No, I don’t necessarily mean the talk as in, the “where is this relationship going” talk that every gal is desperate to have and every guy is desperate to avoid (at least that’s how the stereotype goes…when I was actively dating it seemed to me that every guy wanted to be exclusive by date three and I was like, um…).
No. I’m talking about your talk. It seems to me that for everyone, there is something about themselves that, for one reason or another, they do not feel comfortable revealing to just anyone. Usually this discomfort stems from the fact that whatever the “secret” is, it has the potential to negatively influence someone’s decision about whether or not you are long-term material. I’m talking about that something you don’t feel comfortable revealing until you’ve been dating for awhile so it’s like you are telling a friend who will stay with you through it all…but that you feel dishonest for not revealing sooner because it is like you are tricking the other person, or at least manipulating them by waiting until they feel attached to you before springing the trap.
For me, it is the fact that I stand a 50% chance of becoming quadriplegic by the time I am in my forties.
This issue came up tangentially in the comments to my latest post, when I said that my mother died of a dominantly inherited degenerative neurological disorder, and DD mentioned that she had a genetic issue that led her to feel that if she ever had kids, she would probably prefer adoption.
Now, I am not going to give advice on this issue, partly because I don’t remember when the BF and I talked about this for the first time and partly because it’s asinine to ever say that you could be an expert on things like this. In fact, I always feel like I’m horrible at “breaking the news” because my mom died when I was in college and I was in a sorority, so…I told one person why I was leaving and by the time I came back, every single person I knew had heard about it, including my professors (one of my sorority sisters went around to all of my classes to clear my absence with my professors).
But it’s something I used to think a lot about because almost everyone wants kids, and of those that want them, almost everyone wants their own. So this means that for me, when I was dating some guy, I not only had some sort of obligation to discuss my potential medical issues with them, but also to potentially crush their dream of having their own kids. A-w-k-w-a-r-d.
Yet above and beyond the fact that my potential medical problems are an issue in the “will I become a parent” department and the “will I die before you” department, my mother’s illness and death is a huge part of what makes me who I am. The real reason I am a type A personality is because by the time I was in high school I did all the budgeting, bill paying, cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping for a family of four. Beyond that, I fed my mother, took her to the bathroom, moved her from the bed to the wheelchair to the La-Z-Boy, gave her her medicines, and well, everything that goes along with taking care of someone who can’t take care of themselves.
While everyone else I knew was deciding whether to go to college and which schools were the party schools, I was getting straight A’s and participating in every after-school activity under the sun – partly so I wouldn’t have to go home, but also because we didn’t have health insurance and my dad hadn’t set anything aside for me and my sister to go to college, so the only way I would get out – the only way I could ever escape - was if I paid for everything myself.
When I was applying to colleges, my dad said that he would buy me a car, a computer, whatever I wanted – if I would stay at home and go to community college. My mom told me to get as far away as I could and leave her behind. So I was salutatorian, president of the math club, on the dance team, academic team, Fidessa service club, National Merit Finalist, you name it – and I moved away. I went home again the summer after my freshman year and she died the week before classes started. My dad once again offered to buy me whatever I wanted if I’d stay home a semester with him, but I went back to school after a week.
When I started college, everyone I met was freaking out because they had to take care of themselves. All I could do was walk around campus, going anywhere I wanted, anytime I wanted, without asking permission, and think, the only person I have to take care of is myself! Yet I was scarred because my first college boyfriend (of Was Losing My Virginity Worth It? fame) said to me, among many other emotionally abusive things, that while he was willing to keep fucking me, he’d never marry me because he didn’t want to take care of me…and if he wouldn’t marry me, no one else ever would. I was convinced, completely and 100% convinced, that he was right about this and for most of my dating life believed that if I ever opened up and told anyone the truth, they’d remove themselves from my life immediately.
It wasn’t until my two best friends separately revealed that if I ever became ill that they would take care of me, that I started to think that maybe people would think I was worth having in their lives even if something happened to me.
So what is your secret? What does “the talk” mean to you?
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