Working through the hiccups

hiccupIn every relationship, no matter how great, there are some hiccups: occasional miscommunication, unmet expectations, hurt and/or disappointment.

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.

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5 responses to “Working through the hiccups”

  1. nysharon Avatar

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have my yellow flag up for you. Sometimes spontaneity is an excuse for inconsideration, lack of commitment and in general for being self-centered. It is good you set your needs out. Sounds like you came to a great compromise, and he does sound charming.

  2. nysharon Avatar

    BTW: check out this utube link about why men are better at getting their needs met>

  3. Dating Goddess Avatar
    Dating Goddess

    NY Sharon: That’s a fun video. Connie is a friend of mine and I’ve seen her do this bit a number of times.

    Yes, I, too, have a yellow flag up. Some friends tell me we’ve just barely begun to know each other so just take it easy breezy. My “Male Call” friend and I had lunch yesterday and he said, “This behavior doesn’t bode well so early in the relationship.” So we will see. I leave soon for another 2-week trip to Asia so we’ll see if he continues his frequent contact in my absence and continues it when I return.

  4. nysharon Avatar

    I agree with “Male Call”, just my experience also after dating the ‘slacker’ who was much fun, wanted to
    “go with the flow”; but I found that if I wanted to be in his world, I had to put up with accepting crumbs.
    That’s very cool that you know Connie. How funny I sent you the link. I think her stuff is very meaningfull. Just came across it by accident.
    BTW: I have been dating the ‘bad speller’ for over a month now. He is really prince charming, is telling me he has feeling for me, however I am not having the physical chemistry. I like hanging out with him but he is pushing a bit. Then we are talking and I find out he has the same birthday of my exhusband, along with other similar things. ewwwwe.

  5. Allison Avatar

    It’s my observation too that we do sometimes call things off rather than talk openly about needs that aren’t being met/things that are bothering us. This issue could certainly be a yellow flag, but now that you’ve discussed openly, you’ll have a much better idea (in a shorter time frame) if it’s really a problem. Now that you’ve talked, if he continues doing it, voila, there is your answer.

    Much better than making all kinds of assumptions that may or may not be true.