What should I be doing instead of this?
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The Dating

By Erma P. Sanders · May 4th, 2000 · Diva
Sometimes you think things are going along well in your relationship. You're just coasting along, and then one day you realize something is a little amiss. Some little quirk materializes out of the blue and instead of washing over you, it eats at you until all of the other little quirks that you let slide by start festering too and before you know it your smooth relationship has more bumps and craters than a Cincinnati side street.

My man puts on his right shoe on first. I never noticed this before. Indeed, we may have gone the rest of our lives with his little secret intact but, one day when I was ill, he was helping me get dressed and he handed me my right shoe. As a total reflex I grabbed for my left shoe on the bed, ignoring the proffered right shoe. He gave me a strange look. I gave him a stranger look. "I put my left shoe on first, " I said. Until that moment, I'd never realized my preference. But there it was. And it didn't fit in with his preference.

This was by no means a deal breaker in the relationship. I put on my left shoe, then my right, and off we went. Whether he seethed in disgust, I don't know.

But honestly, we are unlikely to re-examine the issue again. He is perfectly capable of dressing and shoeing himself, and so am I. And yet this innocence of differences in our natures stuck with me.

It stuck with me because I wonder if letting something so small go hurts more in the long run. For example, I hate to be tickled. Hate it. I can't emphasize it enough. The problem is that I didn't make it clear the very first time my man did it. Now when he tickles me I boil with homicidal rage, but I've lost the right to make my feelings clear because I didn't do so in the beginning.

Indeed the majority of our shouting matches are because he feels I respond irrationally to small items. Like a light punch on the shoulder. Or tears when I lose something. I don't like to be punched in any form.

That "I was just playing" crap doesn't wash with me. I also feel tears are a great release. If you would let me cry uncontrollably for a minute, it would all be over. Nagging and shouting at me makes the situation drag on longer and helps no one. These are but just two of my quirks.

However, because I did not make this clear in the beginning it is an ongoing battle. In family, in life, in work, in relationships -- my motto has always been, pick your battles. In my case the shoe thing isn't a worthy battle. I will never mention it again. However, when other issues arise that are important to me, I will address them as soon as they surface.

My advice to everyone in long and short term relationships is to accept that your partner will not always do or say what you want them to. Part of loving someone is accepting their faults as well as their attributes. Also, know that no matter how close two people become, neither of you is likely to be a mind reader. A good relationship is one where both parties are free to discuss what is bothering them.

Discuss things as they come up. It isn't fair to bring up something that happened a year ago because something else is bothering you now. So I think my partner is a weirdo for putting on his right shoe first?

Speak now, Diva, or forever hold your peace.



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