Will A Criminal Record Lock Up Your Dating Life?

Relationships

Will A Criminal Record Lock Up Your Dating Life?

Justin Lavelle

October 15, 2014

All of us have skeletons in the closet, but some skeletons may appear to be scarier than others, especially in a dating context.

With people from all walks of life now able to run background checks affordably and instantly, you may feel like your past is obscuring your present and future prospects. After all, if you have a criminal record, you are already aware of how it can interfere with employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and even basic necessities such as housing.

However, until relatively recently, beyond official purposes, criminal records were sufficiently private that a person with an incident in his or her past would have the chance to get to know someone before having to mention a criminal history.  Now however, it is entirely possible and even likely that someone could learn about your criminal history before you even get an opportunity to make a first impression.

So, how do you approach dating if you have a criminal incident on your record?

First, don’t lie. While you may not have to share your entire criminal history with someone by the end of the first date, many potential partners will be more upset if you conceal the truth than they would have been about learning about the underlying criminal offense. Furthermore, if a criminal record is a deal-breaker for a potential partner, you not only waste their time, but yours, too, if you lie about it.

Second, take accountability for past mistakes. For many potential partners, it will not be enough for you to be honest about the details of your conviction, but also about the underlying details for the crime. While you have every right to say you would like to wait to discuss them, the reality is that if a relationship progresses, you will need to discuss it at some point in time. When you do describe the event, you will seem like you are trying to dodge responsibility if you blame others for what you did.

Third, ask yourself if you have you taken the steps needed to improve or change yourself since the criminal incident(s). If the conviction involved drugs or alcohol, have you completed a rehabilitation program and are you currently sober?  If you were convicted with a group of people, have you changed associates?  If the conviction was for a violent crime, have you sought help to deal with any anger management issues or other problems with violence that you may have?

It is important to articulate the steps you have taken to put yourself in a different place than you were at when the criminal record was created. Many potential partners are not nearly as concerned about what is in your past as they are about what you are likely to be like in your future.

Therefore, any steps you have taken to help improve your chances of avoiding the same mistakes you have made in the past can be critical in keeping a new love interest onboard.

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Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.