The Right Time to Spill Secrets When You’re Dating

(Photo: Moodboard/Corbis)

When you’re dating, it can be hard to draw the line between “something you should probably know” and TMI (too much information). A recent survey from dating site Zoosk offers some insight, though, on what most online daters do and don’t disclose — and, most importantly, when they feel comfortable spilling the details.

Presented as an infographic, the results may surprise you. Here are the top four takeaways.

The words “vegan,” “pets,” and “allergies” increased the likelihood of getting a response, the survey revealed. “These buzzwords are seemingly random, but they are niche enough to instantly spark a reaction,” Joan Barnard the resident dating and relationship expert for Zoosk, tells Yahoo Health. 

Not surprisingly, the touchy terms “virgin” and “rich” decreased the chances of receiving a response. “Personal finances and sexuality are better conversations to have in person,” Barnard says.

Women spend a longer time vetting partners and tend to have more deal-breakers, Barnard explains, which is why they generally spend more time deciding whether they should be exclusive. The survey results back that up: Women are less likely than men to disclose if they’re seeing other people upon the first date.

Barnard’s advice: Don’t make this an issue until you need to. “I’m surprised the majority of respondents disclose this information so soon, especially since this information isn’t necessary to discuss until someone is ready to make a heftier investment — financially, emotionally, or physically,” she says. “Singles should assume their dates are seeing other people until there is a conversation about getting more serious.”

According to the survey, half of men want to define the relationship after a few dates, compared with only one-third of women. Why? “Although women may want to define the relationship after the vetting process is complete, many defer to their male partners to spearhead the conversation,” Barnard says.

About half of men and women want to discuss marriage aspirations after a few months of dating, the survey showed. So when should you and your partner bring it up? It’s a good idea to discuss the idea — at least in the abstract “do you eventually want to be married?” kind of way — before making a significant investment in the other person, Barnard says. (Think: before meeting the parents, moving in together, or adopting a pet together.) “Talking about marriage before establishing chemistry sabotages the opportunity for romantic feelings to evolve organically,” she explains.

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