How and When to Tell Him about Medical Issues

how to explain medical issues
I am very grateful for all the kind, sweet, thoughtful, and responsible women who ask me this question: “I have this issue that I feel I need to be upfront with him about before our relationship goes too far.  Should I tell him about it on the first date?”

I appreciate these women, but they go too far in their efforts to avoid deceiving a potential partner.  Some women seem to feel they are being deceitful or irresponsible if they do not reveal all of their physical or mental health flaws on the first date.  I disagree.

My personal opinion is that you can best answer the “when and how” question by referring to the golden rule.  I believe it’s as simple as that.  The golden rule simply extols the value of doing to others as you would have them do unto you.

I don’t know about you, but I would prefer that you allow me to get to know you before you flood my mind with a list of your hidden problems.  Problems do not define you, but many women seem to feel their problems do define them.

I’ll give you an example.  Someone once asked me if she was being irresponsible not to mention that she is living on disability income through Social Security.  She thought she needed to mention it in her online dating profile to avoid “leading men on.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel a person is selling herself short if she does not make at least a small attempt to sell me on the many virtues I would encounter if I continued a relationship with her.  It’s not that you should never speak the straightforward truth about problem areas;  it’s just not appropriate to delve into deeply personal information on a first date!

That’s why I evoke the golden rule.  I don’t want to share information about my medical issues with the person I just met, so I don’t expect you to do that either.  Maybe this is the golden rule in reverse; “Tell it unto me as I would expect myself to tell it unto thee.”  =)

In all seriousness, I want to encourage any of you who struggle over this issue to take a deep breath and relax.  Real relationships unfold over time.  Don’t try to force the entire relationship into the first date.  He can learn about you and discover both your wonderful qualities and your liabilities over time.

Some people hear this advice and finally relax into the normal way of relating to people again.  Others are so brainwashed by the fast-paced style of dating, which has taken over that they still struggle with guilt.

Our culture has changed when it comes to dating.  People around the world look at potential partners as expendable options to be sorted through rapidly.

how to explain medical issuesThis change is largely because of the psychological shifts created by online dating.  Men and women feel like there are hundreds of options out there and a seemingly inexhaustible supply, so they approach a first date with the mindset of quickly filtering out all the various qualities they would find distasteful in a potential partner.

You don’t have to go along with that toxic change in the dating culture.  Treat people like real human beings, and expect them to do the same in return.

I don’t want to know about the warts on the bottom of your feet when I first meet you.  I figure I’ll see those while I am learning how beautiful and playful you can be when joining me at the beach and kicking off your socks and shoes.

In this more “organic” context, your flaws will be paired with the real-life experience of getting to know the benefits of building a relationship with you.  Does that make sense?

Some people press me for even more detail.  Each relationship is unique, and requires a different approach because of the various factors at play.  Allow me to offer a few “rule of thumb” guidelines for you to consider.

  • If the flaw is something embarrassing to you, but not something that will harm him, you can wait much longer for the topic to come up naturally throughout the course of your unfolding relationship.  If it is an issue that could cause him emotional or physical harm, you might want to bring up the subject by the time you reach the third date.
  • Do not tell him deep dark secrets just because you feel guilty.  Guilt should not be your motivation.
  • Generally speaking, you should bring up the topic as soon as you can envision a “normal” conversation about it.  By “normal,” I mean a conversation that others would not judge as forced and socially awkward.  When two people know each other, they can sense the right time for bringing up the topic even if it is a sensitive one.
  • Before you tell him a deep dark secret, ask yourself whether he would be able to fill in other details about your personal life and history easily that have an equal weight (on the neutral or positive side of things).  If he doesn’t know you well enough to understand the context and story associated with your “flaw,” then it’s too soon for that particular talk.

I hope these guidelines were helpful, but remember that the preceding principles should be your ultimate guide rather than these rule-of-thumb statements.

It is my belief that you have a responsibility to put your best foot forward when meeting people.  I say this because the fast-paced dating culture often means you only get one shot at impressing a person enough to get a second date.

Research has consistently shown that we tend to draw final conclusions about potential partners far too soon.  We put too much confidence in our first impressions.

That’s why it’s so important to get a second and third date so you can truly get to know each other.  I hope this advice will help you reach that goal.

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56 thoughts on “How and When to Tell Him about Medical Issues

  1. Odette said:

    Great comments…. made me think of a lovely man who I met on-line who turned out to be critically ill with chronic fatigue and reliant on many drugs to function daily…. He was a afraid to tell me and hid his condition for many months. Sadly I misunderstood why he was so lacking in enthusiasm for so many things that I would expect from a normal healthy hot-blooded man. After much frustration we broke up…. but I stayed in touch as he was a lovely friend and it made me cross that when I found out his true story….. I felt angry and ashamed that I had behaved so badly and lacking in compassion when I didnt know the story. We have stayed friends and I realise how important it is to know the right time to share these difficult truths. We all have them! Goodness knows, I have ugly feet and small breasts, but whilst those elements plague my thinking and perception of myself….. no man I have ever been with has ever remarked or terminated a relationship when discovered.. Thats when you really learn that compassion and understanding is as much a wonderful gift for the giver as it is to the receiver!! Its all just a matter of perspective.

    • M said:

      “Goodness knows, I have ugly feet and small breasts, but whilst those elements plague my thinking and perception of myself….. no man I have ever been with has ever remarked or terminated a relationship when discovered..”

      Then you’ve been very lucky.

      Men can be terribly critical.

      (Even the ones that … let’s just say fail sufficiently to resemble Tyson Beckford or Marcus Schenkenberg that you’d think they’d exhibit a little more empathy and a little less criticism.)

  2. Ronnie Lee said:

    Very ,very good advice,James! Thanks for all you do for us singles!

  3. Chris said:

    This is great advice. My boyfriend of 10 months was experiencing kidney failure when we met. He told me after a few dates, as we were hitting off. He wanted to let me know, in case I wanted to walk away. I had already started to like him, and I decided to see what would happen. He is now on dialysis. He has included me in the process, and I can’t imagine walking away from a fantastic guy because of this. Sure there are unique challenges, but they give us an opportunity to see our relationship in a different light. Not everyone will be open minded to every medical issue, but sometimes it can work. If he had told me on the first date, I am sure I would have thought it was too bad and probably never gone out with him again. I never felt deceived. He waited until there was a need to tell me, and he did. He gave me the choice to stay or go before things got too deep. Sure, I wish he didn’t have to go through any of this, but I also believe that these experiences have also helped to shape the amazing person he is. I don’t know if he would be the same man without them. Let someone new you meet get to know you and the things about that make you a catch, and then the thing you think is so bad will just be another layer of what makes you the unique and wonderful person you are!

  4. Tracy D said:

    I agree with not blurting out all the things that might make you seem undesirable on the first date. My problem is that I am not able to work because I have permanent neck and back injuries and fibromyalgia, which luckily people cannot see so I am not judged automatically, but, when one of the first questions people ask is, “what do you do” there’s not much I can say that is going to keep my problems concealed for the “right time”. I generalize and downplay my injuries so I have an opportunity for a second date, which doesn’t usually happen. What should I be saying about not working to the man I go on a first date with so there will be a second?

    • James Bauer said:

      I would answer a question about what you do as follows: “I have a rare and unique opportunity in life that comes with drawbacks as well. The drawback is that I deal with chronic pain in my neck and back that interferes with most occupational pursuits. I choose to look at it as an opportunity to invest my time and energy in things I would not be able to focus on as much if I was working. I receive financial compensation due to my condition and that allows me to get by without working at this point in my life.”

      • sandy said:

        Thank you for sharing.I to have a disability issue and when asked what do I do I say..I am a full time mom, who gets paid to stay home..Then of course that would bring another question.. If i feel comfortable with the person who is asking I will then disclose more, if not I leave the issue for another conversation. When it does come up again I say, how many people look at their disability as a blessing.. Do you count your disability as a blessing? I think how much of my childrens lives I would have missed having to work. I used to be embarrased to say anything either, not wanting to be judged before they get to know the real person. Mine cannot be seen either so I felt like not only was I keeping a secret but felt ashamed for not working. I got over this now I say, I have all the time in the world to enjoy life as it should be slower. I am glad I am not the only one who has felt this. If the person who wants to be with you is a good person than the disability is just a special part of who you are and will become. I chose to Stay positive and happy I have a disability but it doesnt have me. Good luck

  5. Tanya said:

    I have a surgical scar that extends from hip to hip. It appears as if I’ve been cut in half lol When would be the right time to tell a potential partner about that? It would be obvious if we had sex with lights on so I assume it would have to be at some point before having sex for the first time. I’ll say that no one I’ve ever dated has ever had a problem with my scar. My current bf says it just looks like a little wrinkle and doesn’t bother him at all. But this has always been a tough one for me when entering new relationships so I’m very interested in knowing the best way to have this discussion!

    • James Bauer said:

      My opinion is that you do not need to discuss this until a point in your relationship where you are going to be physically intimate in a way that reveals the scar. It’s not something that should affect the relationship, so you don’t owe him advanced warning.

      • Tanya said:

        Thank you. What verbiage do you suggest I use to bring this up? And how much prior to being physically intimate is appropriate? I don’t want to ruin an actual intimate moment by mentioning it at the wrong time.

        • James Bauer said:

          You don’t need to bring it up until he notices it. Believe me when I tell you he won’t be focused on your scar once his perceptual field is being triggered by the natural biological drives of that kind of intimacy. You are the one who is bothered by it, not him.

          • Tanya said:

            Awesome! Thanks so much!!

        • Coriteulnght, I posted along this same vein, but I mostly strung together quotes. You did original writing. Your post is better for that. Now I'll go read Digby.

      • massy said:

        Hi james. I was so glad to receive this new article about medical conditons and have read it twice along with all the comments. I feel my situtation is a bit different and I sooo need your advice.
        I have a physical disability. I walk with two crutches at the. Same time I am active and very independant I work full time and have a good life. I currently have a profile in an on line dating site. I do get a lot of attention but I freeze when I am asked to meet. I do not know when is the right time to tell the person on the other side I have a physical disability. Right now I exchange couple of emails to see if I like their personality and if they make feel comfortable enough to share my condition. Sometimes eventhough I like the person very much I hide and won’t continue talking becasue I am afraid of their response. I don’t even know how to start telling them about my conditon. Can you please please give me some advice.

        • James Bauer said:

          I would start the process of figuring out how to proceed by doing some homework. Make a list of the kinds of things you CAN do on dates with a potential partner. Get in the habit of telling them in advance of an in-person meeting. Acceptance of your own internal emotional reactions will take you a long way in overcoming the freeze-response to fear. In other words, stop resisting the fear, let yourself feel afraid, and you will find the fear does not control your actions as much and it will also cause less suffering as a beneficial side effect.

          Once you have your list of things you can do, say something like, “So anyway, we could do this, or that, or this other thing and I would enjoy any of those activities because I can easily do those things with my crutches. I use double crutches to enhance my mobility and limit the effects of (fill in the blank disability) that I have had since (birth, a car accident in 1994, onset of MS symptoms). I bet you’ll have some questions and feel nervous to ask them after hearing I use crutches. Please do me the favor of asking all your questions so we can focus on having fun when we see each other.”

          • Massy said:

            Thank you for the tips. I appriciate your time. I don’t think I explained my issue very well. let me see if if i can articulate it better thie time …I have absolutely no problem thinking or coming up with a list of things to do with my date. My problem is that i am not sure at what point in my communications with some one that i have encountered in an on-line dating site i should tell them about my condition. Like I said I get lots of attention and do attarct men by the way I write and express myself and often I am asked to meet in person quickly. In those situtations i feel I have not had enough time to asses if this person will understand me well enough not to run away and never respond back. I feel I constantly have pull back when i am writing to someone not to be my naughty witty self just so that they won’t feel used or that I led them on… when they feel comfortable meeting me in person knowing i walk with crutches then what we do on the date is the least my worries. Men tend to be visual and they creat flaw less picture their future partner in their head. I guess we all tend to do that. So when i tell them about me walking with crutches the fact that I am the same person in the pics that attracted them originally goes away and they probably creat a scary image of someone from a strange planet with private parts that jumps at them lol ….
            Any how like i said knowing when and how to open up and tell them before its too late into the communocation or prematurly is what i need help with 🙂 can you please give your point of view as a man and some one who knows about dating and relationships?? thisnk you 🙂

          • James Bauer said:

            I understand what you mean. As you have already pointed out, there are problems that arise if you wait too long and problems that arise if you reveal to early. The framing of my suggestion for telling him was meant to mean I suggest you tell him before you meet him in person but after having built up a strong connection. That’s just my opinion. You could wait till you meet in person, but some men might feel you purposefully hid that important aspect of your life situation from them and that could set you off on the wrong foot. That’s why I think your best bet is to wait until it is obvious you both would like to meet and then bring up the issue. The golden men who are worth your time will want to get to know you. Those who freak out and run away because of their own fears or misperceptions are unlikely to make good partners anyway.

            Just so you know, I wasn’t implying that you could not think of things to do on a date. Rather, the point of my example was to show how to frame the revelation of your use of crutches. It creates a forward moving momentum and decreases awkwardness for him when you do not throw the information out there and then just wait for him to figure out how to respond. I hope this gives you reassurance as you move forward.


          • Massy said:

            Thank you James 🙂

  6. Kay said:

    Fantastic advice. Thanks James. Much appreciated. I never usually blurt out things on the first date. Why should I tell u certain private issues at this stage? Sometimes u don’t even know if u will get to a second date or if u will reach relationship stage for that matter.

  7. Tanya said:

    My 18 y/o daughter has mild/moderate cerebral palsy. I’ve always been very upfront and have stated this directly on any online profile I’ve had just so there’d be no surprises. I’m a single mother so she’s always with me and will always live with me so I find it important information to provide. Is this something I should wait to tell a potential partner?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hmmm…that is a good question, Tanya, and I’ll admit I’m not as confident in my answer about this. I’m thinking it depends a lot on what the future prospects are for your daughter in terms of her chances of establishing independent living or partially independent living. Many men who are at an age to have children close to 18 are looking forward to an empty nest, which is why it could be an issue for some of them. That said, here is my main opinion. Having a big heart and loving your kids is not something anyone would think you were “hiding” from them when they find out about the situation a little further down the road. I would not feel compelled to bring it up until he at least gets to interact with you at least once face to face. Maybe wait till the second date to mention that she may always live with you (in response to his likely question about whether you have kids). Just to clarify, you tell him about her, but you don’t introduce the “forever with us” part until later.

      • Tanya said:

        Thank you James. I’m seeing things more clearly now. Older guys wanting an empty nest makes total sense and I now realize why, with some exceptions of course, mostly younger men have always pursued me. I’m 39 and need the maturity and wisdom of men my age, or preferably, a little older. Great advice. In the future, I’ll wait until I’ve met a man in person at least once before I share details. Everyone that meets my daughter loves her so most won’t have any issues anyway. I just have to make it to that point! I appreciate your suggestion.

  8. Alaine said:

    What about if you have a child in prison? My 25 year old son is in prison, and God willing, should be out within 3 years. At that time, I will have to help him get on his feet and move forward with his life. When I tell people at first that I have a 25yo son who doesn’t live with me, and currently lives in another state, i’m sure they think that I am done with parenting responsibilities. How long should I wait to tell? Because people naturally ask about your children and want to talk about their children.

    • James Bauer said:

      Start by telling them you are “helping him get on his feet,” and let the details of what that means come up later when it becomes relevant (for example, when they come to your home for the first time).

  9. Dee said:

    It’s funny this topic came up as I just had to tell my boyfriend I just found out I have Hep C and he was very understanding,revealing last spring he had Hep A Problem being he and I do not get a chance to see one another but for short periods of time due to his goals on his job and the crazy hours he works.Sometimes 65-70 hours a week and when we finally were able to see each other a few days after I told him it was extremely important to speak in person( there was no possible way he could get here sooner) Understood. I failed to realize he wanted to be the strong safe calm in the storm and I totally overlooked it. I feel so bad for nearly castrating him. I hope I did the right thing by explaining to him I had time to speak with my higher power and was assured all would be well and that I appreciated him being here and calling to make sure I was ok the day of the results (only to miss the call on his 10 minute break that evening). I just texted him a long explaination of the fact that I am used to being the strong one and to Please Help me with my faux paux. And the fact that I am independant and extremely strong after all I have never been married and have had to shoulder all my issues alone for so long. He knows he is my white knight and when he gets the opportunity to show me his manly kindness and concern, I end up taking care of him when he had an allergy attack and excuse it when he states” Here I am supposed to be here to comfort you and your comforting me” I stated we are supposed comfort each other. Was I wrong ? did I make a major mistake?I apologized? should I have done that? He seemed to be ok with it.I know when things go further we will end up spoiling each other terribly. How do I sit back and let him be a man? Please Help.Sincerely, too independent me Dee. I sense he is ok with it all. He dropped by before work today and was warm and kind. His usual wonderful self.

    • James Bauer said:

      None of this seems that bad to me, Dee. It seems you have a positive thing going that includes the flexibility of swapping roles without hurting each other’s feelings. Being able to talk about it and look for ways to emotionally and practically support each other is really good.

  10. Dee said:

    I want to be totally irresistable, but don’t know how all the time. I know I need your help but have had a major financial setback and have no money what so ever to spare. And now with this medical issue I have had 25 Dr. Appt. in 1 1/2 months. I also had a cancerous polyp that was removed and feel like I am the most fortunate person alive. All starting with walking a friends dog that wrapped itself around my legs and caused me to fall and I ended up with 7 or 8 doctors. Long story. HELP

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Dee. No one knows how to be irresistible ALL of the time. You have found a deep well of information on how to pull it off more frequently though. Start with getting well and we’ll go from there. The others who read this blog often have great comments and advice too!

  11. Anna said:

    Thanks so much for addressing this topic. A younger man is attracted to me and I haven’t told him yet that I have disabilities and receive compensation. (Quite frankly, I feel fortunate to have that compensation!) Despite my fibromyalgia, arthritis, hypothyroidism, etc., I look much younger for my age and my doctors have helped me get these conditions under control. I know now that I will seize the right opportunity to share this with him. Yes, I do have limitations, like I can’t golf, play tennis, etc., but I am a fun-loving, caring woman capable of loving a man. So, thanks for your guidance. I know now what to do.

    • James Bauer said:

      I like your attitude, Anna. Go get ’em!

  12. Meghan said:

    Hi James,

    I’m so glad to have received your email with this link today. I have a rocky health history and it has always been a challenge determining when to reveal these things to a new love interest. Recently I have been feeling too insecure to even date, for not wanting to involve someone else in my health issues. I’ll start with the first one– I had two melanomas removed from my torso when I was 20 years old (I’m now 25). These procedures have left long surgical scars on my upper chest and back. When I go out on a date, usually I just wear something unrevealing so the matter never gets brought up. Then as we go on more dates I start wondering when would be the right time to display my scars. I almost feel like doing it on the first date would be too “in your face”. I also feel like my problem is one that could affect my partner because I’m still pretty young and hope to have kids someday so I could pass that genetic predisposition onto the child I have. I also could have recurrences down the road that my partner would have to deal with. In addition to the physical aspect of the scars, I am dealing with a lot of post traumatic stress from having had cancer at such a young age (I am in counseling an actively working on it). So as you can see, this issue is a big part of me and I don’t want to hide it but I don’t want to scare any one away either. What would you suggest?

    • James Bauer said:

      I think your approach so far has been a good one. It’s like I said in the article; if you don’t let them get to know you first, many people will never meet the person who could be the love of their life. People sort of “shop” for a partner, so if the first thing you show them is a negative, they won’t bother to learn about all the positives. Keep using your gentle and gradual approach to letting them learn that part of your history. Later in the relationship you can share what it means for potential offspring, but not near the beginning of the relationship.

  13. BJ said:

    Good advice. I have a chronic condition and usually wait until I’m very comfortable with a new man before telling him – usually when we’ve reached the point where we’re sharing life stories. I do it at a time when we’re relaxed (preferably cuddly!) and he has shared things with me. The time frame varies. My last BF and I became comfortable with each other very quickly and share lots of stuff fairly early on, within the first month or so (turned out he had a chronic condition too that he share with me). With others it may be longer or not at all depending on if I see the relationship going anywhere.

  14. Healing said:

    Do you think someone should flat out lie if someone tells them on their first date that one of their deal-breakers is young children? Should that person lie and say they do not have a young child when they do…all in order to romance the date a little longer and sell them on how great they are…and then after a month or more then tell the truth in hopes that the other person is now sold on all their other great qualities and can now “overlook” the young child issue?
    Would love to know if your thoughts on illnesses cross boundaries into other ‘secrets’?
    Thanks! Love your stuff!

    • James Bauer said:

      I would not advise you to flat out lie about anything. Lying undermines the foundation of a relationship. This article is about not bringing things up and not feeling guilty about it…until the time is right. It’s not meant to endorse lying.

  15. Healing said:

    Thanks, James. I agree. This was something that happened to someone I know. He didn’t flat out lie as far as I know. He just didn’t tell her he had a young child when they met because she had said that young kids were a dealbreaker for her. I guess he must have just changed the subject. I still think it’s wrong but he feels justified. Curious what you think about “lying by omission” in this case? If someone flat out asks you if you have an illness early on, should you come clean?

    • James Bauer said:

      Yes, if someone asks you a direct question, they deserve a direct response. There’s a difference between not advertising a fact vs. refusing to disclose when asked.

      • Healing said:

        Thanks, James. I guess in the child case this guy felt justified because the date was just listing dealbreakers and he neglected to offer her the truth. I personally think this is lying and leading someone down a false path but I notice people tend to bend the definition of lying and split hairs in order to justify their actions. Thanks for your work!

  16. D jines said:

    I had stage 3 breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy w/ recon . My husband left me and my attorney arranged that I receive disability while going back to school. How do I bring up the mast to a man I’m interested in along with the disability and is this a double whammy against me?

    • James Bauer said:

      I would give it time (for the reasons explained above). Let him get to know you and realize who you are before trying to explain all that. Let it come up naturally during the process of talking about things going on in your life as you get to know him better. You don’t have to explain both issues at once.


      • MF said:

        Hi! I’m in a similar situation but to put the icing on top I’m going through chemo at the moment and so wearing a wig. Someone wants to meet me soon and i’m afraid it might be too obvious..should i warn him first ? Should i wait until he notices my hair is not real or the catheter on my arm? It’s summer and not easy to hide..thx in advance

        • James Bauer said:

          Good question. Here’s the rule of thumb. Whenever a person is likely to “discover” the truth on their own, things go better if you tell him in advance. That way you can frame it in a way that makes him more likely to accept it, rather than risking that he might see it as something you are hiding…something that could be just the tip of the iceberg.


  17. Dear James,
    Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have clinical depression (diagnosed when I was 18, I am 38 now) and have had roughly 7 major depressive episodes. These episodes leave me extremely lethargic and basically immobile for a couple of months. Between the onset of the major depressive episode and the point in which my medications are again working and I am fully functional can be up to 5 months. My feeling is: Why would someone want to sign up for that? I have never been married, have no children, and haven’t been in a relationship for 8 years. I am really losing hope that there is a man out there who would love me having these problems. I could really use your advice on how and when to tell a man this and not have him running for the hills. Do I even have a chance at finding love?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lindsay. Yes, you certainly do have a chance at love and I know that from having coached many couples who struggle with mental health issues of one sort or another (either one partner or both).

      I do think it is important for you to communicate openly with someone about this so they do not attribute your behavior to loss of interest in the relationship itself when you start to withdrawal into the shell of depression.

      You’ll also want to help him to understand that the symptoms do not need to be “fixed” by him (or else he will drive himself crazy thinking he can somehow fix the depressive episode).

      I don’t see any reason for you to give up on relationships. It is a matter of you loving someone else, and someone else loving you. Yes, depression can make that difficult for your partner (not to mention you) but I can tell you that there are lots of people who go through depressive episodes without losing the love of a dedicated partner.

      • Adriana said:

        Hi Lindsay, and hi James, I really want to thank you Lindsay for your post, because it´s the same situation I am going through in the last ten years of my life, and I sometimes I feel extremely hard and difficult finding a partner, that I sometimes think if I´m going to have that chance ever again. Most men I usually talk to are looking for more cheerful and animated girls, I think, and that is exactly the kind of mood that for people with depression is difficult to keep.
        The other thing that makes me sad is that due to my condition, I don´t know if I will be able to have children of my own, and makes me so sad because in a way, I feel that I failing as a woman.
        And the issue of having children when you are dating men trying to have a serious relationship, is a thing that sooner or later, shows up in the conversations, and I really don´t know how to handle this, or how to respond. Really scares me and makes me sad and worried. ¿Is there any advice you can give to handle this situation? Thanks in advance, James

        • James Bauer said:

          Hi Adriana. That’s a good question, and first of all I think most of what I said in this article applies to your situation. But to your more specific question about what to say when the topic of potential children eventually comes up, here’s what I think.

          Neither of you know what the future holds. Many people think they can have children and then it turns out they can’t. Many people think they can’t have children but then for some reason they can (like my grandmother…I wouldn’t exist if this wasn’t true).

          By the time that topic comes up you will be at a place in your relationship where you do know one thing. You’ll both know if your partner is someone you could love for the rest of your life regardless of what else does or doesn’t happen. And in a nutshell, those are the two things I think you should communicate when the topic eventually comes up.


          • Adriana said:

            Thanks so much, James, I will keep your advice in mind, and I´m glad about your grandmother and for the circumstances that allow us to enjoy your presence in our lives. 🙂

  18. Wanda Henderson said:

    How and when do you tell someone you have an STD?

  19. Donna said:

    I find it so ironic how so many issues are being addressed online in this and other groups at the same time I’m dealing with the same thing. Almost like the Angels, God or High Power if you will, are trying to get my attention.

    My story has a slightly different twist but pretty similiar. I’ve been seeing someone for two weeks I met online and we’ve hit it off wonderfully. We’ve shared some (not all) life stories and he told me he was a recovering alcoholic. Not a big deal to me and he says he’s been sober for over 10 years.

    I have MS but thankfully my only current visible problem is being tired constantly. Took several tries with one thing or other before found that Adderall does the trick. It’s a controlled substance and guessing people would like to get their hands on same thing without medical need.

    I haven’t said anything to him about my MS but planned to in near future if things keep progressing with us. However, the other night when I was with him he came right out and asked me if I was taking Adderall. I was shocked because never mentioned it and asked how or why he would say that. He told me he’d been around other recovering addicts and users of the drug to notice the behaviors. I asked him to list the behaviors and he nailed everyone. I still didn’t say anything at that point, but shortly after that I left for home.

    He can be pretty passionate about certain topics and drugs (even the one I take) are no exception. He tried saying some people have been able to convince doctors they need a medication and ultimately become addicted to it. I told him I doubted Mayo Clinic got that one wrong. We didn’t discuss it beyond that, but it stuck with me.

    I sent him an email later that evening saying there’s a legitimate reason for needing Adderall. Told him I have MS and it’s not a big deal but the medication has been the only thing we found that worked. I didn’t hear a word from him for two days after I sent that;.

    However, he emailed me yesterday saying he was hoping I was stopping by like we discussed before because he really wanted to see me. I sent a text asking if he’d read the lengthy text I’d sent and felt it was important to read. He first said no didn’t like long emails or text (point to remember) but later said he did read it and understood and was ok with him.

    I don’t think I would have chose this way of telling him about it, but does go to show that if the other person is genuine and you’re not trying to hide something it usually is no problem. I’m one of those who believes we all have something or other to deal with in life. For some it just hasn’t happened yet.

  20. Hi James, thank you for your article. I have a genetic disorder (called Neurofibromatosis) that even though it doesn’t affect me right now, it’s visible and individuals who don’t know me ask about it (that is if they see it.) Usually if I go on a date I try to cover it up because I want the person to know the real me not my flaws. This article is an encouragement in assuring me to wait for the right time to tell a significant other. Thank you for encouraging all of us with this article.

  21. marenvrinda said:

    This point is so true. We dismiss too quickly. I recently met a man who I at first thought didn’t seem too into me because he didn’t ask me that much about myself. I was ready to write him off, but ended up going on a second and third date with him. We are now in a relationship, and he is the most attentive person who is very interested in myself, my life, my problems, etc. I just didn’t see it at first. So glad I stuck with him!

  22. Vicki said:

    Hi James, I’ve been going out with 6years widower, not dating, who also goes out with other women as friends. We’re both middle-aged. He seems so interested but says all he wants is food wine and travel. I feel like I keep getting mixed signals. He wants to know if I’ve been seeing anyone etc. He compliments me lots and is such a gentleman. I’m keen to take it further but don’t want to mess up good friendship. Frustrated!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Vicki. Be very cautious about investing your heart (and time) in a man who openly tells you he will not make a relationship a priority. Mixed signals come from his natural desire to “add on” the benefits of companionship with someone like you, but that doesn’t mean he wants to commit to you or be involved beyond the relationship elements that yield immediate gratification.


      • Vicki said:

        James, Thank you for being a straight shooter!
        I appreciate your advice as I now know it was probably wishful thinking.

  23. Andrew said:

    Great article and good advice.

    I’ve had two dates with a wonderful woman but I live with urinary incontinence and have to wear protection for it. We’ve had a ton of fun so far and It doesn’t really affect us yet but at some point I know that I will have to bring it up, especially if we spend more time together or I have to stay in town overnight (nothing intimate). It’s just embarrassing to talk about and I’m not sure of the best way to broach the subject. When do you think is a good time and am I overthinking this? For the women out there, how would you want a man to share something like that with you? What questions would you have for him? I’m comfortable in how I deal with my challenges, just not in having the first conversation as I’ve got a bit of a fear that it could be a turn off. I realize that I wouldn’t feel that way myself since love isn’t based primarily on that sort of stuff but yet I still fear that she might feel differently. Any advice or insight?

  24. Vicky Latronica said:

    After a while, when you think it’s about time to get intimate, you might say to her something like “You’re a beautiful woman and any man would love to get intimate with you. I’m a little uncomfortable to have to tell you this but I need to use a catheter or protection.” Mention you’d love to give her oral sex, (if you would.) And that she can satisfy you with her hands, (at least at first.)
    If you’re both cool with that, than God Bless you both.

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