He Thinks Your Feedback Is Nagging

By YourTango

He Thinks Your Feedback Is Nagging
What guys really think about your 'constructive criticism.'

 

Andie nagged me about an admittedly odd habit I have. I seem to flush the toilet before I completely finish using it. I get through maybe half of my bladder business and then reach for the lever while I continue my golden arc. Then, when I'm all tapped out, I flush again. I don't know why I do this. I know it wastes water but I like to think I make up for it by showering like a French sailor—quickly and seldomly. My double-flush is something I probably wouldn't have noticed until Andie pointed it out. Then she pointed it out again. And again. And again.  It would have been one thing if I did this in her home, but I didn't; I only did it in mine.  Nevertheless, she would yell out from the living room, whilst I was midstream, "Don't flush!" Or a guttural, agonized "Aarrgh!"

 

This bathroom behavior wasn't the only reason the relationship ended, but it wasn't for nothing either: If a man can't feel like he can do his own thing while he's, well, doing his thing… how can he ever be comfortable going deeper into relationship with someone? 

Shana cringed whenever I chewed on a pen—which was pretty much every time I had one nearby. I told her that I heard her, was trying my best to remember not to do it around her, and that it wasn't personal.  After the 23rd time of being yelled at—yelled at—while I was concentrating on a crossword, I told her I felt nagged. She replied, "I nag because I love."

"I nag because I love" is one of those phrases thoughtlessly tossed out of convenience to excuse bad behavior, but if you put any thought into, you'd realize doesn't hold up. Think "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" or "The surge is working."

Make a list of the 100 things you want in a loving relationship. Chances are "someone who expresses their love by nagging me" doesn't make the cut. (If it does, I've got a girl named Shana I want you to meet.)

If you "nag because you love," then you love wrong. Loving is about allowing people the dignity to be who they are. Nagging sucks the dignity out of the room—for both the nagger and the nagee. 

I've seen people lose sight of what's important in a haze of nagging. Only in the relationship post-mortems do friends reveal telling gems like, " hated her laugh, but at least she laughed at my jokes," "She picked on me for the way I would parallel park, but didn't even thank me for driving her to work," or "I really miss those damn love handles."

"Nagging? I'm giving you feedback," Teresa explained to me.

Excellent. Calling it "feedback" is perfectly apt.  Just like the audio phenomenon, here we have the result of a noisemaker resonating only with itself–and it's so annoying, it makes everyone in the room throw their hands over their ears to avoid the screeching.

Still, I try to have compassion for the nagger and for our situation.  With the most commonly-nagged topics (cleanliness/appearance, driving, food, and manners), we're up against the result of the habits developed from a single life, of not having to be accountable to another person.  They're the benefits—and the costs—of freedom. 

And there is plenty of crap not to like about people (You're older than nine and you're wearing Crocs?). But, as the saying goes, Is this the hill I want to die on? Am I willing to be single again because of how she cuts her meat? (Alas, this proved not to be a rhetorical question.)

And if it is worth bringing up, can't it be done in a way that doesn't seem to say, ultimately: You're driving me nuts and now I'm going to return the favor. 

But there is hope. What to one partner is a disgusting habit is to another the cutest little thing. 

Ruby would have carried a portable electroshock device to zap me every time I let even a silent burp slip through my lips. Carrie laughs and kisses me on the cheek when I finish dinner with a window-rattling belch.

Come to think of it, I find that laugh and kiss a little annoying. I think I'll mention it to her.
 

My father, who kept industrial-grade acetone in the house to perfect the kitchen counters, was constantly after me about cleaning the "pig sty" that was my bedroom floor. "Man, I can't wait to get out of here and get a girlfriend," I thought. "I'll never have to put up with nagging again!"

When I finally got my first girlfriend in college, I soon longed for Dad's nagging—at least he was badgering me to do something that seemed possible. Melinda, by contrast, harassed me about not giving her enough attention and complained that I was smothering her, both in the course of 12 hours. Additionally, though I had successfully attracted her, I now "wore my clothes wrong," "ate my food weird," and "shouldn't tell people that I'm studying poetry." By the time my two-week relationship with her had ended, she alleged that my bad habits had caused her damage from which she'd never recover (though she seemed to do just fine when she landed her next boyfriend two days later).

Melinda was a sign of things to come: women would be into me, and then into changing me.

This isn't to say I have been unwilling or unable to make changes. Yes, I am awesome; but frankly, if someone liked every little thing I did, I'd find it creepy and boring.  What makes a relationship interesting is the challenge and the discovery. Confronting me on my crap is exciting and even intimate. Doing it repetitively, loudly, and not noticing when I make adjustments?  That's when it's nagging.

Andie nagged me about an admittedly odd habit I have. I seem to flush the toilet before I completely finish using it. I get through maybe half of my bladder business and then reach for the lever while I continue my golden arc. Then, when I'm all tapped out, I flush again. I don't know why I do this. I know it wastes water but I like to think I make up for it by showering like a French sailor—quickly and seldomly. My double-flush is something I probably wouldn't have noticed until Andie pointed it out. Then she pointed it out again. And again. And again.  It would have been one thing if I did this in her home, but I didn't; I only did it in mine.  Nevertheless, she would yell out from the living room, whilst I was midstream, "Don't flush!" Or a guttural, agonized "Aarrgh!"

This bathroom behavior wasn't the only reason the relationship ended, but it wasn't for nothing either: If a man can't feel like he can do his own thing while he's, well, doing his thing… how can he ever be comfortable going deeper into relationship with someone? 

Shana cringed whenever I chewed on a pen—which was pretty much every time I had one nearby. I told her that I heard her, was trying my best to remember not to do it around her, and that it wasn't personal.  After the 23rd time of being yelled at—yelled at—while I was concentrating on a crossword, I told her I felt nagged. She replied, "I nag because I love."

"I nag because I love" is one of those phrases thoughtlessly tossed out of convenience to excuse bad behavior, but if you put any thought into, you'd realize doesn't hold up. Think "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" or "The surge is working."

Make a list of the 100 things you want in a loving relationship. Chances are "someone who expresses their love by nagging me" doesn't make the cut. (If it does, I've got a girl named Shana I want you to meet.)

If you "nag because you love," then you love wrong. Loving is about allowing people the dignity to be who they are. Nagging sucks the dignity out of the room—for both the nagger and the nagee. 

I've seen people lose sight of what's important in a haze of nagging. Only in the relationship post-mortems do friends reveal telling gems like, "I hated her laugh, but at least she laughed at my jokes," "She picked on me for the way I would parallel park, but didn't even thank me for driving her to work," or "I really miss those damn love handles."

"Nagging? I'm giving you feedback," Teresa explained to me.

Excellent. Calling it "feedback" is perfectly apt.  Just like the audio phenomenon, here we have the result of a noisemaker resonating only with itself—and it's so annoying, it makes everyone in the room throw their hands over their ears to avoid the screeching.

Still, I try to have compassion for the nagger and for our situation.  With the most commonly-nagged topics (cleanliness/appearance, driving, food, and manners), we're up against the result of the habits developed from a single life, of not having to be accountable to another person.  They're the benefits—and the costs—of freedom. 

And there is plenty of crap not to like about people (You're older than nine and you're wearing Crocs?). But, as the saying goes, "Is this the hill I want to die on?" Am I willing to be single again because of how she cuts her meat? (Alas, this proved not to be a rhetorical question.)

And if it is worth bringing up, can't it be done in a way that doesn't seem to say, ultimately: You're driving me nuts and now I'm going to return the favor. 

But there is hope. What to one partner is a disgusting habit is to another the cutest little thing. 

Ruby would have carried a portable electroshock device to zap me every time I let even a silent burp slip through my lips. Carrie laughs and kisses me on the cheek when I finish dinner with a window-rattling belch.

Come to think of it, I find that laugh and kiss a little annoying. I think I'll mention it to her.