Ask Wendy

#1 Most Important Must-Have in a Partner

Friday, December 4, 2020
Hey Wendy,

I'm dating a great guy who's curious, self-aware, and is eager to learn me.

I have a secret. I used to be a sensual massage therapist, and for a time, I was escorting. I just kept a few regular clients. I did this to pay off my business loan and to support my family in another country. I didn't have an addiction and it wasn't a lifestyle choice. There was a goal in sight, and I reached it eventually.

My new guy asked me about past romantic relationships, and I've answered his questions. I want to share my secret, but I'm afraid of his judgment even though I think he'd probably be more intrigued than disgusted. I'm still afraid to tell him because I love what we are becoming together, and I don't want to risk fucking it up. Help!

Maya J.

Hey Maya,

I have mad respect for sex workers. And I am not alone.

Here’s the good news: If you tell him, regardless of his response, you didn’t fuck it up.

Sharing your secret is frightening, and I feel for you. Because yeah, he might be out after you tell him — and if he is, if he can’t handle your history, then he should be lost to you. The sooner the better. We’ve got to make room for the one who can get behind the woman you are.

Your Partner

Your real partner — the one you’re meant to be with and who loves you just as you are — will respect you for your secret. He might even think you’re a total badass.

A real partner doesn’t blame you, shame you, or make you feel embarrassed or regretful for your life choices. Your real partner sees you as a whole, complex person instead of just an image of what he thinks you should be. Does this sound like your man? I hope it does, but if he ends up disappointing, then at least you know that he wasn’t the one to witness your greatness.

We’re nearing the end of 2020, so let’s continue to band together and fight against slut-shaming, objectification, and the outdated, patriarchal notions surrounding our power, sexuality, and bodies.

The Right Time

So…the right time to tell him is as soon as you feel safe enough and you think he can receive it. If, within a couple of months of dating, you still don’t feel safe? You might want to re-evaluate how honest you’re being with yourself in your choice of a mate.

The Reveal

As you’re gearing up for the reveal, remember this: If he doesn’t take it well, there are plenty of people out there who will love and appreciate you as you are. And if he stays, then you can finally relax and fully breathe into this relationship.

#1 Most Important Must-Have

When I was single, I had a four-page list of must-haves and deal-breakers. It wasn’t until I met my person (who checked the boxes on all four pages, btw) that I realized the most important item I needed was missing from my list.

The #1 most important list item for any partner is “Will he/she/they empower me?”

Will they empower you to be the best person you can be? Will they empower you to be the most authentic and true you? These things are only possible when your partner knows who you are, sees aspects of you that you don’t always show the world, and loves every bit of you for what it took to get to who you are today.

Don’t keep this secret to yourself. You owe it to yourself to be fully seen by your person. There’s nothing in the world like it. Don’t rip yourself off.

Sending you so much love and good luck!

Wendy Newman is the author of 121 First Dates. She’s a dating, sex, and relationship expert who’s led hundreds of workshops and revolutionized the lives of over 70,000+ women internationally.

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