I’m in the early stages of a relationship that has serious long-term potential. But something that worries me is, in the past I’ve had difficulty overlooking little things that drove me nuts. Like chewing with his mouth open occasionally, or holding his fork wrong… I dunno. Just stupid little stuff that has no impact on their fitness as a partner.
So, how do you cope with these little annoyances in the context of a long and happy (say 5+ years) marriage/relationship? Do you say something? Do you just deal with your annoyance in silence and remember the good things they do for you instead? I feel really stupid for asking what seems like such a simple question, I just *really *don’t want to fuck this up with my neuroticness .
23 years married here. He has some flaws that seriously piss me off. I have some that do the same to him. Sometimes we have huge fights over them. Usually we just ignore them, or overlook them, or rationalize them. If you care for somebody at the fundamental level, you can overlook a lot of little things.
Though I would add that if little things are bugging you that much this early in the relationship, that might (not is, just worth considering) be a warning sign. Usually (at least in my limited experience) the early-relationship period is when the infatuation is strong enough to cover up small insignificant annoyances.
I have to agree that chewing with mouth open would be a big one for me, though. Ugh.
A gentle mention of the things that really bother you might not be a bad thing, as long as you save it for the big offenders. If you do it for every annoying habit he has, that would get old in a hurry for just about anybody.
If and when you reach the point in your relationship at which your desire to be with him outweighs the annoyance you feel over his little quirks, said quirks will suddenly become much more tolerable. You may even find his funny fork-holding rather endearing.
That said, it is permissible to say “Ew, Dude, close your mouth when you chew, you’re grossing me out!” Keep it light, though. Nobody wants a nag.
My husband tolerates me pretty well but sometimes he’ll blow up about something if it’s been digging at him a while. The latest thing is when he makes a statement to which I don’t realize he expects acknowledgement. I usually just nod or something but he usually has his eyes on the TV and thinks I’m ignoring him. Another is that he thinks I pay more attention to the dogs than to him (which is true and I really need to work on that).
I have mentioned (sometimes loudly, when it was the 3rd or 50th time) some of the worst things, like going out back for 10 minutes and leaving the back door open, when the heat is running. I can’t seem to get that concept through, so I installed self-closing hinges. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have.
I like to remember a story my Mom told me (lifted from Reader’s Digest or something):
A daughter approaches her grandmother on the daughter’s wedding day.
“Grandma, today as I think about getting married, I want to ask how you and grandpa have managed to stay together for over twenty years, especially when everyone seems to be getting divorced?”
Grandma smiled and said, “Well, dear, when I was going to marry Grandpa, I promised myself I would make a list of everything he did that irritated me now. Everything on that list would be the things I would forgive and overlook< as long as not much new was added, it would all work out.”
The grand-daughter smiles back and says, “How do you handle it, then, when he does stuff that is not on that list?”
Grandma responds, “You know, I never did get around to making that list, but whenever he does something that bothers me, I just say to myself ‘He’s lucky that is on that list’!”
TLDR - Everyone has things they do that irritate other people. You just agree that although you may be irritated, it is just a little thing and it’s not the be all, end all.
Some little things will continue to drive you nuts, some will stop bothering you, and some will end up funny. Love doesn’t make the annoying things go away, but it provides a reason to try to get over it.
Yeah, there is. And I think loving someone makes them much more like a real person. Sometimes, I know I depersonalize others. You’re driving and every other car just becomes some obstacle between you and your goal, not real people with real goals of their own. But love makes it easier to see that there’s a person there, someone who doesn’t just exist to delight or annoy me.
As I get older, I’m getting much more tolerant in general of the goofy things people do, I think solely because I try to resist depersonalizing them in this way.
There are two ways that I look at it when my husband’s annoying habits start to get on my nerves: first of all, what’s the endgame? So, I ditch him because he tends to pile all the mail for a week onto my desk, and then what? I never get to hear him play guitar again, never get to watch him tickle our son again, never get to enjoy one of his bear hugs again? None of his habits are nearly annoying enough to give up the incredible parts of our life together.
The other thing I do is pull my head out of my butt and really think about the stuff that annoys me. For example, one thing that occasionally drives me nuts is that when my husband goes grocery shopping without me, he will go through every bag with me when he gets home, showing me everything he got, talking about his plans for it, telling me what a good sale it was. Obnoxious and tedious, right? Except that when I really think about it, this guy loves me SO MUCH, that even after eight years of spending nearly every single day together, he still wants to share something as mundane as a grocery trip with me. Not so bad when I think of it that way.