10 Signs There’s Nagging in Your Relationship
Nagging definitely isn’t the best form of interpersonal communication. Put simply, it’s when one person repeatedly pesters or harasses someone into doing something. (Annoying, right?) Nagging usually occurs when someone doesn’t believe in another person’s ability to do something properly. This can happen in any form of relationship, whether it’s a parent-child relationship or a romantic one.
When there’s constant nagging in a romantic relationship, it often results in the nagged partner digging their heels in and refusing to do things out of spite. Nagging patterns in a relationship create a power imbalance and can lead partners to lose respect and trust for one another.
Long story short? Nagging is super detrimental to your relationship.
Here are ten signs there’s nagging in your relationship and how to end it once and for all:
1. You always give instructions
One of the most telltale signs you’re nagging your partner is you’re constantly telling them what to do. If they ask for instruction, that’s one thing — but incessant “advice” is another. Remember, your partner is a competent individual and can figure things out on their own! Rather than doubting their ability, focus on approaching the problem as a team.
2. You try to control everything around you
If you have controlling tendencies, you may be nagging your partner without even realizing it. People who try to control everything around them often put a huge burden on their partner to act in a certain way or do things in a specific manner. Rather than trying to control everything around you, including your partner’s actions, try focusing on your own actions. (And take care of things yourself if you want them done in a certain way.)
3. You ask for something more than twice
There is a huge difference between reminding your partner about a favor you asked of them and nagging. Asking for a favor is a request (not an obligation) and it’s something that your partner can choose to do or not do. If you find yourself repeatedly asking your partner to do things for you, it’s definitely considered nagging.
If your partner isn’t responding to a request the first time you ask, consider why they aren’t doing it. Do they not want to? Do they not understand what you are asking for? Talking about your request and listening to your partner’s point of view will help ensure that you are communicating clearly.
4. Every statement begins with ‘you’
Using ‘you’ statements associates blame and can make your partner feel as if they are falling short or letting you down (i.e., “Why didn’t you do this?”). These types of statements can also cause your partner to feel defensive and refuse to help you out of spite. This can lead to a nagging pattern in your relationship, which leads both partners to feel let down.
Instead of using ‘you’ statements, communicate with your partner using ‘I’ statements (“I felt disappointed because…”) This type of reframing takes blame out of the equation and will help you communicate more effectively.
5. You focus all of your energy on their behavior
A surefire sign of nagging is you’re focusing all of your energy on your partner’s behavior rather than your own. Instead, you should be focusing on your actions and how you can change your behavior.
If you are disappointed because your partner isn’t doing something you asked them to do, and it is something that needs to be done, you can always do it yourself. You and your partner have different priorities, so rather than feeling let down when something you find important is neglected, make it happen on your own.
6. You’ve been told by your partner you nag
This is a pretty obvious sign, right? If your partner tells you that you’re nagging them, consider how you can communicate more effectively about what you want and need from the relationship, ultimately keeping you on the same page.
7. You feel more like a parent than a partner
Partners see each other as equals in a relationship and talk to each other about decisions rather than instructing each other what to do. In contrast, a parent-child involves the adult instructing the child without regard for their point of view. If you’re in the latter of the two relationships, you’re most certainly nagging. It’s important to change the power dynamic in your relationship so that you and your partner have equal say when it comes to making decisions.
8. You’re starting to feel resentment
If you are the partner that is being nagged in the relationship, you may start to feel resentment towards your significant other. It’s only natural to feel this way when your partner is constantly telling you what to do! This resentment can lead you to ignore your partner, be contrary towards them, or purposefully avoid what they are telling you to do. At this point, it’s necessary to have an open, honest discussion with your partner about how you feel and see if there’s anyway to work through it.
9. Your partner has started to act out
On the flip side of the coin, if you are in a nagging relationship pattern, you may notice your partner acting out in immature or child-like ways. This is due to resentment that they are starting to feel towards you and the relationship. In order to heal the relationship, you should have them communicate how they are feeling and what you can both do to restore your connection.
10. You have little to no intimacy
If you are in a nagging relationship cycle rather than an equal partnership, the intimacy will probably diminish. Simply put, no one wants to be intimate with someone who is constantly nagging or telling them what to do.
Intimacy — whether it’s emotional, physical, or sexual – is based on good communication and respect for one another. Nagging patterns put a damper on both, which is a total bummer for your intimacy level. Learning to let go, stop nagging, and restore effective communication and respect can help get you back on track.
Ending a nagging pattern in a relationship can be difficult, especially if it’s been an issue for a while. In addition to trying the above tips, it can be helpful to turn to experts. Relish is a relationship coaching app that can help you and your partner assess your relationship and establish future goals. The coaches at Relish can provide you and your partner with custom advice to help you work towards your relationship goals in achievable and incremental ways. Relish is an excellent resource for couples looking to improve communication and stop the nagging pattern in their relationship.
If you’re stuck in a cycle of nagging, remember to focus on open communication, honesty, and mutual respect. While nagging isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for most, it can definitely hurt your relationship. By making an effort to avoid nagging behavior, you can get back on track towards a healthier, happier relationship.