Miss Debrett on... Couples
All too often sharing a life with
someone means confronting a
multiplying array of insignificant
irritations. Marriages have hit the
rocks over snoring, leaving the loo
seat up or down, and pitched
battles over the remote.
Sharing a living space with
another person can test
your good manners to
breaking point. Obviously
it's a good idea to identify the
potential pitfalls at the outset.
Common tipping points are arguments about housework and
tidying up (discarding dirty washing on the bedroom floor, leaving the bathroom in a mess, not washing up etc. etc.) and 'boundary' disputes (taking sole control of the tv remote, colonising all the cupboards and bookshelves, dictating what music should be played etc. etc.)
While the physical manifestations of these difficulties are laughably trivial - pitched battles over a dirty sock, a capless toothpaste tube, a maddening tendency to channel hop - the underlying issues are important, and need to be resolved. Frequently the bickering about socks and toothpaste tubes will turn into bitter disputes about respect, consideration and attention.
Romantic passion all too soon transmutes into passive inertia. A common complaint amongst couples is that their partner takes them for granted, and the discarded washing, messy living habits, territorial assumptions are the first steps on that very slippery slope.
So, remember that you are living with another person, and give them some respect. Tidy up after yourself; never assume that they want to do/listen to/watch the same things as you; ring to say you're going to be home late…
You might find that those superficial irritants don't seem so important after all.
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- Don't neglect friends or family. It's one thing to be in a close relationship but quite another to lose your individual identity.
- Be kind and forgiving. Relationships require work and patience.
- If things go wrong, don't succumb to uncontrollable anger or actions you may regret. Control and calm behaviour will ensure that you keep the upper hand.