The first time Chris did something that really annoyed me, I wanted to cry. This is it, I remember thinking. He isn't perfect. Here comes the end. I'd convinced myself that happy couples are perfect; that they never frustrate each other or have strife. How wrong I was! I was looking for a romantic comedy instead of a relationship.
What I didn't know then, because I had never been in an honest, authentic relationship, is that everyone gets annoyed of their significant other from time to time.
In fact, I'd venture to say that if you've been together for years and you're not annoyed every now and then, you're probably not paying attention.
The first time Chris was really bugging me, my internal thoughts went into overdrive. Am I being unreasonable? Is this going to work? Why is he doing that!?...Why is he still doing that? I am fairly certain I was almost in tears when I asked him to stop. And then I apologized over and over for asking him to stop, assuring him it was OK. His reaction?
He told me this wasn't a big deal and if we were going to be in a relationship, we needed to practice authenticity over harmony.
If something is bugging you, he said, you have to let me know. How else will we ever grow together? And how would I know it's bothering you if you don't tell me?
I recently asked Chris, jokingly, how long it would take him to name something about me that bugged him sometimes. He wouldn't commit to an exact time, but laughed knowingly when I said 30 seconds. He then told me that he thinks in almost any close, healthy relationship - romantic or not - most people could probably name something about the other person that is frustrating. Why?
It's a sign of authenticity and comfort. It's a sign that you're not pretending or walking on eggshells, but, instead, letting your guard down. It's not a lack of love, in fact, it's a space where love and comfort flow freely.
I recently read a Time magazine article about why it's actually good when you annoy each other. The article said it can be a catalyst for growth, because the little things that bother us often point to larger issues.
"How do you know what could be improved in your relationship? Look at what’s annoying you. Maybe your partner being late to dinner points toward a deeper issue: She always stretches herself too thin. Or maybe your partner forgetting to wash the car is evidence of his irresponsibility—a legitimate concern in any relationship."
Sometimes, it's probably pointless, and the fact that two humans living in close quarters can be a breeding ground for a little bit of conflict. Other times, though perhaps it does serve as the gateway to conversation about where we can both grow.
And, of course, if your partner always annoys you - like all the time - it might indicate a lack of compatibility. But if him leaving the dresser drawers open or not keeping his car clean gets on your nerves from time to time, I think you'll be OK. Just remember to speak kindly when you bring it up and, of course, bear in mind he might have a thing or two that bugs him, as well. We're only humans, after all.