Hands up who likes to be nagged?
Why don't you ever take out the trash? When are we going to spend real time together? Are you listening to me?
Does this sound familiar? This is called nagging.
The signs you're nagging are probably more obvious to your partner than they are to you.
"Generally, if you're on the receiving end when someone is nagging, you feel like you're being controlled and asked to submit to someone else's plan for you," life coach Nicole Burley says. "You don't necessarily feel inspired to do that thing on your own."
Even worse is that nagging has serious repercussions for your relationship, leading to less frequent and less satisfying sex.
Here Are Nine Signs You Are A Nagger
Try this instead: Instead of voicing your request a third time, the communication gap needs to be addressed head-on.
Dr Amy Johnson advises that the second request should be in exactly the same tone and manner of the first. Letting judgment slip into your tone will quickly shift the request into the nagging territory.
She suggests using positive reinforcement as the alternative to nagging. Rather than focusing on what your partner is not doing, put your efforts towards praising what he/she is doing right.
Try this instead: Requests start with the word "I" (e.g., "I'd like you to mow the lawn. I'm wondering why you didn't mow the lawn).
"I" statements show you're an active participant in the conversation, not a critic.
Try this instead: The next time you get upset about an unmet request, ask yourself: What is this really about?
It's a common desire to want to control our lives and our partners, but it's ultimately a futile effort based on fear of the unknown. Rather than waste your energy trying to control your partner, practice exploring that fear. Simply acknowledging that you feel fearful is a great first step.
Try this instead: First of all, accept what you do and do not have control over.
If you're nagging your partner to quit smoking, stop drinking or to put down the cheeseburger and fries, you may feel that your nagging is justified because you're concerned about his or her health.
"We hate feeling helpless," says Dr Paul. "We'll see someone smoking or eating poorly and it scares us that they're harming themselves, so we want to do something about it. The first time you offer advice, maybe that person will take it. If they don't, you have to accept your helplessness or leave the relationship."
Instead, focus on what you can control: your own intentions and behaviour within the relationship. Want your partner to take better care of his health? Make sure you are exuding that in your own life first.
Try this instead: Try using praise more than criticism.If your partner believes he or she has to do things differently in order to be accepted and loved, he or she might start to retaliate by withdrawing, getting angry, or becoming resentful.
If you feel the urge to criticize, try keeping every other critique to yourself. It can feel completely unnatural at first, but the results are more likely to be in line with what you desire than a nagging approach could ever produce.
Try this instead: If you're arguing about chores or finances, set acceptable standards for maintaining your home or your standard of living so that it will be up to both partners to live up to those expectations.
Constant nagging can make your partner feel infantilized and as if they're a disappointment to you. It also makes the nagger feel authoritarian.
"When you nag you to lose your sense of partnership with the other person. It's like you're wagging your finger at them like a parent or authority figure," Burley says.
Try this instead: Modern psychology tells us that the things we "hate" or "reject" out in the world are actually potentials that we ourselves possess.
If we have to look to someone else to make us happy because we're unfulfilled or incomplete, we're neglecting our own needs, Dr. Wade advises.Admire your partner's sense of humour? Remember that you have a great one, too, and do your best to bring it out when you are together.
Try this instead: Two tips for getting your sex life back on track: having open communication, and allowing yourself to feel vulnerable.
"Nagging is such a passion killer," says Burley. "You don't want to turn around and hug the person that's been nagging you."
Talk about what's really going on in your relationship without being overly attached to "winning points" in the conversation.
And in allowing yourself to really listen to your partner and share some of your own fears or faults, you'll be putting yourself in a vulnerable position. A position that says "I'm fallible, too."
This can be a scary place to be, but the good news it'll make you a more open and receptive lover.
Try this instead: Come to a mutual decision with your partner to drop the barriers you've built.
The topic that most couples bicker about is surprisingly not money, sex, or even in-laws. The number one topic couples bicker about is their partner's behaviours or attitudes, which hardly sets the stage for a mutually respectful relationship.
"Nagging crosses into a lack of intimacy, lack of trust," Dr Wade says. "You know you're nagging when you don't trust your partner anymore, when you can't count on them when you lose respect for them and pull away intimately."
Revisit your deepest desires together and make a vow to work towards them together.