Living with a disease is tough; opening up to your new love interest about it doesn't have to be.
2. Never tell on a first date
"Never tell someone on a first date," Davis says. "The results will never be favorable."
Dr. Robbins seconds that, especially if you're worried that your health secret "is likely to define you before the person has gotten a chance to know you at all."
That doesn't mean you should lie—just let your partner get to know you first. "[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."
Jenny*, a 25-year-old graduate student from New York, had a breast augmentation when she was 19. "I don't really bring it up, not when I'm first dating people," she says. "But I've had people ask and I'm always honest with them. I wouldn't see a reason to keep it a secret, especially if we're getting serious."
If you're worried that your health secret might be a deal-breaker, you'll want to '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.
"Of course it can be painful, but if that's the case, it's better to know before you get too involved," Sussman says. "It's complicated if you withhold it and they find out too late. Dishonesty can ruin a potentially good relationship."
Jill*, the 33-year-old from New York City, is currently in a long-distance relationship. However, she hasn't told him about her bipolar disorder—yet.
"Too much too soon is not a good thing…[But] I truly believe when you share a life with someone, you need to be in it together," she says. "Men go bald; women gain weight after pregnancy. It's not all roses and Champagne."