Uh, so… I find my girlfriend annoying, like SO annoying — and I can’t tell whether it’s a) I need to get a grip and be kinder b) tell her (kindly) when she bugs me c) a combo of both or d) this is the sign we should break up?
I’m just finding… so much about her annoying. The way she chews with her mouth open, calls me “bubs” (I’m not a child), doesn’t know how to act in public sometimes, I could go on! And I know that I also annoy her and part of being in a pair is annoying each other but I feel more and more like I’m babysitting and less and less like I’m in an adult relationship.
And I also acknowledge I’m still very much in a growth phase and am still learning to communicate instead of shutting down — my go to used to be pleasing my partner at any cost and I try so hard not to do that but when do we tell someone that something is bugging and when do we let it slide and love them for their flaws? I think I was bunking off when they had that class in school!
Uhhhh, let me know! Thanks!
“I find my girlfriend annoying. Like SO annoying.”
Please imagine your girlfriend writing that sentence about you, and then ask yourself how it would make you feel and if you would like to be with someone who felt this way about you.
I am known, amongst my friends and amongst readers of this very website, as being very pro-breakup to the point of sometimes over-prescribing breaking up as a solution. And I will say, as I have entered my thirties, I have become more open to the idea of nuance and compromise, to the fact that not all relationship issues need to be solved with a hard and fast no-contact breakup, to the reality that life is often complicated and we all make the choices we can personally live with.
But this one is easy! You’re dating a person you find annoying. Not just regular annoying, but SO annoying. Who cares if it’s because you’re cranky, because your girlfriend’s behavior is inappropriate, because her quirks that would be cute to someone else are hideous to you or because you’re actually being mean and overcritical… YOU ARE *SO* ANNOYED BY THE PERSON YOU ALLEGEDLY LOVE AND WANNA SPEND A LOT OF TIME WITH. This can’t go on!
You’re right, there is often some genuine soul searching to do when considering a break up. Sure, we’re all a little more cranky than usual, seeing as the world has descended into literal hell across multiple planes and seems to only be getting worse. And yes, sometimes when someone we love exhibits annoying behavior it’s nice to find a kind way to approach that behavior, especially if it’s something a person could work on (not calling you by a nickname you dislike, for example). And! Of course being in a partnership isn’t all hot sex and easy mornings, and sometimes you just have to accept a rough patch or the “flaws” that make us each individually ourselves. But that’s not what you’re describing here. What you’re describing is that the person you currently call your girlfriend is a person you don’t like that much and are not that compatible with. The reasonable, kind, and appropriate thing to do here — in fact, in my opinion, truly the only option — is to break up. ASAP.
The final paragraph of your question has a couple of additional questions/points that I think are worth continuing to work on after you break up with this specific person. Learning to communicate instead of shutting down is an excellent goal, and one that we should all be working on for our whole lives. Avoiding people pleasing tendencies and figuring out your actual truth, and then expressing that truth in a kind and honest fashion, is no small task. Speaking up for your needs while also empathizing with and validating your partner to be their whole true selves is big stuff! I don’t think you were necessarily bunking off when they had that class, I think it’s more that this is the literal ongoing life changing work we are all placed on this planet to do, and the growing never ever stops. We can do this work in relationship and we can do this work alone. I’m proud of you that you’re acknowledging it and wanting to go deeper in it. I think therapy, healthy friendships, and a lot of practice can make up a great syllabus for this work.
But that doesn’t change what needs to be done now. None of those final points are really about your current girlfriend. And I hope my advice has helped you realize the answer is very much D — your feelings about her are a great big neon sign spelling out the word B R E A K U P. I’m excited for you both, because you deserve to be with a person you don’t find annoying and she deserves to be with a person who doesn’t find her annoying.
You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.