By Vicky Wandawa and Carol Kasujja
What is that annoying habit he has that makes you painfully hold back the most fitting, but offensive descriptions of him? Does that habit suddenly spring up, when with friends, consequently embarrassing you?
It is hard to ignore actions that are irritating, especially when you have to witness them almost daily. The longer you stay with your husband or boyfriend, the more you witness the habits that make you loathe him.
Joy Tumwesigye, a relationship counsellor and accountant with Uganda Prisons, says the same habits could have been part of him right from the start of the relationship and were easier to put up with, but gradually started gnawing at your nerves.
So, what are those irritating habits you wish your husband or boyfriend could just outgrow? Do you identify with one or more of these women giving their experiences? And how can you help him overcome it?
Rachel, 28, sales representative
He does not flush the toilet. It’s only a short call, he would insist. I tried to convince him that when urine stays long in the toilet, it emits offensive odour, but he called me a cranky woman. We have been married for six years now, but the toilet fight started in the first year of living together.
After my consistent pleas, he gave the excuse of saving on the water bill! I offered to foot the water bills, even though initially, we had agreed that power and water bills were his responsibility.
He then started flushing the loo, but sometimes he forgets, especially when running late.
Lydia, 27, IT officer
After a sumptuous meal, my boyfriend of six months does everything right, like thanking me for cooking and sometimes he offers to clear the table, until he reaches out for the tooth pick!
He carefully picks crevice by crevice, which would have been okay, but he loudly spits out each bit the tooth pick loosens from the crevice. I grow cold and just want to leave his house immediately, but then what reason would I give, since I have failed to tell him what annoys me? Because of this, I have put off planning a meal with him and my girlfriends because it will be embarrassing.
Linda, 28, bank teller
When our house was undergoing construction, I specifically insisted that the master bedroom should have a toilet and bathroom, fitted with a wide mirror.
However, I barely use the bathroom in the morning when I need it most! He wakes up when I am making up and he does not see why he should wait for me to finish up, before he can do his long call. He says it saves us time to beat the jam.
I find it so disgusting and usually use a small mirror in another bedroom. I lose interest in applying lip stick while inhaling bad odour.
Namuli, 33, sales representative
Table manners were most likely never an issue when he was growing up because I have observed his three brothers chew loudly, exactly like him.
The sound of the inner mouth pallet, food and tongue meeting and separating was simply too irritating. When we started dating, I noticed it each time we went out to our favourite Indian restaurant, but was too smitten to criticise him about anything. Two years into our marriage, I calmly told him about it. He improved, but still does it at least once or twice during a meal.
Doreen, 34, housewife
He holds the bridge of his nose with his fingers and aims the content away from his body as far as possible. He is not one of those uncultured casual labourers, but a qualified accountant who went to one of the best boys’ schools around.
Each time I bring it up, he says it’s a reflex action and that he cannot help it when his nose is full. He once did it at a friend’s house and I could tell she was not amused when he said he was ‘fertilising’ her flowers. I have taken the responsibility of making sure he always has a hankie before he leaves the house, but he often forgets he has one.
Mirembe, 24, student
While growing up, my mother always castigated me for picking my nose and I have since regarded it as an uncivilised act. My boyfriend of four months picks his nose, but I just look away until he is done. I do not know how to tell him I hate it.
Cindy Ssanyu, artiste
Biting his nails then touches you. I bite my nails, but I find it annoying and uncultured for a man to bite his finger nails. It shows poor hygiene, insecurity and a man who is always nervous.
Bina Baby, radio presenter
Taking alcohol and then, get to bed with bad breath. I had a guy who could drink like a frog and he never minded about me. That same guy was a flirt. He would return people’s calls at night without asking for my permission. When we are together, it is me-time. It is not time for checking your phone and chatting with your friends.
Joy Tumwesigye warns that keeping quiet about an irritating habit is unfair to the offending spouse.
“You are hanging him out there to dry if you do not tell him to stop his bad habit. He just might one day get embarrassed, something you could have saved him from,” she says.
She warns that the habit could be picked up by the children. “You may decide to stay silent because you do not care much about your spouse, but you will be disappointed when one of the children pick up a similar habit.”
Tumwesigye also calls for patience even if the person seems not to change their habits.
“Do not give up; tell him today, tomorrow and the following day.”
However, she warns that letting them know should be done in a loving tone and at the right moment, perhaps when relaxed.
“Speak the truth in love in a calm voice, tell him what irritates you. Old habits are very hard to break, so do not expect miracles,” Tumwesigye says.