Is My Relationship Doomed Over Mini-Golf?

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Dear Miriam, 

Mini golf is one of my favorite summertime activities. After inviting him on what I thought was the cutest retro date ever, I found out that the guy I just started dating thinks mini golf is stupid, and we went out for drinks instead. When he realized I was actually disappointed, he offered to go to mini-golfing with me next weekend. Should I go, knowing he doesn’t really want to, or should I accept that this activity won’t be part of our summer fun together? 


Passing on putt putt


Dear Putt,

A hugely important part of new relationships is figuring out what activities you enjoy together. Another aspect is figuring out how you talk about areas of life where you don’t necessarily see eye to eye. And three more elements of relationships in absolutely any stage – all the way through decades of marriage – are learning how to compromise, how to put your partner’s needs before your own, and how to communicate about what’s important to you. Sure, this is just mini golf, but as you decide whether to pursue this relationship long-term, this situation may help illuminate how you operate as a potential couple. 

Did you have fun getting drinks together? What about going to the movies, going bowling, taking a hike, or going to a play? Do you generally gravitate towards the same activities? Are you each willing to try something out of your usual comfort zone for the sake of the other person? Maybe you can take turns planning surprise dates where the other person has to be a good sport about whatever you do, or you can make an exhaustive list of things you each enjoy and then compare your lists to decide on your next few dates. 

Even if you stick to dinner and drinks for now and see where things go, you’re sure to run up against topics you don’t agree on. These could be as mundane as mini golf or your taste in television, or as serious as who you voted for or whether or not you each want to have children in the future. Do you ultimately share similar values? Are you able to disagree and still enjoy each other’s company? Regardless of the activity, you have to be able to carry on pleasant and engaging conversations where you respect each other’s points of view, so stay tuned not only to what you disagree about but how you do the disagreeing.

If he’s offering to go mini golfing because he sees that it’s important to you, then you should definitely go. Show him how much fun it can be, appreciate him doing something that’s meaningful to you, and then reciprocate by going along with a date that he plans, whether or not it’s your first choice. Open up by sharing some of your favorite mini golf memories and why this is an activity you gravitate towards. Invite him to share some happy memories of a favorite summer activity, and listen closely to what you can learn about him through these stories. Both of you will be practicing compromise, being in tune with your partner’s needs, and communicating about what’s important to you. If your next few dates go well, getting to know each other will be the true reward (though a hole-in-one would be nice, too).

Be well,