My ex-boyfriend really annoyed me. The guy before that infuriated me. The one I was with for five years? Constant frustration. But the guy who I dated for a few weeks but never really clicked with? Didn't annoy me at all. Inoffensive just doesn't really do it for me.
The person who annoys me the most? My current boyfriend. From questioning my taste in music, to telling me how to do my job better, to not eating any vegetables (like, seriously?) he just really seems to get under my skin. Cuddles on the sofa can turn into a heated debate, while restaurant outings have me grimacing at every vegetable being picked out of a dish.
But do you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. What is interesting about someone who shares your every opinion, or worse: someone who just agrees with you even if they don't? What's exciting about being with someone who doesn't teach you anything? How can you feel passion for someone who doesn't challenge you?
All of the best couples I know annoy each other. A close friend of mine, who has been with his girlfriend for eight years, recently told me that he actually aims to annoy her as much as possible. Because being nice is boring. And boring is not what you want in a relationship. Boring does not equal longevity.
One thing that I really hate about relationships is people referring to their partner as their "other half". I never want to become half of anything; I want to be a whole person. An amalgamation of my experiences, my interests, my likes, my dislikes, my wants, my needs. I would never expect, or want, my partner to be the other half of me. Forgive me for being greedy, but I want an entire person all to myself. I don't want someone who is a reflection of my personality. I want someone who defies the way I see the world, who shows me new things, and maybe even uncovers parts of myself that I didn't know existed.
This is why I'm actually quite happy when my music taste gets insulted (don't get me wrong, I'm never going to wipe my iTunes - it's pure gold), because it challenges me to expand my horizons and seek out new bands and new genres. And I don't feel wounded when I'm told that I should be doing my job differently, because I can accept that I have a lot to learn and advice should always be welcomed when it's coming from someone I respect. Alright, so I might produce an indignant counter-argument from time to time (every time) but debate is healthy right?
I am not suggesting that I want to be with someone who sneers at my every idea: respect is a fundamental requirement of every relationship I form. Having similar ideals and values is obviously important too; I could never be with someone who was a climate change denier, for example. But as well as caring for my needs and keeping me laughing on a daily basis, I also need someone to tell me when I'm wrong. Even when I don't want to hear it.
So when you really can't decide whether you want to punch someone in the face, or kiss them; that's when you know.