In dating, one of the critical pieces you are trying to figure out is if a person is honest and truthful. On all subjects.
We all have had bad experiences. We all have faced challenges and hard times. We all have moments we wish didn't exist in our stories. We all have things that we are ashamed of, regret, want to erase, don't want to remember, wish we didn't have to discuss, etc.
In learning about a person, you need to know if they will be truthful about everything. If they will be honest about the tough crap. If they will be open to discussing it. If they will be authentic about their mistakes and lessons they have learned. Or if they hide parts of their story.
These are things that come through a continual open dialogue of discussions on various subjects. Many times you have to have multiple conversations on certain topics to make sure you get all the facts and are presented the same story each time and that the story doesn't change based on the questions you ask or the details that come up.
As one who has spent a good portion of my life having to investigate issues and cross examine to find the errors, through auditing and other formats, I have developed some ways to achieve getting the information and answers you need to problem solve. One way I have approached questioning a dating potential partner is by stating: Can you remind me when such and such happened? I have a very good memory, but I want to make sure you tell me the same time frame a second, third, or fourth time. I believe people can be effective liars and extremely dishonest. However, if you approach the topic with the attitude that they are telling the truth until proven otherwise, you will be giving them the opportunity to expose themselves. If you approach the topic that they are lying and you don't believe they are telling the truth, they are going to feel this vibe and its going to feed the character trait they have and make them feel backed in a corner. It won't give them the feeling you want the answer, whether its the truth or not.
Don't hesitate to cross examine or backtrack to find out more information. But do so in a loving, caring, and learning method, not one of condemnation or in a critical attitude and you are bound to learn exactly what pieces of information you need to know. You will be giving them an opportunity to prove if they are trustworthy and honest. Find ways to bring the answers to this out on the table because the truth cannot be hid.
What skills have you developed to learn the truth and honesty about a person?