It was so adorable when you discovered your new partner looks just like a little boy when he sleeps, so deeply, mouth-breathing, unwakable. Then one day you wake up and can think of nothing but, He’s drooled all over the fuckin’ pillow again…
It’s easy to confuse Things You Find Sweet Because You Just Started Dating with Things That Would Otherwise Drive You Insane. Passion has that effect.
I don’t really consider myself to be fastidious. My bathroom, for instance, has more than its share of toothpaste spatter and disembodied hair. But for some reason I go ballistic if the toothpaste isn’t squeezed from the bottom. The habits that do and don’t drive us crazy can be irrational and nonsensical. But we can feel so strongly about them they can make or break a relationship.
We’re talking about: Toilet paper unrolling from the top or bottom? Opening gifts before Xmas day? To make or not to make the bed? How many times can the snooze button be hit? Fold clothes or pull them from the basket? You get the idea.
It’s easy to be critical of these nitpicky differences with someone who isn’t our partner. So why do we ignore them at the start of a relationship? Makes no sense to me.
If you’re the kind of person who can honestly say these kinds of differences can be overcome, well, all the power to ya. But I don’t believe they are overcome. I think couples end up sucking it up and living with long-term, below-the-surface frustration (of course I always allow that there are saints out there who can put up with anything, but they’re exceptions—sorry for having such low faith in humanity.)
But know this: two things are guaranteed—
If you go into a relationship thinking the same habits you wouldn’t otherwise tolerate in others will be “cute” when done by your partner, you’re eventually in for a wake-up call.
Although I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t work hard at a relationship simply because you have different habits, I am suggesting that it’s perfectly acceptable to choose not to be in a relationship if your habits are at odds. Call it a pre-emptive strike.
There are all sorts of reasons why people may not be suitably matched. If you’re thinking long-term, consider every element of what you’re getting into long-term. It may not be worth losing your peace of mind.
It doesn’t make you a bad person. It means you’re being honest with yourself and others.
And one can only take so much drool.
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