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How do you handle small issues with DH/DP?

(26 Posts)
EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:12:54

(Background: abusive upbringing; no decent relationship models; no idea what I'm doing most of the time! And DH similar)

This is a common problem for me and I am keen to know what others do in this situation. How do you handle it when you and DH/DP have a small disagreement? I mean, when your relationship is basically good and loving but he objects to a minor thing you did or said, or vice versa? I feel like DH and I are creating bigger issues for ourselves by not handling these little things well.

If one of you is slightly annoyed with the other, is the atmosphere then frosty and cold between you? And how do you get it back on track? If he is cross with me for something I start to feel unsafe and as though I need to withdraw. He snaps and seems cold. So I withdraw and avoid intimacy. Then the atmosphere is awkward and I don't know how to salvage the situation, so it escalates.

What I need to discover is how to maintain relations which imply basically "I love you and things are good between us, but I am (or you are) annoyed about this one tiny thing". Any suggestions please??

CantThinkOfAQuirkyName Fri 07-Oct-16 14:19:06


Talk it through. Give each other time to talk and listen to each other. Dh and I tend to meet in the middle.

Sometimes (not often) people just need a little time to calm down if they're mad. Talk afterwards.

For us though it's a simple-"right lets sit at the 'honesty table' and thrash it out". And then move on. You can't hold grudges.

Dh offering me food or wine helps me too smile

EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:22:56

Talking is good, I agree. But what if you don't have chance to talk then and there (dashing out in the morning)? Are you cold and offhand with each other until you have that chance? It makes me feel awful and unsafe. And in the worst case scenario escalates the dispute.

Is there a way to be loving while waiting to thrash out the disagreement?

CantThinkOfAQuirkyName Fri 07-Oct-16 14:29:35

So if we were going our separate ways in the morning then we would either not talk til the evening and talk it through then or text in the day to say something along the lines of, " what time are you back so we can sort xyz later?".

I don't see the point in holding grudges and being moody in a relationship for any length of time. What is the point? We're adults at the end of the day. Deal with the problem and move on.

But no there would be no affection if we were having a rough patch. But that's our relationship. That's us. All relationships are different. We've been married over 15 years so it's worked so far.

statetrooperstacey Fri 07-Oct-16 14:34:43

Sometimes ( and I don't mean to sound flippant) my dh will say 'do you fancy hate sex tonight?' as in, I know we hate each other at the moment but shall we put that aside for an hour? That always makes me laugh.
Is the tension and frostyness because neither of you are actually mentioning the issue? If you deal with the issues immediately when they arise they are still small so easier to talk about.
Humour helps and even just acknowledging there is a disagreement can also be good.
But yes to talking about it. If you both are dishing out the silent treatment things become hard to resolve!

hermione2016 Fri 07-Oct-16 14:38:46

What do you mean by unsafe? Do you manage to communicate well when you do talk?

I think it's ok to accept you might be feeling less loving until you an talk but in the meantime it's important to continue daily rituals.So if you text him during the day, continue to do so.Don't 'punish' each other in anyway as that will just add layers of additional hurt.

ElspethFlashman Fri 07-Oct-16 14:45:41

We say "please don't snap".

The correct response is "yes, I snapped and I'm sorry - I was upset cos of X but I still shouldn't snap".

It's taken us years of really working at it to get to that point. We both decided early on that we would prioritise how we handled small disagreements. So we now have a method we're both happy with. Snappiness is politely pointed out, as is passive aggressiveness. And we apologise and drill down honestly to what was really bothering us.

We do all this whilst making breakfast/tidying etc. You don't have to have a big sit down.

But the crucial thing is that you're both up for it, cos it doesn't work if one is but the other just wants to be a sullen point-scorer.

EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:48:17

Lots of food for thought here - thank you!

I quite like a bit of hate sex too grin but DH would not be amused by the suggestion.

Perhaps I can give an example and someone can highlight how we could have handled it better?

So -

(1) I make a passing comment in a jokey tone about something from the past that DH did that upset me terribly at the time (very long ago). I probably shouldn't have done this but thought that (a) we were over it and (b) I was the hurt one at the time so if I'm no longer upset why would he be?

(2) He reacts very badly - doesn't want reminding of it, and says I must still think of him as a horrible person, fail to appreciate how he's grown up and sorted himself out etc.

(3) We don't have time to talk about it, as we are in a rush to leave the house. DH is very snappy and sarcastic with me, doesn't say goodbye, and doesn't wish me good luck for a very important presentation at work that I've been working on for weeks.

(4) I feel scared. I know where this comes from - if my mother was cold and frosty with me as a child, screaming and violence was just around the corner. I also feel unsupported re. work presentation.

(5) I text DH an update after my (successful) presentation and add that I love him. He is still pissed off so doesn't respond.

(6) I then really feel like I need to withdraw from him so stay out late with colleagues after work instead of going home as I'd originally said I would.

(7) DH is then annoyed I am late and not in the mood for the early night we had planned. He feels rejected I think.

(8) We are then cold and frosty with each other and it's not clear how to salvage the situation

I should add - this was a little while ago, we talked and made up and things are OK now. But I still feel a bit shaken by the experience that good things could turn so quickly, and am reluctant to be trusting/intimate with him.

Soyouare2faced Fri 07-Oct-16 14:48:21

I make a joke or DP does and we forget about it, he's more laid back than me so it normally comes from him. He doesn't argue or anything. If you've said what needs to me said and there's just that atmosphere after just shrug it off and suggest a film or something.

EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:49:29

God, sorry, that was long! And I cross posted with a couple of posts.

Soyouare2faced Fri 07-Oct-16 14:50:54

Sounds so simple but what if you just stopped him in his path have him a cuddle and said something like 'sorry I never intended to annoy you with the comment can we just move on?'

EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:51:27

Elspeth - "please don't snap" in this household is usually greeted with "I wasn't!" or "I only snapped because you...." etc. That clearly needs working on!

EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:53:02

He wouldn't give me a cuddle in that situation I think. I have tried this before and he stood stiffly with arms by his sides until I stopped!

EcclefechanTart Fri 07-Oct-16 14:58:07

Hermione I think NOT continuing the daily rituals (goodbye/good luck/follow up to text) was what upset me about the situation above. Yes.

hermione2016 Fri 07-Oct-16 15:17:38

In your example what reaction were you trying to get? It does feel like you are holding a grudge and you dh has said it makes him feel you don't like him.

I guess for him you might be reopening deep wounds which he hoped you had both recovered from.It shakes the foundation if the issue was big but has been resolved.

I think that in the example you might need to reflect on why you are raising it.You mention it shouldn't hurt him BUT it does.
If something is done then draw a line, it's really unhelpful to have it hanging over a relationship and creates the uncertainty, that you say you don't want.

JaneA1 Fri 07-Oct-16 16:08:52

Stop focusing on the negative that make you tick, and focus on the positives instead!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Fri 07-Oct-16 16:21:15

He massively overreacted.

Snappy and sarcastic? Didn't wish you luck? All because you made a passing comment about a time in the past when he was a dick to you.

All he had to say was, "It's not funny to me because it makes me think you are bearing the grudge even though you said I was forgiven" Then you say sorry and it's over. That's normal.

Sounds to me like he did said that, but in an angry long-winded manner. Did you say sorry? If you did then all his behaviour afterwards is shitty.

Anyway, what was this terrible thing in the past?

If it was so terrible, he's got no fucking place having a go at you for mentioning it. It is your bad memory not his. OK, if you were using it to have a go at him then he could reasonably be a bit peeved. But in the end, the person who did the bad thing, doesn't get to choose how the person hurt by the bad thing reacts.

Did he apologise to you for his overreaction? Would he normally apologise?

Joysmum Fri 07-Oct-16 17:13:59

I'm not so good I'm afraid, if my DH starts I say "don't you pull that shit with me you're not at work now!" And because he knows I won't take it and an apology solves things and I don't bear grudges, he generally now backtracks. If he comes back with "I wasn't" I reply with "you might want to adjust your tone as you're not coming across well".

I never used to be able to confront though but my counselling helps me to do just that these days and I'm much happier and more secure as a result.

Joinourclub Fri 07-Oct-16 17:14:48

After stage 2 I'd say sorry I didn't mean it that way. Maybe later if I judged it to be ok I might bring it up again giving him the opportunity to admit he over reacted. Then we'd hug it out! Never go to bed on a cross word.

Whendoigetadayoff Sat 08-Oct-16 00:39:27

That is best question ever. I need to know this. Im your partner in this scenario. I can't seem to get over I'm pissed off with you about x and want you to know it so need to huff puff or blow the house down. And texting can make it worse!

YetAnotherGuy Sat 08-Oct-16 04:25:53

Am very sorry OP but it really wasn't a good idea to make a comment like you did. Am not necessarily defending his subsequent behaviour, though

In my experience it is often best to bite your tongue, even apologise when it doesn't feel like your fault. Because my DW probably does the same thing too. Aand always proving you're right or having the last word isn't always the best idea in the long run imho

Isetan Sat 08-Oct-16 04:32:08

How would you feel if your H brought up your past misdemeanours? Would him being jokey about it take the sting out it or would you view it as a PA way of communicating. I'm not saying you can't talk about it but this wasn't the time or the way.

Do you have any other examples?

Weetabixandtoast Sat 08-Oct-16 04:44:14

You need to address issues head on as soon as they arise.

Don't let one of you walk away until the issue resolved. If you really really don't have time to talk then talk about this in advance and so at time say 'im really annoyed at you - we need to talk about this later but I still love you' and give a cuddle. Talk about as soon as chance then.

Also call each other out on your escalating habits - say I know you're annoyed at me but snapping won't help you know you do this when you're upset can we talk about this instead

Weetabixandtoast Sat 08-Oct-16 04:45:51

And yes apologise even when you don't think you are in the wrong as it then will likely cause him to apologise

Isetan Sat 08-Oct-16 04:46:51

If someone hurt me I would need time to get over it. I'd be even more pissed off if the person who dished out the hurt, expected me to pretend to be happy and smiles because they can't handle temporary rejection.

It appears from your OP that you don't think he's entitled to be hurt and therefore isn't entitled to time to get over it and he should get over himself quickly enough so as not to make you feel uncomfortable.

It might help if you looked at this from his point of view.

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