The Secret to Feeling Less Annoyed by Your Partner

Enlisting your secret powers to embrace the quirks and boost adoration.

Posted Oct 06, 2016

Whether you’re irritated by your partner’s appearance, habits, ways of doing things, or specific eccentricities, you are not alone. Feeling annoyed at times is a normal part of being in a relationship. However, being chronically annoyed is painful and damaging. You can avoid that fate by enlisting your secret powers of empathy, tolerance, gratitude, adoration, and calm, summed up in the following 5 ways of being in your relationship. Indeed, with practice, you’ll reap the rewards of feeling less annoyed and even more adoring overall.

Deborah L. Davis
Source: Deborah L. Davis

Have compassion for each other—and yourselves. Be open to seeing things from each other’s point of view, so you can understand where each of you is coming from. After all, what’s unreasonable or irrational to you makes all the sense in the world to your partner—and vice versa. Talk about your ideas about what’s proper, what’s okay, and what’s right and good.  Become aware of and share insights into your sensitivities, your worries, your sore spots, and your quirks. Ask questions about where you got those ideas, fears, or sensitivities. How were they formed by experience? Are they still serving you as an adult? If you are forgiving of yourself for your quirks, you’ll be more likely to extend the same to your partner AND be less annoyed as a result. Indeed, it’s impossible to feel compassion and be judgmental/annoyed at the same time.

Build connection through mutual tolerance.  Tolerance also wards off judgment. Openly strike a deal of tolerance, such as, “I’ll put up with your quirks if you’ll put up with mine.” Or, “I’ll forgive you for annoying me if you’ll forgive me for annoying you.” And perhaps eventually, “Let’s accept the fact that we each have our own eccentricities, and practice embracing them all, in ourselves and each other.”

Deborah L. Davis
Source: Deborah L. Davis

Practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude means that you mindfully take time out of your day to turn your thoughts toward what you feel grateful for. You might even decide to adopt a daily habit of sharing what you’re grateful for in each other. Recall what you admired when you were first getting to know your partner, and what you admire now. “I’m grateful that you come home when you say you will.” Or “I’m thankful that you tend to your health and fitness.” Or “I really like the way you held my hand this evening.” Or “I admire how you dealt with that situation.” Doing so builds feelings of mutual positive regard.

Look through eyes of love. Remember those days, perhaps long ago, when your partner could do no wrong? You were looking through rose-colored glasses, to be sure. But you were also looking with adoration and love in your heart. And idealization makes you happier. To restore that sense of acceptance and happiness—and to boost tolerance and gratitude—it can help to habitually recall what you originally found attractive, and notice how that essence is still there. “I love the way we laugh” or “S/he is such a kind soul” or “His/her creativity / intelligence/ spontaneity/ enthusiasm/ responsible nature/ quiet introspection/ calm demeanor/ etc. adds to the quality of our life together.” Your adoring and positive attitude can actually cultivate your beloved’s adorable and positive tendencies, and inspire them to come forth. 

Deborah L. Davis
Source: Deborah L. Davis

Reduce the effects of stress. Compassion, eyes of love, tolerance, and gratitude will alleviate stress in your relationship, and the benefits will spread to other parts of your lives. But you’ll find it easier to be compassionate, loving, tolerant, and grateful if you also work to reduce the effects of the stress you experience in those other parts. Daily habits like getting adequate sleep, good nutrition, and exercise are good medicine for both body and brain, and can help keep you calm even when life is going 100 miles an hour. Mindfulness practices like yoga, meditation, and tai chi also calm your body and brain. Physical affection and touch are also important to maintain with each other, as it boosts levels of feel-good hormones like oxytocin and your sense of pair-bonding. So in quiet moments, remember to reach out and hold hands, lean against each other, and generally snuggle up. Balance work and play so you can fulfill your responsibilities, but also enjoy life and each other. All these ways of managing stress will make you far less prone to feeling annoyed by your partner—and create a beneficial cycle of calm feeding gratitude; gratitude feeding calm.

Ahhhhhhhhhh. Much better.

These ways of being, along with the 5 solutions outlined in the previous post on what to do in the moment when you’re annoyed, can help you embrace your partner’s quirks with grace. And if you’re already experiencing chronic annoyance, read the first post about how to get out of that rut and start to restore peace. All of these strategies can help you embrace quirks with grace and stay connected to your partner by maintaining a strong foundation of respect and affection.