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Health, Santa Monica, Columnist, Dating

You're Not Crazy To Accept, Tolerate Annoying Things About Each Other

Jeff and Cindy Ullman are founders of, a site that helps couples succeed in their relationships.
Courtesy Photo
Jeff and Cindy Ullman are founders of, a site that helps couples succeed in their relationships.

Posted Mar. 9, 2014, 6:00 am

Special To The Mirror

By Jeffrey Ullman - Co-Chief Happiness Partner

You may find more and more things about your partner that you dislike and really get under your skin. It’s important not to let these feelings of irritation grow and spread. Find out how to live with your mate’s irritating/annoying habits by dealing positively with those pet peeves so that those little annoyances remain little.

1. Ebb and flow

Daily stresses will happen, and it’s easy to take it out on your partner. Accept and recognize that these pressure moments happen. Try not to be too critical of your spouse, if one of you is catching a little flack from a hard day, just let it ride. Do not expect to be compatible on everything. Sometimes you just need to give each other space and accept the ebb and flow, the good with the bad.

2. Pick your battles wisely

When you feel your blood start to boil, and you’re ready to say something snappish, ask yourself: what pet peeves are worth bringing up and what are not? Then, ask yourself is this something that could change? If it’s the way that somebody talks, well, most people have learned to talk a certain way most of our lives and that may not be something that they can change. They would have to go and get speech therapy or something to change that, which would probably be unnecessary. If it’s an irritating habit that's something small, like how somebody chews their food, how they comb their hair, putting the toilet paper sheet down instead of up on the roller, let the gas tank go precariously low before filing, etc., is it worth bringing up? If he leaves their socks on the floor and you pick them up after them, it may be worth bringing it up, or it may be worth just letting go. Take a step back and ask yourself, is this habit that they have something that is bothering me enough that it may be worth creating a struggle about? Or, I am making a bigger deal out of it than it really should be? Just because you have a strong opinion about something, it doesn’t mean that it’s right. And, so many times, you have to step back and say is this something that I can accept? Did she get mad you were home late? Did he forget to lock the car door? Sometimes, it’s best just to let it go. Wait until you’re cooled off a bit, and decide if it’s still worth a conversation.

3. Focus on the positives

Instead of focusing on old irritations and habits, work together as a couple to be building new habits. For every single critical comment, make sure that you are generally telling your partner five positive things. Look at them with kindness, consideration and love. If your mate is confident of your affection and admiration, they will be far more receptive to your request to change a habit or two. Everyday, focus on the good in your mate's qualities, values, actions. If your partner is a bit short tempered with you, distractive, messy, or forgetful maybe they didn’t have a good day or not enough sleep. Practicing compassionate understanding, even for a short period, can help you react with patience.

4. Perspective

Guess what? You’re annoying too! We don’t like to think about it, but our partner has just as many complaints about us as we do about them. So, if you’re going to expect your mate to hear you out, you need to been respectful of their wishes too. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but if you can both communicate effectively, this will be much easier. Maybe you wonder what happened to the person you fell in love with? Most likely neither of you have changed, you are just no longer consumed the romantic passion that made you blind to these annoying character traits. Intimate living is about how we handle each other’s irritating habits, traits, mannerisms, hygiene.

5. You

If you want to reignite your passionate feelings take a look at yourself first. If the same behaviors that used to amuse you now annoy you, you're the one who has changed. Too much stress can cause you to react poorly to other aspects of your life. Set goals for reducing stress in your life.

6. Get real

Have realistic expectations. Unrealistic and unreasonable expectations set you up to be let down. Keep your expectations of your partner realistic and you reduce disappointment.

7. Keep your sense of humor

Choosing the funny side of life can reduce your impatience and blood pressure. For instance, you find yourself in the “10 items or less” check-out line behind someone with 20 items in their basket. Should you get angry and ruin your day or see the humor? Perhaps your basket of picnic items of napkins, apples, oranges, celery, carrots, bread, mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and 2 cans of tuna can be counted as one item – a tuna-fish sandwich!

8. Take a deep breaths

If you feel yourself getting irritated, take several slow deep breaths from your belly, not your chest. before saying anything. Deep breathing brings oxygen to your brain and helps release endorphins – those feel-good, natural painkillers created by our bodies that produce a calming effect, centering you and building patience. Leave the room briefly if you have to allowing you to organize our thoughts more clearly. Try to calm the waters as much as possible, letting go of unwanted negative thoughts. Instead focus more on what you like and love about your woman. Schedule a day where your goal is more patience...with everyone for the entire day.

9. Loving voice

Your partner might have no idea that their knuckle-cracking, humming or endless channel-surfing is driving you crazy, which might be a behavior that they are happy to change to keep you sane. Talk to them about it, but keep in mind that it’s best to time it right and in a non critical, non-ridiculing way. Ask them politely whether they can change the behavior without dwelling on how annoying you find it, and without telling them you think it’s disgusting, crass, stupid, or impolite.

10. Faith

Maintain faith in yourself and your higher power. You have another source of strength and patience to help you through – your spiritual faith. Unanswered wishes or prayers might mean the time is not right, the intent is not right or the part is not right. Rely on your faith and accept there are some things you can’t control. Let it go.

11. See the journey, not the destination

Slow down. Practice delaying gratification, thinking more before you speak and listening more than speaking. Don’t rush through life. Notice your progress and growth before reaching your accomplishment. Cherish your learning and connection to people, nature and life.

If you want to bring more fun, intimacy and communication to your relationship, do the two of you a favor and visit

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