I KEEP BRINGING UP THE SAME problems over and over, and my spouse and children continue in their old ways. It makes me feel like a nag, and I don t want to be a nag.
Nagging is the home version of Groundhog Day. People repeatedly make the same mistake. We talk about the original infraction, but we don t address the bigger issue: They re continually making commitments and not keeping them.
The second time a person fails to pick up her clothes off the bedroom floor or doesn t put his dishes in the dishwasher or continues to squeeze the toothpaste in the middle of the tube, you have a new problem: That person has failed to live up to a promise. You are at a crossroads . You can confront the pattern. You can nag. You can cope.
Toothpaste tubes and dishes in the sink are the stuff nagging is made of: minor infractions, often repeated and often reprimanded. Nobody ever says, My wife is such a nag. Every time I have an affair with a woman half my age, she makes a big deal about it. Big issues, often repeated, are ongoing disasters. Little issues, often repeated ”that s nagging. Choose your battles .
If the original issue continues to bother you, talk about the pattern, but only if the original issue is worth it. Sometimes the infraction is just not worth the aggravation. This is a toothpaste tube we re talking about. Maybe you should expand your zone of acceptance. If you choose to cope, explain to the other person that you ve decided that it s not worth arguing about the issue. You would prefer that he or she not squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle, but you re not going to bring it up again. Then let it go.