When you’re in a relationship, it’s natural for arguments to crop up every now and then over the big things in life.
But as time goes on, you might find even the little things are getting to you.
The way he eats.
The way he leaves a mess everywhere.
The way he picks at his nails.
Why? We take a look at why you’re feeling this way and what you can do about it.
Why I get mad at my partner over the little things…
The simple answer is because it’s the natural flow of the relationship.
You start off in the honeymoon period, where all you can see is the best in each other. You look past any potential ‘faults’ each other might possess and only see their strengths.
It’s a lovely stage of the relationship as you get to know this other person and who they are.
At the same time, you’re both putting your best foot forward. It’s easy to hide that nail-biting or snoring when you’re only seeing each other for dates.
You possess the ability to hide those qualities that you don’t want that other person to see until you get to know each other better.
And that’s exactly what happens.
Over time, you settle into the relationship and make a commitment towards each other.
You both relax, and begin to show your true selves. Whether you move in with each other and take the relationship to the next level, or are simply seeing more of each other and starting to get serious. The guard comes down and you see a lot more than you bargained for.
It can come with some annoying habits you weren’t expecting.
What was once exciting or intriguing is now annoying and driving you nuts. Perhaps you were able to turn a blind eye at the beginning of the relationship and can no longer do that. Or maybe it’s a habit your partner has done their best to keep from you until this point.
Either way, it can hit you out of the blue, and you can feel the frustration rising.
If you’re living together, there’s no escape from it anymore. You find yourself getting mad over all these little things.
While this is normal, it can also be extremely frustrating for you. You don’t want to feel this way. In fact, you’d rather go back to just seeing the best in your partner and ignoring the rest of it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. The can of worms has definitely been opened now.
Your relationship is worth holding on to despite these things, you just need to help it get back on track.
Here are 8 ways you can achieve this.
8 ways to get your relationship back on track
1) Recognise the impact it has on your relationship
It doesn’t matter if you keep the feelings to yourself, they still have an impact on your relationship.
After all, your feelings of annoyance are coming from a place of judgement – which needs to be recognised and worked through.
If you just let it go, thinking you’re doing the right thing by keeping to yourself, you’re just allowing the resentment to build over time.
This will end up being even more harmful to your relationship.
While there’s nothing wrong with having these feelings in the first place, they do need to be addressed to keep the relationship intact.
Sit down with your partner and share what’s making you mad and see if you can work out a plan together. Try and choose a time to talk when you aren’t actually mad. This can cause it to escalate into a much bigger fight that can be harder to come back from.
For example, if your partner bites their nails and it’s frustrating you – make a plan. Next time you’re feeling calm, hand them a bowl and nicely ask if they go to the bathroom next time they need to bite their nails, as it’s not something you want to witness.
Explain your feelings, offer a fair solution, and don’t say anything you’ll regret. As long as it comes from a place of understanding, you can work through it together.
2) Consider the role you play in it
Everyone has different quirks. One quirk to one person is cute and fun, while to another it’s disgusting and irritating.
Consider why you find the action so offensive.
For example, if you hate the way your partner chews.
Is this really their fault? After all, everyone has to chew when it comes to eating their food.
Perhaps this issue has more to do with your own sensitivities to sound than it has to do with what your partner is actually doing.
Or he may be doing something he considers endearing towards you, such as nibbling your ear. It may be something a past girlfriend enjoyed, which he has now adopted as a sign of affection.
Once again, think about where the problem lies. In this instant, he is trying to be endearing, so it may just be a matter of showing him exactly what you do want and how he can show it.
The truth is, we can’t control other people. We can’t control their actions, thoughts or behaviours. But we can control our own. It always helps to look to ourselves and see if we can find a solution.
The key here is to think before you act. Avoid sending that angry text to your partner and instead, consider if there’s anything you can do to change the situation. Even if it’s simply calming down before you speak to your partner about it. This action can go a long way in a healthy relationship.
Don’t let the irritation build in these situations. Pinpoint the role you’re playing in them and see if you can come to a solution.
3) Avoid the snarky remarks
Often, when we’re feeling annoyed, we want to make it known.
But instead of just coming out and saying what we’re feeling, it often comes out as snarky remarks. For example, “Do you have to chew every piece of meat so loudly?” or, “I’ve never met someone who cares so little about their personal hygiene.”
Both these remarks are hurtful and attacking.
If the other person in the relationship isn’t even aware they’re doing anything wrong, then these remarks also come out of the blue for them. Before they’ve even been made aware that there’s an issue.
This isn’t fair. Instead, keep the remarks to yourself. Take some deep breaths and talk it out.
You know you still care about this person, so don’t try and hurt them just to make a point. There are better ways to do things.
4) Let things go
Naturally, you don’t want that resentment to build and fester with all these little things that are making you mad. But, it is worth asking yourself whether or not it’s an issue you can let slide.
For example, your partner’s chewing annoys you.
You know that you can’t stop him chewing – he needs to do this to eat. Instead of letting the resentment build, could you move to the opposite side of the table at mealtimes, so the sound doesn’t get to you. Or try putting on some music at mealtimes to drown out every other noise.
It’s about letting go of that annoyed feeling and finding a way past it without turning it into a huge fight.
It’s amazing how creative you can get in your solutions when you take the time.
5) Remember how you feel about each other
At the end of the day, you’re in a relationship for a reason. There’s a connection there.
In fact, the connection is so strong, your relationship has entered into the next stage and is now becoming even more serious.
You’re a team. And that’s all there is to it. If you treat your partner as the enemy in your space, then the resentment is going to build to a place of no return.
Instead, see him as your ally and give him the benefit of the doubt.
He isn’t doing these things to annoy you and it’s important for you to realise this in the first place. It can even help to stop and repeat this in your mind, “He isn’t doing this on purpose”.
Once you accept your partner isn’t out to annoy you, then you won’t go on the defensive or attack to get back at him.
Instead, you’ll see him as your ally and begin working towards a solution that works for both of you without any feelings being hurt in the process.
6) Give each other space
Sometimes, these feelings come out of the blue and are result of spending a little too much time together.
Living together doesn’t mean living on top of each other. It’s important to still be able to give each other the space they need.
This is a hurdle many couples face when they first move in together. You go from seeing each other every other night and having some time to yourself in between, so being with each other each and every day.
Give yourself the night off to watch your own show on your own TV, or to pick up a hobby or do something else you love.
Time apart is just as important as time together.
You aren’t the same people and are going to have your own separate likes and interests. If you stop pursuing these for someone, it’s normal for the resentment to grow and manifest as anger over the little things.
Taking the time out to take care of your needs helps you can back, refreshed and committed to the relationship.
7) Don’t complain to others
Tempting to complain to friends and family, but this creates an emotional triangle.
This keeps us from working out the problem in our relationship.
After all, our friends and family are always going to be on our side. That’s their job!
Having their reassuring words can stop you from working the problem out with your partner. Instead, it can cause that anger and resentment to grow, as everyone around you is telling you you’re right.
Instead, before you share with friends and family, ask yourself whether you’re actually looking for help, or just after someone to agree with me.
If it’s the latter, then go to your partner first and see if you can talk it through. That’s always the best place to start.
8) Don’t cut off your partner
One thing we often do without realising is punish people who we aren’t happy with.
For example, if your partner is leaving his mess everywhere, you might start giving him the silent treatment out of anger.
The problem with this is that he doesn’t know it’s even happening, or if he has clued on, then he doesn’t know why it’s happening.
So the problem and resentment continues to grow.
If you’re feeling angry, then it helps to just give yourself a little space, and come back and confront the problem once you’re feeling calm again.
Just tell your partner you need a little time and will talk it out soon. Go for a walk around the block, go listen to some music, or even run yourself a bath.
Whatever you need to do to bring back your inner calm.
Sign of a good relationship
Believe it or not, but being annoyed at your partner is actually a sign of a good relationship.
After all, we are all only human, which means nobody is perfect. Here are some reasons that a little annoyance is actually helping your relationship:
1) It’ a sign that you’re comfortable with each other
While the honeymoon period is so enticing, with everything being so new and all the faults clearly out of sight, there is something extra special that comes with entering this next phase of a relationship.
When you start finding your partner annoying, it’s a sign that your relationship is serious now. You’re both expressing your authentic selves (no matter how mad it makes you), which is a healthy sign.
Relationships take work, and you aren’t going to love every single thing about another person. Feel good that you’re both comfortable enough to be your true selves around each other.
2) It’s a work in progress
Getting mad over the little things is a great sign that you are emotionally invested in the relationship and really care about this person.
If these things weren’t annoying you, then it’s likely because you have already checked out of the relationship. You simply don’t care anymore and have emotionally left the relationship.
At the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to get extra aggravated. This is a sign that you probably aren’t great together.
3) There’s room for growth
If there are things that annoying you about your partner, it means there’s an opportunity for growth in your relationship.
Knowing that you haven’t reached your peak and the two of you are still working on it together, gives you something to look forward to in the future.
You can take a look at what’s annoying you and look at how it can be improved on moving forward. Growing together and working on yourself for your partner (and vice versa), is a sign of a healthy, lasting relationship.
What happens if the resentment builds?
There are some situations where, despite the steps above, that resentment continues to build. This has gone past the healthy part of a relationship and is now becoming an issue.
If the irritation is constant and the two of you don’t seem able to get past it, then it might be a case that there are bigger issues affecting your relationship that you need to take a look at.
Take a look at your relationship as a whole beyond these smaller issues that are annoying you.
What else is going on? What other issues can you pinpoint?
Sometimes, relationships don’t last, and as hard as it can be to accept, it’s better you recognise this as early as possible.
Of course, that doesn’t mean giving up!
The first step (if you’re both serious) is to try some relationship counselling and see where that gets you. It’s the perfect way to get all the issues (big and small) our in the open and to work through them together.
Relationships take work, so be prepared to put the work in if you want it to last.
A healthy relationship
While getting annoyed over the little things can be frustrating for you, it’s also the sign of a healthy relationship – so embrace it.
There’s plenty of steps you can take to get your relationship back on track. The most important thing is to not give up on it.
Give your relationship a chance, and know that this is a completely normal stage to go through. In fact, it’s a very positive stage as well.
It means you’re in a serious relationship that has a future, so don’t throw that away.
It’s OK to feel mad every now and then…
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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