Spending lots of time with one person year in and year out, is no mean feat. In fact, it is an almost superhuman feat. But often, people will feel quite mean after a while. Most people, put together with just about anyone on this planet will get irritable after a while. So yes, your fantasies of upping and leaving are normal.
But there is a big difference between fantasising about this and actually packing your bags. Unless your spouse is abusive or has been continuously unfaithful, in which case you may have every reason to leave. In fact, what are you still doing there? But what are bad reasons to leave your spouse?
Ho-hum. All spouses get bored with each other at times. This is simply inevitable, given the amount of time you spend in each other's company. After a while, little things start to grate, such as the way he slurps his coffee and the way she laughs when she's on the telephone with her mother. But rest assured, if you were to spend that amount of time with anyone on earth – and that includes movie stars – something they do will drive you crazy within a very short while. Think about it – there are things you do that also drive your spouse nuts.
The sexy blonde/hunk in the IT department. Look all you like, but don't touch. You are already spoken for. The bottom line is that if someone will cheat with you, they will cheat on you. With your spouse you know what you have. The sexy newcomer in the company is an unknown quantity – you may be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.
Relighting an old flame. In most cases there were very good reasons why you did not marry this person. Those reasons have not gone away, they may be temporarily hidden though, so don't be fooled. Leaving your spouse for an old flame is nearly always a mistake, but by the time you realise this, it is usually too late to backtrack. Your former spouse may now be spoken for – by someone else.
Money matters. If you are experiencing temporary financial problems, the thought of upping and leaving may be tempting. But talk to any divorcee, and they will tell you that money matters usually become worse and not better after a divorce. Often the same resources have to be used to finance two separate households, and sometimes in the long run, two families. It doesn't take a genius to work out that there will be less to go round for everyone. So think twice, unless your spouse is ruining you because of being a gambling addict or a credit card junkie.
In-law problems. Right, there are in-laws and there are in-laws. There is a difference between a snide comment regarding your choice in curtains and your in-laws moving in lock, stock and barrel, and making your life a complete misery. In-laws may make your life a temporary misery, but chances are you will outlive them by decades. Take solace in that when days are dark.
The kids drive you crazy. Face it, they're yours. You chose to have them, or at least chose to do the kind of things that resulted in their being there. And kids are hard work and can drive you round the bend at times, but whatever happens, they remain your responsibility. Even if you up and leave, they will still be your responsibility. Learn to deal with your kids more effectively, do a parenting course, do whatever it takes, but if they drive you crazy, you are partly responsible for this situation.
Little communication. It's a miracle that most couples have the time to greet each other, let alone communicate properly, in between being parents, fulltime employees, and spouses. If you're not communicating with your spouse, you may also be at fault. Anyone subjected to a punishing schedule like most people are, could start living past each other. Get to a marriage counsellor and sort things out, before it might be too late.
Irritating habits. There's not a person alive who doesn't have these. For that matter, someone who does not have irritating habits, will be irritating, simply because they're too perfect. Whether it's the singing in the bath, the same old jokes over and over again, the constant fiddling with the earrings – or whatever, anyone who's alive does irritating things. Leaving your spouse to get rid of these things will merely mean replacing this person's irritating habits with someone else's. And who knows, the new partner might do things that are far more irritating or disgusting than singing in the bath.
Domestic slouch. If your ideas of domestic cleanliness differ widely, try and meet somewhere in the middle rather than effect complete conversions either way. Someone whose idea of cleaning the kitchen entails stuffing all the dirty dishes out of sight in the warming oven, is never going to embrace the benefits of anti-bacterial cleaning products. And someone who insists on obsessively cleaning every square inch of living space on an alarmingly regular basis, will never experience the joy of just getting out of the day's clothes and leaving them right there on the floor. - (Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated November 2012)
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