Think Nagging is Hurting Your Relationship? Here's Why You're Wrong

Sixty percent of men say nagging wreaks havoc on their sex lives. A survey by YourTango.com reveals the pervasiveness of one of couples' worst habits: nagging, along with other communication challenges. More than half of respondents consider nagging a problem in their relationships. For 60% of men and 44% of women, it leads to less frequent and less satisfying sex. Moreover, a mere 15% of respondents claim to be "good" at resolving conflicts as a couple.

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In light of nagging's prevalence and the conflict resolution challenges most couples face, today YourTango is launching "Nag-Free Week"-a seven-day event running through November 18 that encourages readers to stop nagging and communicate more constructively.

"We timed this initiative to facilitate better communication before the holiday stress kicks in," says Andrea Miller, YourTango CEO. "We hope all couples will attempt to go nag-free for at least a week!"

What do respondents nag each other about most? The #1 object of nagging is attention-related, i.e. "pay more attention to me!" Housework is cited as #2, with "picking up his/her own things" (think errant socks and wet towels) clocking in as #3.

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Why do people nag their significant others? Forty percent of men say it's "habit," whereas the #1 reason women nag is to "vent their frustration." Married women, however, develop a different motivation to nag; #1 reason among the married set is "It's effective: He doesn't respond unless I ask multiple times."

Additional survey findings include:

-The topic couples bicker about most is not money, sex or in-laws; it's "behavior/attitude" according to 36% of respondents. "Housework/chores" is second (21%) and "money" is third (18%). Just 7% say they bicker most about sex and 5% say they bicker most about relatives/in-laws.

-The form of problematic communication or nagging that respondents are most guilty of is "being negative" or complaining followed by "being defensive."

-The #1 approach couples use to resolve conflict is to "apologize and move on" followed by "taking time to cool off." Logging in third is the "sweep it under the rug" approach, i.e. they don't actually resolve conflict.

-Only 13% of couples use makeup sex to resolve conflict.

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-During conflict with a partner, respondents behave as follows: 30% want to talk things out; 20.5% tend to yell and get heated and 20.3% claim to avoid conflict at all costs or check out, i.e. leave the room.
38% of couples say they usually resolve arguments "within the day," 28% "within the week" and 22% within an hour.

-While 48% of couples say they are "decent" at resolving conflict, 15% say they are "very good at it," 24% say they "aren't the best" and "13% say they are downright "bad at it."

-44% of respondents say they believe they resolve conflict better than their parents do/did vs. 38% who believe they approach conflict different but not necessarily better.

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-23% of respondents say they are "very happy" with their current love life, 46% of respondents report being "mostly happy," 25% say they are "somewhat unhappy" and just 6% report being "very unhappy."

-Respondents identify less as "the nagger" in their relationships as they age: 40% of respondents ages 18-34 say they are "the nagger" compared to just 18% of those 55+.

-Women are less likely to "remind" their partner to do something they asked him to do as they age. While 42% of women ages 18-34 will give a "gentle reminder" the day after asking their partner to complete a task, just 30% of women 45+ would do the same. Instead, this demographic is likelier to "be annoyed" but complete the task herself.

Follow Nag-Free Week for expert advice & more on how and why to go nag-free this week. Join YourTango's #StopTheNagging Twitter party, November 14, 2-4 p.m. EST.


Research methodology: Conducted on SurveyMonkey.com, we polled 1,008 individuals between October 17 and November 5, 2012.

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