Unless you've been living under a rock (or in an equally sad place with no internet), then you know what I'm talking about when I mention "the dress."  I was in bed, reading the news on my phone like I always do first thing in the morning and at the end of the day.  (I know—not good for my sleeping habits.)  At any rate, when I first saw it, I thought it was a joke.  That dress is obviously white.  While I didn't see the stripes as gold, per se, but more of a camel brown, there was no way in my mind that the dress was blue.  Then I started reading the comments, the analysis, the arguments, the scientific rationale… I fell down the rabbit hole of #thedress.

What does all of this have to do with dating, you ask?  As it turns out, a lot.  In any relationship, you and your partner are bound to have differences.  Oftentimes, both of you think you're right, and that the other is disagreeing with the obvious truth.  Can both of you really be right?  And, if you're in the party who is a little less right, then how do you react when you find out that your partner is a little more right?

Communication is the key.  Let's say I'm looking at the dress with a partner, and I insist on the dress being white and gold and he instead insists on it being blue and black.  After I'd properly had a good laugh because I thought he was yanking my chain, how would (or should) I react?  And how should he?

In too many a relationship, one person is made to feel small, wrong, and invalidated.  Maybe it's over something small like this dress or how you load the dishwasher, or maybe it's something big like how you choose to spend your money or what foods to feed your children.  Regardless of the size of the issue, it's important to hear out the other person's thoughts before jumping to any conclusions.

The conversation above could go an infinite number of ways, but let's look at two:

Scenario 1

Me: It's so obviously white and gold.

Partner: Are you out of your mind, Erika?  It's blue and black!  There are no two ways around it.  You're wrong.

Scenario 2

Me: It's so obviously white and gold.

Partner: That's odd.  I see it as blue and black.  Think there could be two ways to see this?  I'm trying to see it from your angle, too, but I don't for some reason.

I don't know about you, but I'd venture to say that most of us would rather be with the partner in the second scenario.  This partner listens, takes into account the other's feelings, and doesn't jump to conclusions before knowing all of the details.  No one feels belittled here.

In the end, it's just a dress, but it can also teach us many things about how our loved ones deal with disagreements, conflict, and the possibility of two rights and no wrongs.  If you do find yourself in a relationship where you feel that the other person is not listening to your argument, it's something to make note of and work on for when the more important issues—the pants?—come down the pike.