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Nagging: Communication Breakdown as a Cause of Divorce

Divorce can happen for many different reasons. Money, sex and religious views are well known to be among the major drivers. But psychologists are increasingly paying more attention to a communication problem that may at first seem relatively minor: nagging.

If you talk to Farmington Hills divorce lawyers or others who work in the marriage dissolution field, you will hear many stories of couples who struggled with this issue. Though a degree of nagging is a challenge that virtually all marriages encounter, a tipping point can occur where frequent nagging ends up poisoning the relationship.

Nagging could be defined as a human interaction in which someone makes a repeated request, the other person fails to acknowledge it, and both parties become more and more irritated at the exchange.

We’re not talking here about minor incidents of marital indifference. When nagging becomes severe, it can be as harmful to a marriage as adultery or money problems.

Psychologists who study the phenomenon point to the vicious cycle that nagging engenders. The one who nags perhaps has a perception of not getting what he or she wants. But nagging about not getting it only makes the one being nagged increasingly annoyed and likely to withhold compliance with the request even more.

That withholding, in turn, makes the nagger want to nag even more – perpetuating a crazy cycle that can completely kill a relationship and destroy a marriage.

Nagging is something both husbands and wives can do. Psychologists who study the issue warn that if a couple is unable to get at the underlying causes of the nagging, the partners will fall out of love. And when that happens, for many couples divorce then becomes an appropriate option.

Source: “Meet the Marriage Killer,” Wall Street Journal, 1-25-12