The 50 Worst Pet Peeves That Grind on Relationships
The most common annoyances you should spot immediately.
Dirty dishes piling high in the sink. Blisteringly loud cell-phone conversations. Refusing to ask for directions. Making terrible bodily noises. Every relationship is filled with annoyances and quibbles that will build over time and potentially ignite into a full-blown fight. (We’re only human, after all.) But if you take steps to recognize them early on—and even discuss them with your partner—you’re all but guaranteed to stave off some larger issues and confrontations down the road. With that in mind, we spoke to several top dating experts to compile the 50 biggest pet peeves in relationships that most couples have to deal with. Spot them—and stop them—and your partner will thank you.
Being Utterly Unreliable
“It can be little things like being late or not calling back, or bigger things like not following through on a commitment to help with a project or do your share of the chores,” says Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, a relationship expert and founder of Idealationship. “Developing a pattern of not following through, no matter how big or small the promise, eats away at the trust and security of the relationship.”
Constantly Comparing Your Relationship to Others
Every relationship is different, and it’s understandably annoying to hear your partnership compared to others. “Couples must have their own experiences, and just because something works for another couple doesn’t mean it will work for you,” says Tiya Cunningham-Sumter, a certified relationship coach.
Everyone gets busy, but not responding to your S.O.’s calls and texts can drive them crazy—which might explain why it’s considered one of the biggest relationship pet peeves. “It shows a lack of respect and interest,” explains Dr. Venessa Marie Perry, founder and Chief Relationship Strategist at The Love Write.
Staying Too Friendly With Exes
There’s nothing wrong with on good terms with an ex—especially if there are kids in the picture. But actually being friends with them? That’s another story. “It’s very difficult to develop intimacy with someone who has exes as friends,” says April Masini, a New York-based relationship and etiquette expert. This is particularly true if someone is friends with multiple ex-partners, not just their ex-spouse. “There’s mistrust, jealousy and curiosity about whether or not the ex is actually over your partner (or the other way around),” says Masini.
Resorting to The Silent Treatment
How old are we, now? “While it’s normal to need space, cutting off all communication doesn’t really serve any purpose other than to ‘punish’ your partner,” notes Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and dating expert. “The silent treatment just delays resolution of a fight and closes the lines of communication. Neither are healthy for a relationship.”
Not Being Considerate about the Small Things
It’s pretty annoying when your S.O. heads to the kitchen to grab a snack and doesn’t ask if you want anything. According to Lisa Concepcion, dating and relationship expert, these little instances of being inconsiderate can add up over time and turn into real relationship pet peeves.
Saying “I’m Fine” When You’re Actually Not
“When you don’t tell your partner why you’re angry, hurt, or upset, those feelings don’t just magically go away,” says Colby Marie Z is a sex & relationship coach. “Instead, they eventually cause resentment, which is relationship kryptonite.” Plus, when you’re mad, there’s a good chance your partner can tell, and denying it will likely annoy them more than just fessing up to what’s actually wrong.
Not Cleaning Up After Sex
“When a man consciously disposes of the condom and the wrapper (which often gets broken into two pieces), it tells the woman he respects her, but also that he respects himself and the space around him,” explains Lauren Brim, a sexual wellness and alternative relationship coach. “It’s the equivalent of helping to make the bed the next morning in that it says, ‘we’re in this together.'”
Being Late All The Time
This isn’t cool in any relationship, but even worse in a romantic one. “When you’re chronically late, it may not be intentional, but it can wreak havoc on a punctual partner who feels disrespected each time it occurs,” says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist.
Walking Away During A Fight
“No two people deal with conflict in the same way, and this can be highly individual, depending on one’s upbringing and previous experience,” explains Michele Moore, a licensed professional counselor and relationship expert. Some people really want to talk things out, while others would rather just let a conflict cool off before digging into it. But up and leaving an argument right in the middle? Not cool.
Acting Differently Around Family
Some people tend to revert to their childhood tendencies around family, which can create relationship pet peeves for their S.O. “When you see your grown partner revert back to a 12-year-old, it can be infuriating,” Concepcion says.
Sharing Partner Flaws With Others
“It’s fun to share humorous anecdotes about our partner’s foibles with family and friends,” says Rosalind Sedacca, a dating and relationship coach. “If this is a frequent pattern for you, chances are your partner may be feeling embarrassed, annoyed or humiliated by these ‘witty’ stories.” After a while, they will tire of being the butt of your jokes.
Always Letting One Person Pay
Even if you share a bank account, it can get frustrating for one person to always pick up the tab without fail, according to Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. So go ahead and offer to pay once in a while; it’s the polite thing to do.
Not Allowing For Space
One partner needing the other to be around all the time can be a recipe for disaster. “Clingy and loving behavior is important some of the time, but to have a truly healthy relationship, you both need to be able to bring things back to the relationship, and this requires some alone time or time with friends,” says Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer of BeenVerified.
Being On Your Phone All The Time
Also known has phubbing. “There is little that is more annoying than being with someone who acts like they are listening to you, but is reading the latest Facebook post or texting someone back,” says Jeannie Assimos, Chief of Advice at eHarmony. “If you do this, stop,” she advises. “Otherwise, resentment can build.”
Complaining About Your Relationship on Social Media
It’s definitely a good idea to keep your relationships gripes offline. “If you’re having a fight or annoyed by your partner, the classy and appropriate course of action is to address it directly,” Bennett says. “By airing your dirty laundry for everyone to see, you’re showing a lack of respect for your partner and the relationship.”
Letting Your Partner Make All The Decisions
Putting all the pressure on your partner all the time can make them seriously frustrated. “Always acquiescing to the wants or desires of your partner demonstrates a lack of personality or individual opinion,” Colby Marie Z explains. “Newness and novelty increase intimacy and closeness, so add some interest to your relationship by contributing your unique perspective and thoughts when it comes to decisions.”
Refusing to Help With Chores
Oh, and “not knowing how to put the dishes in the dishwasher or where the washing machine and dryer are located in the house” is not an excuse, according to Lisa Helfend Meyer, Certified Specialist in Family Law and founding partner of Los Angeles-based Meyer, Olson, Lowy & Meyers.
Being Rude to Others
Seeing your partner be nasty to another person is a huge turnoff. Even if it’s directed at someone you don’t know, it’s still unsettling. “It also says a lot about your potential future with this person—that they are very likely to turn the rude button on you at some point soon,” Assimos points out.
Needing Too Little or Too Much Social Time
“It’s typical to find that one partner is more of an extrovert and the other is more of an introvert,” says Moore, but that doesn’t mean the balance between hanging out together and spending time with others always comes easy. “The solution is to agree ahead of time on what the ideal balance is and then sticking to it.”
Not Knowing How to Apologize
Learning how to own up to mistakes in a relationship is crucial. “Partners who struggle with just saying ‘that was my fault and I apologize’ make their partners crazy,” says Cunningham-Sumter.
Nothing messes with the dynamic of a relationship quite like jealousy. “While the occasional feelings of jealousy might not necessarily spell disaster for a relationship, extreme and excessive jealousy can be dangerous and lead to destructive behaviors,” says Dr. Sarah Williams a clinical psychologist and a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic.
“If you tend to interrupt and bring the conversation back to yourself, your partner will quickly become irritated and feel like all you care about is yourself,” Fisher explains. That’s not a good look.
Bad Table Manners
After people get comfortable in a relationship, sometimes they let it all go and start chewing with their mouth open, eating off your plate without asking first, and getting food all over themselves during a meal. Hint: It’s not sexy.
Trying to Change Your Partner
Why would you pick someone in the first place if you don’t like them? “No one likes to be put down or belittled, and trying to change someone is just a covert way of doing that,” Lavelle says. “If the person you are with isn’t what you want, just politely move on.”
Falling Back On “I Was Just Joking!”
“This is a phrase too often used when we’ve hurt our partner and don’t want to admit it,” Sedacca says. “We all know our partner’s weaknesses and how to push their buttons. When we do it with intention, but then shrug it off as ‘just a joke,’ we’re being dishonest with ourselves and with them.”
Putting Friendship Above Romance
For example, complaining about not being able to take off work to go on a romantic getaway and then going on a guys trip. According to Meyer, this is a sure way to aggravate your partner and contribute to the growing list of your relationship pet peeves.
It’s okay to be thrifty, but being miserly when it comes to your S.O. is frustrating for them. “When someone is not generous, they’re not fun or loving,” Masini says. Plus, she notes that people who are cheap with money also tend to be cheap with their time, meaning they might not prioritize you as much as they should.
Refusing to Ask For Help
No one knows the answer to everything all the time. It’s okay to ask for help, and actually, it’s often preferable to not doing so. Case in point: not admitting you need the GPS or directions when you really, clearly do.
The “Dog Voice”
You know what we’re talking about— when you get a dog together and their “doggie voice” drives you nuts. Sadly, there’s not much you can do about this, but Concepcion says it’s extremely common.
Not Making Time For Sex
And we don’t just mean intercourse. “Sex can include cuddling, touching, kissing, etc., but should be a priority in the relationship, as it fosters feelings of closeness and intimacy,” Colby Marie Z says. “Making time for not only your partner but also for your relationship demonstrates that it is important to you, increases feelings of relationship security, and is a great way to make your partner feel loved, admired, and adored.” Skipping out on it? Well, you can expect the opposite effect.
“This may seem counterintuitive, but if you feel the need to constantly tell people how happy you are and how great the other person is or how much you are in love, you may actually be in the wrong relationship,” says Lavelle. “More than likely, this includes oversharing to friends, social media, and wherever else you have the desire to convince others you are with the right person.” And if your partner doesn’t have the same tendency to make everything public, you won’t only be annoying your friends, you’ll be irritating your S.O., too.
Loud Bodily Functions
Everyone makes noises, but if you don’t love the way your partner sneezes, burps, or farts constantly, it can become a nuisance. “Maybe it seemed cute while dating, but that horn-sounding sneeze and eh-hem clear of the throat can make the blood boil five years down the line,” Concepcion says.
Saying “I Told You So”
Even if you don’t actually say these words, anything to this effect is sure to annoy your partner. “No one likes a vindictive know-it-all, and when it’s your relationship partner, it becomes a source of discord and disrespect,” Sedacca says. “Your partner knows when you were right, just as you do.” No need to rub it in.
Acting Different In Front of Co-workers
Sometimes, a person’s “work personality” can be off-putting. “Nothing is more of a turnoff than when your partner is sucking up to the boss—except when they are the boss and show arrogance or an inflated ego,” Concepcion notes.
Taking Your Partner for Granted
People usually do a great job of appreciating each other in the beginning of a relationship. “‘Unfortunately, it’s human nature to get complacent and this can take many forms, including simply being lazy and not doing the things we would commonly do for strangers, such as saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and doing the little things that, added together, keep the relationship going,” says Moore. In the end, this lack of appreciation turns out to be one of the biggest pet peeves in relationships.
Telling your partner who they are allowed to hang out with or how to dress is a huge no-no, according to Hershenson. They might let it slide once or twice, but after a while it will really start to bother them.
Refusing to Talk About Issues
Heads up: Your partner can tell when you’re avoiding talking about something they care about. “This can be reflective of immaturity, lack of interest, or lack of respect for the person and the relationship,” says Perry. “It can drive a person crazy because one person wants to talk and the other doesn’t.”
Ditching Your Partner
Whether it’s for friends, work obligations, or family, habitually ditching your partner for plans with others is a surefire way to make them upset. Again, if this happens occasionally, it’s no big deal, but any more than that and you could end up with a seriously resentful S.O.
Being A Bad Communicator
Your partner won’t know if you’re angry unless you tell them, right? “Sweeping problems under the rug is a sure way to kill a relationship,” Lavelle says. Everyone goes through rough spots, but not indicating that you’re in one and refusing to keep an open dialogue can grate on your partner’s nerves.
Less-than-ideal hygiene habits aren’t exactly easy to talk about. Whether it’s not showering enough, skipping brushing your teeth, or clipping toenails anywhere other than the bathroom, it’s normal for partners to be hesitant to bring this off. But rest assured, “poor personal hygiene is off-putting to a partner,” Williams says.
Never letting the other person pick what you’re going to watch, eat, or do together gets old really fast. “If you continually push for your desires at the expense of your partner they will start feeling like compromise is impossible with you and like they have no voice or power in the relationship,” Fisher explains.
Needing Constant Validation
There’s nothing wrong with needing a little self-esteem boost every now and then, but asking “Do I look fat?” over and over again will drive anyone up the wall.
Micromanaging Your Partner
“When you ask your partner to do something and later follow up with criticism about how they handled the task, you’re setting yourself up for an unhappy partner,” Sedacca says. “No one wants to be micromanaged, especially if they’re not asking for help.”
People who leave a trail of disaster in every room make their S.O.’s crazy, Concepcion says. After all, cleaning up after someone else day-in and day-out gets exhausting.
Especially when you refuse to do anything about it. No relationship is worth never sleeping soundly again.
Not Paying Attention When Your Partner Asks You To Do Something
“If your partner has to keep making the same requests over and over again, there will be problems,” says Cunningham-Sumter. “It’s important to listen and get clarity so your partner knows you understand and respect their needs.”
Negativity is one of the toughest personality traits to live with long-term—which might explain why it eventually becomes one of the biggest pet peeves in relationships. “Whether it is just a negative outlook on the world, or about themselves this is a major pet peeve and deal breaker for most of us,” Assimos says. “Who wants to be around someone who drags you down, and sucks the positive life force out of you? This a slow killer of many relationships.”
Saying “That’s Not My Job”
A relationship is also a partnership, which means you have to be there for your partner when they need you. “Announcing ‘That’s not my job’ when your help is needed creates a critical gap in the trust and respect within your relationship,” Sedacca says.
Leaving The Toilet Seat Up
Guys, just don’t do it.
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