I tend to date cats. Not actual felines, obviously, but the girls IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m drawn to generally carry themselves with a thoughtful composure that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t possess. When it comes to relationships, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a dog. I speak without thinking, I jump around in conversationÃ¢â‚¬”I might even pant when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m excited. And the cats IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve dated have been generally accepting of my dog traits. But it has created some issuesÃ¢â‚¬”which is to say, I can be annoying.
Now, I know IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not the first guy to annoy a woman. I bet youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been annoyed by a man you love, too. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fine. No relationship comes with an annoyance-free guarantee. If anything, the opposite is true: The man-dog in your life will pile dirty cereal bowls in the sink, leave his stinky gym bag in your car, or find some other way to test your patience. If you scold him outright, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably run off. If you want to keep him around, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how to handle your grievances:
Speak Up Fast
Nothing stinks up a relationship faster than passive-aggressive behavior, but when anger festers, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what comes out. You start moving those dirty cereal bowls onto the counter so he has to reach over them to grab the cereal box. Or you start tossing his dirty gym clothes out on the driveway and texting him as you speed away. That may or may not solve the problem at hand, but it will definitely create a whole bunch of new problems that are more difficult to solve. Your move: Be open and forthright with your complaints. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t nitpick the guy to the end of eternity, but when something really bothers you, speak up. Clean the cereal bowl and carry the gym bag into the house, but the next time you see him, let him know that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d prefer he take care of those things himself.
Take Part of the Blame
If you start viewing relationship problems as a simple misalignment between his bad habits and your pet peeves (or vice-versa), then the solution will seem simple. One of you relaxes a little, one of you straightens up a little, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s done. So when he puts the toilet paper on the roll the wrong way, let him know, but make sure you also acknowledge that it wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a problem if you werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t so anal about the toilet paper. He probably doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care how it goes on, anyway. He just needs to know that you doÃ¢â‚¬”and that, while you realize this is one of your weird idiosyncrasies, you would so appreciate if heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d humor it.
Give Him Time to Change
Sometimes, you might have to mention things twice. Or three times. And that requires patience. If you act like heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s betrayed you because he failed to change his behavior immediately, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll start to feel micromanaged. He might even become defensive or lose motivation to work out the problem. So remember: Your pet peeve is half the problem. As long as you tell him youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re aware of that, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll keep trying to extinguish the offending behavior. And give him some credit for trying: If heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a dog like me, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be very loyal to the woman who pets him.