Dating Tips
For Men

How to Reveal a Secret Negative as a Pro-Active Positive

August 10, 2011
▪ 3 mins read

Reframe your mind with honesty

We all carry around some secret that we do not necessarily feel comfortable sharing with everyone. So many times we may start dating someone and feel like we're not being entirely honest with them.

What are you hiding on your first date?

Whether it's ill health, a disrupted bond with your family or just the fact you haven't had too many dates before the first thing I would be thinking is 'what's the positive in this? How does this communicate to the other person that I'm a great guy?

Let me give you some examples of changing the secret negative:

If you're a single parent then you've demonstrated how loving, determined and amazing you can be. Any date worth their salt will see great parenting skills as a positive quality for a person to have. Even if they don't want children, they should see that these qualities will make you a fantastic partner as well as a parent.

If you're struggling with physical or mental health (and still dating successfully!) it shows that you are a go-getter, taking positive action to improve your life and that you are an inspiring person to be around.

If you have an unusual past time then you're independent, a free thinker and non-judgemental. People should find your adventurous spirit contagious.

Whenever I've revealed a secret about myself, that I worried people would react negatively to, I've been surprised by people's positive reactions.

If you phrase something as a positive so often it will become one.

Just take into account some important pointers!

1. Adjust your own mindset

Shame is an emotion we give to ourselves. No one makes us feel shame except ourselves. Believe it or not, we can choose how we feel about things. So remember that everything that is integral to your life can be, and is, an amazing part of what makes you, you. Get proud of it, or at least comfortable with acknowledging and accepting it. No need to keep a secret anymore!

2. Honesty

Honesty is vital to relationships. We must be able to present openly even the 'negative' aspects of our lives. You need to know they love and accept you for who you are.

Being honest from the get-go will allow your partner to decide about whether you're a good fit for them, and will prepare them later on if the going gets tough. You want to avoid acting in a way that is unexpected and destabilising the relationship. Instead, you want to feel free to acknowledge why you're behaving the way you are.

This will help your partner to understand what is happening and not interpret themselves as being the cause of your change in the mood because you have acknowledged your own limitations.

3. Be Positive and Proactive

Speaking with positivity about 'negatives' will greatly affect how our partners interpret our problems. For instance, there's a huge difference between the behaviour of someone who's uncommunicative/ secretive about their problems and someone who is open and proactive:

"Just a head's up that I've been feeling a little down lately, but I wanted to remind you that you always make me smile. So if I look a little gloomy don't let it worry you, I'm working on it!"

Positive phrasing and taking action both suggest positive qualities about you; whilst the person your dating is aware of what you're dealing with.

4. Inclusivity

Show how they contribute positively to your life: You also want to positively reinforce the times in that your partner makes you feel good and show them the other, well balanced, side to your disposition.

By telling them how they positively help you to overcome your problems, or how happy you are to be with someone who accepts you, their understanding and compassion will be rewarded and the relationship will feel more secure.

So next time you're bottling up a secret problem, or desire, that you're desperate to share let your partner know what's on your mind.

Just remember to keep it:

  • Positive
  • Pro-active
  • Honest
  • Inclusive

A good partner to you will reward you for being honest by being understanding and open-minded in return.

To explore more about how you can communicate more effectively in your relationships
talk to Hayley

Hayley Quinn smiling profile
About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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