It’s a difficult balance to strike. When should you show your true self, including vulnerabilities with a partner and when should you remain behind a romantic shield? One that keeps the other person from getting to know the real you- the good and the bad.
THE SELF PROMOTION SHIELD
This one is particularly common in the early stages in a relationship, but also is used when one is feeling a little unsafe or insecure in a relationship. It’s not always a bad thing but people…I suggest you’re subtle if you use it. Using the self promotion shield includes selectively choosing to discuss topics that will assumingly will make you look “good” or “desirable.” It’s a difficult game to play because particularly early on, you can’t be sure what is going to be good or desirable to another person. At the same time, people can be a little more judgmental early on. Things that someone would normally be forgiving of when they are already attached may be totally appalling and out of the question when they are just getting to know you. The down side of course is that while attempting to protect yourself you ultimately may remain in a cloud of doubt and insecurity about the feelings the other person has for you. After all, they’ve only seen parts and who is to say if they really like/love the REAL you.
SCREW IT – YOU’RE GOING TO SEE THE REAL ME EVENTUALLY
At the other end of the continuum there is this “show all my cards” approach. It can be a wonderful way to get to know someone and develop a genuine lasting connection. Unfortunately, again – people are not necessarily as forgiving of all qualities or as understanding of “flaws” in people they don’t know. Still, if you happen to be two very empathetic and open individuals this approach can send you both into a wonderful sense of genuine connection. The balance to strike between these two approaches will be for you to determine. It will be a unique set of risk and benefits analysis you develop from your history of experiences, and the relationship you are seeking. Good luck!