Nagging: Why it doesn’t work and how you can avoid it

By: Jul 08, 2011

It's not fun for either of you and never leads to the outcome you were hoping for.

A big problem in many a relationship is nagging. If you are in a relationship, it is likely that you nag or are nagged. Not to point fingers, but in most relationships it is usually the woman who does the nagging. This is largely because men don’t like to talk about their feelings, and women like to talk about theirs too much – so how can you stop nagging your man, and still get him to do whatever it is that you have been nagging him to do? It is a hard thing to accomplish.

What is Your Problem?
First, ladies, you probably need to figure out what the problem between you and your man really is. Try to reduce the issue to its base instigation point. Maybe right now it’s about him not doing the dishes, but is it just about the dishes? Chances are, it's not. Maybe before that it was about him never doing the laundry and before that it was about something else.

The issue probably has something to do with you feeling like your man isn’t putting the same effort into the relationship or the home as you. This makes you feel angry or underappreciated, but rather than telling him that, for some reason, maybe because it feels like a big issue, you decide to let it slide, bury it and let it resurface in little stupid ways, like complaining about him not doing the dishes. Boil the problem down to its base issue. Once you’ve decided what that is, what is the next step?

Present Your Argument
Pick a time when you and your man are not already angry and certainly not when you are fighting. Sit down and present to him your base problem. State it plainly and calmly, using “I feel” rather than “You do this.” Say that you feel, for example, you are putting in more effort than he is and it makes you feel hurt.

You can even admit to nagging as a result of this feeling. He may be receptive to talking about it, if he is not, let it go. You have brought up your issue, spoken your side of things - talking about it when he doesn’t want to is still nagging, by the way.

Come back at the problem from a different angle later on. Find a new way to state it. Try posing it as a question: “Honey, can you try to do more little chores around the house? I know it seems sort of silly, but it would make me feel like you appreciate when I do them.” If that doesn’t work, try to do so as if his opinion on the whole thing is very important. Try something like, “Honey, it would mean so much to me if you could help out with chores more. It makes me feel special when you help me out around the house.”

Pick Your Battles
Hopefully one of these ways works out for you. If not, you have to choose how important the issue is. Sometimes, you just have to accept your partner the way he is, but if he is hurting you, you have to tell him, even if it’s really difficult and painful.  Believe that your partner is on your side and that he would never do anything to hurt you on purpose.  You can work through a problem if you both believe that you can.