Sometimes the toilet seat up is just the toilet seat up. But other times, that vertical piece of porcelain in the powder room is nothing short of a death wish, proof that your man never really loved you or respected you, and justifiable cause for exiling him to the land where couches replace beds and where sex is a single-person sport.
At least that's how it feels.
As April's issue of Psychology Today explains in an article entitled "You're Driving Me Crazy," petty annoyances can easily "coalesce into a vast, submerged force when they take on a different meaning in your mind – when you add them up as evidence of a character flaw or moral defect." But they don't have to.
As they put it: "Every annoyance in a relationship is really a two-way street. Partners focus on what they're getting, not on what they're giving. But no matter how frustrating a partner's behavior, your interpretation is the greater part of it. What matters is the meaning you attach to it."
But what interpretation, you might ask, could possibly make those socks in the hall and those whiskers in the sink any less aggravating? Is there really any deeper meaning (other than "I'm an inconsiderate jerk") to those empty milk cartons in the refrigerator?
Read on, disgruntled lovers. There might be. Paraphrasing and reinterpreting much of what's covered in "You're Driving Me Crazy," we present here a few of the petty annoyances you should try to attach new meanings to, and how.
Messiness. It's easy to feel as though messiness is a sign of disrespect. Especially when there's no toilet paper on the roll and three wet towels on the floor. But the fact of the matter is that one half of a partnership is always going to be messier than the other. Remember this. And, as Psychology Today says: "Instead of focusing on how inadequately he cleans, remind yourself of how much you appreciate his contribution to household chores. Changing your perspective can not only resolve the irritating issue, it can mend the dynamic of the whole relationship."