Disclosure and Dating
His name was Mike, at least for this post it was, and we had just met. I was in my early twenties and had known of my status for a while and he was older, mature and experienced. It was a good connection and not one built on sex as I was afraid of this thing inside of me. We were on the same script as he wasn't looking for a one night stand either.
So what was the problem? The problem was that in all the sharing over dinners and movie dates, I never brought up my status. Looking back he didn't either as we never had a conversation that should have been had. But by not telling I was not trying to be devious. First, we had just met and I didn't know him that well to share something so personal. Second, I was in a stage of fear of others finding out and if I shared it and he got upset, what would he do with the information. Thank God it wasn't today with the invention of Facebook and other social media sites where your business could be out there in a hot minute.
Third, it was the other thing I feared and unfortunately it happened. I told him as I felt the relationship was going to the next level. He didn't say anything right away. In fact he didn't say anything at all as my phone calls kept going to voice mail and any efforts to reach out to him was unsuccessful. It was the third thing I feared--rejection.
At the time I felt I was in a 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' situation. Small traces of anger formed on why even bother being honest. Maybe I was marked. Why bother when you see personal ads that state 'neg-you be too' or 'no fat, no fems, no poz.' Or if I dated was it to only be based on the same status rather than the organic connection/attraction. And why should I reveal? As long as I practice safe sex, then there's no need for disclosure. On top of that I convinced myself relationships are overrated, who needs them anyway.
So for a while I denied myself the ability of someone getting to close to me. I didn't want to let someone hurt me again by rejecting me. I guess I wanted to do it to you before you did it to me. When Mike pulled the disappearing act, I vowed never to let someone be in the driver's seat with my emotions.
Now older, I realize my life was lonely and the wall I built around myself kept people out, but I was also stuck alone behind the same walls. Going home to a silent house. Alone.
That's the wonderful thing about maturity. You get to a phase in your life where you tell yourself, if you don't want all of me, then it's your loss, not mine. I had to get to that place because by hiding behind that wall they still had the power. I had to regain my own strength.
I had to take the leap into the unknown waters and put it all in God's hand. If it's meant to be then so be it, if not then so be it as well.
I didn't want to put myself off the right 'timing game' any longer. The game of do I tell after the first date, the second or the third or when is it too late? I just didn't want to do it no more. This is who I am.
But for those who don't or haven't disclosed, I know where you're coming from. I was there. It's just that for me it was a place I no longer wanted to be.
There is no official rule book on when. I think when it comes to relationships we have to just trust that gut and do what we feel is right. I feel for me by living my life in the truth although I lost some people in my life, I gained more than I lost.
Mike, you may have taught me what rejection felt like, but man I have to say to you, 'you had a good thing and you lost it.'