Most of us who have ever lived with a partner have experienced something close to the following: Our partner comes home after a long, stressful day at work. They’re in a bad mood because of this and all they want is to sit down for a minute and decompress.
This usually continues in one of two ways:
You’ve had a bad day, as well, and also just wanted some time to decompress. However, when you got home you had to deal with the kids and/or pets and still haven’t sat down even though you got home an hour ago.
In this case, you’re already in a bad mood and you feed off of their frustrations. Although you understand they just want some time, you didn’t get that same courtesy and it annoys you. Why should they be able to not do anything when you couldn’t? You had to deal with whatever catastrophe you came home to and now they take the sweet, sweet decompressing time you are entitled to? No. Way.
You’ve Already Decompressed
You got home before them and were able to chill out for a little while, improving your mood. Now you’re back to normal and are possibly even in a good mood.
In the time it took you to go from stressed to alright, you forgot what it was like to just want a moment to yourself. So, instead of seeing this as something that they need, you see it as them being selfish or even as them being upset with you for some reason.
If either of these are the case, it generally ends in an argument or fight. And as is usually the case, it all goes back to communication or a lack thereof. Because instead of talking about why you’re bothered by it, you react in a very human way and get offended or upset, which then escalates the situation.
This isn’t to trivialize how you feel, either. By talking about it, you’re letting your partner know why you react the way you do and why what they’re doing is upsetting you. You are giving them the opportunity to make your life easier by telling them that you’re upset because you always have to take care of the kids or animals or all of the above.
What To Do Instead
When this happens, it’s important to remember that it’s probably not personal – they’re probably just having a bad day. Take a breath and think about your partner. Consider what they are going through and how you would feel if the roles were reversed (basically, empathize with them). How would you react if you got home after a long day and your partner got offended or took your frustrations personally even though they had nothing to do with them? It would be frustrating, right?
The number one relationship rule is to talk to each other. Don’t assume things because when you do, you end up building up all of this anger and frustration for a reason that you totally made up on your own.
Discussions and openness saves relationships. If you’re not doing either, you’re going to have problems.