Squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle and leaving the toilet seat up have become the classic examples of irritating habits that frequently provoke rows between couples. However, there are other irritating personal habits likely to cause rows between couples including:
- Being late
- Bad driving and poor map reading skills
- Not sharing household chores
- Leaving a mess in any part of the bathroom
- Control of the TV channel being watched
- Personal hygiene
- Being criticised in public
- Amount of time spent on personal interests rather than with partner
- Amount of time spent getting ready
- Choice of clothes
- Food issues - including dieting, table manners and faddiness
Some people are accepting of the minor irritations of other people - they are just part and parcel of a relationship. For others these seemingly trivial habits can be so annoying that they can cause rows which contribute to relationship breakdown.
How much these habits annoy you is dictated by your response to them and your ability to deal with the problem. If you accept the habit and go on with the rest of your life then it is unlikely to cause serious problems in your relationship.
If you are the kind of person who needs to raise your objection to the habit and becomes more irritated if it continues, you can find yourself increasingly nagging your partner. Psychological studies even suggest that an emotional response to a habit increases in intensity over time so your negative reaction increases each time you are exposed to the annoying habit.
Annoyance with personal habits often appears when you move out of the honeymoon phase of an early relationship and become more involved, possibly moving in together only to find your chosen partner's habits drive you to distraction.
High levels of annoyance with personal habits may indicate a deeper problem and you have to look at whether leaving the top off the toothpaste is the real reason that you are so angry. It could be that you are more annoyed because you believe that ignoring your requests to stop the behaviour is indicative of a lack of respect for you or of not feeling heard within your relationship.
There are ways to deal with annoying habits so they don't take over your relationship, the first step is discussing the problem together, no matter how trivial it may seem. It is important that you find a reasonable way to handle the subject without feeling you are being ignored or your partner feeling attacked.