Everyone hates to be ignored. But no one more than a woman who is in a relationship where her significant other has become hearing impaired. How he lost his ability to hear verbs, nouns, and other sounds women make is not important, but what is important is resolving the underlying issue in the relationship, before he becomes blind too and doesn’t see his way home anymore.

Nagging seems to be the default for any woman who has a bone to pick with her mate, or merely a cup that has runneth over.  Essentially, when a woman feels unconsciously compelled to open her mouth and start reading you your Miranda rights, either you’ve screwed up or there’s an unresolved issue that keeps picking at her.

Understandably, some women believe that they’re doing their relationship a huge service if they assert themselves and speak what’s on their mind –sometimes to a fault, however. They find it a better state of play versus taking other actions to get their points across such as cheating which may be more damaging than the original problem. But if your constantly find yourself hitting a brick wall with your ideas and/or demands, then you run the risk of pushing your mate further away, instead of pulling him closer.

In order to ever come to any conclusion in the nagging game, you need to understand your opponent, the terms of the battle, and what there is to win from going to war in the first place.

Knowing your opponent: Sometimes the reason you can’t break through to your opponent no matter how many times you’ve addressed the issue, is because the crime that you’re holding him accountable for, is honestly a character flaw within him, or something he’s decided should remain a permanent part of his behavior. If he’s been messy his whole life, no matter how many times you tell him to clean up after himself, or have respect enough to wash the dishes after you’ve cooked dinner, or even take the trash out without you having to physically ask him to, you’re still going to find yourself being the broken record over and over again. I can guarantee you that the very first person to nag him about his tidiness was his mother. At the age he is now, I’m certain he’s learned to live with the verbal punishment by being an expert at tuning women out when they start spewing verbs at him.

Knowing the terms of the battle: What’s at stake? In the case of cheating, when a man has created another avenue for himself sexually, emotionally, or mentally, he has likely also created the option to either comply or deny your wishes. If you’re where he wants to be and he is aware he has made a mistake and learned his lesson, then when you’re battling it out, you might stand a good chance of breaking through to him. But if he’s already checked out of the building, and is only physically present, then everything you’re fighting about and fighting for, has a bigger chance of falling on deaf ears, and being a war you can’t win.

Knowing the prize you win: Relationships should never be about winning a battle, but rather maintaining harmony more often than not. No one person is always going to be right, and no one person is always going to be wrong, but when you come across moments or foothills of friction, you need to weigh the situation in your mind and decide if the battle is even worth your time. Do you need to go after him every instance he leaves the toilet seat up or doesn’t separate his clothes before you do the laundry? Is it necessary to harp on him every single time he doesn’t think of you or put your feelings first? Are you up to your ears in complaints about him being too selfish to reciprocate in the bedroom? Or maybe you’re tired of him cheating, and think that nagging him will eventually generate a break through or a difference? I can deal with the toilet seats and the laundry, but what do you stand to win from someone who is a serial cheater, or is too selfish to understand how he’s hurting you in the first place? Make sure the battle you’re hoping to win and the person you’re fighting for is really worthwhile. If not, then the only battle you need to be in, is the one that ends in you maintaining and knowing your self-worth.

A man will hear you if he wants to hear you. A man will change if he wants to change. No matter how many times you badger him about something, he has to first make the decision to be a “better” him — and even before that he has to decide whether or not he thinks your problem is a problem to him in the first place. If he gets it, and cares, he’ll do his best, to rectify his mistakes, but if he’s not making it a priority, then you may want to consider finding someone who you don’t have to nag in the first place.

Lastly, if your nagging ever becomes second nature, then maybe consider the idea that you just might enjoy being a control freak. In that case, expect to be alone, or at least expect to be the continual recipient of issues worth nagging over.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    You brought up cheating in every bullet point, and I will say that nagging someone about cheating is pointless. If someone is going to cheat on you, and you take them back and let them get away with it, you can nag until the cows come home with no results. Let that guy go on his merry little way. Expect better and don’t settle.

  • Amanda

    I’m guilty of this. I just don’t understand what I need to say to get a break through though. It’s like they don’t hear you the first time, nor the last time, so why wouldn’t I act a ratchet fool? Someone needs to write an article called: “Men Get Your Shit Together”

  • D

    Make your feelings known. Ask for what you want but also ACCEPT the answer (whether that comes spoken with words or unspoken by you being ignored). I said accept…doesn’t mean you have to agree but please understand that dating someone doesn’t compel them to have to think like you. And being considerate/respectful of your feelings also doesn’t mean they have to agree with you. Your thoughts and feelings do not trump theirs.

    After you accept it, decide if you can live with whatever it is. Everything is not or does not have to be a power struggle. Yes it’s annoying when it seems like you are always the one having to give in and do X, Y or Z. But think if that’s because you’re the only one who actually cares about X, Y or Z. I’m big on saving, my girlfriend is a frivolous shopper who couldn’t care less if her bank account dips into negative digits. I’d like to combine money so it can grow faster with larger investments, etc. but clearly I’m not going to combine my money with a spendthrift. So it stays separate, regardless of what I want or prefer. Problem solved. If ish hits the fan and she needs money, I point out her flaws and decide if I want to help. I don’t always. More drama avoided.

    I know that’s simplistic and not every problem is that easy to solve. But in the end, few people succeed in nagging their way to a better partner or relationship.

  • Eme

    Funny how a woman’s legitimate complaints and concerns are called “nagging”.

    Seems like women can’t say, think, or feel anything without derogatory and diminishing terms being applied. Men are socialized very early to essentially ignore the things women say by assuming that their words derive from a place of irrationality or emotionality, because that is how women are, rite? Even constructive criticism from a woman is an dismissed as haranguing, and not the sound advice is it would be perceived as if it had come from a man.

    “How he lost his ability to hear verbs, nouns, and other sounds women make is not important”

    Of course its important. The inability to listen to women is a result of intense social conditioning. These attitudes need to be dismantled. For that to happen, men have to acknowledge the detrimental effects that the patriarchy has on their attitudes and beliefs about women

    “but what is important is resolving the underlying issue in the relationship, before he becomes blind too and doesn’t see his way home anymore”

    Hmmm. How many of us are going to want to build a relationship with someone who is dismissive of everything that we have to say? In order to resolve an underlying issue, their must be a tacit assumption of the importance of the other person’s pov. If the whole argument is that the assumption doesn’t exist, then how can you possibly resolve anything?

    The anecdote about the sloppiness really just proves my point further. Why couldn’t his mother raise him to learn cleanliness? Because he is already learning to dismiss her direction. His mother, of course, perpetuates the cycle by swooping in to clean up after him. Now he expects his girlfriend/wife to do the same. When you purposefully contribute nothing to the cleanliness of your household, it is because you don’t consider it to be a part of you role in the relationship.

  • Kay

    Yes!! I always felt this way too, and there’s even a term for it. It’s called “gaslighting.” It’s making women feel like they’re being an alarmist or just an annoying hag when what they are complaining about is totally valid. It happens at home when men say we nag, it happens at work when men say women are ball-busters. Maybe we’re not nagging or complaining. Maybe men just don’t listen because they feel what we are saying isn’t important.

  • cushy

    It’s ok to express yourself, but nagging can cause a bad relationship. I admit I’ve nagged many of times to get my point across to my man and learned it was a waste of time. The more I nagged the more he ignored me and I DO NOT like to be ignored. So had to take a look at myself and figure out what is it that I’m doing that makes me behave this way. I realized I was nagging over the smallest things,but not all of the time. I’ve learned how to lightened up and talk more calmly. And guess what? He was no longer ignoring me.Of, it didn’t happen over night. But, at least he stopped. What we women have to understand is what we see important may not be important to men. Vice versa.

  • cushy

    Of course, it didn’t happen overnight. Sorry.

  • D

    Let me try to translate “nagging” into terms a woman can understand.

    To understand nagging, think of the the way you feel when your man keeps prodding you to lose weight. Or to dress sexier. Or to dress less sexy. Or to “please for the love of god” not wear a headscarf and filthy pajamas to bed. Or to have triple the amount of sex without him having to jump through 100 hoops or beg. Or to have a threesome. Or to wear more makeup. Or wear less makeup. Or to watch a little porn. Or to cook more than once a week. Or to not share your couple business with your girlfriends and family. If none of those ring familiar to you I could continue with a thousand others that would.

    Now if you tell him that you do not want to have sex as much as he does, should he accept it or harangue you daily? If you tell him you’re more comfortable in flannel than the tank top and boy shorts he wants you to wear to bed, should he accept it or battle it out? If you tell him you’re too tired to cook daily, should be accept it or pout around the house eating Corn Flakes at 8 p.m.?

    Basically, you would expect to be able to tell him (verbally or by ignoring his requests) that you respect him but that you are who you are and you’re only going to do what you want. You’d expect him to accept it.

    Yes, he can do more cooking or work overtime to get you in the mood more or whatever. And, yes, you can do more sock picking up.

  • 2cents

    I used to nag my ex a lot. I had to

    1. learn myself and how to curb that
    2. GET OUT OF THAT RELATIONSHIP.

    If you find yourself having to nag/remind/beg/plead/demand/request/beat him over the head with the SAME things over and over, that man is either not interested in the things that are important to you OR you two just might not be able to get on the same page about whatever those issues are.

    If you have to nag him repeatedly to change a certain behavior(s) then I think its worth asking yourself if this person is really the right one for you. I know I went INSANE trying to get that man to get on the same page as me. And once I let it go, I found someone who didn’t need to be nagged. Or at least has the same core values as me so no one is feeling like they have to compromise to please the other.

    You shouldn’t have to hold things back from your partner, but you also shouldn’t have to change things about him that he himself isn’t willing to change.

  • D

    Yep. Accept it or leave.

  • alldawg

    Nagging is someone buzzing in your ear like a fly, she speaks, but all you hear is buzzzz.

  • NOOOO

    nagging does no good… i believe people nag but stay in hope the person will change, but they are not leaving.
    most humans fear being alone. if you can live with certain things that you know the person ain’t changing- live with it but don’t keep harping on it. if you can’t live with it- leave- but must people aint doing that- they think years of nagging will eventually change a person- guess what – it aint

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    very good answer.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    “A man will hear you if he wants to hear you. A man will change if he wants to change. No matter how many times you badger him about something,“, this ws winning right up till this, “he has to first make the decision to be a “better” him“. no, you should either accept him or leave him alone.

  • http://trueletterson.wordpress.com trueletterson

    Proverbs 21:19 New International Version (NIV)19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

  • http://trueletterson.wordpress.com trueletterson

    Right because she knew how he was when she meet him!

  • http://gravatar.com/perrero62 perrero62

    It’s always tricky navigating the complexities of human behavior. Let’s just take for granted that all the ratchet-azzed stuff that one person does to another shouldn’t be tolerated for one second. If you’re constantly having to berate someone about things that matter to you, then it’s probably time to get out of the relatonship. A couple things you wrote, Alaina, deserve observation, though.

    You said, “How he lost his ability to hear . . . is not important, but what is important is resolving the underlying issue . . .” It most certainly is important how he lost his ability to hear. If the man entered the relationship without that ear to hear, then you were already on the losing end of a battle, the length of which being entirely up to you how long and drawn-out it becomes. If the man entered the relationship with an ear for your concerns and an understanding of what it is you need, but YOUR underlying/unresolved issues bring him to the point where he no longer wants to hear, then it is entirely up to you to deal with those issues. Whether or not the man chooses to accompany you through it is his choice. An example:

    Christmas time, two weeks before The Day. Girlfriend says she & her daughter are going to her sisters house to be with her family for a little bit. I say my daughter & I will go visit with friends for a little bit. My manz-way-of-thinking ASSUMES that means we will meet up later on, after we’ve paid our obligations & respects. One week before Christmas, she’s berating me about NOT inviting her to accompany me. Okay, I admitted out of principle, I should’ve invited her; but WHAT WOULD’VE BEEN THE POINT, after she told me what her plans were??? That was her issue to deal with. And that behavior was typical, so needless to say, we didn’t survive.

    You used the terms “Knowing your opponent” and “Knowing the terms of the battle” and then you said, “Relationships should never be about winning a battle . . .” That’s some serious cognitive flip-floppin’ you have going there, but I understand your point. Now, this is a website for women, and I know it’s all about y’all. Remember: I love ALL y’all!!! One of the readers posted that she had to look within herself to find out what was making her nag. She was successful in resolving her underlying/unresolved issues and improving herself in the relationship. You know, that whole thing about being the right person rather than finding the right person . . .

    I know we (collectively) do shyt that drives y’all crazy; but, sometimes, it is about you.

  • yolo

    so true

  • lola

    when someone says “your a nag” what they are really saying is, i dont want to listen to you and i dont care about what ur going to say so im going to call you a name and hope you shut up.

    Your feelings/thoughts/idead/opinians are important, your not guilty of anything, you deserve to be listened to and taken seriously

  • lola

    I cant believe ur comparing cooking and cleaning, essential jobs for the household to frivolous pursuits like having a three some and wearing makeup.

  • http://trueletterson.wordpress.com trueletterson

    Amanda why nag did you not know he didn’t have his shit together when you meet him!

  • http://trueletterson.wordpress.com trueletterson

    Lola you are right both people in a relationship need to be respected and heard however as a book I read said voice your concerns or disappointments on a issue once then after that make no more mention.

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