- Gender and Relationships
The Difference Between Being Clear & Being a Nag
I received this comment
On my Hub "I Want to Get Married But My Boyfriend Doesn't" I received the following comment:
I'm abit confused with some of the things you said here because they seem to contradict each other. At one point you said "You don’t have to give ultimatums or be a nag, you can be powerful and focused in a healthy way." and then a few paragraphs later you said "But be clear with him that you will not be there after x amount of time.". So how are you going to say "I want to get married by 2 years and if you don't i am leaving" in a healthy way. To me that sounds like an ultimatum."
At first, I was surprised. Differentiating between nagging and being clear seems obvious to me. Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized maybe it isn't clear to some people, and maybe that's been the problem they've encountered in relationships. And I realized, what a great idea for a hub.
Let’s Start Simply
Imagine you’re in a restaurant. You call the waitress over and you ask if there are any fish specials.
“Yes,” she says. “We have Cajun catfish, with two sides, for $11.99.”
Imagine you order that. She brings it to the table. And she says she hopes you enjoy your meal, with a smile. You eat your dinner. She brings you the check, saying “Whenever you are ready you can bring that to the cashier. I hope you have a great night.” You pay the cashier $11.99 for the meal.
The waitress was clear with the establishment’s expectations. There was no nagging. There were no ultimatums.
Now, imagine the same scenario. You ask the waitress if there are any fish specials.
“Yes,” she says. “We have Cajun catfish for $11.99. And if you order it and don’t pay $11.99, I will call the cops and they will charge you with theft of service.”
You order the fish, and she brings it. She puts it down and says, “You’re going to pay, right? Because if you don’t pay $11.99 when you’re done, you’ll be in trouble.”
You eat your dinner. She brings you the check, saying, “You have to pay or else. You have to go to the cashier and if you don’t pay $11.99 for the catfish we will call the police on you.”
In this scenario, the waitress gave you ultimatums, and she nagged you.
It really is this simple.
Naturally a Nag?
In all aspects of life you have the ability to be healthy, empowered, clear and pleasant. When you shop, when you visit with friends, when you are in your workplace, when you are at school or the gym, or a café, or anywhere.
A normal healthy person doesn’t assume they have to give an ultimatum in most aspects of life. If you go the gym, you expect the equipment to be safe and functioning. You may ask when you agree to the membership about the quality of the machines. But each time you walk in you don’t get on the stairmaster saying, “If this is a faulty machine and breaks while I’m on it, I will sue you. So you’d better have good machines or else!” You don’t give an ultimatum. And you don’t nag the staff over and over.
If a friend asks to borrow your jacket, you might say, “Sure, but I need it back by the time I go on vacation.” There you’ve made your needs clear.
You wouldn’t think to say to your friend, “You can borrow it, but I want it back for my vacation, or else I will come to your house and take it back, or make you buy me a new one.” You wouldn’t call your friend everyday leading up to your vacation nagging them to return your jacket and giving an “or else” ultimatum.
So why would you think communicating to a boyfriend would be any different?
In Macy’s comment, she said:
"I want to get married by 2 years and if you don't I am leaving.”
She doesn’t even see the possibility of not adding that “or else” statement at the end.
“This is what I want and if you don’t give me what I want, then I will do this.”
You don’t add that temper tantrum sounding demand when you order a coffee, or hand in an assignment at school, or assign a job to an employee, or drop off your dry cleaning. Do you? So why would that be the only way you think you can communicate to your mate?
Adding the “or else” demand shows you don’t know how to listen, or compromise, or express yourself in a reasonable or healthy way. Who would take you seriously if you spoke that way? Who would want to be around you?
Be Empowered. Be Healthy. Be Clear.
When you’re dating the conversation of what you both want in your futures will come up. Express yourself clearly, as you would with anyone else about any other subject.
“I would like to be married in the next 2 years,” is a very clear and healthy statement. He may say he doesn’t want to marry in that time frame.
A clear response to that from you could be, “I’d be willing to talk about pushing that to three years if it was a long engagement,” or “I guess I’m just in a different place in life than you are. I will be getting married in the next couple of years, this is my life plan," or ”I really want to be working toward a marriage, and I'd love it if you were part of that."
Why would it even cross your mind to scare the shit out of the guy by saying, “Well if you don’t marry me in 2 years then I’m going to leave!" ?
When I was dating my now-husband 14 years ago, I remember the first few conversations about marriage. We were basically on the same page. We talked a lot about marriage and the future, and it seemed we really wanted the same things, in about the same time frame. But things got a little tricky after he moved in.
I was very clear that I didn’t want to be an eternal girlfriend, that living together was a big commitment for me and that I wanted to be engaged within the year. I never said, “Marry me this year or else.” I didn’t nag and bring this up over and over. I pleasantly let him know what I wanted, and that he was part of that plan.
Well, the year came and went and he hadn’t proposed. We were driving one afternoon and he made a comment about having to have his taxes done, and how much nicer it will be to file jointly next year. And I said, smiling, that we won’t be filing jointly in the future. He said “Well someday when we get married.”
I was very pleasant, and smiled, and said, “No, I told you my time frame, and that has passed.” Then I dropped the subject and said we should stop and get ice cream.
He was quiet and stunned. He brought it up again that night, and just asked me if I was breaking up with him. I said “Not today.” And I smiled about it. But I added, “Look, I was clear about what I need, and I really hoped you would be part of that plan. And it didn’t happen. It's ok. I guess we're in different place. It is what it is. So, I will be moving on.” There were no ultimatums. There were no "buts" and "or elses". There were no nags or bullshit, or idle threats that never materialize. I was never a bitch, I was never mad or angry or insane.
I was always a pleasant independent person, someone he enjoyed being around. I was never judging. I was never demanding. I never made it so that my happiness and future were completely dependent on him.
4 days later, he was down on one knee in a Bed & Breakfast, proposing… one year and one month after moving in.
I’ve heard my husband relay our story several times over the years, usually to a friend who’s upset because his girlfriend is nagging or giving or an ultimatum about their relationship.
People like to be around positive, healthy, clear people. People don't like to be around people that nag or give ultimatums. It's important to understand the difference.
was written by Veronica for Hubpages. If you are reading it any place else, it has been stolen.
All text is original content by Veronica.
All photos are used with permission.
All videos are courtesy of Youtube.
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