When a couple is dating, both parties are looking at the actions and language the other person uses and demonstrates to decide if that person is right for them. That’s why many people dress and act their best while on a date – they know they are being judged. If someone doesn’t behave well on a date, you can just imagine how she or he will act when they get to know you better in a relaxed atmosphere. Remember years ago, when I wrote about someone I had dated once, and it was mainly because he insulted his siblings and played nasty joked on his grandmother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This wasn’t his best behavior. Nothing he said shined a bright light on him. And if this is what he did to his own sister and grandmother, how would he treat mine? How would he treat me if I did something that bothered him? This was a one-and-done date.
I received a letter from a woman who said that the man she has been dating has just shocked her. She admitted to possibly making this into “too big a deal.” She doesn’t know how she feels about spending her life with this man, if he is prone to repeat this behavior often for years to come. Read on and it’ll make itself clear.
I’m in a relationship and am happy. My mind is thinking he may be “the one.”
Last week, we were heading into the city, and another car cut in front of us on the highway. Michael swerved to avoid an accident and then cursed at the other driver. And when I say cursed, I mean the words were flying! I get it, he was reacting because the other driver almost caused us to crash. It was a heated moment. Then it happened again when I was watching College Basketball, Final Four, with him. It was us and his other friend. Was this as heated a situation as the last one, no. But was he excited about the game? Yes.
Goldy, I’m a real person. I know people curse and use bad language. But I didn’t think that Michael was one of them. He seemed above that. He has a very professional career, he seems well groomed, and foul language didn’t seem like part of the package. I know that words like “Aww c’mon man!” or “Darn it” and even “Shoot” don’t have the same power as the words he used (I read your article about how certain words have power). I don’t like the way that he didn’t see the big deal of cursing and how easily the words came to him. And yes, I know that fans at sports events curse, and they insult each other and the players, but I never thought someone I dated or would marry would have them ready at the tip of his tongue. My siblings and I were never allowed to curse or even say “hell” or “shut up” to each other. I’m not a little frumy girl sheltered from society to be shocked to the point of fainting over this. Bu it feels wrong.
Am I making too big a deal out of this? Should I drop it? Should I talk to Michael? I know it’s silly to base a huge decision on this issue alone – but I was curious as to what you would advise.
Thank you for your letter, Mindy.
I’m going to give you my opinion; you can take it or leave it.
Yes, the words people use speak volumes about them. But the two scenarios you provided weren’t very common examples. The first was a near car crash, when Michael did all he could to avoid an accident and traumatic event. In those moments, he was relieving stress and it was probably a reaction that he had without putting much thought into it. The second was watching sports, where he may have gotten a little too carried away. Michael may be a diehard fan of that team, or maybe he had a bet riding on who won or lost the game. A lesson I have learned in life is not to get in the way of a fan and his team. Now, don’t misinterpret what I just wrote for excusing Michael’s language. I’m just pointing out that he did not curse while standing in line at the grocery or when he was served something not to his liking at a restaurant. I’m just setting the stage of when and where this was done.
One may say, “If this is what he says and does on dates, can you imagine how much worse he’ll get when you’re married?” Others would say, “It proves he was comfortable enough with you to curse and let loose.” When dating, one must do all they can to see if this person will treat and speak to them in a respectful way for the duration of the relationship. The cursing wasn’t directed at you; yet, it was said in your presence and the two incidents happened within days of each other.
My parents raised their children not to curse and to speak using proper grammar. But let’s be real: My sister and I said bad words/phrases to each other all the time when our parents weren’t around. We didn’t curse at each other, but there was colorful language being used. It happened. Apparently, it didn’t happen in your home at all, and that’s good, but it has affected the way you view others if they do what you were always warned not to do. I would argue your point about not being raised in a sheltered environment. The way that you’re reacting does kind of remind me of a Southern Belle, fainting or fanning herself when “inappropriate” topics were discussed. You sound sheltered, like you haven’t been out in the world or in the streets in the last decade (which speaks terrible volumes of our society). But I do understand that this wasn’t a random person. It’s your boyfriend saying all of this, and that’s why you’re upset and you have every right to be upset or to feel however you want to feel about this. You referred to yourself as a “real person,” so you should be aware of these real emotions and real words people use in everyday life. You don’t like it, but you sound absolutely shocked to hear Michael say them or that he was even aware such words exist – and that’s not being real.
Mindy, I have a good friend. She is the best balabusta you will ever meet. She’s funny and sweet, very kind, and doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. Yet, she and her husband joke that when she is in labor, she lets out all the curse words she has been saving up over the years, and like you said, “the curses start flying.” It doesn’t mean that my friend is a bad person with a “mouth like a sailor.” She only curses when it’s a very stressful (and painful) situation. I’m not comparing giving birth to either of the scenarios that you provided. I provided the example to point out that there are times when people need to let loose all that they have inside. In my opinion, a near accident and a sporting event are two places where I feel, it is acceptable to do so – I don’t necessarily condone it. But I can understand the situation.
If a week or two pass and Michael doesn’t use any bad language, great. Then you know it’s not a normal occurrence, and he slips up once in a while, like we all do. If you hear Michael cursing more often, and this issue really does bother you, tell Michael about it. Chances are he may not remember the language he used during those times. He may apologize and tell you that he normally doesn’t use that sort of language, or he may tell you that he didn’t think anything was wrong with it. If he chooses to say the latter, you can tell him it made you uncomfortable. If I were in the same situation, I wouldn’t call it quits with Michael, but I would definitely bring it up in conversation. Just remember, no one is perfect, and you have to accept the good with the bad. You love the whole person and take the whole package. Michael may apologize and tell you he will make an effort not to curse anymore. But you never know until you begin the conversation. And he may also bring up something you do or say that he doesn’t like – be prepared. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.
Hope this helped.
Hatzlachah to you all!