When people discover that I write a dating blog they often ask me how can they determine if someone is right for them. If you have been reading you know I have mentioned many signs that may signal potential problems down the relationship road but the absolute best indicator of someone’s character is how they react in a crisis.
Certainly everyone can behave relatively well during good times, particularly if they have the motive of attracting you. This is one of the problems I have with long distance relationships because a person can easily hide a hideous personality or major character flaw when they only have to be pleasant for a short period of time generally doing pleasant things like wining and dining and having sex. Life is a ball and you may want it to go on forever only to be horribly disappointed when that person turns out to be ill suited as an everyday-take-out-the-trash-clean-the toilet-do-the-grocery-shopping life.
No, the good times are not the test. The test is how does a person react when things go wrong. Do they fall apart, drink heavily, throw tantrums, get violent, angry, laugh or simply breath deeply and make the next logical move or what? Big hint here people- you want to be with the person who can either laugh or breath and move to the next logical step or both because most of life is about handling stress and dealing with messes.
Here is an example that still makes me giggle.
I invited an intriguing man, “Tom” and his dog, “Marley” out for a hike along a charming bit of the Appalachian trail one warm early spring day. We drove a ways out of town to the trail but it was closed so I suggested a less interesting but near by place to walk thinking that with the shortened hiking time we might stop at a vineyard on the way home for a nice glass of wine. Within five minutes of starting out, the dog took off running at full speed across a field towards a skunk. Though its owner tried in vein to stop him, curious little “Marley” stuck his nose directly into the skunks backside as though it were a small dog to identify the way that dogs do and, oh yes, the skunk did what skunks do when they feel their personal space invaded- and sprayed right in the dog’s face! Tom trotted calmly over as the skunk sauntered away, and gently clamped the leash on Marley’s neck and said, “Well, it will be an interesting ride back.”
We walked a little more and banished the fragrant pooch to the back of the SUV and endured a painfully smelly 30 minute ride to a pet store to pick up de-stnkifying shampoo.
The day was cut short and it was a truly uncomfortable situation but this guy kept his cool even in the face of my intermitent bursts of laughter.
That my friends, is the kind of temperament that can get you through the hassles of daily life.