Allen Berger, Ph.D.
Partner’s irritating habits
What is the best way to deal with your partner’s irritating habits — the ones that really begin to get to you? Does it bother you? Does it bother you a lot? How much does it bother you? Really? Does it bother you that much? Are you sure? Really? How sure? (You get my point……)
When you’re annoyed with your spouse about something that they’re doing, it’s important to talk to them in the following way:
- Instead of talking to them about what they’re doing, use effective communication skills for couples and fight fair. Say, “Look, I’m having a problem right now. There’s something going on between us, and I’d like to talk to you about it.”
- And here’s the key. Ask permission. Ask them, “Is it okay for me to bring up something with you that has been bothering me?” If they sign on to that, you got a much better chance of having a good conversation.
- Another aspect to address, and I would say that you should do this even before you ask them to talk about it, is to check in with yourself and why this issue is bothering you. See, a lot of times we see in somebody else something that annoys us that we haven’t come to grips with in ourselves. And so, the first thing I’d ask you to do is stop and check in with yourself. What’s going on with you? How come that bothers you?
Do some self reflection to understand what is lying beneath the surface, beneath the annoyance. What is triggering you to feel annoyed? If something that your partner continues to do is really bothering you, you need to deal with irritating habits in a much different way than you would with other people.
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