When it comes to relationships, many men will say that nagging is a huge, number one relationship and attraction killer. No woman I know wants to be called a nag.
Yet, the nagging cycle continues even though both people are sick of it. So how do you stop nagging? If you’ve come to the realization that you’re nagging in the first place, that’s a great place to start. Here are seven suggestions and replacement behaviors to nip nagging in the bud for good:
1. Use a tactic called “carefrontation”
This tactic is the opposite of confrontation. “Carefrontation” was coined by Dr. Stratyner, a relationship expert often featured by Oprah. This concept is about reminding your husband or boyfriend that you still think of them as your partner, not as an underling who can’t get anything right. When you go into your interactions with your partner anticipating a fight, that’s exactly what you are going to create.
2. Explain how you feel, not how he is the bad guy
Make a joke about it to lighten the mood even. “Honey, I fear for my life and drowning to death every time I go after you leave the toilet seat up.” Or “It really stresses me out when I have to cook every single night after meetings that don’t end till six. What can we do about it?” When people feel like the bad guy, they aren’t looking for ways to help or make it better, they are looking for ways to escape the situation.
If you make him feel like an equal partner who is helping you search for a solution to your problem, not an adversary, his instincts to make you happy will kick in. This idea leads us to the next point:
3. Remember that you are on the same team
He’s not leaving the toilet seat up because he is on a personal mission to drive you nuts, it’s simply a habit. Unless he’s kind of a jerk (why are you there anyway? you have much worse problems than nagging to contend with. Leave now!), he isn’t trying to piss you off and ruin your evening. Stop acting like his annoying habits are a personal vendetta to kill your happiness.
Addressing your issues with him in a way that shows him you know you are in this together, and even offering up a compromise of your own, will be much more effective than screaming, “for God’s sake, the toilet seat?? AGAIN??? What’s it going to take??” Consider how you would respond to what you plan on saying to him before you say it. If it sounds like you’re a drill instructor and he’s a small child, say something better.
4. Give him a timeline, and a proposed solution
Let’s say it’s the lawn that you’ve been nagging him endlessly about. Let him know, as kindly as possible, that Thursday would be a great day for finishing that, because you are having people over this weekend.
All you need to say is, “If you can’t squeeze it in this week love, just let me know and I’ll call the landscaper in for Friday.” You may well get the response, “Probably better if you do that, this week is nuts.” Or, “No, too expensive, don’t worry about it, I’ll do it tonight.” But above all, you won’t have a fight about it, and you aren’t going to spend the entire day stressing because you just know he isn’t going to finish mowing the lawn.
5. Tell him you think it’s sexy
If you give him this kind of positive reinforcement he does *insert chore or nagging item*…he’ll be much more obliged to follow through. Pavlov was no fool. If your partner knows he’s getting some just for leaving the toilet seat down for you, congratulations, you’ve just made him more likely to put the toilet seat down in the future.
6. Try understanding, rather than assuming
There is always a reason for his behavior just as there is for yours. If you are appreciative of the fact that he’s just too busy and exhausted to mow the lawn, rather than assuming he’s just being lazy, the problem is solved much quicker and it’s easier to get your needs met.
7. Explain your needs clearly
Women make the mistake of thinking their husbands and partners are mind readers. They cook every night even though they are exhausted and stressed about it, but never once have they sat him down to say, “Honey, I’m sorry but this just isn’t working for me.”
He won’t know these things unless you tell him. As important as it is for you to understand him, it’s equally important for him to understand you, but don’t assume that he does unless you know you’ve already told him.
How to Stop Nagging – The Bottom Line
The bottom line when it comes to how to stop nagging him is to understand that communication barriers are the key to it all. Not communicating properly with your partner will lead you down the nagging path.
It’s about remembering that you are on the same team, and that you are not the supreme monarch of a small country where he is a peasant. Using the same easy-going, caring words that brought the two of you together when you first started dating, and once again, not sweating the small stuff will help bring your relationship back on track and allow you to stop nagging for good.