Dear Dating Coach,
I am an older single and I have been dating someone for six months. I think he could propose very soon. In the past month, I have been introducing him to friends and family and the feedback has been terrible. My parents and friends all believe that he is unkind to me. They thought he was dismissive of my feelings and belittled anything I said in their presence. It is true that he likes to take charge, and sometimes his ideas are better than mine. I think “belittle” is an exaggeration, although he does tend to reject my opinions and choices. I am not completely ok with this, but at this point I don’t know that I could do better than him. I truly like him and respect him and feel like we could make a happy life together. It’s easy for my family and friends to judge when they are all happily married. Is it so bad to settle in this one regard?
Thank you kindly
I am a fifty-percent chance baker. To the optimists that means that I generally have a fifty percent chance of baking success. For the pessimists out there, this means that if you eat by us, I hope you like ice cream for dessert. A few weeks ago, I was making my grandmother’s famous (she says its famous and that’s enough for me) double chocolate cake. I put in all the dry ingredients and sent them for a spin, and started to add the oil, juice (no, I cannot give measurements. This is a secret recipe), and eggs. But I got too self-confident (read: cocky) there at the end, and cracked my final egg without checking it first and bam! A blood spot in the egg. My perfect cake. Completely ruined.
It’s Nice To Be Important…
Thank you for reaching out. I hear you. You have invested time, energy, and emotion into fostering a connection with this man. You were surprised by the reactions of your family and friends. They do not believe that he is kind to you, and they worry about what that might mean for your future together. You would like to be pragmatic, as there are many things that you admire, even though you too have noticed his tendency to dismiss your feelings.
But It’s More Important…
I wish you would have asked about a physical attribute, a speech impediment, or a height disparity. I would likely then have cautioned you to keep an open mind and to stretch your inherent beliefs. Kindness, however, is something we simply cannot ignore. When someone is dismissive or shows a lack of care so early on in a relationship, we must take notice. When those you trust point out these inequalities to you, we cannot brush their concerns aside. A lifetime spent with someone who chips away at all that you are is not something I could ever advocate. Knowing now that he will most certainly put you down, that he will reject your ideas, tells me that he is not interested in an equal partner.
To Be Nice.
A lack of kindness is the “ruinous egg” of a marriage, sure to damage and destroy. Yes, you are right to be open minded, and you are right when you open your heart to possibilities outside of your expectations. You were smart to work hard at a connection and you are to be commended for your willingness to be vulnerable and to engage so fully. Your commitment to dating is valuable as you assemble your recipe for marriage. A lack of kindness, though, most certainly hurts your chances of marriage success.