Tuesday, December 15, 2009

He Loves His Wife, But She's Always Annoyed at Him

Hi, Terry-

I'm kind of confused as to what to do.

I've been with my wife for over 10 years. We met in 1998 (started dating August of 1998), got engage in 2003 and finally married in 2005. We've been together the whole time. For both of us it has been a commitment since the first date.

Slowly and slowly more things I do annoy her. I made a sandwich the other day, and she was upset that there were some crumbs left on the counter top. And I really do try to do a good job of not being sloppy. I haven't always been good with that, but it certainly wasn't because I was trying to be evil or rude.... it just wasn't something I was that aware of. But I'm making an effort to be more considerate.

She gets annoyed that I leave my closet door open. I didn't see the issue with it, so instead of making it an issue I just complied. Now it's some crumbs I left on the counter top.

It's hard dealing with at times because it's a really crappy feeling to view yourself as this big clod of a nuisance that just annoys the person you care about so much.

I don't really have a lot of friends anymore. So many moved away after graduating from high school and then college.

It's hard at times not to be overwhelmed with a feeling of being alone.

Thanks for any insight.

God bless.

-Becoming Depressed

Dear Becoming-

From your email, I can tell you're a loving and caring guy, the type of man who makes his wife's happiness a priority. Take comfort in the fact that a lot of women would love to find someone like you.

When one spouse starts getting annoyed with the other over little things, it may mean the relationship needs a little air. It's possible your wife is getting too much of you right now (please don't be offended by this; it's human nature to take just about everything for granted. We all do it, unfortunately).

You say that you've lost touch with friends, so the best thing you could do is make some new ones. You can do this pretty easily by pursuing an old or new interest; you're bound to meet new people at a class at the Home Depot or on a local sports team for men your age.

If you haven't already, join Facebook to reconnect with old friends. (Since I joined, I've been invited to several reunions. In late January, I'm scheduled to meet up with a bunch of friends from my childhood neighborhood. Haven't seen some of the them in decades.)

Caveat about Facebook: Avoid becoming too friendly with former girlfriends. The goal here is to reinvigorate your relationship with your wife, not destroy it.

If you make more of a social life for yourself, you'll give your wife time to herself, which will give her time to think about you. Small absences do make the heart grow fonder. And when you come home from seeing a friend, you'll have something fresh to talk about with her.

If you have a cell phone and are in the habit of calling your wife repeatedly during the day, limit your calls. Call if you're going to be late, but save the "How was your day?" conversation until you're looking her in the eye. If you call your wife too often, what will you talk about when you see each other? Cell phones can be deadly to romance.

When you're regularly giving the relationship air, it's very possible your wife will stop taking you for granted. At this point, it'll be fun to go out (alone) together for dinner or for something else you both enjoy. Dates really help bring back the spark, especially when you actually have things to talk about!

(Finding a decent babysitter can be stressful, so please help.)

As for the bit about the closet door being open and the crumbs on the countertop, they do seem like small things. But if you have children, your wife is likely cleaning up after them. It's no fun to clean up after other people.

However, if she doesn't do it, and someone shows up unexpectedly at your house, they will most likely judge her (not your or your children) a slob and a rotten housekeeper. She's under some pressure to keep the place looking just so.

I want to reiterate that you do sound like a wonderful guy. I hope this helps, and I wish you every happiness in the world.



Becoming less depressed said...


I can completely see how I could be abit too much of a presence for her. Not that I should leave her alone or abandon her, but let her have some time to herself.

You're right about the calls. More than once during a day I'll call her to chat or joke around. I know her other friends don't call her as much as I do. One of my main concerns was to always let her know that I'm not getting tired with her. My mom died at an early age, and I know it tore my dad up at the thought that she might not have felt as loved and wanted during her life here. Not that he was negligent.... but seeing her die and knowing there was nothing he could do about it.

Same with me towards my mom. I think of her lying in ICU, I start to think of how alone she must have felt slowly dying and fading away.

I'd stop by to visit my dad, only to see that he was still in bed, with no intention of getting up any time soon (or late).

I'm just rambling on now....

I greatly appreciate your advice.

Anonymous said...

Dear Terry,

I'm not sure if you get to look at your previous post's comments, so leaving a comment in your recent post.

Just wanted to let you know that I wanted to thank you for answering my previous question(in your previous post- Things to know before you marry him), and that I left a reply with one more question for which I'd need your valuable advice.

As always, greatly appreciate your blog, it's one of my very favourite blogs.

God Bless you,

- Keep me anonymous

Anonymous said...

After reading your letter I encourage you to explore counselling, ideally as a couple, but if that is not a possibility I feel going along on your own would be beneficial.

Annoyance from partners is never about trivial issues such as crumbs on the bench,but is usually indicative of far greater relationship and intimacy issues that the partner is not able to communicate. And then it surfaces with superficial annoyances and complaints. You then perceive it as a problem about crumbs..you think it is about you..but this is not the issue.
Sometimes all it takes is to ask your partner why she is feeling so annoyed..and if she is happy with the relationship.We need to check in with our partners now and again to make sure we are on the same page, and that need are being met. This is how we grow as individuals, and how long term relationship grow and deepen.
If you are emotionally intimate, you can never be too much of a presence, so to go down the path that your dynamic as a couple will improve if you give her some time to herself is taking all the responsibility for the unhappy situation you find yourelf in. This is not just about you, but about the both of you. It is also perfectly normal and healthy to phone your wife daily, or more if you want.
If you stop calling, and then try to clean up the crumbs..what do you think will be the outcome? My guess is that you will become even more distant with each other and you will never get to the real reason as to why you are both unhappy.
It can be scary to do this... to be vulnerable..to dare to say what we want..for ourselves..for our relationship. But some things are worth the risk.
Whats the alternative? being annoyed about breadcrumbs....

I wish you the very best. Good luck.