When a relationship passes through its initial heady, intoxicating days into something a little more calm and sustainable this can be the time when niggles and discontent can start to appear. Sometimes the things that were found to be endearing can become an irritant as we perhaps begin to wish our partner was more decisive, motivated, ambitious, responsible.
Research has found that after approximately three years people start to be less tolerant and more irritable with their partners.
- Money is often a source of stress. There can be annoyance if one person is seen to be irresponsible or disrespectful of the household budget, perhaps is selfish or careless with money. Discussing how each other feels openly and honestly can help understand each others point of view and become more aware of the issues.
- Family matters can be fraught especially if one person is close to their family and the other doesn’t care too much for them. Often both partners want an acknowledgment of how they feel, an appreciation of how difficult the situation is for them. Compromise can be the way forward in this situation, perhaps both agreeing to attend important family events together and then being more flexible about meetings with family at other times.
Bathrooms cause an inordinate amount of distress in families. The length of time that a person spends in the bathroom or the mess that they leave behind them can cause rows and serious bad feeling. Discussing this and being aware of each other’s schedule can help to better accommodate this situation and enable everyone to appreciate how unpleasant it is to enter a messy, dirty bathroom.
Work can seem like the extra person in a relationship. Many people spend increasing time at work as they struggle to keep their boss and clients happy. Agreeing a better work/life balance is important from a relationship and a health point of view. Both parties can feel undervalued in this situation. One person can feel that they are working long hours to earn money and support the family. The other can feel that they are being left to run the home, family and household on their own, with little or no support and interest. Talking and agreeing on a better solution can help.
Important hobbies and interests can take over. Some people have absorbing hobbies and interests than can require increasing amounts of time, money and commitment. Following a sport, being interested in local theatre or even having demanding friends can make increasing inroads into a person’s free time. If their partner is disinterested in these areas it can require compromise and co-operation to find a way through this dilemma.
Chores can be an interesting source of disharmony. Many households have jobs that are automatically designated as his or hers. They may appear to be shared evenly but the reality can be that some jobs may be daily whilst others are occasional. Some jobs may take less time than others. And also one person may arrive home earlier than the other and it makes sense for them to start preparing the meal or tidying around. Being fair and respectful of each other is important to avoid one person feeling that they are being treated as staff.
Relationship counselling can be a helpful way to address resentments and improve communications, particularly if a couple feel that their problems are escalating. It can deal with problems, jealousies and under-currents early on and avoid them becoming a more serious problem.