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 a 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 audio book or just simply as ear plugs. 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.
#2 – Communicate.
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.
So, let your partner off the hook sometimes. It’s way better than getting all worked up.
#4 – Consider what is really going on.
I know that I used to snap at my ex-husband A LOT. Of course, some of it was because he was driving me crazy but, more often than not, there was something else going on.
I remember lots of snapping when we were trying to get the kids out the door or get them into bed or managing how to get to a family event or some other mundane but incredibly frustrating daily activity.
So, when your spouse is driving you crazy, take a moment and consider if it is actually them irritating you or if there is something else going on. It could be work or a body ache or your mother or any other myriad of things. If you can stop yourself before you get to frustrated then the damage to your marriage might be minimal.
#5 – Get physical.
One of the hardest things to do when your spouse is driving you crazy is to touch them but it is the best thing that you can do to fix it. A hug can be better than a thousand words.
I am not saying that you have to go over and hug your spouse when they are driving you crazy but I would encourage you to do so when you have done the above steps and settled down.
Physical contact is incredibly important to keep couples connected. For many married couples, sex gets complicated the longer the marriage goes on and, as a result, physical contact can also be curtailed because everyone is insecure about what that physical touch might mean.
So, putting aside sex, make an effort to hug your spouse for 10 seconds at least once a day. They say that a 10 second hug can make a huge difference in connection between couples.
Try hugging. Even if it feels kind of weird and unnatural, try it. It could make a huge difference.
Even outside of times of crisis, when your spouse is driving you crazy life can be unpleasant.
Of course, you can sink into the anger and resentment that happens in marriage because of unresolved issues or you can try a few simple steps to try to repair things.
Take some time away to calm yourself down, make an effort to talk to your spouse about how you are feeling, recognize that they are only human and that perhaps they have something internal happening and reach out and touch them.
Your spouse is someone who you committed to love forever, in good times and in bad. Try to manage those moments in time when your spouse is driving you crazy and you are way more likely to live happily ever after!
You can do it! I promise.
If you have made this far your spouse must be really driving you crazy
Let me help you, NOW, before it overwhelms you.
Email me at email@example.com, or click here, and let’s get started.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.