When To Tell Your Date An Important Secret

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When To Tell Your Date An Important Secret
How soon do you tell someone that you're in an open relationship?

Deciding to talk about your romantic past is a big dating decision. Some people prefer not to talk about their former honeys. Others want to know your number and their names—so they can look up your exes on Facebook. What you share is up to you (feel free to omit the goateed Bon Jovi fan you accompanied home after last summer's concert)—accept when your past lovers are also your current ones. Confused? That's how Katherine Ruppe, this week's New York Times Modern Love essayist, felt when she found out that her new date was in an open relationship.

Call me naïve; I have this tendency to believe that men who are dating me are actually available. But wait. The Engineer was available. He and his girlfriend had an open relationship. He went on: "What may seem even weirder ... She wants us all to have dinner before the Moby concert this weekend."

Funny how he hadn’t advertised this fabulous two-for-one deal when we started dating. 

The Engineer hadn't told Ruppe that he was dating another woman. But should he have? When do you tell your date that you're in an open relationship? Before you ask them out? Then you might scare people away. But if you tell them afterwards they may feel that you've misled them—which is exactly how Ruppe experienced the confession.

While I blamed The Engineer for his dishonesty, I was peeved that his girlfriend seemed to be pulling all the strings. I didn’t like being manipulated. So I decided to fight back — although I preferred to call it research.

Ruppe is a screenwriter and she imagines this open relationship could be fodder for her next project. She dives in, but in the end The Engineer presents a more complicated relationship than Ruppe anticipated—and even though it's interesting, she doesn't want to be a part of it.

This situation reminds us of the STD conundrum—when do you tell your new friend that you have  one? In your online profile? Before dessert? Before the first kiss?

How should The Engineer have handled this situation? If you were dating someone who told you they were in a relationship (or had an STD), would you write them off right away or wait and see how things developed?

Deciding to talk about your romantic past is a big dating decision. Some people prefer not to talk about their former honeys. Others want to know your number and their names—so they can look up your exes on Facebook. What you share is up to you (feel free to omit the goateed Bon Jovi fan you accompanied home after last summer's concert)—except when your past lovers are also your current ones. Confused? That's how Katherine Ruppe, this week's New York Times Modern Love essayist, felt when she found out that her new date was in an open relationship. Keep Reading...

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