I’ve been noticing a trend. Many of us have been feeling annoyed at our partners lately.
I was in a major annoyed phase recently, myself. And the topic of annoyance has come up in our private facebook group some, as well as in conversations with clients.
A couple women I’ve talked to recently shared how feeling annoyed at their man made them worry they shouldn’t be with him, that something must be wrong with the relationship. They worked themselves into a state of real worry over the health of their relationship because of these feelings of annoyance.
Just like them, in my own experience of feeling annoyed lately, I had thoughts about what this annoyance “meant”.
Does it mean I’ll never feel good with my husband again? Does it mean he’s an annoying person and I made a mistake marrying him? Will I have to live my life feeling annoyed all the time???
The difference with me and the other women I spoke with is that I know that those thoughts are normal, but I don’t have to actually believe them. They are just little passing reflexes, like a twitch. In and of themselves, they mean nothing about my husband, myself, or the relationship. It’s just what the mind does- think thoughts, especially fearful ones, and analyze what they mean.
But most of us, like I used to, take our thoughts about our feelings really seriously. As in, “If I feel irritated, something must be wrong with my husband, or with me, or with US!”
How do you feel when you think like that? Likely worried. And pretty upset.
This holiday season was really full for me, as it is for most of us. I know to expect it to take a toll on my nerves. So when I found myself in a low grade state of chronic irritation, I was not surprised one bit. Especially as it coincided with my premenstrual time of the month.
When I started getting aggravated at every little thing my husband did (like tell me the same story for the umpteenth time) or didn’t do (like start a fire in the wood stove first thing in the morning) I did not descend into that despair pit of doom about my marriage.
Instead, this is what I did to get me through that couple weeks of feeling annoyed:
1) I took a good look at what was under those feelings. I reminded myself my feelings are never his fault. I really looked at the fact the he wasn’t doing anything different or more annoying than normal. My feelings came 100% from something going on in myself.
I really investigated what those were in this case.
What I recognized was there were some physical conditions feeding my annoyance: hormones, stress, the endless grey skies, cold whether and long dark nights—cabin fever.
I also saw I was allowing my mind to focus on what was wrong and to fall into judging mode, instead of seeing what was right. When I spent some conscious time focusing on the good in my man and in our lives at the moment, I saw it was mostly good. My irritation would fade for a bit.
2) I didn’t tell myself stories about what my irritated feeling meant about who he is as a person, whether I love him or not, and whether we are meant to be together. If thoughts like that came up, i just let them roll on by like clouds in the sky. I reminded myself I am human, and humans feel annoyed around other humans sometimes, no matter who the other person is.
3) I recognized that I was annoying myself: by not giving myself more quiet time, by not going on my walks more often, by filling in every spare moment with work so I could get it all done before I took a vacation, by going to bed later and later every night.
I turned back to this rule of life: the amount of annoyance you feel is in direct proportion to your amount of self care. Feeling really annoyed? Add some serious self care.
So I did. When I could fit it in during the craziness of the holiday, I did. And as soon as the parties were over and presents unwrapped, I carved out a whole bunch more quiet time and got back to enjoying myself.
The result of doing these 3 things?
Annoyance has been full-on replaced by natural and strong feelings of such affection and appreciation for my husband. This last week has been almost a honeymoon phase again for my man and I. I’ve felt so much love for him, and he has been responding so beautifully to me because of it.
Because feelings are contagious. It’s easy to love someone who is so obviously loving and enjoying you.
You can take the same steps I took for myself, too. We all prefer to genuinely like the person we’ve chosen to spend our life with—and be liked back! But sometimes we need a bit more proactive effort to do so. It’s simply part of being human.
Has this been helpful? I've been inspired to share this by listening to what's on women's minds about their relationships, and answering their questions over in the private facebook group I run for this community, Rekindling Connection For Lasting Love.
Come be part of this a loving place to get support from each other and feel safe to honestly share struggles, ask questions, and commune with other like-minded deep-feeling women around resolving the real life challenges in your relationship-- so you can have the love you want with your partner.