Complaints Vs. Desires

It’s no secret that men don’t like a nag. And, if you’re like me, you don’t exactly enjoy being a nag either. And yet, nagging happens to the best of us.

When my partner and I moved in together last month, it seemed like every other sentence out of my mouth was a complaint. A complaint about dishes he said he would wash, trash he said he would take out, clothes left on the floor…not that my complaining was anything new. Before it was our shared living space, it was crumbs left in my car, or not being romantic enough, or, well, you get the idea.

When I hear myself complaining, I cringe. “Ugh, I’m totally being one of those nagging, high-maintenance women.”

The worst is when I can tell he’s already stressed about a million other things. The last thing I want to do is add something to the pile. Sometimes I will sit there, practically holding my breath, thinking, “Don’t mention the trash, don’t mention the trash, don’t mention the trash…” As if this mantra will transform me into a more relaxed woman.

It rarely works. Why? Because the alternative of suffering in silence is being “one of those women” who quietly and diligently picks up the pieces her man leaves lying around, shouldering more than she can bear or is her share of the responsibility.

Besides, even if the complaint does stay in your head, it is still a complaint–it is still affecting your feminine beauty and ability to attract him.

As women, it can often feel like we are torn between being overburdened and being a burden. “Do I remind him that he promised to take out the trash, or do I do it myself because he’s already stressed?”

This internal tug-of-war happens at all stages of dating. When I was single, I was constantly judging every guy I met by things like what he was wearing or what he was saying.

Now that I’m in a relationship with a good man, that inner judge still comes out sometimes, and when she appears, the passion vanishes.

This knee-jerk tendency to judge others comes from me feeling very judged as a child (and as a adult) by my parents. When you grow up feeling like you can’t do anything right, you start to think that no one else can either.

Because of this, sometimes the way I would keep myself from nagging my boyfriend is to nag myself instead. “So what if he didn’t take out the trash? I didn’t get the car washed. Or clean the bathroom. How can I expect him to be on top of things if I clearly can’t do it?”

This also doesn’t work, because you’re still complaining; It’s only the focus of what or who the complaint is about that’s changed.

The solution is to find the desire behind the complaint. Complaints and desires are two sides of a coin. A complaint about dishes and laundry is the desire for a clean, organized house. A complaint about a man being awkward on a first date could be a desire for him to relax.

The wonderful thing about desires is that, while complaints shut passion off, desires can turn them on.

When you catch yourself complaining and judging (even if it’s only in your head), stop, breath, and ask yourself what is it that you want.

Many people, when asked what they want, will still focus on what they don’t want. But there is a big difference between, “I don’t want to be lonely anymore!” and “I want to be with someone.” A complaint is a focus in the wrong direction. A desire shows you where to go.

After you figure out what you want, ask for it. The possibilities of doing this in a way that build attraction are endless! Flirting isn’t just for the first time you meet. Flirt when you remind him to take out the trash. Tell him it turns you on when you see him carry a trash bag (even if it doesn’t really, the playful nature of saying so will still get a good flirt going).

Silly? Yes, but that’s what keeps things fun.

Transparent? Yes, you aren’t trying to “trick” him into doing what you want. He will know that you’re “only” flirting with him to get him to do a chore. Who cares? You’re still flirting. And that’s much better than complaining.


  1. How do i ask him for money in a nice way

    • Same way–by expressing it as a desire, rather than a complaint.

      • Good question. I brainstormed some ways I’d like to be approached for money, and then deleted them all lol.

        I (and perhaps your other readers?) would love an example, if you have one Liz … :)

        • Oy. I think I’ll have to write a separate article on this, as it’s a really sensitive topic for both men and women.

          • Agreed, great idea for a post :)

            The reason I deleted all of mine, is because they were all context-sensitive and tone-sensitive.

            There was no one-size fits all solution, and the key was that the woman be confident, authentic, and pure in her request.

            Even more than that, I always remember this line from Jay-Z, regarding Beyonce:

            “[She] told me keep my own money if we ever did split up
            How could someone so gangsta be so pretty in pictures”

            and Beyonce’s reply in Countdown:

            “Yup, I put it on him, it ain’t nothing that I can’t do
            Yup, I buy my own, if he deserve it, buy his shit too”

            Both Jay + Beyonce know that they are responsible for their own value and what they bring to the table, and sharing is a voluntary part of the love.

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