Ok, so. Is your spouse driving you crazy? Was marriage hard enough before all of this started and are you finding it nigh on impossible now that we are all stuck at home?
You are not alone. Divorce attorneys are reporting higher than average inquiries into divorces and researchers are not expecting a ‘COVID-19 baby boom.’ People are struggling, individually, and even more so, sometimes, in couples.
So, what you can do when your spouse is driving you crazy, both during these crazy times and once things get back to normal?
1. Take time out.
The most important thing to do if your spouse is driving you crazy is to get the hell away from them.
I know, easier said than done these days but it is possible.
Your biggest enemy when your spouse is driving you crazy is proximity. When you are in the same space with someone who is watching TV all day or farting often or slurping their coffee or whatever, unless you get away from them you will most likely explode. And, as I am sure you know from previous experience, exploding doesn’t make anything better.
So, what can you do to take your time out? Ideally, you would be able to go for a walk or a run. Exercise and sunshine are the best medicines when we are feeling angry or stressed out. If it’s possible, get outside and as far away from your spouse as possible.
If you can’t get outside, go into another room. Take a bath. Watch your own TV show. Read a book. Put some distance between the two of you.
If your space is really cramped, headphones can be a lifesaver. Use some to listen to music or a podcast or an audiobook or just simply as earplugs. If you can’t hear your person, more than likely you will no longer be annoyed by them. Out of sight, and hearing, and out of mind.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Talking to them will just make it worse, right? Yes, it will, if you do it in the moment that your spouse is driving you crazy.
I would suggest that, after you get some space and your frustration and anger dissipates, you talk to your spouse about what is driving you crazy. And I would suggest a certain way to do it so that you are successful.
If him slurping his coffee is driving you nuts, try to tell him that the slurping sound makes you feel irritated. Not so much that you are irritated by him but at the sound of the slurping. Of course, you can’t get mad at the coffee so might it be possible for him to make an effort not to slurp. If the noise is gone, or reduced, you most likely won’t be as irritated.
If you tell your husband that he is driving you crazy by slurping his coffee he will get defensive because you are attacking his actions. Instead, talking about how his actions make you feel is something that he can’t argue with.
Does this make sense? Here is an article that I wrote about effective communication with your spouse.
3. Cut them some slack.
One thing my therapist pointed out to me a long time ago is that none of us are perfect. And, of course, we rarely set out to drive each other crazy.
Be honest, do you think that your husband is slurping coffee just to annoy you or is it a longstanding habit that perhaps you used to find endearing?
With that thought in mind, perhaps his actions can bother you less, if you recognize that he isn’t setting out to drive you crazy but that he is a person in the world who isn’t perfect.
I am guessing there are a few things that you do that drive him nuts as well and that you do them because you aren’t perfect either, not to bother him.