3) Prepare to share.
You can share spontaneously, but it's easier for everyone involved if you think about what you want to say and anticipate how your partner might react. Rodman suggests talking it out with a close friend or therapist first, so you can figure out a way to reveal your truth in a way that doesn't make you feel ashamed. If you're in a loving, supportive relationship, coming clean about your past won't change how your partner feels about you, but he or she still may be surprised or upset about what you share. The most important thing for both of you is to react to each other's feelings respectfully. "If you're about to reveal something painful to your partner, give him a heads up that you're about to share something with him that is hard for you," Rodman advises. "Let him know you're afraid he might judge you or even leave you once he has this information. Give him a chance to react to that feeling in you — and not just the skeleton itself."
4) Remember: This is a test.
It's hard to put yourself out there and reveal your secrets, but it could also come with a great reward — knowing that you're with the right person. Closely observe how your partner reacts to your revelation, both long- and short-term. Perhaps he will reciprocate and reveal personal information of his own, or express sympathy at something that happened to you. His actions may change for the better in light of what you've shared. The most important thing is feeling accepted, not judged for what has happened in the past. "When you share a secret with the right partner, he now has the honor of protecting that secret as well — especially if it's one that has brought you a lot of pain," Rodman says. "He then has the opportunity to help you heal from the shame and guilt that may have plagued you for long time. In relationships, there's nothing more valuable — or beautiful — than that."
Can Avery share the skeletons in her closet to move forward with her life — and with Rowdy? You'll have to read Getting Rowdy to find out!
To enter to win a signed copy of "Getting Rowdy," answer in the comments below: What kind of secrets do you hide from your partner? Remember to leave your e-mail so we can contact you if you win. 10 YT readers will win. Contest closes October 25, 2013 and winners will be notified by November 1, 2013. Official rules, eligibility and contest description can be found here.