Should you tell a new partner everything? Relationship experts weigh in

(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).
(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).

Question

I am worried about the boundaries one should have in a relationship – what should he have access to and what shouldn’t he.

 The reason I have these concerns is because my man and I have been dating for the past three months. While people close to me advice me to reveal how much I earn and the same goes for him, I am not too sure that I am ready to divulge this.

What should you tell your man and what shouldn’t you be telling him when you see that your relationship is getting serious. Where do you draw the line? CONFUSED LOVER 

Experts advice

Perhaps the biggest challenge with divulging information to a new love is the dilemma. If you talk about money or how much you earn, too early, you may come across as too aggressive and may be seen as having gold-digging tendencies.

 If you wait too long, you’re already too deeply embroiled in the relationship and as such can’t easily walk away overnight.

SERIOUSNESS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Three months of dating is still way too early to tell if the relationship is even getting serious or not, in our view. While we hate attaching time to relationships as though people are robots, we’d say from about eight months or so you should be able to detect if the relationship is getting serious or not.

However, seriousness in relationships is not judged by how long you’ve been together. It is judged by things such as trust, commitment, emotional intimacy as well as a decision to love your partner in spite of it all.

Brutal honesty about everything close to your heart isn’t always the best policy in love. As a matter of fact, brutal honesty about your past isn’t advised, period! For instance, you may not want to divulge how great your ex-boyfriend was in bed. That’s a recipe for disaster.

CURIOUSLY SECRETIVE

This however, doesn’t mean you become curiously secretive about issues, or that you become awkwardly uncomfortable when those issues are spontaneously raised. It means you become  discerning of the mood and intentions of the probe, as well as be matured in how you handle that situation. No one can teach you that.

We always teach that it’s very important to get plenty of information about the person you’re dating before you commit your life to them. Besides, that’s the purpose of dating. He may be probing you for personal information because he needs to decide whether he wants to commit to you or not.

You shouldn’t deny him that right. In fact, you shouldn’t deny yourself the right to equally learn more of him by shoving basic information deep under the carpet. While he’s learning about you, you’re also learning about him.

DEEPER LEVEL

Of utmost importance and at a basic level in dating, you should draw up a realistic list about what your deal breakers and clinchers are, and encourage him to draw his own so that you can lay everything on the table and discuss between yourselves.

This will also enable you to be more open to one another about whatever that concerns each of you. You will then be able to ascertain what his concerns may be and why he may insist on probing for certain information from you.

This also allows you the right to probe certain things from him. However, at a deeper level, there’s certain information we believe your partner should earn the right to get it out of you. We’re talking about stuff you don’t easily volunteer to just anyone.

He should earn the right by the level of respect with which he treats you, unquestionable display of commitment and trust. This is the type of information that deepens your intimacy. But how much you earn is really no big secret in this day and age. One only has to google existing vacancies at your level with other employers at the same level as yours.

Everything in our view, hinges on the motive behind the probe and his level of maturity. If, for instance, you happen to be earning much more than he does, would he be able to handle that?

SENSITIVE INFORMATION

 You determine what’s basic or sensitive information to share with him by how nervous it makes you to divulge it, to whom do you usually share that piece of information, and under what circumstances.

 If you want to pursue a committed relationship with your boyfriend, then you ought to loosen up, and not be uptight.

Interestingly, there’s a deep irony in withholding basic information like how much you earn to someone you already call, “my man”, which implies exclusivity. 

Readers advice

AARON V TLOU

As long as you are not married, I don’t see any reason to divulge your income to your partner. Even your partner has no right to check your phone.

LEBOGANG PACIANCE

Money has always been an issue in a relationship. Initially, you should not reveal a lot because you never know if he’s here to stay or play.

DANNY MOREO

It’s takes a lot to trust someone. So you must first get married before you can disclose everything about your income or what you owe.