Thursday, April 12, 2012

Love is about dealing with your partner’s annoying habits and quirks

                Good Day Humboldt County!

Every now and then, someone asks how my wife and I have managed to live together for 37 years without driving each other nuts. Nuts is such a subjective term. There are ways to make your life journey with your partner go smoother.

I wish I could just write out a laundry list of survival tactics ways to get along, but it isn’t that easily explained. It’s been a gradual process, as you may have surmised. The fact that we’re still friends is key. There are experts who offer tips for making life easier for cohabitants. For instance:

“We all have annoying habits, which, curiously, we don’t find annoying in ourselves. But when they come from someone living with you, such habits can definitely get on your nerves. The trouble begins when you enter a vicious cycle of resentment -- when you're fed up with your partner's irritating habits, or you're tired of getting picked on for your own.

Nagging, disdain and contempt can all end relationships. That annoying habit may appear to be the source, but it’s not the habit that is the problem; it’s how you deal with it.” (source)

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you want to know some ways to exist peacefully with your partner? For example, does your partner have some body quirks?

“Body quirks includes non-clandestine nose picking, passing gas, burping, picking teeth and anytime when one releases things from orifices that no one else wants to smell, witness or be around. Of course everyone must do so at times, but how about in the bathroom or other private place? Explain to your partner you are inclined to feel more sexually attracted to them when not subjected to foul odors and the like. If you did this in front of him (it usually is the guy, sorry) he would not really like it or find it sexually alluring. Request he do it in private.” (source)

I can’t vouch for any of this, but some of it touches a cord now and then. Here’s another good example:

“Selective listening: You are trying to talk and he or she is tuned out, staring at the TV, computer or phone. Agree upon a benign code word (like "banana") for when you really would like full attention. It lets your partner know that paying attention now is important to you, which avoids the mystery of when to be fully attentive.” (source)

Here’s a real fight-starter – bad manners. It seems like us guys have a chronic problem that women have to learn to live with – we’re slobs at heart!

“Bad manners: Scratching his back with a fork, leaving the toilet seat up, rearranging private parts in public -- things that never happened early on in the relationship are now a daily affair that makes you feel like you married a Neanderthal. But for him (or her!), being able to relax and not feel like he married Emily Post is important. The solution lies somewhere in the middle, a relaxed state of getting to be yourself, with a dose of courtesy for your partner. Have a conversation about what constitutes reasonable manners to both of you. You may have different standards because you grew up in different homes. The things that are most egregious to the other are things you should step away and do in private. The “note reminder” technique helps for some. So a Post-It on the toilet for two weeks that says "Please put down the seat” can help to change a long-time habit.”

Well, I could go on, but I think you have the idea. People have to learn to compromise. It’s not always easily done, and we often have to break bad habits, but the end result is a serene lifestyle. Who could ask for anything more than that?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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