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Does your girlfriend know everything about you? Is she so in tune with you that you’re practically the same person? If so, you may have given her a little too much information.

We’re constantly told that trust and honesty are the backbones of any good relationship. And while that may very well be true for well-established or married couples, does the same hold true for relationships barely getting off the ground? The answer may surprise you.

the trust dilemma

Many follow an unwritten rule stipulating that couples must tell each other everything, that every thought and feeling should be shared. But telling her too much too soon can make you vulnerable. Relationships are always rocky in the beginning so why would you want to bare your heart and soul to someone who may not be around in six months?

Yes, we all sometimes venture off to that fantasy world where we think we’ve found Miss Right and we therefore want to build a foundation of trust and honesty right from the start (cue the violins). But relationships, especially nowadays, are volatile at best, so do you really want a mere fling to know your deepest, darkest secrets?

Believe me; you’re not doing anyone any favors by turning your personal life into an open book.

to tell, or not to tell

And so, when it comes to your discussions with your potentially “significant” other, keeping a few secrets may be in everyone’s best interest. Remember, you’re not making yourself out to be someone you’re not; you’re just revealing things about yourself in small doses and at appropriate times.

Secrets have definitely been the key element for many couples’ breakups, which is why the closer you get with your woman, the more you should reveal about yourself. But the bottom line is that until you reach a certain comfort level, whereby you’re both in it for the long haul, you’re probably better off keeping a few things under wraps.

Things you should conceal

So what juicy bits of information should you withhold (in the beginning, anyway)? Three words: all things personal. I’m talking about the details that either have no real bearing on the courtship or might scare her away instantly, and which should only be addressed once you two have shifted into high gear:

You have an awkward drawback

If you suffer from an embarrassing but treatable disease/disorder, you don’t want to overwhelm her immediately. If you’re dyslexic or have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) for example, telling her during the third date is not pertinent to the success of the relationship.

Wait a couple of months to make sure she’ll still be around and once you feel comfortable enough with her, reveal your issue.

Your income

You want to make sure she loves you for you and not your bank account.

Chances are she’ll figure out your financial standing on her own, but keep your bank book tucked away just the same until you know for sure that she’s truly in love with you and won’t care about how fat or thin your wallet is.

How many women you slept with

Does she really need to know that she’s number 42 on your list of sexual escapades? Having a relatively long list doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get serious, it just means you had a few more flings than the average guy; nothing wrong with that. But since she may not see it that way, steer clear of actual figures.

The numbers themselves do little to advance a relationship and will only cause frivolous strain between the two of you.

Things you should reveal

On the other hand, you shouldn’t leave your girlfriend completely in the dark either. There are times when keeping information from her is just not an option, especially when the information may directly involve her and/or the relationship. Some examples include:

You’ve cheated on her or someone else

Your best bet, if you truly care about her, is to come clean about your adulterous past (or present, as the case may be) because there’s every chance in the world she will find out.

She needs to know what she’s up against, and she may not be emotionally ready to deal with someone with fidelity issues. Telling her right away will eliminate any disasterous blow-ups later on.

Where you see the relationship going

Don’t lead her on. If you don’t see the relationship becoming serious, you should fill her in. If you’re only looking for a fling while she’s looking for a man to father her future children, you need to set things straight before she gets her hopes up. By the same token, you should let her know if you’re currently going through a separation with your wife, especially if you’re unsure about the state of your impending divorce.

You have (or have had) any STDs

This isn’t the time to be playing I’ve Got a Secret. Things may get physical quickly, and your sexually related medical history needs to be addressed, especially since her health is also at stake.

It’s a question of responsibility; you may feel embarrassed, but no excuse in the world could justify putting anyone’s health at risk.

Where you’re going

Don’t confuse this with asking for permission; you shouldn’t need clearance to hang with the boys.

But you should at least have the courtesy of telling her where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Telling her your destination up front will alleviate her suspicions and earn you some bonus points. Besides, if she really trusts you, she won’t have a problem with where you’re going (unless of course it’s blatantly scandalous, but I digress).

the joy of secrets

There’s also something to be said for the exhilarating curiosity that can arise from being with someone that you don’t know everything about.

Withholding key — albeit harmless — tidbits of information about yourself can add a sense of mystery that, in turn, will keep the relationship fresh as she learns something new about you each day.

Remember that personal information is sacred and should not be disclosed to any woman you meet just for the sake of getting on her good side. There are other ways to show her you care besides revealing your innermost secrets.

You have to decide if whatever information you’re withholding will significantly alter the relationship in its most vulnerable state. But remember that the tighter the relationship becomes, the more you’ll have to open up. Secrets among married couples should be scarce at best.

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