Most people avoid difficult topics when dating, instead trying to market themselves like a product and sharing only information that makes them seem interesting, fun, sexy or sweet. We have worked with so many folks out in the dating world who feel a sense of extreme pressure not to show any of their challenges and a feeling that they are not being fully themselves or honest out in the dating world, making dating less than fun. Some folks, however, don’t have the choice of waiting to share about difficult topics. For example, it is important to share with a partner if you have an STD like herpes or a mental health issue such as depression and you can’t easily hide it if you are dealing with erectile dysfunction. We suggest that you don’t avoid difficult topics when dating. This is not to say that you spend your whole first dinner talking about everything that is wrong with you, we just suggest that, instead of marketing yourself like a product, and hoping you will get chosen, remember that everyone has problems or issues of their own and, by brining yours up, you are increasing your chances for intimacy and a foundation of honesty if you decide to move into a relationship. When thinking about bringing up your own challenges, remember that you are not alone – whoever you are dating has problems and issues of their own, whether or not they are apparent in your first few months of dating. Their problems may be different from yours or similar, but when you bring up your own personal challenges, you invite others more deeply into your world increasing and give them the opportunity to share their own challenges with you. If you find that someone still wants to pretend that they are perfect once you start revealing your feelings and experiences, this, in and of itself can be a red flag, because it is quite difficult to date someone who is unable to admit that they have any of their own fears, hurts or challenges. When sharing about any challenges, we encourage you to share you feelings and experiences instead of just the labels. If we stay with the depression example, instead of saying, “I’m depressed or I’m on anti-depressants,” try sharing what it feels like. For example, you might say, “I am dealing with depression, which means that sometimes I go through cycles where I am sad for a while or I don’t feel like getting out of bed” or “Throughout my life, I’ve had periods of depression, I’m taking anti-depressants now and they help a lot but I still go through times when things effect me more than others.” You might also tell whomever you are with what how you’d like them to respond when your challenge arises and reassure them that you are not going to blame them. In the case of depression, you might say, for example, that you’d like to be able to share your feelings during these times without the person you are seeing feeling like he or she has to do anything about it or fix it. Or, in the case of erectile dysfunction, you might share feelings like, “It is definitely frustrating sometimes, but when I focus on connecting with you I feel much more relaxed and still can get a lot of enjoyment out of it.” You might also let them know that it doesn’t mean that you aren’t attracted to them. In short, we encourage people to allow intimacy to unfold by sharing all the different side of who you are and making room for other’s humanness as well!!!