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I'm with the camp that says you can't just paint the thing over with "[insert generic possibly annoying habit here]" if you actually want to understand his motivations. In the end, it all comes down to what the habit is: the level of conscious control he actually has over it, whether it's something that's typically considered socially inappropriate, and the extent to which he perceived your reaction as unreasonable, selfish, and/or comically overboard.

Here's what it sounds like though. You don't want to name the habit because you want the discussion to focus on why this guy was being a jerk rather than whether you're just being overly sensitive to a harmless habit. Which in turn means you expect people to think you were overreacting. If that's all true, one can conclude that the guy probably thought you were flying off the handle over nothing.

From there, the possibilities start splitting off: some people just really like getting a rise out of anyone and will push their buttons for sheer amusement value as soon as they figure out how. If that's the case, good thing you found out quickly. Another possibility is that the habit is not as consciously controllable as you assume. I regularly crack my knuckles (is that what it was? I'm guessing it was something in that ballpark) which drives my sister crazy when I see her. So I try to avoid it when I'm around her, but I'm a fidgety person and most of the times that it happens, I'm not consciously aware of it. So sometimes I lapse.

Another very likely possibility is that the form of your reaction, which appears to have been a unilateral non-negotiable demand, created a power-struggle dynamic that neither of you could resolve. Simply put, making any kind of "demand" of a guy, particularly on a first date when a sub-conscious power negotiation is constantly happening, is usually a no-win situation. Most guys will feel that if they let you make a demand unchallenged (even a reasonable one), they're giving you an opening to walk all over them. The rest are the spineless chumps who are ok with being walked all over, and aren't very attractive dating parners. At first he was probably startled (hence appearing to be accepting), but later that might have turned into resentment. By acting out, he was not so much testing you as re-asserting himself after you had beat him back.

Before you start writing him off as a control freak, be sure to look at yourself. Did you politely request that he respect your sensitivity, while acknowledging that it might be a bit eccentric? Doesn't sound like it. Your argument is that he should comply because you let him know how much it bothers you and it's something he can easily control. Therefore the reasonableness of your being so bothered by it is not an issue; he should respect this as a matter of simple courtesy.

And that all makes perfect sense. But it also works the other way. You made a demand of him in an aggressive tone. Most guys are bothered by this. Even if they're only bothered because they have fragile male egos and need to feel some sense of control, the irritation is just as real, and this is something you can easily tread around. Therefore the reasonableness of his being so bothered by it is not an issue; you should respect this as a matter of simple courtesy.

See it now? I'm not saying his reaction showed a lot of maturity, but on the other hand, your own squash-this-bug-with-a-sledgehammer approach could've been a little more evolved as well. In fact, the severity of your reaction probably came from the same insecurity over your ability to control an uncomfortable situation as he showed later on. My guess is that if you phrase it as requesting a favor and letting him know you appreciate it rather than making a demand and enforcing your entitlement to it, you'll be amazed at your sudden luck in finding mature men.

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