Complete transparency before dating
Surprises are for birthdays, anniversaries and little 'just because' gifts, not for when your spouse finds out you have a child with someone else or you have another girlfriend. To have a healthy relationship, laying everything on the table at all times is important.
When you are entering into a relationship, it is important that both parties know what they are getting into. Many believe that transparency can wait until marriage, but you have to know whether both of you are on the same page.
According to Dr Sidney McGill, it is important that you discuss as much as possible with your partner before the relationship. This is not for judgement but to ensure that there are no surprises.
"'Love covers a multitude of sins' and if you love the person, that does not mean that their background will change the way you feel, but you do not want there to be any surprises," said McGill. He went on to also explain that transparency going into the relationship will better help you to understand your partner.
"You would want to know their family dynamic and background. That will not change how you feel, but if his or her background is different from yours, then you will know you have to adjust your thought process," he advised.
Sexual history is also an important factor according to McGill. This does not mean every detail of your partner's previous sexual activities is necessary, but important issues such as their sexual preference.
One should discuss spiritual background because while at first you might think it does not matter, the more serious the relationship, the more it appears. This is one aspect of a person's history that might be hard to compromise.
While McGill believes that it is important to know everything about the other person, Taneisha McKenzie, relationship counsellor, believes it also important that you are certain about what you want and who you are as an individual before trying to invest your time and effort into someone else.
At the end of the day, when it comes to entering a relationship, among the butterflies and chills, one should carefully seek and offer transparency. This does not mean interrogation. Let it flow and take your time.