I am currently in the situation where someone I'm dating (let's call that person Alex for now) thinks I am expecting more than I actually do.
This relates to response times to chat messages. Two weeks ago, we had planned to go on a date. We "planned" that date a couple of days beforehand and agreed to meet on a specific day with the expectation that we'd be deciding on the what, where, and when on the actual day of the date.
I contacted Alex in the morning (around 10 am) asking whether our planned date would actually work out and at what time it would fit. The answer came in at 5 pm. I waited the entire day and didn't make any other plans because I expected an answer every minute. I also tried to contact Alex several more times, but got no response. When I finally got one, it explained that it didn't work out because Alex is preparing for a couple of exams that are to be taken in short succession in about a month. I believe Alex 100% here.
At that time, I was disappointed because I wasted my entire day waiting for a message. Not having time for the date was fine; I don't get to decide my work schedule, either. But not responding when someone is waiting and when you have the opportunity to do so got me upset. I explained that to Alex and it was understood.
The topic came up today again. It was a similar situation but this time, Alex told me that it would work out much earlier. We spoke about the topic of response times and apparently, Alex thinks I always want my responses ASAP. That's not correct; I want them ASAP when I'm obviously waiting for them and actually lose time doing so. I don't expect immediate responses for regular conversations.
Here goes the actual question: I tried to clarify that I'm only expecting fast answers when it's interfering with plans that we already made. But every time I attempted to clarify, Alex got more nervous and uncertain about what I expect. I don't think I got my point across.
How can I improve in communicating my expectations? I feel like I've been very clear and open about it. But every rephrasing of my expectations led to more uncertainty on Alex' side. This is made worse by the fact that Alex doesn't have time to always keep an eye on his phone because of studying. That makes it especially hard for Alex to fulfill the expectation that I don't even have.
I've had the same issue in other situations as well, e. g. with work colleagues or family members. Also on various topics, not especially about response times to IM messages. I observed the same effect in those conversations. That's why I guess it's got something to do with the way I communicate.