In between the champagne of New Year’s and the red roses of Valentine’s Day, we would like to assure you that nobody — nobody — has a blemish-free relationship. There are always some hot buttons that get pushed on occasion. Here are the areas in which most disagreements dwell; h/t to Huff/Post50’s Facebook friends for their suggestions.
1. Housekeeping chores.
Nobody, but nobody, actually enjoys scrubbing toilets or using that noxious smelling oven cleaner. Nobody likes it but somebody has to do it. So deals are struck (“I’ll cook, you wash dishes”) and deals are broken. In some relationships, deals fall apart in less time than it takes for a dust bunny to form behind the sofa.
Gaskets have been blown over forgetting to empty the dishwasher or leaving the toilet seat up. Doors have been slammed over unmade beds and socks put in the hamper still all rolled up. Harsh names have been called when last night’s dinner pots, now a repository for hardened spaghetti sauce, weren’t washed in a timely fashion.
So what is actually behind this intolerance? Chances are that having a clean and tidy home matters more to one of you. All things being equal, the person who cares the most will wind up doing most of the nasty cleaning — but it won’t come scot-free. It will come loaded with resentment.
So knowing that, take heart. This is one of those easy conflicts that can be resolved fairly simply: Just throw money at it. You only think you can’t afford a weekly housekeeper. We’d point out that your co-pay at couple’s counseling is much more expensive and glasses thrown in anger can cost a pretty penny to replace.
2. Money matters.
Money, some say, is the root of all evil. While we wouldn’t blame it for all the world’s evil, having differing attitudes toward money sure can spell trouble in a relationship. Take the wife who thinks nothing of spending $500 on a new purse married to a man who clutches his chest at the mere idea of forking over $5 for valet parking.
A successful relationship for some comes down to this: Do you and your mate agree about money? When a lavish spender is paired with a penny-watching saver, there are bound to be conflicts.
Money comes into play in other ways as well. With most couples, one person out-earns the other. Don’t confuse earning power with relationship power. Your paycheck may be larger but in a happy relationship, power is shared.
Perhaps the most serious money-related quarrel comes when one partner is financially irresponsible. People who regularly forget to pay bills on time or leave the mortgage payment on the blackjack table need help beyond what you can provide in a relationship.
3. Spending the Neither Time.
There is work. There is sleep. And then there is the time when you do neither. It’s that neither time that trips people up. Successful marriage tip: Take turns doing what your partner wants to do but also learn to do things by yourself. Alone time, when administered in the proper dosage, is a healing salve for most pairings.
4. Mismatched sex drives.
In every couple, one person wants to have more sex than the other. Sometimes it seems like you pass one libido between the two of you and you are never both in the mood at the same time. Dare we say this: Love means sometimes you need to get yourself in the mood, even when you’d rather be watching Downton Abbey.
Spice things up. Scheduling sex may be your best bet, although we are the first to admit that scheduled sex feels like a contradiction of terms. But if you don’t schedule it, it’s an invitation to frustration, irritability and feelings of rejection. Make dates. Add romance. Don’t self-sabotage by over-eating or over-drinking.
5. Jealousy is an ugly beast.
Jealousy is not a measure of your affection. It is a measure of your insecurity. If you can’t trust, you got nothin’. Spying on a spouse means things have already spun out of control. Does your mate flirt with others at parties — or is that just her friendly nature? Was your husband interested in the new divorcee who moved in next door or was he really just being a good neighbor? Remember, jealousy is a comment on you.
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