I have never intended to be a complaint box. But when you write about relationships, you’re an automatic customer-service department for people who have grievances about their partners, past and present.

In my experience, the most common gripe is about people who are stuck in their ways.

It makes sense. In an age when men and women are dating longer and marrying later, there are herds of singles roaming around in their comfort zones believing they’re unable to change.

Change can be hard. For those with well-structured lives, missing that 3 p.m. cup of coffee can be legitimately compared to losing an organ.

Still, even the most independent folks with the most rock-solid routines can fall in love. When they do, the sparks that fly are caused not only from romance but from having to have their status quo derailed.

I had a recent experience with just this sort of derailing, and, boy, did the sparks fly.

It has been a while since I embarked on a long journey in which I wasn’t the lone traveler. But earlier this month, my girl and I hopped a flight to celebrate my dad’s birthday in Nashville, Tenn.

In my solo-traveling days, I’d happily arrive at the airport about 45 minutes before the flight, stand in line, get my boarding pass and dash toward the gate with only airport security in the way of me and an aisle seat. Pam suggested an hour and 15 minutes might be safer.

Though I know that 45 minutes is cutting it pretty close, I like living on the edge when it comes to airports.

That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was using an airline that is teetering so close to the edge of bankruptcy that its employees have no reason to be accommodating.

So as Pam and I approached the ticket counter and unloaded the 13 forms of ID necessary to advance, we were told that, though the flight did not leave for 15 minutes, we would not be allowed to board because we were too late.

I can assure you that the glare I received would have boiled water from 30 yards. My old travel routine had unraveled in my face because when a guy is responsible for more than himself, missing a flight is a big deal.

In my calmest voice, I tried to soothe my bristling partner by promising that all would be fine, and we’d get to our destination, just not on time.

Sensing my distress, the ticket woman, who had deprived us of the chance to sprint madly through the airport, offered a remedy. Her solution, coupled with my refusal to change my routine and arrive earlier, turned a five-hour flight (with layover) into a 12-hour ordeal. We ended up being trapped in Chicago, and it cost me $240 to extricate us from that snowed-in city.

Money and the hassle aside, the most annoying part about the trip is that I may never hear the end of it.

Admittedly, that’s one of the tougher ways a person can learn to shake free from his traditions and be more accepting of other people’s ideas, but it’s not a lesson I’ll ever forget.

I won’t be allowed.

In the end, she and I made it home in time for dinner and cake. We even managed not to strangle each other – although I did have to promise to let her plan the next trip.

Eric Edwards may be reached via e-mail at eedwardsorlando-sentinel.com.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.