Life Lessons

Life Lessons: You're driving me insane!

Life Lessons: You're driving me insane!

There's got to be something about your significant other that drives you crazy.

Irritations are inevitable in relationships.

Experts agree often partners don't argue over the big issues, but quibble over the petty differences in style.

Small problems can become big problems when they take on a different meaning in your mind-- especially when you start adding them up as evidence of character flaw or moral defect.

Mental health counselor Deborah Day says it's normal to be annoyed.

"How dare they not go from the bottom of the toothpaste, what's wrong with him? or, Why did he leave that toilet seat up and not put the dishes away the way I want?" explains Dr. Day.

It may seem like small stuff, but when you consider them together, a picture emerges of your partner as selfish or self-absorbed. Day says 80 percent of the problems stem from defensiveness.

"Defensiveness kills relationships," Day explains.

So do issues that fester, like affairs, money, sex issues, and the loss of a child.

"Many couples, if you do the research, don't survive loss," Day says.

Gender does play a role in what annoys people, according to a new study at the University of Louisville.

Men's complaints about women were: the silent treatment, bringing up things he's done in the distant past, being too critical, and refusing to give in, which was also on the list of women's complaints.

The other women complaints about men were: forgetting important dates, not working hard at his job, and staring at other women.

Another common complaint was not listening.

Day says it's important for women to realize that maybe their significant other is not doing the irritating behavior to bug them. Maybe it's just a mindless behavior.

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