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No one ever means to nag their partner. It’s not something any of us want to be associated with.
But when they don’t listen or never seem to complete a task, constantly harassing them about it can feel like the only way to get through to them.
Nagging your partner is not a good habit to get into, and you could be unaware that you’re even doing it.
Consistently bringing up everything your partner hasn’t done can wear them down and cause them to loose confidence in your relationship. In severe cases, it can even lead to a breaking point where they decide they can’t handle it anymore and want to leave.
So how do you know when simply asking your partner to get something done turns into nagging?
And how, when you care about something that your partner doesn’t seem to be taking seriously, can you get them to do it without going on at them?
Keep reading to see how you can stop nagging and start communicating better with each other to get the positive outcome you want.
1. Talk to your partner and hear their point of view.
Do you ever get into arguments with your partner about something you’ve asked them to do that they’ve done half-heartedly?
For example, it’s their turn to clean the kitchen, you’ve had to ask them multiple times to do it and then when they do, they seem to only do half the job. So you start pointing out all the things they’ve missed and they tell you you’re nagging them and get defensive.
If this sounds familiar, it might be worth sitting down with your partner to discuss their point of view. Just because a way of doing something seems obvious to you, it doesn’t mean that your partner agrees.
You could be nagging them because you feel as though they never fully complete a task, while for them, they’re completing a task to their best ability (or to a standard they are happy with) and all they’re hearing is that it’s not enough.
This miscommunication can cause unnecessary tension between the both of you and can easily be fixed by having a simple conversation to see what it is you expect of each other.
Mapping out exactly what you mean when you ask them to do something clears up any confusion about what the task is and stops you disappointing each other.
It’s a simple but effective conversation to have now that could prevent painful arguments in the future.
2. Split responsibilities early on.
Combat nagging before it starts by splitting out chores between you and your partner fairly.
This could mean each of you have set tasks you always complete when you clean your house. Or when it comes to booking a holiday, one of you does flights while the other looks for accommodation.
Designating tasks like this splits the workload so one of you doesn’t become resentful of the other for having all of the work land on them.
Feeling resentful because you think you’re doing more work than your partner can cause you to nag because of your frustration. By equally splitting the workload, you stop this happening from day one.
By doing this, you also learn to trust each other with your responsibilities. Once you’ve decided who is responsible for what, give a timeframe for everything to be done within and allow each other to complete tasks in their own way and own time.
You might feel as though they could do something faster or more efficiently, but if a task is their responsibility, it’s for them to decide how and when they do it.
If something isn’t your responsibility, then you have no right to nag over it. At first it might be difficult to relinquish control, but it will help you learn to keep focused on your workload and stop interfering with theirs.
It’s a win-win situation, everything you need gets done without having to pressure your partner, all while growing the trust in your relationship.
3. Identify the situations when you resort to nagging.
If you find yourself nagging a lot, it’s worth doing a bit of soul searching to find out when and why you seem to nag more.
Go beyond the fact that you want your partner to do something and see if there is a deeper reason for why you’ve been so irritable.
When we are feeling defensive or unhappy with ourselves, we often take our emotions out on those closest to us. For some people, this could come out in the form of nagging as you aim your internal frustrations at your partner.
By identifying how you’re really feeling when you find yourself nagging, you might realize it’s not really about your partner at all and there is something else going on inside that is causing you to be upset.
Dealing with your emotions head on rather than allowing them to get the better of you and come out in a negative way will not only help you to resolve them faster, but it will take the pressure off your partner and your relationship.
4. Think about your tone.
Have you ever considered how you sound when you’re making requests of your partner?
No one likes to be nagged at as it automatically makes people become defensive and upset. By taking a moment to consider how you sound and thinking about what you want to say before you say it, you give yourself time to rephrase your request in a more positive and polite way.
Before you ask your partner to do something, think about how you would like to be asked to do the same thing. Your nagging may not be intentional, but whether you mean to or not, you’re coming across in an antagonistic and negative way.
Your tone and choice of words could make all the difference to your partner, so take time before you speak to think about how you come across.
5. Accept that they do things differently to you.
Nagging can be about the need for control. You might be the type of person who finds it hard to let their partner complete a task without commenting on how they’re doing it.
This can be demoralizing for your partner and eat away at their self-confidence, making them less inclined to do the things you ask them to do for fear of you constantly nagging at them.
Just because someone does something in a different way to how you would do it, doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong.
It’s hard to let go of control, but this is all part of having trust in your partner. If you don’t want to have the responsibility of doing the task yourself, then you have to accept however your partner decides to go about it.
Different is not wrong and if you can’t accept that, then you’re better off not expecting them to do anything at all.
6. Clearly communicate your expectations.
You might think you’re being helpful by reminding your partner of a task they need to finish. They, however, may see it as you nagging at them.
To stop you fretting over when your partner gets around to doing something, try communicating what you expect from each other within an agreed timeframe.
By saying out loud everything you would like your partner to do in a given time and agreeing on it, you must also agree to stop badgering them while they are taking responsibility for their actions.
However much you might want to tell them to get on with something, it’s no longer your place to say, you are putting your trust in your partner to use their time wisely.
As long as your partner gets their agreed tasks done within the allotted time period, then it is up to them how they do this, and you learn to trust that they will without the need for a constant reminder.
7. Put things into perspective.
The fact that your partner hasn’t done something you asked them to do is annoying, there’s no doubt about it.
But if you find yourself getting worked up over something they haven’t done, then just take a second to breathe and try to find a little perspective on the situation.
Yes, it’s irritating they haven’t done what they said they would, but is it the end of the world? Is it really worth having an argument and getting upset over? Chances are, it’s not.
Don’t let little irritations get to you and cause you to make the issue into something bigger than it is. Try to put the situation back into perspective and let the little things go.
8. Remember that it works both ways.
If you’re nagging your partner for not doing something, then you better make sure that you aren’t accountable for anything either.
Before you start going on at them, make sure you’ve done everything you are expected to be responsible for. It’s not fair to have expectations of your partner that you aren’t living up to yourself.
Focus on what you need to get done and let them focus on what they have to do. Don’t be a hypocrite and start expecting more from them than you’re willing to do yourself.
9. Show appreciation for the things they do.
The more you nag about things that aren’t done, the less your partner is going to want to do them.
If there is no positive reinforcement upon completion of a task, then where is the incentive to do any more?
If you’ve asked your partner to do something and they have, tell them how much you appreciate them for it.
Everyone likes to be appreciated and it’s a simple gesture that motivates people to do more.
Don’t just focus on everything that needs to be done, be grateful for everything that has been done.
By encouraging rather than criticizing your partner, they will feel appreciated and may even start doing more without the need for you to ask once they see how happy it makes you.
10. Start and end each day positively.
If nagging is the first interaction you have with your partner in the morning, then it’s going to set them up badly for the rest of the day, making them defensive and irritable.
No one likes to be told everything they have to do first thing, just as much as you don’t want it to be the last thing you think about at night.
Make sure the first and last interaction you have with your partner each day is a positive one. You want your relationship to remain strong, so don’t start the day or go to bed stressed and frustrated at each other. At least wait until they’ve had a cup of coffee…
We all have moments when we get frustrated with our partners; it’s normal in any relationship. Learning how to handle your frustrations and communicate with your partner in a way that they are receptive to is what you need to learn to keep you both happy.
No one wants to be the nagging partner, so finding a better way to communicate needs to be a priority for you both to stop this negative interaction in your relationship.
It might be that you need to learn to communicate more concisely or clearly. It could also be that your partner needs to be better at acknowledging the tasks they need to do and get on with them.
But however much it might not feel like it at times, your partner is an adult who is capable of getting a task done on their own. Sometimes we just need to be left to do things at our own pace, without the pressure of someone watching over you.
Remember that your partner is your equal and deserves your respect however much they’re irritating you. A positive approach will help both of you to be more receptive to each other and in the end, more willing to do whatever makes each other happy.
Still not sure how to overcome your nagging tendencies? Listen, it’s okay to feel annoyed at your partner, but that won’t generally help the situation. What will is finding better ways to communicate your wishes and express your feelings. That’s where a relationship expert can be a huge benefit. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you address the communication breakdown you’re experiencing. Simply click here to chat.
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