Six annoying things couples do


Couples who annoy their friends with constant P.D.A, may be doing more damage to themselves.

Your double dates keep getting cancelled. You're the only bridesmaid without a plus one. And every time you make a plan with a friend, it's followed by the question: "just you and me, right?" These are dead give-aways you're one half of an annoying couple. You could be great as individuals but there's something about your combined forces that isn't complimentary. It might have to do with the pet names, the inside jokes and the reckless P.D.A. while other people are trying to hold a conversation with you.

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But you're in love! Why is everyone trying to ruin it? They're not. Those put-off peers are doing you a service. A new book asserts that the things you do as couple that annoy people, could do more damage to your own relationship. "We realised that when two people live together, they can fall into bad habits of getting too comfortable with one another. That's when the attraction starts to fade," explains Maggie Arana and Julien Davis, co-authors of the new book, "Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex."

Obviously, they recommend a moratorium on pet names that are getting out of hand. But that's just the tip of the annoying couple iceberg. Consider some other "bad in public, worse in private" habits that need breaking for the sake of your relationship.

Pet names
One of "Seinfeld's" greatest lessons, aside from mistrusting fat-free fro-yo, was that a pet name can kill a relationship. Anyone remember Jerry's agonising baby name he shared with his perky blond girlfriend? Thankfully, she only lasted one episode. In researching their book, Arana and Davis compiled hundreds of gag-reflexive pet names from couples. "McMuffin Poopen Cakes" was their personal favourite.

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But, they discovered, what annoyed outsiders did more damage to the couple using the names. "Every time we found that they were calling each other these kinds of names, they were not having a great sex life," explain the authors. Their hypothesis? "Words have a lot of impact on how you view each other and also yourself - especially when they are repeated day after day after day. 'Honey' takes away each partner's sexuality and individuality. It's a totally androgynous word. And this doesn't help those feelings of sexuality for your just keep taking that away each and every time you use those kinds of words."

The solution: use your real names, that's why you have them.

The "we never fight" lie
Some couples like to boast about how they never argue. Cue eye-roll. They may be making other couples feel inadequate but they're not doing themselves any favors either. "It's a sign they're being relationship perfectionists," says Laurie Puhn, a New York-based couples mediator. "Here's the truth: happy couples do fight. Not everyone is going to be in agreement all the time, but you have to check in with each other about your differences."

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By not airing grievances, they're avoiding a deeper level of communication. Puhn recommends a "healthy fight" by asking each other neutral questions like "Am I missing something?" and "Can you help me understand?" "What you're doing is learning to understand why you differ on an opinion," says Puhn, who just came out with a book on the topic called "Fight Less, Love More." "The goal is not to focus on what happened but how you'll come to an agreement when the same thing comes up in the future."

The implied couple date
When two people become one annoying couple, they tend to assume their partner is always invited, like it or not. That ultimately leads to what some call "boyfriend-bombing," or showing up for hang-time with an extra person in tow.

You may be oblivious in the moment but it's nuclear to your relationship. "People in healthy relationships do things independently," says Puhn. "They need room to grow as individuals; otherwise they have nothing new to share with each other when they're alone."

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The kid obsession
As adorable as kids are, they don't make for great grown-up talk. But some couples can only bring news of report cards, teachers meetings and swim lessons to the party. "It's self centered behaviour," says Puhn. "Telling other people about your kid's mundane activities is like talking about yourself the whole time." It's boring for your friends, but it's worse for the bedroom. Talking exclusively as parents de-sexualizes your connection. Slowly, your initial attraction dwindles and your connection with each other becomes reliant on your child. "When your child leaves, you'll have no foundation or other common interests to keep you engaged," adds Puhn.

The constant fix-ups
It's great when happy couples want to match-make their friends. But some take it too far, constantly creating set-ups and badgering their single friends to link up. What's up with that? "Not a good sign," says Puhn. "If you're setting friends up more than twice a year, you may be making it more of a priority than it should be. It can mean you're living vicariously through your single friends in an effort to connect yourself back to the dating the world." If that's the case, you have bigger things to focus on than your single friends.

Constant P.D.A
There's a kiss in public, and then there's the make-out session at your friend's dinner party. Couples who overdo the public lust may be overcompensating for a lack of communication, suggests Puhn. "It might mean that physical attraction is the dominating force and that can be a problem," she says. "If you constantly need to show the world your affection, it suggests a lack of confidence about other aspects in your relationship." Maybe all that time smothering each other with your lips has clouded your ability to get to know each other the old fashioned way--with words. "You have to have an emotional connection and an ability to connect verbally if you want to deepen a relationship," says Puhn. You also want to keep your friends, and all that making out isn't as pleasurable for your witnesses as it is for you.

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What traits do you find annoying?