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The 14 Rules of Long-Lasting Relationships

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If Little Things Annoy You, Say So -- With Humor


Go on then, what annoys you about your partner? There's got to be loads of things. Come on, what can you think of, off the top of your head? Let's see --- do they always sing along to your favorite music out of tune? Do they change channels on the TV without asking you first? Take phone messages for you and then forget to pass them on? Put the greasy butter knife straight down on the table? Interrupt you when you're in mid-sentence? Snore? Throw away the toothpaste before it's really empty? I bet there are loads of little things that wind you up.

I've never met anyone who didn't annoy their partner in some kind of little way or other. It's unavoidable. Of course, we need to be tolerant and we can't ask them to change their personality but I mean, honestly, do they have to bang the front door so loudly? Or let the dog into the kitchen when it's still wet from its walk?

It's amazing how such little things can really get to you. If you're finding it impossible to be tolerant, it's much better to let your partner know how you feel than to get increasingly frustrated and irritated. After all if you don't tell them, how would they know. It's probably never dawned on them that they're being annoying.

There is one important rule though -- always use humor to let your partner know what bugs you. My wife and I have developed a system whereby every time she says, "By the way, for future reference…" I know I'm about to get into trouble for something I didn't know I was doing. Because she always uses the same phrase it's become a standing joke, so she always says it with a smile, and I always reply, "Whatever it was, I'm sorry. So what have I done now?"

Next: Jealousy Is Your Stuff, Not Theirs

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From The Rules of Love Copyright © 2009, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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