The test for any couple is how these hiccups are dealt with. Even a budding relationship has missteps as you get to know each other’s patterns, preferences and perspectives. It’s like dancing with a new partner — there will be some unintentional stepping on toes.
If you are unhappy about something the guy you’re seeing does, do you let him know gently but clearly? Or do you keep it to yourself? Do you take one instance as an indicator of a pattern and surmise it is a portent of bigger issues? Or do you give him a little slack and share with him that you’d prefer something different?
While some behaviors are indicators of bigger issues — he’s controlling, mean, inconsiderate, uninterested in your preferences — some are not. While the above are examples of reasons for cutting out ASAP, I find some women throw a man under the bus for minor infractions that can be modified if he knows and is interested enough to work on changing.
Case in point: King Charming (the man I’ve been seeing for 3 weeks) is retired and loves spontaneity. I, however, am a planner. This has caused us some hiccups when I think that when we talk about getting together the next day it is an agreement, his way of thinking is without a definite time and place, it’s a possibility not a commitment.
When this happened recently, I shared how I was disappointed. He listened attentively, apologized, and said he didn’t feel we’d set a date. We discussed this openly and maturely and agreed to support each other’s needs, but also to be conscious of the need to compromise. I offered that I wouldn’t take a suggestion we get together “later in the week” as a commitment, just a possibility. And he would be better at setting specific times and dates, which he of course would honor.
We agreed that we would work to have some planned spontaneity — we didn’t have to decide exactly what we’d do, just when and where we’d meet. I could then have my planning needs met, and we could decide in the moment what we wanted to do. Of course, if attire beyond jeans was needed, we’d make that clear.
If I’d flown into a rage the first time there was a hiccup, accusing him of disrespecting me and telling him not to call me again because I won’t be treated like that, I would have lost the opportunity to understand his point of view and see where we were crossing wires. By being willing to address it directly we saw where we had different mindsets and could then work at a mutually agreeable solution.
Physical hiccups are cured by holding your breath or sometimes by being startled. Neither are a good cure for relationship hiccups. Unless you consider it “holding your breath” to hold your tongue and not lash out about something that might have a different interpretation than the one you’re making.