Full disclosure

by Dating Goddess on October 31, 2010

A DG reader shared that he learned his last girlfriend was currently married only after he proposed when she said she was pregnant.

It made me think of what else would be assuring to have someone prove before you got too involved. Of course, it would be considered rude to request the following — at least at the beginning — but it would certainly clarify any questions.

See what you’d add to this list:

  • Driver’s license — I’ve only found out that one man gave me fictitious personal information, but I’ve sometimes wondered if a date was who he said he was. Or was the age he claimed, or lived where he stated. A quick look at his driver’s license would put at rest any doubts.
  • Divorce decree — I’ve had married men tell me they weren’t when asked point blank. Honest people say they are separated when not divorced. Dishonest ones say they are divorced or widowed when they aren’t. Showing a divorce decree would prove their status — unless they’d gotten remarried in the interim.
  • Credit score/tax returns/net worth statement — wouldn’t it be great if you could exchange documentation with your suitor to prove each other’s financial soundness? I’ve been drawn to people who, after investing months in a budding relationship, I learned are financially irresponsible.

Unfortunately, there’s not a document one can produce to show they aren’t a convicted felon, a cheater, or a pathological liar. I’ve dated the latter two and it took a while to figure out.

Of course, there is documentation that can show someone is STD free, but unfortunately few people ask to see it. If it comes up at all, people just say they are and the other accepts it. That’s just stupid. So even when documentation is possible, few ask for it.

What documents would you like to see — if there was actually a way to ask for it without being offensive — that would prove something about someone before you got too involved?
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Learn other things you should make sure you know before becoming too involved in the book, Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

catherine November 1, 2010 at 1:27 am

I think it would be great to get this information ahead of time! Would save women from a lot of heartache. In my 10 Ways To Lose A Guy (Maybe in 10 Days) post, I mentioned I’d like to get a full health history, IQ test and polygraph from all the men I date :)

ditz November 1, 2010 at 7:59 am

I ask directly about marital status, then I double check in the online court records. I google, use linkedin, intellius.com, 123people, facebook, to confirm what they tell me. I usually know a lot about a man before the second date, sometimes even before the first (that sometimes doesn’t happen as a result of what I find out).

maria rose November 1, 2010 at 8:11 am

there are so many scammers out there for everything you can name that it doesn’t surprise me that potential suitors would do the same thing. A relationship is based on mutual trust not who pulls the most wool over the other’s eyes. I consider myself first whenever i have any contact with others. If my instincts tell me to not get close i don’t not matter what my urges say (sort of mind versus body battle). Yes attraction rears up very fast but take a step backward and look at the whole picture. Why would an attractive supposedly successful man be not in a commited relationship or is the wife only used as a trophyAK Donald Trump style. I use to get mad when told that marriage is to view as a business deal but now i see the wisdom of that statement. It is time we women have a Big involvement in this matter. If we are to commit to a person than a Full disclosure is forecoming so nothing is left under the table. Then if you can accept the reality make the commitment.

Katie November 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

Last six months of credit card statements would be highly informative.

I’ve also dreamed of vetting a man through a list of references. Permission to call his best friend? Boss? Neighbors? Accountant? Barber? Ex-wife? Children? Golf or fishing buddy? Siblings? I’d have specific questions for each. No doubt it would add immeasurably to the forming of a balanced and multi-dimensional view of a guy.

Dating Goddess November 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Katie — I like your approach! But I’d hope he wouldn’t require the same as me, as I’m estranged from one of my siblings, have no boss. But my CPA would say glowing things, so there would be some good references in there!

Credit card statements would be interesting (isn’t that how Larry King was found out — he’d bought his mistress expensive jewelry!), but if he paid cash for things, like the cheater I dated for a while did, it wouldn’t reveal all.

not convinced November 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm

The idea of wanting to see financial docs doesn’t sit well with me at all. I am financially irresponsible and I’m working on it. It’s not something I would hide, but IMO my finances are private unless someone wants to merge finances with me. Before then, it’s none of their business IMO. I understand wanting to screen people out on that basis so that you “don’t waste your time” if that’s really important to you. I guess I think that disclosure should be appropriate to the level of connection/commitment. Everyone has faults and most have the odd skeleton in their closet. As love and commitment unfold in a relationship, disclosure should happen as part of sharing and trust-building. To short-circuit the process alters the unfolding IMO. I recently dated a guy for a month who was pretty seriously into a LTR and he grilled me mercilessly about all sorts of things. He asked and I answered (honestly) in good humour, but it felt inappropriate. He broke up with me (didn’t see the potential for LTR with me) but I wonder if he’ll ever connect with someone with that approach.

Brenda November 2, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I just went on a date with a married pilot who told me he was divorced. Thankfully it was only one date, and he made it clear at the end of the date – dinner and jazz – that he really was interested in intimacy which we all know meant a “one night stand”

I only found out by searching the internet on Monday that he was still married. :(

Katie November 3, 2010 at 6:11 am

Please tell me that you called him and gave it to him with both barrels. This kind of behavior is beyond repulsive.

In retrospect, were there any warning signals before he propositioned you?

Dating Goddess November 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Years ago, before I was married, a gal pal and I were on a ski trip and during dinner two guys nearby started flirting with us. We joined tables and my friend wanted to leave with one of the guys, and since she drove, the other said he’d drive me back to our chalet. We continued talking in his car and necking until the wee hours, when I said I needed to go in. He wanted to join me, but I said no. Since we were from the same metropolitan area, he said he’d call and we’d get together.

After a week of not hearing from him, I tracked him down and called him. A woman answered and when she asked who I was, I said we’d had a date the previous week. Imagine both our surprise when she said she was his wife! I’m not sorry I told the truth as he needed to be disclosed. I have no idea what happened after that.

Julie November 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm

HA! I love that I am not the only one who sees things this way! I JUST wrote a post about the lack of honesty in dating. Everyone seems to have something to cover up – even their honest feelings for you! Love to hear people’s thoughts on that – all this politically-correct-I-can’t-just-be-honest-with-you crap!! :)

Mark November 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

This topic makes me go hmmn. I guess some men do lie about things, but so do some women. I remember a long time ago I met a woman in college and one thing led to another and we were necking, and that led to sex. After a couple more dates she told me she was married. Hmmm.

A woman I dated in the last few years told me after a few dates the next man she would have sex with she was going to marry. Hmmm.

Another woman I had a close relationship with who told me she “really, really loved me” after two weeks told me after six months that it was inevitable that she would start sleeping with other men soon because that was her pattern, and would that be ok with me? Hmmm.

It goes both ways, ladies. You want financial disclosure and proof of divorce? I want to know about all your character defects up front. You have a temper? You yell a lot? You use sex as leverage? You can’t help flirting even when you’re in an exclusive relationship?

I prefer the old-fashioned way of dating. We go out. We learn about one another. We learn to trust. If there’s a reason why that doesn’t work for the 40+ crowd, I think it says bad things about us.

Wayne November 5, 2010 at 7:41 am

I would like a FULL medical history..

I am getting to that age now where I choose women not because they look good in their jeans but because they have good Genes :)

A full service history is a good thought, but you’d probably regret asking for it as soon as you saw it. (Ignorance is bliss and all that)

Mitsy November 10, 2010 at 11:53 am

I think wanting proof of a divorce should be at the top of the list. What I have found is that a lot of men seem to think they are free to date whoever they want as long as they are separated. I learned the hard way that being separated does not mean they will soon get a divorce. In fact, getting a guy who has been single (and divorced) for a period of time is healthier than a guy who goes from one woman to the next just so he won’t be alone. Women are bad about having to have someone in the wings upon a break-up, but I don’t view that as emotionally healthy either.

I think disclosing financial information is a no no unless you are talking marriage. I owe considerable debt myself and would not be willing to tell a guy how much I owe unless we were in a serious romance that was going to lead to marriage. Otherwise, it’s none of his business. I would assume the same with a guy.

HOWEVER, I think expecting someone to have enough disposable income in order to go out to eat, go on some day trips and normal dating activities is NOT too much to expect of someone. I’ve also been in the situation where a guy was actually much more cash-strapped than I realized and soon quit taking me out to dinner. That got old extremely fast and I soon felt like I was taken for granted. That has happened a couple times and it’s not much fun. I’m always willing to help pay for dinners or do my share of cooking at home, but I don’t want a guy who will skimp on a meal out with me simply because he suddenly got an unexpected bill. If he’s that close to having to watch his pennies, then he likely doesn’t need to be dating anyone. Just my 2 cents.

Sarah November 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm

As a rule I personally think that if you’re really getting serious with someone and are thinking about a permanent relationship and still haven’t seen his driver’s licence and have doubts about his marital status, something’s wrong somewhere. Either you want to stay with the guy after 2 dates or the guy has something to hide.

As for financial info, if I’m expected to eventually share responsibility in his debts then I want to know, otherwise, I’m financially independent and don’t really see why this should be a concern for me.

Mark November 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm

You know, I never once asked to see the drivers license of anyone I’ve dated. Nor did I ask to see a divorce decree.

Just saying.

bookyone March 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

For me, marital status is the biggie, (having been burned by married cheaters before, I absolutely MUST be sure a guy is single before I’ll even agree to talk to him, let alone go out on a date), followed by children from previous relationships, (as I’m child free by choice and don’t want to get involved with men who have kids unless they’re grown and on their own), and convictions for anything.

Otherwise I’m pretty much OK with whatever. :)

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