Dr. Jim provides advice on dealing with disagreements when in a relationship.
» If a disagreement surfaces in the initial stages of dating, what should I do?
Most singles are very self-conscious as they relate to others. When someone begins to interact with them and there are a lot of positives, it is disconcerting when suddenly a disagreement surfaces. What does this mean? Is it an indicator that this is not going to be a relationship and that they should ‘move on’?
There is a lot in this consideration and I would like to offer the following thoughts:
Ask them again
Do you really understand the other person’s view? Miscommunication is such a common challenge – and communicating via the Internet adds to this challenge. When appropriate, ask them again what their position is and why they feel this way. These moments should be looked upon as positive because you are getting beneath the surface to the real world of each other.
Is the disagreement a ‘vital’ one?
If the disagreement is in a ‘vital’ area of your beliefs and you cannot bring resolution, then I would not entertain pursuing a deeper relationship.
Give relationship time to develop
The best course is to ‘give it some time’. Time is actually the best friend that a single adult has – while it is often perceived as their greatest enemy. Over time character and strong beliefs surface along with personality traits. Give the relationship some time to develop and see what else does or does not develop.
Check out a related blog post about Relationship Disagreement.
Interaction could hint at what the future may hold
If the other person is inconsiderate or unreasonable in their interaction with you over this disagreement, I suggest that you have been given a ‘gift’ of seeing what they will continue to be like in your future.
Are there issues in their life that haven’t been dealt with?
If the rationale that they state in coming to their position is not a good one, this may be a sign that they have issues in their life that have not been dealt with in a healthy manner.
Marriage multiplies (not resolves) issues
Finally, marriage does not resolve issues! In fact, it often multiplies them. Do not move into a serious relationship with this person until you are satisfied that you have developed good ‘conflict resolution’ skills.
Pay attention to conflicts and consider the future
Conflicts are not within themselves signs to turn and run. They DO need to be paid attention to and considered in the relationship. Use these opportunities to develop your own conflict resolution skills – if the situation allows. I invite you to read the first Chapter of the Book of James for some excellent perspective on conflicts.
Once again, a good accountability group will help you discern how you are doing and bring wisdom and perspective to your life.