1. When they want to stay in and all you want is to party your face off.
Whether you’re both introverts or you’re both extroverts or you’re in a combination relationship, at some point there’s going to be a night when one of you is dying to go out and the other is hell-bent on staying in. When you’re in a celebratory, get-wasted-and-fuck-all-responsibility mood, it’s insanely aggravating to bear the burden of motivating a Debbie Downer. But since you can’t quiet your inner wild child (and no one else is available to hang out), you’ll do whatever it takes to get your boyfriend or girlfriend to rally. The upside of acute frustration in this scenario is that you won’t feel bad about reducing yourself to cheap tactics like gratuitous flattery, bribery, and flat out lying (Of course there’s no cover charge! They won’t be playing pop music all night! Yes, it will be quiet enough to hold a conversation!).
2. When they want to have sex and you don’t.
No matter how aligned you are in sex drive, there will be a time when your boyfriend or girlfriend is at their absolute horniest when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep for hours, or binge on baked goods until you feel totally unsexy while watching TV. As your partner desperately tries to arouse you, part of you will want to cave in and accommodate them because you too like to have your sexual needs fulfilled on demand whenever possible, while another part of you will wonder if polyamory isn’t such a bad idea after all so you can outsource shit like this when it suits you. If you do elect to go with the sex flow, you probably won’t climax as you hate-fuck your partner, but you can at least make a mental note of the carnal credit you’ve earned for when things are flipped.
3. When they want to watch the wrong kind of movie.
You’re both in the exact same movie-watching state of mind. Great. Problem is, you do not have the same type of movie in mind. One of you needs action, but will settle for a psychological thriller, while the other wants to laugh their ass off, but will settle for a dark comedy. Since there’s nothing less gratifying than watching different movies on separate laptops with headphones on while lying next to each other in bed (you know this because you tried it the last time you couldn’t agree on a flick), one of you inevitably has to compromise. And if both parties hold out, you’ll have to commit to whatever the gods of rock-paper-scissors deem fit. Either way, someone is going to be irritated throughout the next two hours or so even if the off-genre movie turns out to be Oscar worthy.
4. When they get too drunk on a night you have to keep your head on straight.
There are few things awesomer than getting drunk for no reason on a random night at home as a couple. What’s not fun is being the person who has no choice but to stay sober—because you have a career changing meeting the following day or you’re pregnant or maybe mid triathlon training—while the other person, inadvertently or not, tosses back one too many, pushing their way well past the point of tipsy and into stupid drunk territory. No one sober enjoys being stuck at home in the company of someone who can barely articulate an average-IQ thought. The worst part is, you know you’ve worn that same smile of half-accidental over-intoxication at some point when it wasn’t ideal for your significant other, so you can’t get too mad. What you can do is delight in the fact that you’ll wake up feeling great the next morning while your boyfriend or girlfriend suffers through their raging hangover.
5. When they don’t get that something is hilarious.
Laughter is good for your health, and sparking laughter in a fellow human is great for your ego. What’s terrible for the health of your ego is sharing a story or a Youtube video or a joke that you find utterly hilarious with the person you love and watching the punch line or the concept fall totally flat. This is going to happen now and again, and it’s a major buzz kill. That’s why it’s worth keeping someone in your life whose sense of humor is identical to yours but for whom you’re unlikely to develop any pesky feelings (like your little brother, or someone you find physically repulsive). You need this person on speed dial to help you bounce back from all terribly frustrating situations in which your boyfriend or girlfriend just doesn’t get it—because they’re being a total idiot, obviously.
6. When they forget the names or identifying traits of your best friends.
In some way, we’re each a reflection of the five people whom we keep closest. As a whole, your core friend group represents you in all of your beautiful, individual complexity. Your friends have grown up with you and shaped you and nurtured you and loved you—probably longer than your boyfriend or girlfriend has. So when your significant other fails to recall the name of one of your best friends, or fails to register one of these key players’ identifying characteristics (that they have a child, say, or suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or chew Nicorette gum nonstop even though they were never a smoker), it’s hurtful. Lack of attention to friend details demonstrates lack of care for you, after all. And that’s just fucking rude.
7. When they’re feeling goofy and you’re in a serious mood.
It’s fun to play and wrestle and get weird as a couple. It can also be rewarding to engage in a passionate, heated debate or a serious conversation. But when your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to flex their goofy muscle and you really need a few minutes of peace and quiet to wind down after a long day, there will be nothing amusing about their attempts to lighten the mood. They might corner you and perform a popular song from a hit musical, or start tickling you, or pin you down while speaking gibberish to get your attention. Try as you might, you cannot seem to convey to them that you’re uninterested in their games. If all else fails, the only thing to do is throw a glass of freezing cold water on them.
8. When they’re late.
I don’t care how punctual your partner is in general. Once in a while, everyone is late. And when your boyfriend or girlfriend is five minutes behind schedule to pick you up or to meet you at a restaurant, you will probably be acutely irritated no matter how far outside their control the delay inducing circumstances were. You might have an engrossing novel to read on hand, or benefit from the unexpected window of time that lets you squeeze an important phone call in. You will still look at the digital clock on your smartphone every thirty seconds until your partner shows up and raise one eyebrow at them when they finally arrive.
9. When you get locked out of the house (even if it’s not exactly their fault).
It happens to everyone at some point. You forget your keys or the door slams shut unexpectedly and you forgot to push the little gizmo that stops it from locking automatically behind you. I think we all know that a person’s first thought when locked out is never: I’m such a shithead. If you’re dating someone seriously enough to project undue blame onto them in an unanticipated lockout situation, count yourself lucky. Everyone needs someone to get unrightfully pissed at for a bit when life lobs a giant lemon their way.
10. When you have to hang out with their parents.
Parents deserve our respect, but keeping your own mom and dad happy can be time consuming and labor intensive in an of itself. Even if your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents are lovely people who do nice things like pick up the check and refer you to reputable medical specialists and compliment your work, it can be exhausting to meet the needs of an additional set of parents. Since you can’t blame the kind elderly folks who would like very much to be a part of your life for existing, or wanting to treat you to a meal, you will sometimes become exasperated with their son or daughter when you have to sacrifice your precious free time to keep them happy instead.