Are you Oversharing?


Ok, if you’re rolling your eyes, I don’t blame you. This post should probably not be written by a blogger. For we are, by definition, complete oversharers. So what do I know?!

I’m still an oversharer when it comes to friends (sorry, to all of you who learned more than you wanted to about me early on), so I don’t have advice on that area. But whenit comes to men and dating, I have a few pointers than might save you embarrassment and perhaps heartache down the road.

I’ve learned about oversharing and ‘how much is too much’ from 1,000,213 a few mistakes. At several points in my life, I had an abrasive attitude about dating, i.e. “this is the real me, so deal with it!” (yikes) and had a terrible tendency to bare my soul entirely too early. I never had any of these situations end well. I always scared the guy away. When it came to Michael, I literally had a timeline of how long I would wait to divulge certain personal details. I had to discipline myself to wait to share more intimately with him.

I know you want him to know “the real you”. I know your past is an important part of who you are today, but details aren’t always necessary. Let’s take an example. My friend shared her sexual history with a guy in the vein of getting closer and not wanting to hide anything. A month later, he ended the relationship. All she could think was, “He broke up with me because I’m not a virgin.” Whether or not her conclusion was true, that’s a heaping load of unnecessary shame. I’m definitely not for lying and not for pretending to be someone you’re not, but it’s really important to wait to share intimate details of your life with someone you can trust.

You are not defined by your past, your struggles with addiction or your dysfunctional family don’t tell your boyfriend ‘who you are’. You are so much more than your past!

Think Twice before Blabbing (and heaven forbid texting) about:

  • Your Sexual History. I  believe a man does not need to know your sexual history until you are talking about engagement. You are not defined by who you’ve slept with and so many women feel shame about their sexual decisions and think they need to confess.  Now, sex has consequences so it is important to discuss the past, but only with one person! Your past sexual decisions have no affect on the man you are merely dating, because you shouldn’t be sleeping with him.
  • Your (Dysfunctional) Family. Overtime, it’s good to share about your family (after all, everyone’s has quirks)-but not too soon. If your dad is a raging alcoholic, it’s probably best to wait at least four months before sharing this part of your family. Not because it’s something to be ashamed of, but guys can smell ‘emotional wreck’ from 10 miles away. Also, you never want to put a man in an awkward position of having no idea what to say at least until you get to know each other better.
  • Your Bad Habits. If you only shower once a week, floss your teeth in the car, or currently have black toenails from running (this would be me) don’t tell a guy until you’ve been dating at least a little while. Over time, he may grow to accept your black toenails (as Michael has mine) but don’t scare him away at the beginning. 
  • Your Period. Ok, I shouldn’t even have to say this but . . . I’ve heard stories. Every guy thinks periods are gross. He doesn’t want to hear you have the worst cramps of your life or feel like you are giving birth to a clawing baby pterodactyl. I know it’s a natural part of a woman’s life, but HE does not need or want to know about it. Saying simply “I don’t feel well” is enough.
  • Your past Relationships. This topic is off-limits at the beginning of a relationship. Don’t mention your past relationships because you are either going to sound like a raging you know what OR sound like you are still hung up on your exs. Either way, not necessary.
  • Your (Traumatic) Childhood. If you suffered some kind of trauma as a child, don’t bring this up until engagement is discussed. You don’t want to make him feel uncomfortable or worried that you are carrying around a load of baggage that you want to dump in his lap. Don’t lie and say it was idyllic, but you also don’t have to tell him all the gory details until further down the road. Try: “My childhood wasn’t easy…” instead.
  • Your (Former) Addictions. I know a lot of people who have healed from an addiction want to tell the world about it. That’s great, but you aren’t trying to date the world. Let your eating disorder, alcoholic problem, etc. remain hidden and slowly reveal pieces over time. The first few months of dating are about having fun, laughing, and learning about yourself. No need to bring up the past until you are sure he’s going to be your future.
It’s easy to overshare, but hopefully this topic list will help you next time you are on a date and tempted to divulge too much information. Please spare him the gory details and leave room for mystery until you are sure he’s a keeper. You’ll thank me later when you aren’t worrying about what his friends know about you or whether or not he broke up with you because of your past.
Are you an over-sharer? What would you add to this list?

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18 Responses to “Are you Oversharing?”
  1. Maggie says:

    Well…That just about outs me out about oversharing. I’m just a blabbermouth. It’s a wonder why Sunny is staying with me.

  2. nadia says:

    I think this goes hand in hand with the instruction found in Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) to “Keep your heart with all vigilance,”…. The greek word for “keep/guard” in this verse is a military term, signifying a sentinel who keeps guard over a castle or camp. Guarding our hearts in Christ, is as much about what – and when – we share it just as much as it is about who we allow in.

    Excellent post! :)

  3. Needed to hear this today. Thanks. It’s so hard to know how transparent to be and when. Good to be reminded of the importance of just having fun :)

  4. Periods! goodness me :) When T and I were courting, (i used to have terrible cramps then), I remember the look on his face when i explained my “unwellness” (he want to know where i was ‘unwell’ His jaw dropped and skin went ashen (and we are dark-skinned!). Boy was floored! And imagine i was just said “i have my periods (and cos he asked specifics).

    Yup, don’t gross them out too early..esp when they’ve not asked for

  5. Danelle says:

    There’s something feminine and special about “mystery”. I think this applies here. :) thanks for sharing Ruthie.

    p.s. we had camp 2012 this past weekend at the farm and I wished that you and Michael would’ve been there again. Can’t believe it’s been a year since I met you!!

  6. S says:

    Well this for me is strange. One of the things is that I had been through so much in my life and I wasn’t willing to date someone who wouldn’t be willing to accept and deal with it.
    I didn’t reveal much early on but I let him know there was things I wouldn’t talk about just yet. We did then talk about it soon after and he really did show me the grace and love of Christ. I needed to know that because I would rather have stayed single than be with a guy who this would be an issue.

  7. c says:

    I agree! I would also add that, to help resist oversharing with a guy, you find safeguards and support systems so that you can share these things with the appropriate someone. I believe counseling can be life-changing, and a great safe place to talk about addictions, sin and family struggles. You can joke with your BFFs or siblings about bad habits, and you can also confide in your closest friends/mentors about heart struggles, although sometimes counseling first helps you learn how to share in a healthy way. Finally, you can talk with pretty much any woman on earth about periods! Guys hate to talk about it, but girls love it. It’s the one 40ish-year-long physical battle that all women have in common.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Yes, how very important to find girlfriends, counselors, & mentors to share with. Thanks for bringing in this important part of the issue. We aren’t called to be vaults! :)

  8. Cindy says:

    Hi Ruthie, thanks for this. So, what do you do if you are a blogger and have discussed pretty much all of the above in your blog and he Internet stalks you and reads it? Do we stop writing about this even if we are helping others, aka the women who relate to us but don’t want to date us?

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