Domestic Diversions

Why am I so irritated?: Petty problems sabotage love

Psychology Today Magazine speaks for all lovers when it says, “You’re Driving Me Crazy!” This relationship advice helps us to not sweat the small stuff, but to actually change the way we think about it.

Jay Dixit writes (excerpt):
1: “It’s Deliberate”
“It’s the reaction of the host, not the strength of the pathogen,” says rabbi and marriage educator Edwin Friedman. Snoring isn’t the problem; it’s the meaning you give it. . . .
2: Messiness
If your partner can’t seem to change sloppy ways, reframe the issue in your own mind. . . . Changing your perspective can not only resolve the irritating issue, it can mend the dynamic of the whole relationship. . . .
3: Feeling Unloved
When a partner is attacking you or making you feel unloved, a pattern interrupt is needed to shift the tenor of the interaction so completely that the viciousness vanishes. . . . “Say, ‘You can yell, you can scream, you can do whatever you want, but I love you and you can’t get rid of me,'” advises Robbins. . . .
4: Feeling Unappreciated
. . . We notice things that confirm our biases and ignore what doesn’t, which means you’re probably focusing on what your partner isn’t giving you. . . . [R]emember the goodwill you deployed at the relationship’s start and focus less on receiving, more on giving.
5: Feeling Controlled
To make a relationship work, it’s best to attribute good intentions to your partner, says Madanes. . . .
6: Not Feeling Intimate
. . . If you’re meeting all your partner’s needs and filling him or her up with love daily, you’ll both feel warm and close. . . .
7: Flirting
If your significant other is flirting with others, says Madanes, look beyond your own hurt feelings and ask yourself what your partner is looking for. And then ask yourself, “What am I doing to provoke this? What does my partner need?” . . .
8: Personality Conflict
Annoyance arises from difference. . . . Much irritation can be avoided just by understanding the differences between you and your partner—and accepting that it’s OK, even inevitable, to be different. . . .
9: Lack of Fairness
Far better, says Jacobs, is to adopt a quid pro quo system. . . . [A]gree to do it your way sometimes and their way other times. . . .
10: Criticism
. . . “With most couples, the problem isn’t insufficient communication but too much communication.” Many couples get caught in vicious cycles of complaining and criticizing each other, hammering the same issues over and over.

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