Loving someone means they have the power to get really deep under your skin. But before you commit a crime or throw your relationship in the garbage over some dirty dishes or some poorly-timed sarcasm, try some hacks for those times when you just don't like your partner. You'll save your sanity along with your love life.
Trust me, I get it. My wife lives in my heart and on my last nerve. It's a fact she's proud of, and I wouldn't have it any other way. In one sense, it's good that she gets on my nerves from time to time. It means she trusts me enough to be herself, and to do her own thing, even when that thing is something I might not like. We're not alone either. As Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW, in an article for PsychCentral, said, "Who doesn't hate their spouse sometimes?" Negative feelings are par for the course in any relationship, so they're not something you necessarily have to feel guilty about.
They are something you have to learn how to manage, though, because burying them can lead to resentments, but lashing out can lead to drama and hurt feelings. When I worked with couples as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Responsible Sexuality Educator, I was surprised at how many people harbored years of guilt for the times they just couldn't stand the one they loved most. It's complicated, but it's natural. Try these hacks next time you're just not feeling the love, and see if they help you calm your irritated soul.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
There's no point in pretending your partner never annoys you or makes you mad. Let's just get real here. If you're together long enough, you may even have long patches where you just don't like the person you love. I'm talking days, weeks, months, even. You don't do yourself or your relationship any good if you aren't real with yourself about how you feel. My wife and I tell each other all the time "I love you so much, but I don't like you right now." And we totally get it. And it keeps things from building into resentments. You might not be able to say that to your partner, but you can find a way to communicate that you're not happy with them in that moment. Whatever works for you.
2. Put Down Your Weapons
And walk away slowly. It's absolutely OK to take time out for yourself. Tell your partner something (relatively nice) like, "I'm going to go for a walk right now because I'm just super irritated with life." Maybe don't say something like, "I hate you right now, and if I don't get away from your stupid face, I'm going to ninja kick you in it." Because first of all, that's not nice, or productive. And second of all, threatening violence, even fake violence, is not cool. No matter how satisfying it is. Time outs are not just for toddlers. Even if you just put on some headphones and move to the other end of the couch, do what you need to do to get yourself away from rage seizure territory. Go to your cranky corners!
3. Buy A Hamper
Sometimes the things that annoy you most about your partner have easy solutions. If your partner always loses the bills, get email bills or buy a mail sorter. If they always leave their towels on the floor, get a fancy hamper. If they insist on listening to their cousin's terrible glam metal album on full volume, get some noise-canceling headphones. That won't solve the fact that you're mad because you feel like your partner is disrespecting you by continually doing things you don't like, but it's a good start.
4. Have Awesome, Crazy Sex
I'm not talking your everyday awesome sex. I'm talking about that next-level, A-game, sweaty, wild, breaking out the new moves sex. It's a good way to get some of that frustrated energy out. Plus, the flood of feel-good hormones might be enough to transform your annoyed feels back into gooey love feels. And if nothing else, at least you had sex, which is fun.
5. Change Up Your Routine
It's easier to get annoyed when you're bored and restless. Cabin fever and too much time together can also contribute. You might just need to take a night class, go out with friends, or find something fun to do together. Shared experiences are a great way to bond and feel closer. And experiences without each other give you new stuff to talk about. Sometimes it's as easy as breaking the monotony of the daily grind. Do something fun that makes you laugh or gets your heart pumping to help get some of that pent up stress out.
6. Take A Trip Down Memory Lane
When I really just can't muster those lovey feelings, I like to look at my wedding pictures. It was a sunset wedding on a mountain top in Colorado, and we were so happy and filled with love. It reminds me of why we're together and takes my focus off whatever is annoying me. Look through your Instagram or Facebook at all your couple pictures, or close your eyes and replay the last romantic thing you did. Then remind yourself that you love this person. Like super love them. And that you'd rather have them do something annoying than ever be without them.
7. Make A Change
If something's really bothering you, and you just can't get past that feeling of not liking your partner, it may be one of those times when someone needs to make a change. Relationships are about compromise, and sometimes that means your partner has to compromise to make you happy. If it really bothers you that much when your partner does something, so much so that you can't get past it, they might just need to stop doing it. Keep in mind, you can't change or control someone, but in healthy relationships, compromise and sacrifice happen for the greater good. Plus you know you'd totally stop doing something if it really made your partner unhappy. Probably. Right?
If none of these hacks get you back on the love train, there's probably a deeper issue going on. Only some real, deep communication will get to the core of that.