When you're with someone for a long time, you're guaranteed to find little things about them that might annoy you. It's kind of inevitable and it's actually OK. At the same time, however, nobody really wants to believe they're annoying the one they love most. But according to experts, knowing the signs you're annoying your partner can help you both get to the bottom of what is causing the disconnect, and turn it around so you have a much closer relationship.
If one partner gets annoyed with the other, it may cause some concern. For instance, what does this mean for your relationship? As licensed marriage and family therapist, Heidi McBain, MA says, there's no need to jump to conclusions just yet. In fact, it really depends. If a few small habits are bothering one partner, that's completely OK. But if one partner is consistently annoyed at the other, that is something to note, she says. While the former is something that can be discussed and worked on, the latter she says may be a sign of a bigger issue in your relationship.
"Feeling like you are annoying the person which you are probably trying to impress the most is never a great feeling, but there are signs to tell if this is really the case," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony's Chief of Advice tells Bustle. So here are some signs that your partner may be annoyed and what you can do about it.
1Their Jokes Seem To Have Hidden Meanings
If someone finds their partner annoying, they may not outwardly say it but mask it behind a joke. As clinical psychologist and relationship expert, Dr. Danielle Forshee, tells Bustle, the things they say may start to become critical and maybe even a little bit hurtful. "Criticism is when your partner brings up an issue in a way that focuses on your personality or character flaws," Dr. Forshee says. "You’ll know they're doing it because instead of focusing on the problem, they focus on your flawed personality or yourself." For instance, if you bring up wanting them to be more affectionate, they might respond with a, "Nah, you're just needy. Just kidding." Even though they say they're kidding, there may be some hidden truth there. If this isn't addressed as soon as possible, Dr. Forshee says it can "significantly deteriorate the foundational fabric of a relationship." Talking openly and calmly with your partner about these issues, and what may be causing them to react this way is the quickest method to moving past the issue.
2They're Super Defensive Most Of The Time
Defensiveness is another way to tell if someone might be annoyed and not expressing it. According to Dr. Forshee, defensiveness is a way of blaming the other person instead of taking responsibility or holding some accountability for the problem. For instance, if you bring up the fact that you never spend time together anymore, your partner won't own up to the fact that they aren't putting in the effort to make time. Instead, they might throw every excuse at you from being busy at work to even blaming you for not being understanding enough.
"If criticism and defensiveness are a regular part of your relationship, it is important to address it as soon as possible," Dr. Forshee says. "Ask your partner what they need from you. Try to come from a place of understanding about what, if anything, in your partner’s history of life experiences may lead them to fall trap to these types of communication interactions."
3They Keep "Forgetting" To Respond To Your Texts Or Calls
If you previously enjoyed consistent reciprocity in communication, and suddenly they stop responding, it may be a sign that something is up. "It is a kind of literal — or at the very least emotional — disconnection," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. If their communication has dropped off, Assimos suggests to pull back yourself. "You don't need to play games and wait two days before responding back to them," she says. "But, if you find yourself triple texting your partner about how excited you are to see them before they have had the chance to respond, it might be time to tone it down."
4They Don't Seem To Be Present When You're Together
If someone isn't as present as they used to be, it may be a sign that they are annoyed but not sharing it. They might show this by staying on their phone during couples time. They also might not be as carefree and happy when they're spending time with their significant other. "If asked or otherwise confronted about it, they may become evasive," Backe says. "When this happens this could be because they honestly don’t know, or it could be because they don’t want to share." If this is the case for your relationship, ask them what's going on with them. "You may find out it is all in your head or you may find out that something is wrong," Backe says. "At any rate, it opens the door to a conversation you should probably have."
5They're Not As Receptive To Affectionate Gestures As They Once Were
"Most couples don’t engage in endless lovey-doveyness long-term, but they do usually arrive at a happy middle," Backe says. When one partner starts reducing the amount of affection they're showing or brushes it off when their partner attempts it, that could be a sign of distance. If you feel like your partner is pulling away but don't really know why, Backe says it's important to look within yourself first before confronting your partner. "We are often too quick to judge or speculate, and sometimes we arrive at the absolute worst conclusions.," Backe says. "Sit yourself down, look at your actions, words, and feelings, and see if there is something about you that you need to shine up a little bit."
6They Would Rather Walk Away Than Fight Or Talk Out Issues
An individual who is annoyed by their partner may sabotage the relationship by disappearing physically and emotionally when times get tough. "They won't deal with conflicts, anger, or any bumps in the road," Dr. Fran Walfish, relationship psychotherapist and author, tells Bustle. "This is a sure pathway to a collapse in the relationship." It's obviously very difficult to work out relationship issues when your partner runs when the going gets tough. But if you want the relationship to work, Dr. Walfish says sitting them down to have those conversations are necessary. "This does not involve only good talking," she says. "Healthy communication means active listening to the other person without interrupting by trying to force your opinions down [their] throat. Instead, listen to them and narrate out loud what you hear so that they feel heard, validated, and respected."
7They Keep Asking For "Alone Time"
Everyone should have alone time in their relationship. As Assimos says, if your partner says they need space, give it to them. "Sometimes people need quiet or alone time, and the best thing you can do is support that, and look at it as an opportunity to do your own thing as well," she says. With that said, you absolutely have the right to ask, "I will honor your need for space, is there anything I have done that is upsetting you?” As we all know, keeping the communication lines open is essential.
When you realize that your partner may be annoyed but isn't sharing it, of course you're going to take it personally. "It really is possible to have too much of a good thing," Assimos says. But that doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with you or what you're doing. It also doesn't mean your relationship is heading towards a breakup. When you spend a lot of time with someone, annoyances are inevitable. Besides, there's probably one or two things you find annoying about your partner as well. Love is all about acceptance. At the end of the day, if you both still love each other and you're willing to smooth out the bumps, you're going to be fine.