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Help! My Partner is Driving Me Up a Wall!

Being in a relationship with someone means they have the power to drive you absolutely freaking CRAY CRAY. The deep emotions that come along with being romantically involved means not only rainbows and butterflies, but experiencing anger and annoyance on whole new levels. Getting upset with your partner cannot be avoided, but letting your annoyance ruin the relationship can be. Here’s how to deal when the person you love is making you nuts.  

Identify what’s bothering you. Sometimes when we’re mad or annoyed, we know we’re upset, but don’t know exactly why. A good way to figure out what exactly is upsetting you is by asking yourself: when did I start to feel this way? If you can pinpoint the exact time you started feeling upset (which may be days before you started acting annoyed), then you may be able figure out what your partner did.

Figure out why. Once you know what your partner did that upset you, figure out why you’re upset about it. What about this behavior is bothering you? What does it make you feel? When you talk to your partner about an incident, it’s always more productive to talk about the way an action made you feel rather than focusing on the action itself. If you just talk about the actual action you can end up in an “it’s not a big deal”/”it is a big deal” argument that never actually gets at the heart of the issue. 

Stop the passive aggression!  Often it’s easier to start acting cold or mean to your partner instead of telling them why you’re upset.   While this may feel satisfying for a second, in the long term it will only damage your relationship.  And it’s also not going to make you feel better for an extended period of time. 

Commit to talking. What will make you fell better is actually talking to your partner about what’s bothering you—and I know that can be easier said than done. Confrontation isn’t easy for many people, and letting someone know how much their actions affect you can make you feel completely vulnerable. But part of being in a relationship is being willing to be vulnerable. Another part is being willing to work on it—which is where this talk comes in. Yes, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable, but I promise it will be worth it!

Don’t attack. Often the way we get up the guts to talk to our partners about what’s bothering us is by waiting until we’re so mad we explode. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but this is a bad strategy. When you talk you your partner you want to do it in a calm voice and in a way that’s not an attack. This can be EXTREMELY challenging, but it’s the only way for the conversation to be productive instead of leading to an intense fight. Say something like, “This may have seemed totally innocent to you, but when you did X it made me feel Y.”

Keep the door open. End the conversation by telling your partner that if there’s anything you’ve done that was/is upsetting to them, that you want to know. This will show that you realize you make mistakes too, and that you’re willing to talk about them. Being open with your partner about the not so pretty parts of your relationship can be a challenge. But the more open you are, the better the relationship will be, and the happier you will be in return.

Author: Amber M.
Teenagers sitting on a tree limb

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