Don’t sweat the small stuff

Has this happened to you?

We start a new romantic relationship. We are entranced - sometimes blinded - by their stories, uniqueness and quirks and we are so sure there is no one in the world like them. We spend more and more time getting to know them better. Our interests, thoughts, ideas, dreams and goals start to merge… but after a while it gets to the point when things aren’t all new.

Over time, we inevitably start doing the same old things together. Their quirks that was once enjoyed have become familiar or even annoying, and we may start to get angry over the little things we once were OK with. This previously amazing person has become bland and boring, or annoying.

Not all people experience this. If you are experiencing annoyance and anger at the little things your partner is doing, then it is important to begin to pay attention, because this could indicate a bigger underlying issue. Remember that it is not them who has changed, they are doing the same things they have always done. It is you who have changed. How you recognise and manage this will dictate the ambience of your relationship going forward.

If there are more annoyances than not, then it may be that you are not with the right person and that is OK. On the other hand, it could be that our expectations of our relationship are not being met and we start to get angry. This sometimes feels as though we are not loved or appreciated.

Reflect on how it was in your birth home. Were you a witness to your mum or dad always picking fights over nothing? We can pick up some bad habits from our parents if we are not careful to pick only those behaviours that will serve us well as adults. If we witness disrespectful behaviour as children then, later in our adult relationships, it is more likely that we will be disrespectful and argumentative with our partners. This is a learned habit, however, and habits can be broken.

When you feel angry, watch out for the warnings signs in your physical stance. We tend to do some or all of these things:

  1. clench our fists;
  2. tense our body in fight mode; and
  3. lean forward to make our point.

Being angry only hurts ourselves: we make bad decisions when we’re angry. Rational thinking goes out the window when we’re not in control of our emotions, and nothing gets resolved. Be kind to yourself, your partner and your relationship and defuse anger before it takes hold.

The minute you notice the sign: STOP, take a deep breath (you can even count 6 in, 4 hold, 6 out, 4 hold and repeat) and pause as necessary to regain control.

The other useful tip is, when you feel the warning signs, again STOP and lie down on the couch, floor or bed. We cannot remain angry once we are lying down. We can combine this with conscious deep breathing.

This exercise slows down our fight or flight response and allows us to calm our nervous system. Then we can be more thoughtful, intentional and productive in our responses to our partners.

If you can't get past your partner's suddenly annoying habits but want the relationship to work, call Sue on 0439 294 532 for a FREE initial consultation on how we can help you address the underlying issues.

#emotions #relationshipeducation #relationshiptips #causesofconflict #conflictresolution #premartialcounselling #relationships #needyrelationship #couples

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