It is said that when people are in a relationship, they tend to tolerate but also annoy each other.
Though a highly-sexualised society delivers an alluring drumbeat of anxieties such as infidelity, it may be the petty problems that subvert the love life. These could be dirty socks on the floor, the way a partner chews their food, being too slow when in a rush… .
When Richard Kuteesa, 30, first met the woman he calls his queen, he felt she was straight out of heaven – beautiful, understanding and holding a good job. He couldn’t ask for more in a wife, so he thought.
But it all started after their wedding. When she moved in with their two-year-old daughter, everything changed dramatically. Kuteesa got to see the little things that had eluded his sight during their two years of dating.
He says his wife has a tendency of never letting things go. When they have had an argument, she acts like all has been cleared, but then keeps bringing back the same issue, even when the matter has long been ‘forgotten.’
That is not all that he has had to put up with, though. When she moved in, she rearranged his home to her taste.
“She picked all my movies and books and placed them in the store,” he says, adding that before long, she had replaced those spots with her fashion magazines and reality show Ds.
Kuteesa tried talking to his wife thinking she would let him be, but it soon hit him that she wasn’t going to change her dark spots. Psychologist Michael Cunningham, from the University of Louisville, believes that when people are dating, they tend to suppress some of their quirky behaviours, thus letting their partners see what they want them to see.
Writing on lifestyle and relationship website www.ivillage.com, Cunningham says men love women the way they smell, look, walk and talk. Yet in the same way, they can’t stand staying with them, majorly because of the little things they do that drive men to the brink of insanity.
“A recurring theme among many women is that they try to place themselves under a ‘holier-than-thou’ light, never admitting that they fooled around as much as the guys,” reads part of the article.
For Phillip Buyi, 30, women talking about their spotless backgrounds is okay he knows it is a bluff, total lies. He, however, hates their g desire to put down other women, who at times are their best friends.
She could decide to spend almost an entire night putting down her friends, which Buyi says is very annoying to listen to. Buyi also notes that almost all men are irked by women’s tendencies of listening and talking to friends about their marital woes. This is usually coupled with another notorious practice the silent treatment.
He talks about the time his wife didn’t talk to him for three days, yet he had no inkling of what he could have done wrong. He only learnt from her friend that he had indeed annoyed her.
“It was more embarrassing learning about what I did from her workmate,” he says.
Besides Kuteesa and Buyi, many men have had to deal with ‘queer’ behaviour from their women. The list of irritants from their sweethearts is endless: she talks, talks and never stops she never makes an effort to keep ‘private’ things such as used tampons away from his view she never misses an opportunity to snoop into his phone call logs and messages she goes to bed without bathing she pays more attention to other men when out on a date…
Yet, as men complain about their other halves’ unbecoming behaviour, women too have huge bones to pick. Esther Nansamba, 29, can’t understand why men forget the toilet seat up – that is, if they put it up. She says that this shows that their observation is low and they are unmindful.
Even more, Nansamba hates men’s never-ending competing tendencies. In her view, when a man is chasing a woman, he will take it as competition but even when they do get married, he won’t stop competing.
She cites the time she went out with her husband and he started acting jealous when he spotted her talking to another man. For Hellen Bukirwa, not respecting their privacy was the deal breaker. Currently in a committed relationship, the 30-year-old can never get over the experience with her ex-boyfriend who used to check her phone messages.
She believes men are more insecure than they are actually made out to be. Though she had been with her boyfriend for two years, the guy never stopped being suspicious whenever she received a call.
Unlucky for them, his insecurity crushed their relationship he checked a very personal message she had received from her brother.
“He was actually stupid enough to tell me the contents of the message,” she says angrily.
The women concur that some behaviours are not only irritating but seem to be tattooed on all men’s DNA. Bukirwa doesn’t understand why all the men she has met have been bad with remembering important dates – anniversaries and birthdays.
“You will be home waiting to surprise him when the fool has indeed forgotten his own birthday,” she says jokingly.
Like Kuteesa, both girls admit that unless the situation is extreme, you can learn to take on the excess baggage that a man comes with it is supposedly part of the bargain. Kuteesa contends that most of these irritants are not intended. They are things people do without noticing that they are actually hurting someone.
Bukirwa believes it is all up to the way you decide to look at a particular irritant. She says if couples can look at a toilet seat and socks on the floor as just that, without creating unnecessary theories about them, all couples could get past it.
“The problem is that men and women never look at the two sides of the coin. He may irritate you but you too irritate him in some way,” she says, adding that partners only want to see what they get, not what they are giving.
Nevertheless, even when irritating situations drive many partners up the wall, some could be a source of insurance. Nansamba reminisces when her father used to talk in his sleep on a daily basis. She found it very irritating, but the night she didn’t hear him say a thing, she got worried and wondered whether he was fine, and he was indeed ill.
“Since then I started taking his sleep-talking as a sign that he was healthy and sound,” Nansamba says.
She, however, picks out some cases where the irritating behaviour of a partner actually needs attention rather than just living with it. A friend of hers once had issues with her husband waking her up late in the night just to tell her about his dreams and plans for the future.
It was only later realized that he suffered from anxiety and needed expert help. According to an article titled: You’re driving me crazy written by Psychology Today’s Jay Dixit, irritations are inevitable in relationships. It is just not possible to find another human being whose every quirk, habit, and preference aligns perfectly with yours.
According to the article, the fundamental challenge in a relationship, is “figuring out how to negotiate and live with your partner’s irritants in a way that doesn’t alienate them and keeps the two of you connected.”
When marriages don’t work, Dixit adds, the partners are often fighting, not over big issues, but over petty differences. He adds that criticism is flat-out destructive to a relationship, since it never solves an issue. Dixit argues that most of the marriage problems arise because of differences in personalities between partners.
In other words, all Kuteesa, Buyi, Nansamba and Bukirwa need to do is change their perspectives in the relationships. Trouble is we rarely get to appreciate this, often lamenting, and hopping for a tailor-made package from heaven.
Source : The Observer