She loves me not?

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;

I don’t know what the deal is. For the last few weeks, my wife of ten years and I have been at each other constantly. She seems to take every single thing I say as if it’s some sort of dig at her. I can say, “yeah, me too,” and she will turn on me and yell “stop competing with me, I’m trying to tell you how I feel!” then stomp off in a huff. It seems like every word I say is interpreted as me “dissing her.”
Last night, she told me I had no respect for her when I “gave her a look” after I apparently answered a question the wrong way. She slept on the couch. I have no idea what kind of a look I gave her.

What is going on here???!!! I am being very careful of my words and I know I am not saying anything inflammatory.
But this is irritating me so me so much I just want to walk off myself.

Brian Blowup

Dear Brian,

In long term relationships there is a phenomenon whereas, over time, a couple just starts to annoy each other. The cause of this is often tone of voice. One person starts complaining about the tone of the other but ignores their own tone. They feel their own words are not inflammatory then feel justified in their annoyance with the other: “I did nothing wrong…it is THEM.” Both partners can be doing this at the same time.

This phenomena is easier to see if we observe it in another couple, but in our own lives we are often so busy and overwhelmed it’s easy to miss. It takes time and patience to step outside what is going on in the moment and see the bigger picture. Unrelated outside factors can spill over into the relationship if the couple hasn’t had time to process or talk about what’s really bothering them. That annoyed tone begins creeping in and BAM! The inferno is lit. Both are too caught up in their own issues and begin to react instinctively and blame the other without thinking.

Take a moment to ask your partner what is going on. “I am not any more annoying than usual but it seems to be bothering you more right now. Is there something on your mind that has been bothering you? Did something happen?”

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: it is always easier to see the truth of a situation if you can step back and be an impartial observer. Unfortunately, nobody is impartial about their own agenda. Not only don’t they see what is right in front of them…they are also listening to the emotions and involvements inside their own heads. As a result, all sorts of extra baggage gets dragged into the mix.

If a person could take a step back and observe their own life as if it were a civilization that happened five thousand years ago, it would be obvious what was really going on. But this is impossible when someone is right in your face. Sometimes if things are getting heated between partners, a little distance is more effective than thrashing it out. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Familiarity breeds bickering.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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One Response to She loves me not?

  1. Dear Brian,
    Find out if your partner has any changes in medication or substance use. Also, find out if there is anything going on with chat rooms or addictive websites like excessive shopping or illicit relationships. If any of these things are going on, be clear in your feelings, but go easy. Also be aware of anything you have done in the last few months that would make her unhappy if she knew. Changes in mood or tone of voice can be a sign of a change in behavior or a change in a person’s self-concept, purpose, or direction in life.

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