How to Stop Nagging
Find more effective ways to communicate in your relationship, and leave the nagging behind.
"How a woman presents her 'beefs'
determines whether or not her partner will be responsive," says Turndorf.
"Modern danger is no longer the ferocious tiger, it's the angry wife or
girlfriend. When she comes at him baring her teeth, berating him with
criticisms, and nagging his head off, his body sees danger and switches into
the fight-flight mode. Since he doesn't want to fight her, he flees
Before your partner grabs his golf clubs
and heads for the door, not to be seen until 36-holes are under his belt, turn
the temperature on the nagging down a bit.
"The way out is what I call 'climate
control,'" says Turndorf. "Women need to learn how to properly
communicate their needs, and it begins with calmly stating what was said or
done and how you felt about it."
Another tactic is to take action, instead
of getting on the soapbox.
"Skip the nagging, and try
taking action," says Weiner-Davis. "Skills like active listening allow
couples to learn how to talk to each other in such a way that they are heard.
Too often, when couples talk to each other about heated issues, they are too
busy defending themselves to hear on a deep level what their spouses are saying
and feeling. If they can learn the tools for fair fighting, then both spouses
can be heard, and nagging isn't necessary."
When the urge to nag strikes, Weiner-Davis suggests focusing on
the positive experiences you've had in the past with your partner, when
something other than nagging elicited the response you were looking for.
"Think about a time when you asked your partner to do
something, and he did it, and then think about what you did differently that
worked," says Weiner-Davis. "Learn from that situation, and change
future situations accordingly so you don't need to nag."
For the partners of people who nag, some of the responsibility
for improving the lines of communication falls on them as well.
"Start out by doing what your spouse is asking to you to do
-- that might nip it in the bud," says Weiner-Davis. "Another
alternative would be for the person who is getting nagged to avoid getting
angry or nasty, which doesn't work well. Instead, have a heart-to-heart about
what it feels like to be constantly hounded about something, but in a loving
way, instead of a defending way."
When these techniques fail, or when nagging consumes a
relationship, therapy might help.
"Try a marriage education class," says Weiner-Davis.
"Or find a good marriage counselor -- anything that will help you find
better means of communicating."
Life Beyond Nagging
"Bottom line: Good relationships are based on mutual care
taking," says Weiner-Davis. "You really have to look out for your
spouse. You have to put your spouse's needs before your own -- and that might
mean doing something you're not really crazy about doing. And when you have to
nag, that's a sign mutual care-taking is not happening."