Clean the living room, wash the dishes, take out the trash ...
nag, nag, nag. The incessant nagging you do not only drives your partner mad,
it drives him or her away and hurts intimacy. How can you learn to communicate
more effectively and go from being a broken record to a poster child for
relationship success? The first step, say experts, is to recognize that asking
for the same thing over and over again -- believe it or not -- just doesn't
By Geneen Roth
Do you secretly believe it's selfish to put yourself ahead of others? If
so, you may never stop packing on pounds.
There are some things in life you take for granted: Your children will
outlive you. No matter how tough it gets, you won't poison your spouse with
arsenic-laced toothpaste. And if you have a best friend, you will attend her
But life sometimes upsets our most basic assumptions. And although I haven't
resorted to the arsenic (yet), I did have...
"Nagging takes the form of verbal reminders, requests, and
pleas," says Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW, a marriage and family therapist.
"You can say it in a number of different ways, but when you say it in a
number of different ways over and over again, that constitutes
The Essence of Nagging
"If a person thinks, 'If I've said it once I've said it a
million times,' or 'it's in one ear and out the other,' or 'I talk till I'm
blue in the face,' this should be a strong clue," says Weiner-Davis, author
of several relationship books, including Getting Through to the Man you
Love and The Sex-Starved Marriage.
Strong clue or not, most naggers don't know they nag -- they
think their nagging helps, explains Weiner-Davis. And it's not up to them to
decide: A helpful reminder becomes a stinging nag when the person who is being
nagged says so.
"It goes from a reminder to a nag when the person who is
being reminded gets offended," says Weiner-Davis. "How the behavior
gets labeled depends on how the person hears it, not on how the person who says
Feelings and emotions play a large part in nagging, which means
that women usually play the stereotypical lead role.
"Women take on the lion's share of
nagging," says Jamie Turndorf, PhD, a couples therapist. "Because many
women find it difficult to directly communicate their needs, they fall into the
fatal trap of whining and nagging about what they aren't getting rather than
directly stating what they want, need, or expect from their partner.
Unfortunately, whining and nagging doesn't put a man into a giving mood, and a
vicious cycle is born: The more her man starves her of what she wants, the more
she nags and the less likely he is to be responsive to her