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-   -   Resolving issues with someone new? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25010)

Dreamy 06-24-2012 07:55 AM

Resolving issues with someone new?
 
I have always struggled with this general relationship issue.

Say you have online chats or phone calls with someone, and you both like each other so far. Then you have your first, second, third in-person dates. Usually by the first date, let alone the third, they unknowingly do small things that bother me.

On one hand, I feel I should communicate it to them immediately, or within a day. What I usually do hasn't worked, and I know it's not the best path. I have usually let it go, forgetting about it. After we fall into a relationship (versus simply dating), I feel comfortable to bring things up, but by then, I feel silly as it's something they have done regularly, and I can't suddenly starting "criticizing" them for a dozen or two things. So I mostly let them go again, and just bring up maybe 3 of them meekly, and I find myself in uncomfortable relationships where the person does many small bothersome things.

OTOH, I am not sure I could bring it up early in dating. It feels wrong. The guy/girl may be putting in effort to be romantic, talk about good topics, and it's silly to criticize some little thing he did. That would be a bad sign, wouldn't it? You go on a first date and the person is already pointing out minor problems with how you acted?

The only conclusion I've come to is bring them up, but not on the first date or before. And try and blame myself for being bothered by them, and be as polite as possible. Is there any better way?

I know it depends on what specifically they did.

I know it's my own difficulties with being assertive in a polite way, and I have some hyper sensitivities. Sometimes it's worse because I have trouble explaining which particular aspect of their action/statement was the bothersome part. They think I'm criticizing something bigger or different.

I'd just like to establish certain patterns so our relationship has a chance of being comfortable for me. Most of the men I am dating are very nice and would probably say they want to be told. But in reality, if they were being told a number of things during the first or second date, they might be bothered.

Anneintherain 06-24-2012 08:16 AM

If something about a person bothers me by the third date - I don't go on a forth date.

Telling somebody that you don't like some part of them, some way they are - that is the sort of thing that might make sense a couple years into a relationship when the NRE is over, but really, if I already know early there is a part of a person's behavior or actions that irritate me - well I'll do THEM a favor and move on. It sounds like you're finding lots of things "not good enough" about people, so I just suggest to not date them.

Dreamy 06-24-2012 08:34 AM

I mean small things that they could stop doing or change, and the person is otherwise seeming compatible. I know I shouldn't try and change them in most cases, but these are small enough? Say they want to give quick kisses in public and I don't like that.

In fact, that example lets me explain the problem further. In that example, I might pull away because I am not comfortable, or occasionally not feeling up to it. But then my partner can't help it and starts feeling like they can never initiate a kiss. Even if we talked about it and I said it was in public I didn't like, they might stop initating. I am troubled with patterns that get set and stay in the relationship.

opalescent 06-24-2012 01:23 PM

So you have small differences in preferences about relatively small things. Like your example, you don't like quick kisses in public especially early on. So tell them that. You aren't very comfortable kissing in public. Make it clear you love kissing in private. Reinforce this by reaching out and kissing the heck out of them in private once on a while, even if you prefer not to initiate most of the time. Positively reinforce the behaviors you want, gently remind them when behaviors you don't want happen, and clearly say what you want and don't want. That's not changing people but asking for what you want and need. It is more than ok to have and communicate your boundaries. Lots of people have varying boundaries about public displays of affection.

However you cannot fundamentally change people. You will always find something or something's you dislike about potential partners. Decide if they offer enough for you to pay the 'price of admission' - their annoying chewing noise. (The phrase is from Dan Savage.) Sometimes the answer is no. You sound like you are seeking the ideal completely non annoying partner. Such a person does not exist. Decide what you can tolerate, communicate clearly about what you cannot tolerate and positively reinforce what you want.

Dreamy 06-24-2012 01:36 PM

I agree it's sometimes a choice to live with the chewing noise, or find someone else. It's not that I care about every little thing. Though sometimes, I have a big problem being assertive because of my past environments making it scary to be assertive sometimes.

I'm most confused when it's related to personal triggers or baggage or difficulties. I need to assert myself early on, but feel bad about doing so. I don't want to spoil the nice new NRE by being so serious. And I seem strange and it's personal sharing these things. However I find over and over, if I don't say something, pretty early, I'll just doom the relationship. When I do try and say something, they usually don't take it seriously enough (because they are in NRE or because I'm trying to make it lighter, less serious).

Jade 06-24-2012 02:07 PM

Speak now. Seriously, speak now. You do yourself a disservice by setting up a flawed foundation. You cannot skip the compatibility testing phase. Relationships survive it or they don't, but a nice person trying to skip it leads to a nice person feeling trapped.

WhatHappened 06-24-2012 02:59 PM

Are you ready for your dates to also be politely assertive on the first, or even third date, and let you know all the things you do that annoy them?

It sounds like many things annoy you and it sounds to me like a situation where you would like other people to change many things about themselves. To them, it's going to feel like a constant string of criticism and being with someone who picks at every little thing.

If you know it's mostly related to baggage and triggers, I think you have the real answer: work on your baggage and triggers.

faraday 06-24-2012 06:52 PM

Yeah... honestly it sounds like you are pretty sensitive to normal every day things. That seems like something you should be working on getting over instead of asking the people around you to change.

Other then kissing what are other things that you want them to change?

GalaGirl 06-24-2012 11:09 PM

Quote:

Speak now. Seriously, speak now. You do yourself a disservice by setting up a flawed foundation. You cannot skip the compatibility testing phase. Relationships survive it or they don't, but a nice person trying to skip it leads to a nice person feeling trapped.
I agree!

I like KISS. "Keep it simple, silly."

Quote:

I know it's my own difficulties with being assertive in a polite way, and I have some hyper sensitivities. Sometimes it's worse because I have trouble explaining which particular aspect of their action/statement was the bothersome part. They think I'm criticizing something bigger or different.

I'd just like to establish certain patterns so our relationship has a chance of being comfortable for me.
I'd rewrite and present to dating partner and something like..

Quote:

Hey! Since we're in the getting to know you place?

I'd just like to work on establishing ground rules for communication patterns with you. So that I can feel comfortable in this relationship with you, and you me. What's your vibe on that? Wanna set a time for that?
Then when it comes...

Quote:

I want you to know I have sometimes have difficulties with being assertive in a polite way, and I have some hyper sensitivities. Sometimes it's worse because I have trouble explaining what is bugging me. So I want to give you that heads up on that. Call me on it if it seems I'm acting all "shutting down" on you. I'm not. But know I'm kinda wired for bottling-it-up-ness and trying to get over that and own it. But I'm not perfect.

I also want to get feedback here... that when I'm feeling ugh about something or something bugs me? And I'm trying to do what's hard for me and wanting to get it out there? How would you like me to best express it to you? So you can hear me? Should I throw a pillow? Do a chicken dance? What?

And Is there anything you want me to know about YOU that I ought to take on board or look out for about your communication style? You know? Since we're in the getting to know you time? I like you. I want to know you."
You pretty much already wrote it, you know. :)

And as far as kissing? My KISS on that?

"Hey, no smoochies or gropies right now. Period PMS makin' me cranky/ me no likey public displays of affection/whatever it is. Still love ya. Just hold off for a week/til we get home/whatever the time frame. Thanks!"

"Hey, there. Wanna play smoochie gropies now? You up for smoochies? Cuz I am if you are. Wink."

It's just weather reporting -- wherever it is you are at. Wants, needs, preferences, etc. Some of this stuff might be big stuff like how to deal with conflict resolution. But most of the time it is piddly stuff -- don't make mountains out of molehills.

And don't confuse "criticism" with "critique." One is tearing someone down for no real reason. The other is feedback --
  • that was AWESOME! More of that!
  • No, not cool on that one. Maybe try___ next time?
  • Hey, that wasn't quite it either. But in the ballpark at least now! And Kudos for TRYING a new approach. A for effort! I know that was hard for you and I appreciate you trying.

Speak up and get your feedback out there. RELATE in your relationships.

GalaGirl

opalescent 06-25-2012 01:58 AM

*Decides that chicken dances will have a place in all future relationships.* Awesome!


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