Have you noticed that your partner’s constant throat-clearing is really annoying? Are you no longer interested in a Netflix binge on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s snuggled up? Are you looking forward to them walking out to the mailbox so that you get 30-uninterrupted seconds to check your texts? You are not alone. The pandemic is causing us to be a little less tolerant and a whole lot more aggravated with our partners. And this is coming as absolutely no surprise to anyone.
We are closing in on 18 months of serious pandemic living. Hopefully we are masked up when we leave our homes, vaccinated, and still trying to remain socially distant. Yes, we have gotten back to our normal Target runs and maybe a lunch or two with friends, but a lot of us are still in our homes most of the day and we have new suitemates that we are still not used to having around. I am one of those people.
Do I love my husband? Yes. But I have realized some things about him since he has been home fulltime that quite frankly, drive me nuts. Like the fact that when he is on the phone, he speaks like he is delivering a speech to 10,000 people without a microphone. It is so fucking loud and it drives me insane. I love him. Gosh, love him so much. I hate him when he is on the phone. If he did that when he was working in an office, people had to have been ready to stab him. Right? Just me?
Well, according to a survey by IPSOS, one in 10 people say that they are more annoyed with their partner during the pandemic than before. And one in five say that they are fighting more than before. This makes a lot of sense. We simply aren’t used to spending so much time together. Do you remember when you first started dating and you couldn’t wait to gaze into your partner’s dreamy eyes? It’s now feeling like the opposite. Today, some of us would rather binge Caillou with our toddler than watch our partner on one more Zoom meeting in their pajama pants.
But it’s not just the spending time together thing. There is more to it than that, like virtual learning, for example. No matter how old your children are, distance learning is not an easy thing to do. Many families have found this. If you are the parent taking the brunt of the educational duties, it’s fair to say that you are going to be a trifle bit annoyed with your partner, or even resentful. It’s a tough situation for everyone.
Many people are also facing increased financial stress during the pandemic. There are millions still unemployed, or underemployed, and trying to make ends meet. When money is involved, there is always consternation. Seeing your partner come in the door with a fresh Starbucks while you’re single-handedly keeping Keurig in business might really piss you off. That’s just fine if it does.
These small aggravations can build upon one another and cause serious stress on relationships. The IPSOS study found that there are definitely relationships that will not last due to these pandemic stressors. There were few who said that they would actually split, just one in ten. But 27 percent reported that they knew of at least one couple that had contemplated ending their marriage.
Psychology Today has a few tips for couples that are at their limits with their partners.
If You Are Annoyed, It’s Hurting Your Relationships
Whether you realize it or not, when you are annoyed, you are making a judgment about the other person. You are putting yourself into a place where you feel superior to your partner. If you are constantly judging your partner, it is going to create a toxic environment of anger and resentment. Instead of judging, make a vow to understand that they do things differently and you just have to accept that. Try to realize that you are both doing the best you can, even if your ways are different.
Remember That You Are Part Of The Relationship Dynamic
You may be annoyed, but it’s probably not actually your partner’s fault. Remember, you are the one making the judgment here. Other people may really like the way your partner dresses or the way they hum while they shop. Your partner’s quirks are not defining you — the way that you react to them does.
Don’t Try To Make Your Partner Better; Make Yourself Better
We all want to change people into what we deem to be the perfect versions of themselves, but that really doesn’t work. Think about how you would feel if someone wanted to change everything about you to make them happier. You wouldn’t likely love it. You do you. Make the improvements in yourself that you would like to see in you partner and maybe they will get on board for a little self-improvement, too.
Realize That When You Act Annoyed, You Are Being Annoying Too
The constant nagging to your partner about what you want them to change is like nails on a chalkboard. No one wants to hear that stuff. You want to keep it up? Realize that you are opening the door for your partner to go on the attack and let you know everything that they hate about you. The cycle is terribly vicious.
Remember, You’re In This Together
Keep in mind that you built a life together because you are allies. You are a team and you want to be together. Make this your ultimate goal, to be a team player and always have an end in sight. And realize, there may be more than one way to get there. Practice a bit of patience and be open to other ideas.
No relationship is perfect. We all have our issues and annoyances; we just have to learn to work through them. The pandemic has changed everything we know about work, home life, education, and quite frankly, people’s selfishness. While we’re living in these tricky times, do your best to remember what brought you and your partner together and why you love them.
And try to remember that some people just like to tap Heart and Soul on the table while they’re on hold and hum along, and one day you’re really going to miss listening to that ditty from Big and being reminded of the giant piano day after day after day. It’s fine. They’re fine. We’re all fine.