Nagging. No matter the relationship, nagging seems to be a universal frustration for anyone in a committed relationship. Although nagging may seem insignificant and common, it can lead to larger issues within a relationship. Want to stop the bickering and know that your partner is truly listening to you? Let’s explore the concept of nagging and find ways to strengthen relationships.

What is nagging?

Nagging is the process of communication the same message over and over again. This may not always be verbally. It can be a verbal reminder, followed by a text message, followed by a hand written reminder. Nagging usually begins as a simple reminder, but what really defines nagging is when the recipient of this “reminder” feels offended or annoyed by what is being said. So the person who really defines what nagging in the relationship is based on how the recipient feels, not the person who is doing the reminding.

But what if I mean well?

That is where the frustration begins with nagging. Even if you have the best of intentions for your partner, if your partner becomes offended or annoyed, you are nagging. For example, you are reminding your partner to drink more water during the day. Even though your intensions are solely to benefit your partner and their health, the communication may be interpreted as nagging. So are they really listening? The answer is that they probably are listening, but instead of turning the reminder into action, the reminder is being turned into resentment and frustration.

The Cycle of Nagging.

Nagging quickly leads to problems in relationships because of its cyclical nature. Typically, a partner begins to nag about an insignificant issue. The partner who is being reminded soon becomes resentful about this topic which makes them less likely to complete the task. This lack of action circles back around and causes frustration for the partner reminding. The insignificant issue is now significant because one partner feels ignored and the other partner feels their abilities questioned. The nagging will then increase and frustrations will increase. Unfortunately nagging is not effective and leads to frustrations in both partners. Where it is possible for both parties to be guilty of nagging, often relationships will split into roles, one as the pusher and one as the resister.

How do we break the cycle?

Nagging usually sneaks into a relationship when one partner is having a difficult time communicating a need to the other. Instead of having a multiple of passive reminders or nagging interactions about an issue, try actively sitting down to communicate your feelings. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and be empathetic to their situation. Clarify what you are trying to say to avoid miscommunication and most importantly treat your partner the way you would want to be treated. For example, instead of nagging about your partner about constantly being on their cellphone, explain that the distraction makes you feel neglected. Empathize with your partner who may be trying to juggle a busy work schedule and may be struggling to disconnect at the end of the day. Increasing your communication skills will not only end the need to nag one another, but will set a solid foundation for growth in your relationship.

Some issues may need a third party to help facilitate healthy communication and problem solving skills. A psychiatrist would be happy to sit down and guide you through relationship problems and teach healthy communication. To book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online

Related reading:

Bickering Arguing or Discussing- How to Argue Well
Letting Go of Control in Relationships
Going from Good to Great in your Relationship