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Martha Beck’s Guide to Intimacy – Oprah.com

Martha Beck’s Guide to Intimacy – Oprah.com

Beware the Overshare: Why You Shouldn’t Always Open Up

Your new friend confides something very personal. Do not—repeat, do not—second that emotion. Martha Beck on how to manage people who play fast and loose with intimacy.

Boris came to me at the behest of his new girlfriend, Cecily, whom I’d known for years. Since most people dislike being pushed to see any sort of adviser, I expected Boris to be reticent, if not downright hostile. How wrong I was! After a few minutes of chitchat, Boris himself raised a very personal issue.

“I know why Cecily’s confused,” he said sheepishly. “We’ve been dating for months, and we still haven’t slept together.”
“Okay,” I said cautiously, not wanting to disrupt a delicate moment.
“You see,” Boris said, looking at the floor. “Ten years ago I had a cancer scare. My, um, prostate. It turned out to be benign, but mentally, it affected…you know.” Eyes still averted, Boris described his sexual difficulties and the vicious mockery he’d endured from his former wife. I felt terrible for Boris but also secretly pleased that he’d felt safe enough to divulge such personal information.

The next day, Cecily called to thank me. “Boris seems happier,” she said. Then her voice dropped. “You know, ten years ago…” She repeated Boris’s prostate story, including all the gory details. “I know we have a really special connection,” Cecily said, “because Boris shared that with me on our very first date.”

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