When you’re dating someone new, it’s natural to put your best foot forward. We put a little extra thought into our appearance, and let’s admit it: we also do our best to curb bad behavior.
Suppressing the less attractive side of your personality only works for so long. Hey, we’re human. We get angry, irritated, hungry and tired; and when that happens, a different side of us emerges. And usually, it’s not pretty.
This isn’t the spell of love being broken. It’s what eventually happens in all healthy relationships, and it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to observe what happens when life throws your partner a curveball. Does your boyfriend throw a fit when he loses a game of Scrabble? Does your new girlfriend curse like a sailor when she’s stuck in traffic?
And is this behavior you want to deal with forever?
This is an important question, and one you must ask if you are planning on a long-term commitment to a person. We’ve compiled a list of situations where “the real you” emerges—situations that test our nature. Get ready to take notes.
Traveling together can bring couples closer together, but it can also shed light on some not-so-charming aspects of your new love. A trip is an adventure, and how your mate deals with being out of his or her comfort zone can tell you a lot.
Does your significant other like to explore and enjoy the experience of just getting there, or is he/she the camp counselor with a regimented timetable? Does your partner flip out, cry or whine when you get lost or when the hotel room doesn’t have A/C? Or does he or she laugh when the map flies out the window or when a cow in the middle of the road holds up traffic?
How a person handles the misadventures of traveling can tell a lot about how willing he or she is to go with the flow, handle stress and keep a sense of humor. Sometimes the Mr. or Ms. Perfect from Hometown, USA, doesn’t always translate to the romantic getaway of a lifetime, so pay attention to the cues when your new love is in unfamiliar surroundings.
Feeling under the weather tends to bring out the worst in people. Like wounded animals that lash out in frustration or retreat to lick their wounds, some people just can’t control how awful they act when they feel sick. However, some people suffer more than others. Does your significant other turn into the demanding bell ringer when he or she has a head cold?
If the answer is “yes” and you don’t have the capacity to handle it, this is something to think about seriously. Eventually, you may be taking care of this person for extended periods of time.
If you can serve the chicken soup with a smile and be a compassionate bedside nurse to your companion, you obviously have plenty of patience. The cool-as-a-cucumber attitude is always a great asset, especially when the going gets tough.
Most experts agree that fighting in and of itself isn’t predictive of breakups or divorce, but how you argue is more likely to reflect the harsh reality of who you are. Do you criticize, defend, put down or stonewall your mate? Can you calm yourself down and finish the discussion in a respectful manner?
The way a person argues shows if he or she is a listener, is willing to come to a compromise or just bulldozes over as a means to an end. Take into consideration how your partner treats you in the heat of battle and whether you feel humiliated or degraded. If your partner fights dirty and cannot respect you and your points of view, then perhaps you should reconsider your choice of a long-term mate.
Whether it’s Parcheesi, charades or the potato-sack race at the family reunion, competition can get ugly. A lot of the way that people behave during competition comes from sibling rivalry, childhood socialization and plain old confidence.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend likes to taunt you just after spiking the ball in your face, you may want to consider not playing with (or against) him or her anymore. If your new mate can’t win or lose gracefully, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker. Some people just hate to lose. But, how a person competes can be indicative of maturity level and general good nature.
Most of us can relate to road rage – you know, the frustration that emerges when you get cut off by a ruthless driver, waste time in traffic, or get lost in the maze of the city. But if you have been in your new mate’s moving vessel of death as he or she weaves in and out of traffic, honking, yelling and jeering at other drivers, you have to wonder if he or she can calm it down, at least while carrying such precious cargo – you!
On the other hand, driving like Grandma, riding the brakes, staying six car lengths behind and petering along below the speed limit is more than careful and may be annoying, but at least it’s safer. Ultimately, the driver should show consideration for passengers and other drivers, illustrating respect for others – or lack thereof. If your lady love or perfect paramour can’t control herself or himself on the road when a total stranger cuts in front of the car, how will that person react when you cause anger or offense in some way?
6. In a Position of Power
By watching the way that your date interacts with customer service help or the waitress who brought the wrong entrée, you can tell the amount of respect that he or she holds for others. Does your gal shout and berate the representative at the returns counter because she doesn’t get her way? Does your fellow yell at the cabbie to “step on it”? Or is your new mate a smooth talker, dishing out compliments to get his or her way?
Pay attention to how your mate negotiates as a customer or in a position of power. If you witness an abrupt or elitist attitude when things don’t go along swimmingly, it should make you wonder how you will be treated if you don’t honor that person’s every whim.
In all the aforementioned situations, the common denominator is respect. Your new partner’s suppressed, not-so-pretty inside character emerges when stress is high. Problems happen, things go wrong and schedules are busted, but how you handle the defeat can speak volumes about your character.