Ask anyone (even yourself) to define a good partner. What comes to mind? Common interests? Total honesty? Someone they can be themselves around? Plenty of intimacy? It may just be the idea of a solid, happy, and healthy relationship.

All of the above-mentioned “answers” are common and predictable.

But what many people don’t contemplate are the dynamics that exist within an intimate relationship. There comes the point when the “boring” and “unsexy” things about someone become anything but, and the “little peccadillos” become major annoyances.

Using information gathered via a nationwide survey of 1,035 couples, we list the top 10 things a person does that annoys their partner. As we’ll see, the answers are a mix of “big” and “small,” obvious and obscure. Regardless, we’ll see that the little things do indeed matter – both for better or for worse. (Why does that sound familiar?)

Here the ten things that annoy your partner:

“It’s great to find that one special partner you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” – Rita Rudner


1. Having selective listening (40%)

Get ready for the shock of your lifetime. Ready? People don’t always fully listen. A mind-blowing revelation, we know.

To be more specific, selective listening is unconsciously applying filters to whatever is said. We use selective listening to get a “general idea” or “summary” of what our better half is saying.

Needless to say, our partner doesn’t appreciate when we halfheartedly listen while they’re speaking – especially if we’re zeroed in on something (read: multitasking) else of relative unimportance.

Solution: read up on active listening and give it some practice.

2. Snoring (39%)

Did you give snoring much consideration when you were in the dating phase? Probably not. Yet, it’s the second most annoying behavior according to their partner. (Wait until you see what it ranks above.)

We’re here to help; not criticize. Snoring occurs when air cannot pass unobstructed through the nose and throat during sleep. It’s a physiological thing and requires some intervention.

Solution: There are plenty of ways to fix snoring; from using a body pillow and good sleeping habits, to using nasal strips and staying hydrated. Read up and find what works for you.

3. Being a control freak at times (26%)

It doesn’t matter if we’re in a long-term relationship or not, people despise any and all “authoritarian” type behavior – and understandably so. We may be able to put up with an overzealous boss, but we shouldn’t have to from our partner.

Solution: for the recipient, maintain your calm and assert your ground. For the controller, they’re your g-dang lover – ease up; or educate yourself on what it entails to be a “control freak” and do something about it. 

4. Not being as financially responsible (20%)

The good news is sucking at money management is less annoying than snoring. The bad news is that financial stress is the leading cause of divorce.

Marriages or any other long-term relationship that does persevere through money troubles is because (a) the more financially literate spouse takes control, or (b) the financially-illiterate spouse changes their ways.

Solution: See (a) or (b). When in doubt, choose (a). Money issues are not a reason to put your relationship at risk.


5. Bodily *ahem* peculiarities (19%)

Yes, we’re referring to excessive burping, cursing, farting, nose-picking, or any other immature, unhygienic behavior. This problem has more to do with the venue than the act itself. Everyone burps, curses, farts, and picks their nose – but not everyone does so within eyesight or hearing capacity of another human being.

Hate to be nitpicky (no pun intended), but repeated behavior of this type has no place in a civil society much less a relationship.

Solution: just go somewhere else and “handle your business.” That’s all.

6. Not contributing to household chores (18%)

Moern men are expected to participate in household duties. Sure, some men work full-time, and the woman stays at home and handles domestic stuff. That’s different.

Failing to contribute, in any meaningful way, to responsibilities around the house is plain lazy.

Solution: designate who is responsible for what at a given time. Stick with that schedule and be accountable.

7. Being “a slob” will annoy your partner (17%)

Yes, this means throwing your socks everywhere, not aiming for the toilet seat, leaving your dirty dishes around, etcetera, etcetera. Being a complete slob is inexcusable in a relationship; acceptable in a frat house, not so appropriate in a house-house.

We all differ in our interpretation of what is “clean.” Some habits are ingrained and need a simple reprimand from their partner.

Solution: resolve to clean up and remind yourself of this commitment. Just make an effort – your partner will appreciate it.

gross habits
These fifteen gross habits probably really annoy your significant other.

8. Working too much (16%)

This is a tough one to explain, as each situation is different. We may work hard out of necessity or out of trying damn hard to give the family a good life.

The simple fact is that we need money to survive and meet our basic needs. In reality, we don’t need much more than that, no matter what our consumerist-driven society tries to sell us.

Solution: we can’t provide a blanket “prescription” for this situation. Everyone has different needs. The only thing we can recommend is to evaluate the reasoning behind the excess workload. Is it palatable or does something need to change?

9. Not getting along with in-laws (8%)

In-laws, depending on circumstance and perspective, can be a source of distress for someone. For example a quiet, reserved and modest person who is forced to continuously meet up with an inherited family who – at least on the surface – is comprised of bombastic, egotistical, status-driven knuckleheads, probably doesn’t get along too well.

Solution: look for the positive qualities in every individual. Take some one-on-one time and REALLY get to know them. What comes out of their mouth may surprise you. Or just ignore them. Whatever works.

10. Forgetting an anniversary will irk your partner (5%)

Your eyes do not deceive you. Forgetting an anniversary ranks last on this Top 10 list. That said…really?

Solution: remember your anniversary date – or any important date, for that matter. Mark it on a calendar, set a reminder on your cell, or post-date an email to yourself. Remember the important stuff and when it happened.