He Has a Nervous Tic. What Do I Do About It?

Dr. Wendy Walsh Dr. Wendy Walsh • 9/25/14

Reader Question:

I went on a first date. He was nice, cute, and we had good conversation. Then we decided to go to the movies. On the way there, he seemed nervous. I kept the conversation going, but every so often, he would do this movement. In the movie theater, I realized it was a nervous tic (flicking his ear, twitch of the head to the left). I got a bit uncomfortable since it was every 30 to 40 seconds. He noticed that I noticed and stopped a bit, but he couldn’t help it. I just smiled and carried on conversation.

I’m not sure what to do? I have been single for a year and just recently decided to start dating.

-Pati (Florida)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Pati: Motor tics can be lifelong. Tics are not medically dangerous but are exacerbated by stress. The stress of a first date probably made your date’s involuntary behavior more pronounced.

If you like this guy and want to date again, I would suggest you gently bring it up to help relieve some of the unspoken tension. There are some treatments available, with a range of results.

But the thing is this: Your date may not want to seek treatment because there are no physical complications, only social ones. And that, dear one, is in your department.

Love is a strange thing. It starts out with the delusion that someone is perfect and then, when the hormones die down, we see the flaws and are forced to make an intellectual decision to love.

Love, by the way, can be translated into one simple word: GIVE. So lovers earn the privilege to be close enough to see the flaws in their partner. Then they get to make the decision to continue to “give.”

You are being handed that choice right up front. Other first-date dudes can hide their gambling addictions, their belligerent drunken rants and their tendency toward cheating. But not yours. He was lucky enough to showcase his humanity on a first date. And you were privileged to see it.

So, who are you as a first date? The kind who runs away from something a little different? Or are you a compassionate woman who takes her time to unveil the whole person (separate from the tic) while carefully exposing your own tics — the ones he hasn’t had the privilege to see yet?


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