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Did I ruin it with March Madness?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 21, 2011 08:40 AM

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This person was in last week's chat. I asked for a real letter, so here it is:


Q:Hi Meredith,

I just started dating someone a few weeks ago, so we are in the very early stages. So far, things are going well; we have a lot to talk about, similar interests, and good chemistry. It all seems very promising. In the course of having a conversation about getting together this week, we realized that we both had plans with friends in the early part of the week. Normally I would suggest getting together later during the week or over the weekend. Except the later part of this week begins the most glorious time of the year, for me: March Madness. I love college basketball and I look forward to the tournament every year. I fill out unrealistic brackets that have my undergrad college vanquishing Duke by 50 points, I watch all the games, yell, jump up and down, and occasionally throw things (soft things) at the TV.

In the process of getting to know each other, it became pretty clear to me that the guy I am dating is not at all into college basketball. When, briefly, it looked like my graduate school alma mater might be getting a berth in the tournament, I was trying to explain how excited I was, and he all but patted me on the head while rolling his eyes. So when we were discussing making plans to get together, I said, "I want you to know that I want to hang out with you. I just don't know when I can do that in the next couple of weeks. You would be welcome to watch basketball with me but I know you're not into it and I get the sense that you don't find it terribly interesting. It's not for everyone, and maybe it seems silly, but I love it and it makes me happy." His response was along the lines of "I don't think you're silly, but you're right that I don't share your love of watching basketball on TV and I'm not sure that watching a game with you would be fulfilling my desire to spend time with you. Why don't you check in with me when you come up for air?" Since then, our conversations have been tense and I get the sense that he feels like I should want to see him more than I want to watch a basketball game.

Is there a better way I could have handled the situation? Should I want to see him more than I want to watch a basketball game? Or should I confine my future dating to the NCAA personals (if only such a thing existed)?

– Love and Basketball


A: You could have handled the situation better by making time, LAB. Dates can be brief, and you have to eat, right? Instead of giving him a speech about how unavailable you planned to be, you could have asked him for a quick dinner during a less important game (I know, I know, they're all important). You could have DVR'd the start of a game and watched it a few hours late. You could have asked him to come over on Saturday at the end of a game, promising a late-night viewing of a movie of his choice.

Don't get me wrong -- I like your speech because it was clear and honest. But when you start dating someone you don't know very well, you're supposed to capitalize on the excitement of it all. If your potential significant other tells you that he/she would rather watch games for weeks than see you, it can be ... deflating. The beginning of a relationship requires momentum. You killed it, a bit.

My advice is to a) think about why you didn't want to squeeze him in and b) ask him to have dinner with you next week, making it clear that you'll make this up to him. If he doesn't bite, you can start looking for someone who wants to watch this stuff with you.

Readers? Should the guy have been more empathetic about the LW's need to watch games? Should the LW have been so honest about how it would be during March Madness? Should the LW have made time for a date? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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