually this sort of conversation happens naturally, with one person flat-out asking about your past relationships to get a better sense of who you are and what you’re looking for. The best advice I can give you is to be honest — if it was a major heartbreak that did serious damage, let him or her know.

The biggest mistake you can make is to harp on and on about your ex, whether you’re saying good or bad things. If your new partner doesn’t ask, then only bring up an ex if you feel it’s a subject that needs to be discussed for your new guy or girl to really understand your situation. Sometimes silence can be golden, and if you’re totally over your ex then there may be no need to bring it up at all. Oh, and if we’re talking about online dating no-nos, never mention an ex in your profile, even if it’s to jokingly bash him or her. It’s not classy and gives off a clear signal that says, “I’m still hung up on my ex at least in some respect, so I’m emotionally unavailable.”

Obviously there are no hard and fast rules for when and how to have a serious talk with someone new. The most important thing is to trust someone, so don’t go around telling every new guy or girl you talk to about your four crazy ex-boyfriends or a traumatic childhood event. More often than not, if something is important, it will come up naturally. When it does, be open and honest, but don’t feel obligated to reveal anything too personal unless you are 100 percent comfortable with it. Getting to know someone is fun, so embrace the “hard stuff” and don’t be afraid to talk about what makes you, you!

— Laken Howard

For more relationship advice, check out the first issue of The Current, out on newsstands Thursday. 

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