As you approach the pothole in the road, you feel yourself tensing up. When is she going to start ranting about the municipality and how the country has gone to pot? It’s not like you haven’t been through this 976 times before. And what exactly is it your partner would like you to do about this?
Sharing your life with anyone is difficult. People are sometimes unpredictable, have different values and priorities, do things differently and frankly, are just sometimes inconsiderate.
So what are the most irritating things anyone can do in a relationship?
Moaning Minny. There are times when complaining is appropriate, such as when you find you are paying for the whole street’s water bill, but for many people complaining is simply a bad habit. The weather, the neighbours, the news, the government – all things over which you have little or no control. Constant moaning about things that are beyond anyone’s control, makes those around you feel depleted, negative, helpless and frankly, keen to avoid you in future.
Snoring like a chainsaw. OK, I know this is not done deliberately by the snorer, but the murderous thoughts that go through your head while you listen to this cacophony at 3.20 am. find expression somewhere in the relationship. Go and see your GP – there are things you can do to solve this problem.
Comparisons are odious. No one likes being compared to others. If your partner ever starts a sentence with, “Why can’t you be more like…” it might be time to see the divorce lawyer. There will always be someone somewhere who is thinner, prettier, richer, more witty, more handy, a better dresser and so forth. Being compared to anyone only heightens one’s sense of inadequacy, and often reduces one’s willingness to do something about a situation.
The heart-lung machine syndrome. Clinging to your partner for dear life can become very stifling. Expecting the other person to take responsibility for your happiness and entertainment is the quickest way to make them feel claustrophobic and want to hit the road. Do your own thing and get a life – that way the relationship is much more likely to survive.
Not listening. Right, no one can be on full alert all the time, but when someone is talking about important arrangements or issues, do them the favour of giving your full attention. Sometimes your partner may be talking about things they find difficult or painful, and if you don’t listen attentively, they might not talk to you next time, but to someone else.
Being jealous and possessive. This again reveals your own sense of insecurity and your belief that you don’t really deserve to have this person as a partner. Possessiveness can begin as something irritating and end up as a major issue. The quickest way to end a relationship is to restrict someone else. No one likes feeling imprisoned and obviously the lure of freedom will become very strong. And when your partner packs his/her bags, you will only have yourself to blame.
Not clockwatching. There is no point in being fanatical about time, but if you are always late for everything, your partner will start to resent you. Maybe he or she really would like to see the opening scenes of movies or get to dinner parties when they are still at the drinks stage. Make the effort to be on time – it shows respect for the other person.
Giving constant advice. Being supportive sometimes means not giving advice, but just listening. It is very controlling behaviour to constantly tell someone what they should be doing with their money, career, family and habits. Don’t give advice unless you are asked for it. You will only be resented for it and seen as interfering.
Being a slob. This is simply unattractive and makes the living space an unpleasant place to be. Ten minutes of effort a day could sort this out. How difficult can it be to give the duvet a pluck in the morning, put your coffee cup in the sink, hang your clothes in the cupboard wipe the counter and hang the towels on the towel rack?
Harping on old issues. You are fighting about the empty milk carton in the fridge and you end up in a vicious slinging match about each other’s families and their shortcomings. And the attention he paid to another woman at a party four years ago. And your locking the keys in the car twice on the same day. Get the picture? These fights are actually over and have been for many years, but they get hauled out and dusted off and revisited. Don’t do this – there is no point to this.
Being fanatically tidy. This is also unattractive. It makes your partner nervous if you hover like a vulture waiting to pounce on the ashtray, the coffee cup, the bread knife. Being fanatical about every dust speck is a complete turn-off for your partner and makes the house feel un-lived-in.
Criticising your partner in front of others. This is the ultimate turnoff and makes you look like the villain of the piece. If you criticise your partner in front of others, you are actually only broadcasting your own insecurities and everyone’s sympathies will lie with the one who has been slighted. Telling her she’s stupid, incompetent, unable to tell a story correctly or follow directions, only makes you look insensitive and boorish. Should she ever get it together to leave you, all the friends will side with her.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24)