Loving your partner doesn't guarantee that you will always like them or enjoy their company. Even if you deeply care for someone and want the best for them, there may be times when their repetitive stories annoy you or their chewing is too loud. If you find yourself in this situation, there's no need to panic — at least not yet.
While love is a powerful force, it is not enough. Most people want to enjoy spending time with their partner, engaging in conversations, participating in activities together and even being intimate. If you're currently in a phase where you're struggling with this, it's OK. The first step is to understand why.
Five reasons why you might dislike being around your partner
Clashing phases: Sometimes, couples find themselves out of sync. Your partner may be currently in their social era while you are working on diving deep within. They may be focused on fitness while you are prioritizing self-expression through art. Their priorities and approach to life may clash with your own, making you frustrated at their lack of support or understanding. For example, all you want is a quiet conversation by the fire where you talk about life, and they want to invite 15 people and have a house party.
Tip: Try identifying the different phases you’re each in and discuss how to accommodate both individuals' needs during this time. Have a hard chat and assess if this is a long-term lack of compatibility or a phase.
Increased stress: When stressed, our irritability levels tend to rise. Behaviors that we might have found slightly annoying or even amusing can now grate on our nerves. Our tolerance for things decreases, and we become more reactive. Sometimes, our dislike for being around our partners has nothing to do with what they're doing.
Tip: Find healthy ways to alleviate stress, such as going for walks, joining a boxing gym or using a stress ball. It is worth sharing with your partner that your reactions are a reflection of what you’re going through and not of them. Remember that your partner deserves companionship and not just someone who loves them but doesn’t want to be around them.
Engaged in a fight: During an argument with our partner, disliking being around them is normal. Confrontation might make you uncomfortable or the lack of resolution may breed resentment.
Tip: It's essential to address issues as quickly as possible to prevent your dislike from growing or becoming the new “normal” dynamic for the relationship.
Craving space and autonomy: Even in great relationships, we still need personal space and autonomy. If you're not enjoying being around someone you love, it may simply be because they've infringed on your alone time and sense of independence.
Tip: Set appropriate boundaries. Consider carving out time for yourself to see if it improves your overall experience when spending time with your partner.
Reacting to hurtful behavior: Sometimes, our partners make mistakes, and being around them constantly reminds us of how they've hurt us. These feelings can lead to a lack of enjoyment in their company.
Tip: Be honest. Share with your partner that you struggle to be around them and explain why. Find ways to create positive memories together and change the negative association.
Is your relationship over if you hate being around your partner?
Remember, it's normal to have ups and downs in relationships. If you're currently in a phase where you don't particularly like being around your partner, it's essential to address the underlying reasons and work together to find solutions. Relationships require effort and communication, and by acknowledging and addressing these challenges, you can strengthen your bond and create a healthier, more enjoyable dynamic between you and your partner.
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Sara Kuburic is a therapist who specializes in identity, relationships and moral trauma. Every week she shares her advice with our readers. Find her on Instagram @millennial.therapist. She can be reached at SKuburic@gannett.com.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Relationship advice: 'I love you but I hate being around you.' Help!