Carolyn Hax 3-12

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Mar 12, 2014
Every so often my other half will complain about something I’ve done. It’s nothing consequential and nothing that will end our relationship. Example: I sometimes put bags on the kitchen counter even though the bottoms of those bags are not necessarily hygienic.

While I think it’s perfectly valid to communicate one’s pet peeves, no matter how trivial, I can’t get myself to do it when I find my other half doing bothersome things. At the same time, I hate feeling like crud when my other half points out a shortcoming and I don’t have a specific comeback.

When I challenge in a generic way that [I’m keeping this gender-neutral on purpose](s)he also does things that bother me, so maybe we could just let this slide, I’m always asked to provide examples. However, because I don’t “keep score,” I can’t generally provide these examples, and I’m left changing my behavior in what seems like a one-sided way.

The last thing I want to do is keep tabs on these things or raise the shortcomings when they appear, because it just seems so petty. But I don’t want to be the doormat.

Scorekeeping

“While I think it’s perfectly valid to communicate one’s pet peeves, no matter how trivial”: Really? I think it stinks.

Now, if you’re talking about a one-time warning along the lines of,“I have an irrational aversion to seeing unclean things on our kitchen countertops,” with a rare, self-deprecating refresher —“Remember my bizarre countertop fixation”— then I do agree with you. But if one of you believes the other owes it to him/her to be ever mindful of his/her expectations, then I’m back to saying it stinks.

So it’s to your credit that you don’t have examples at the ready of your partner’s nuisance moments.

It also positions you well to stick to the more relevant point:“If you’re suggesting that you’re perfect and never do anything wrong or annoying, then I need to ask you to reconsider.”

Avoid the tit-for-tat, though, and go straight for:“I think we’ll both be happier if we don’t nitpick than if we attempt to perfect each other’s behavior. I want home to be a safe place for us both to be ourselves.”

If that doesn’t fly, then it’s time to ask yourself how much of your life you want to spend with someone who feels entitled to fix you. In response to this 2013 column, I heard from many people who’ve been “corrected” all marriage long by their spouses, and they’re not happy tales. Escalation is the norm.

Re:“Scorekeeping”:

How would your suggested conversation change if only one spouse has annoying habits? My spouse is always noticing that I left the counter dirty or the sponge wet, etc., but pretty much never does those things himself. We have two small children.

Anonymous

I refuse to believe there’s someone who has no annoying habits. Perfection is itself annoying when used as a cudgel against the imperfect. In fact, I can’t think of anything more obnoxious than “always noticing.”

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#2 Mar 12, 2014
Tell your other half to clean the countertop if they are so afraid of germs, and put the damn bag where ever you want. Thats what most people do anyway

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#3 Mar 12, 2014
Buy a canister of Clorox wet cleaning cloths and have it at the ready for his germiphobe tendancies.

I have a feeling, though, for the LW it's more than just putting the bags on the counter. It sounds like he's probably nitpicking many things.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Mar 12, 2014
Toj wrote:
Buy a canister of Clorox wet cleaning cloths and have it at the ready for his germiphobe tendancies.
I have a feeling, though, for the LW it's more than just putting the bags on the counter. It sounds like he's probably nitpicking many things.
His? He? Lw left it gender neutral puprposely. How dare you inject gender into this scenario. And making the man the villain no less. Man hater.

:)

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#5 Mar 12, 2014
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>His? He? Lw left it gender neutral puprposely. How dare you inject gender into this scenario. And making the man the villain no less. Man hater.
:)
Guilty. Prior experiences, I suppose. Thanks for the smilie.

I do know some women, however, that would drive anyone crazy with the germiphobe ways.

Way back when I was married I had left the cleanser on the top of the toilet tank once. My ex complained to everyone he knew how horrible person I was for leaving the cleanser on the top of the toilet tank. I mean everyone. My friends, family -- people were telling me how crazy he was complaining about it. If you knew him, it's was pretty laughable since he put nothing away.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#6 Mar 12, 2014
It's good that you can keep to the moral high ground here, I suggest you tell your partner to do the same. Right now you don't feel this is a deal breaker, but after 30 years of it, you may change your mind.

Since: Mar 09

Pittsburgh, PA

#7 Mar 12, 2014
LW2 - Oh, so YOU'RE the @#$%^ who leaves the countertop and sink-top all wet?? LOL, I didn't know you were my husband!

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#8 Mar 12, 2014
"Hey, I just cleaned the counter. Can you but those bags on the floor instead?"
Is that what you call complaining? Sounds like a reasonable request to me. And why do you need a comeback?

Why do you need to try to point out that he was not perfect with something he did that you can't remember. But you know he did SOMETHING! Either put the bags on the ground or tell him you'll clean the counter when you're done.

And is this what you consider a shortcoming? Sounds like you got self esteem issues.

You are all over the board. You say its ok for him to address his pet peeves, but since you are too meek to do the same as they come up, you want him to just let the things you're doing slide? You have very poor communication skills.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#9 Mar 12, 2014
What was the point of gender neutrality in this letter?

I'm a germaphobe so I freak on those things. You can find a compromise if you care about someone and you're not dating/married to a doosh who won't take your pet peeves into consideration.

*DOG: you should add Hax in daily. She's more exciting but her site limits your reading. ;)

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#10 Mar 12, 2014
Hax isn't much better than the other hack columnists. Those clorox wipes will solve this problem

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#11 Mar 12, 2014
cheluzal wrote:
*DOG: you should add Hax in daily. She's more exciting but her site limits your reading. ;)
If I'm gonna do more work, I demand a raise

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#12 Mar 12, 2014
No I can't. You knew I was shopping, so you should have just waited. Besides I am not bending over bags on the floor to put this crap away. You want the bags on the floor? Fine, you're also the one unpacking them. I'll drink a beer and make sure you do it correctly.
Mister Tonka wrote:
"Hey, I just cleaned the counter. Can you but those bags on the floor instead?"
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#13 Mar 12, 2014
I don't understand... is it a bag like a pocketbook (purse)? If that's the case, then yeah, that's quite gross. But if it's grocery bags, that's nutso.

I don't get the reason for being gender neutral either.
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#14 Mar 12, 2014
I love Prudie, I just hate that you can't even log in to comment anymore.
Kuuipo

Marina, CA

#15 Mar 12, 2014
Bags on the kitchen counter whose bottoms may not be hygenic? Oh, the horrors!

Team Race.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#16 Mar 12, 2014
I don't put my purse on anything...it sits in places in the world that are gross. It hangs on a doorknob.
I also do not walk on carpet in shoes-they all have fecal matter on the bottom.
There is a lady in choir who puts her BARE feet on the seet in front of her! ACK! So...just...no.....do that crap at home, not a public pew.
Timmy

United States

#17 Mar 12, 2014
You can still comment, they just changed to using "Livefyre" for commenting. At both the top and bottom of the web page you will see three icons - facebook, twitter, and one that looks like a text box callout. Click on the text box one to open the comments. My work computer will not load Livefyre, but my one at home handles it fine.
Stina wrote:
I love Prudie, I just hate that you can't even log in to comment anymore.

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