How to Stop Nagging
Find more effective ways to communicate in your relationship, and leave the nagging behind.
The Essence of Nagging continued...
But like any facet of a relationship, nagging is a two-way street.
"Obviously, if a woman feels responded to she won't need to keep bringing up the same issues," says Turndorf, who is author of
Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First)
. "On the surface, it's easy to assume that it's all the nagee's fault -- if he responded better, nagging wouldn't be happening."
But rather than assigning blame -- is it the husband's fault for not cleaning the kitchen, or the wife's for griping so much about it -- start looking for more productive ways to communicate, or risk damaging the intimacy in your relationship: According to a study presented at the 2003 Society for Personality and Social Psychologyconference in February, nagging can lessen a couple's intimacy.
"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 instead."
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."