‘I struggle with shyness, which began during my teenage years because of skin problems.
‘I’ve only had one girlfriend and we split up after five months when she moved back to her country.
‘I’ve now started talking to a girl on a dating app and she seems keen to meet up when we can.
‘But when she asked me about my past relationships, I kept it vague and implied there was more than one.
‘I’ve had a couple of one-night stands but I’m worried she won’t meet me if she thinks I’m dishonest and have no sexual experience.
‘I really like her. Should I be honest?‘
There probably isn’t a subject under the sun that people are more opaque about.
‘Sensible individuals either avoid the topic of sexual partners entirely or they’re a bit vague, as you’ve been,’ says James McConnachie.
Besides, where is it written that you have to be explicit with potential partners from the outset? Before we share all parts of us, we want to ensure that they can be trusted with our pasts.
‘If I’d told others the whole truth about myself before we even started dating, they’d have run for the hills,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘We all have patchy pasts, it’s part of being human. And, yes, we might edit the story a little in order to make ourselves appealing. Think of it as marketing.’
You can slowly let the truth emerge. If she judges you harshly, she probably isn’t someone you want to spend time with anyway.
‘It sounds as if your belief in total honesty at this early stage is just another barrier you’ve created to prevent yourself from getting involved,’ says Smith.
You’re feeling the same doubts you had when you were a teenager but watch that critic, says Dr Angharad Rudkin: ‘That voice is telling you that you’re not as good as other guys but you are clearly someone who is in touch with their feelings, is aware of how others feel and has integrity. The reality is that most women are not interested in Lotharios.’
What matters is how you make her feel.
‘Anxiety tends to pull us inward, leaving us preoccupied with our thoughts rather than focusing on the person we’re with,’ Rudkin continues. ‘So turn the spotlight outwards.’
Listen to her, not your mind chatter, and ask her questions.
‘If and when things get intimate, imagine telling her, “I feel a bit nervous. I like you and I want this to go right,”’ says McConnachie. ‘That doesn’t sound inexperienced, it sounds open-hearted and honest. And there’s nothing sexier than that.’
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