Let’s face it: pet peeves are almost always your problem, not your partner’s. By definition, pet peeves are small things that don’t really matter. They drive some people crazy, while other people don’t even notice them. So, in the interest of reducing the stress in our relationships, here are some strategies for keeping your pet peeves from hurting your relationship.
1. Recognize that you are just as irritating to your partner
I read through this list of 50 Relationships Pet Peeves, laughing and nodding. “Yep, my husband does that! Oh, yeah, that one drives me crazy!” It was fun! Then I went through it a second time, and this time I counted up all the ones that I do. Not so much fun! Turns out that I am guilty of 24 of these at least occasionally! I’d suggest trying it out yourself. It really builds a little humility, and when your husband starts to irritate you, you can remind yourself that he has plenty of reasons to be irritated with you as well.
2. If the issue is really important to you, discuss it with your partner
When you discuss, remember that the issue is really your issue, and try to address it that way instead of blaming the other person. Check out this article for ways to discuss specific pet peeves: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/19/biggest-pet-peeves_n_2638912.html
3. Use stress reduction strategies if you find yourself overreacting
If you find yourself overreacting to things that you know are not major issues, it may be because you are feeling stressed in general, which is making you less able to deal. When my dad kicked me out of the house, he was dealing with unusual stress, which probably contributed to his overreaction. I have personally found that stress hurts my ability to react reasonably to problems as well. This slideshow provides a number of suggestions for dealing with stress. Personally, I like the suggestion to use ritual. When my husband was across the country for nine months in an internship, I developed a ritual of ending each evening with a soak in the tub while I read a book, and I found it really comforting to know that that bit of happiness was waiting at the end of each day.