From the forums:
(TW: rape; suicide)
Now, let’s get into the issue I’m here for. I’m very self-conscious about what I am. I look a lot like the rapist and my mother always talked about the “power of genes” and I’m fully aware of the fact that I’ll always have these bad genes. It’s something that always scared me but also motivated me to be a better version of myself every day.
When it comes to dating, the last thing I want to do is to trick some innocent girl into bed without her knowing who I am. In high school, I started dating this amazing girl who seemed really into me at first. She was new at the school and didn’t really know who I was, but since it was a small town, she found out eventually. It was really difficult for her to continue dating me. She even regretted the time we spent together and the fact that we lost our virginity to each other.
So, in order to avoid this happening again, I like to come clean to anyone I’m dating about who I am before we go to bed together. This sometimes results into long dating without sex, which makes some feel restless or think that I’m not attracted to them just because I wait too long.
I’ve been dating this girl I work with for a month now. She’s been dropping hints about sex, but I have made it very clear that it’s best we get to know each other very well before we go to bed. I really think she and I could have a future together and I want to give her everything, but I also want her to know who I am and for her to decide for herself so she won’t regret anything. At the same time, I don’t want to scare her away with such a horrifying secret, and I’d like for her to know me more before she learns about my genes.
How long do you think I should wait before I tell her?” — Dating Someone New
You deserved to have been assured at every opportunity how separate you are from your biological father and how little his genes have to do with who you are. His only contribution to who you are is some DNA, and that’s not what makes a person. You are not denying anyone the totality of who you are as a person by withholding details of your conception. It has nothing to do with who you are, and it’s no one else’s business; you’re under zero obligation to share this information – not before you have sex with someone and not after. The girlfriend who left you after you told her and who said that you should have told her sooner was cruel and immature and showed a poor level of empathy, even for a high school kid. I’m sorry that happened to you.
If you want to give women a reason for waiting a while for sex, you can address the topic without sharing such intimate family details early on. This is ultimately a trust issue and you can say: “I know I may wait longer than you might expect or want, but please know it isn’t because I don’t want it. But building up trust first is really important to me and I’m enjoying doing that with you.” Not only would any woman you’d want to date seriously understand and appreciate it, but also I think it would even turn many of them on.
I would not share the details of your conception until you have lots and lots of trust built with someone first. I don’t know how long that would take. I would think at least a few months. It might not happen until long after you have sex. It doesn’t matter – it’s entirely your decision about when or even whether to share this information, and having sex should not be contingent on it.
You’re right to think that sharing the details of your conception this early on could scare someone off, but maybe not for the reason you think. It’s not because of your genes but because sharing something so intimate and personal before trust is built-up is a little bit of a red flag. It comes across as desiring to push the relationship forward at an accelerated pace, and that can be a turn-off to a lot of people – especially well-adjusted ones.
If it’s in your budget, I would highly recommend working through all of this, including your mother’s death, with a professional counselor or therapist. There’s a lot to unpack, and so much of it is related to your perception of yourself and how you identify. Getting a tighter grip on those things will make you more attractive to potential partners and better-equipped to navigate and foster healthy relationships going forward.