I said the wrong thing

After sex, I talked about incest

By Cary Tennis
Published August 7, 2012 12:00AM (EDT)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Zach Trenholm/Salon)
(Zach Trenholm/Salon)

Dear Cary,

I'm dating again after the end of my marriage and recently met a really great woman when she contacted me on a dating site. We had several dates before we slept together and I came to really like her -- she seemed to like me too.

The second time we made love was one of the best times I've ever had. I felt very close to her and made what in retrospect turned out to be a mistake: I told her about my father's sexual abuse of my sister and my mother's enabling of it after she found out it was happening.

I explained that Dad has changed a lot -- he paid for and participated in therapy for all of us (I have two brothers) and isn't the same person he was 30 + years ago. I also said that Mom hasn't changed much and doesn't understand why my sister refuses to speak to her for long periods of time after Mom commits another screw-up.

Our dating relationship stumbled along for a couple of weeks after my indiscretion with me not knowing what was wrong. When I prompted her as to if we were still dating, she said that we were "... done. What you told me about your father absolutely disgusted me, I am sorry."

There was another text from her and I replied with an upset email -- upset because someone else's transgression was being held against me. More details are available if you wish.

Is there any chance of us dating again? Is there anything I can do to make that happen? I like her -- a lot -- and think she's really special.



Dear Over-Sharer,

After sex is a good time to say things like, I really love your eyes. It's a bad time to say things like, My dad molested my sister.

It was too early. She was still trying to figure out if you were going to ruin her life and if so in what way. This helped her conclude that, yes, possibly you were going to ruin her life and not in a good way.

She couldn't say it was a buzz kill because saying such a nakedly honest thing might make her sound selfish and uncaring. But it was a buzz kill. It was a spectacular buzz kill. It might be a fatal, nonrecoverable buzz kill. Only time will tell.

Give her time. Tell her it was a mistake to say what you said when you said it and where you said it. Tell her you think the relationship has a future and take it slowly. Do one nice, romantic thing. Don't share anything alarming. Just be nice. Be patient and see if you can get a second chance.

Maybe she will come around. Maybe not. Set a deadline. If she's clearly not into it, move on. Don't persist past a second clear refusal. After that, you're being a pest.

Cary Tennis

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