People often ask me how they can know whether or not someone they are dating is really an open and caring person.
“He seems open and caring, but how can I know? My last guy seemed really open until we started living together and then he was always angry. I don’t want that to happen again,” said Kiera in a phone session.
“Have you and your boyfriend had significant conflict yet?”
“No, we’ve only been dating for two months.”
“Two months is generally not long enough to know whether or not someone is open and caring. And you can’t really know until you have a conflict and you see how he responds. You need to know if he uses anger, withdrawal, resistance, arguing, explaining, defending, compliance and so on. And, if he does these protective things, how long does it last? Some people get immediately closed, but then in half an hour or so they open and are ready to learn and resolve. Others can stay closed for days, weeks or even longer. Of course, it’s ideal when someone is immediately able to stay open to learning in conflict, but most people haven’t done the inner work to be able to do this. However, if they open sooner rather than later, then things can be worked out. But if they want to sweep things under the rug and act like nothing happened, or stay distant until you apologize, this isn’t good news.”