Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Was it wrong to delay plans with boyfriend?

 

Dear Carolyn: I wanted to check this disagreement I'm having with my fiance against a neutral third party. Every once in a while, I notice a situation in which his preferences or perspectives might be different from mine, and when those come up I like to communicate with him about those preferences and how strong they are respectively, to figure out the optimal course of action.

For example, we had planned an evening together for a certain day, but a close friend with an extremely busy schedule wanted to have a short (under an hour) phone call to catch up that night. So I asked my fiance, "So-and-so would like to talk Thursday for a little while, but I know we had planned to spend that whole night with each other. Would it be OK to talk with her, or should I try to reschedule that for the future?"

He said that was fine, but later expressed that he didn't understand why I didn't just assume he'd rather I spend the time with him, and that in general he'd prefer I sometimes try to anticipate his desires rather than always asking about them. I feel like this kind of communication is an integral part of a healthy relationship, and I'm not really inclined to do less of it and more guessing. What do you think?

Communicating

I think there are times when I want to apologize to everyone for advising so much talk.

Your fiance is right that there's merit in treating some things as obvious. You have plans, so you can assume he wants to see you, right?

But there's more to it than that. By running your conflict by him as you did, you basically assigned the Thursday night decision to him without taking any position of your own.

If you instead had come clean — "I know we have plans, but, unless you feel strongly, I'd really like to catch up with this friend, since it might be weeks till our next opportunity" —then you'd have given your fiance a chance to weigh in without crossing the boundary into making your decision for you.

And it is a boundary issue, if a subtle one. Communication isn't just about asking questions and seeking input. It's also about knowing yourself, making clear and consistent choices and being transparent about them with others.

So, do keep recognizing your fiance's stake in your choices, big and small — but also stop yourself before asking for his preference becomes a way out of owning yours.

:

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Mariner of the Seas is docked at the international passenger port in Shanghai, China.

    Global cruise lines set sail for China

    Royal Caribbean’s newest ship has attractions not usually seen on cruise liners, including bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and a glass observation capsule on a mechanical arm that lifts its passengers high into the air.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Bhindi masala: </span>Fried okra in a flavorful spice paste is a surefire way to fall in love with the misunderstood vegetable.

    YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

    No slime: Indian dish brings out the best of okra

    I am glad that no one ever forced stewed okra on me during my childhood, because the stories I’ve heard from stewed-okra veterans have been traumatizing. Friends and colleagues have described memories of okra that was sulfurous and slimy and yet left a cottony feeling on their tongues and gums. (This is no coincidence: The okra plant is related to the cotton plant.)

  •  
Khuly

    Pets

    Cats can pick up virus at vet’s, but they can also transmit it themselves

    Q: Our cats had to go to the vet hospital last week to have their teeth cleaned. The procedures went very well and, as predicted, both were back to normal that evening. Unfortunately, two days later they both started sneezing. First Patches and then Stumpy came down with the exact same cold. Patches got better but we had to take Stumpy back to the hospital. We actually had to pay more for his cold than for the teeth cleaning! Shouldn’t the vet have gone easy on us since our cats live safely indoors and they obviously caught the cold there?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category