Dating someone new means learning about each other's quirky behaviors, emotional baggage, and the past experiences that have shaped both of your lives. But what if this involves a health or medical secret you're hesitant to talk about?
Jill*, a 33-year-old from New York City, knows that finding Mr. Right also means telling him that she has bipolar disorder. Though she takes medication to manage her condition, she still lives with residual symptoms: She has trouble sleeping for more than two hours at a time, and can't shake her cigarette habit—traits that she feels a date might question.
"It's the smoking and lack of sleeping; it's hard to share your life with someone when you need to explain further why you do these things," she says.
Jill* knows that she'll eventually have to confess her situation to a long-term partner. "It's something that will affect me if and when I settle down and have children, since I would not be able to take these medicines [while pregnant]," she explains. "It's never an easy thing to come clean with."
Not every relationship hides a secret like this one, but plenty of people face similar decisions about how much they should tell a new companion. Some confidential information can"t stay that way forever—if you take daily medication or if you have a condition with visible symptoms, for example. Other events in your medical history, such as addictions, mental illness, past surgeries, and health scares, can easily remain a secret—but should they?
If you're considering telling your partner about a health secret, here are eight tips to help you spill the beans.