What you should do if your girlfriend or wife is nagging you way too much and trying to control you.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer who has been following my work for several years and says that it’s improved his life on every level. His relationship with his girlfriend of about a year was great for the first six to seven months. However, she continually wants more and more of his time, despite the fact he spends most of the week with her. She gets upset when he does things without her and nags him constantly about it.
He has guy friends who are married to women like this who have become a shell of their former selves because they are pleasers who try not to upset their women. They’ve given up their hobbies, interests and friends so they don’t have to deal with nagging, complaining and a bad attitude. He doesn’t want to become like them and asks my opinion. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
Like I discuss in How To Be A 3% Man, when a woman is in love with you, and assuming she’s a happy, healthy, normal woman and not a lunatic, she’s going to want your attention all the time. Meaning, every spare moment, she’s going to want to spend it with you, because you’re her man, you’re her rock, you’re her mountain.
So this guy, where he’s running into trouble now is that any time he wants to do something with his hobbies, his interests, self-help, personal growth, and he doesn’t include her or he wants to do something with his friends, she gets really upset and nags him. And the thing that he’s concerned about is that he’s got several guy friends who’ve been married, and they’re married to women who display the same behavior.
These guys have given up their hobbies, their interests, going to the gym, and they basically just sit at home on the couch and do whatever their wives or girlfriends want, because they don’t want to upset them, or they don’t want to deal with living with a woman who is nagging or mad at them, because obviously, it interferes with their ability to have access to the box. So, they end up giving up everything, and he’s like, “These guys are a shell of their former selves.”
Obviously, he’s dealing with a woman who’s needy and he needs to set and enforce some healthy boundaries, but the reality is we don’t know if she’s capable of that or capable of respecting that. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to not be in such a rush to stick a ring on some girl’s finger because things are good for a few months or even a year or two. You want to see what things are like for several years.
Because as I’ve jokingly mentioned in the past, if you were ever a fan of Star Trek from the 1980s, The Next Generation, they had an enemy called the Borg. They flew around space in these big giant cubes, and they would just go around conquering civilizations, assimilating their technology. And when they would show up, they would say, “Lower your shields. You will be assimilated. We will add your biological and technological likeness to our own. Resistance is futile.”
And so, if you fight them, eventually they figure out how to circumvent your shields and your weapons and conquer you anyway. It’s kind of funny, because women are like that. When they love you and they are with you all the time, and you’re in a relationship, maybe you’re living together, maybe you’re married, they want your attention all the time and they’re relentless. And the thing that you don’t want to have happen, like in a situation like this, is he sets and enforces the healthy boundaries and it’s good for a few months, and then she just slowly keeps on.
If you think about it, I mean, we all know guys that are like this. They just get so beat down, they just don’t want to upset the wife. They’ve got a thirty-year mortgage together. They’ve got a bunch of kids. The guy feels trapped and he just goes along. And she’s always miserable and unhappy and complains all the time anyway, because she hasn’t been put in her place and oftentimes has not been given a proper seeing to.
So, these are the kinds of things where it’s like, the rubber meets the road. This is where you decide whether or not this is a good person to be with long term, or if they’re just too needy and insecure and you’re going to have to move on from them. It’s going to be a critical thing for this particular guy that he’s going to have to set and enforce healthy boundaries and see what happens over the next year or two, because she was good for the first six or seven months, and now she wants his attention all the time. And so, it’s obvious she’s kind of needy, and this can be a real drag.
The key thing to remember is drama free zone. These sweet mugs you can get at Spring in the Coach Corey Wayne store if you need a helpful reminder on your desk or when you’re drinking your morning coffee, because it’s a way of life, and you have to constantly be reminded of this. You really have to pay attention to who you allow into your inner circle.
How the hell are you?
I’m pretty damn good. Thanks for asking. And by the way, since you asked, the new book, Quotes, Ruminations and Contemplations is out. It’s on iTunes in the audible format and on Audible.com. It’s available everywhere. Amazon.com for paperback and hardcover.
I’ve been following you for years, and I’ve read your book around 2 dozen times. It has improved my life on every level, thank you.
My current situation relates to a girlfriend I’ve been with for about a year. The first 6-7 months we got along great, no real issues. Recently, she has been getting increasingly upset if I go and do anything without her. Things that were never an issue before are suddenly huge issues, and the list is steadily growing.
Well, you’re going to have to have a heart to heart with her.
Some background, I moved to Colorado a few years ago because I love the mountains and everything with it. In the summer, I mountain bike, hike and rock climb. In the winter I ski. I love the outdoors and this state as it has so much to offer. My girlfriend is not as active as me, but few women I meet are.
She increasingly wants more and more of my time. She gets me all weekend, (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), and several nights during the week. The more she takes of this the less I have for self-development, building personal relationships with others and working on my life’s purpose. She also is not very outgoing and prefers to only hang out together, never with any friends or other people.
You need to put your foot down, dude, and you need to have a talk with her. The next time you’re together or she starts, I would say as soon as you’re together next time, you’re going to say, “We’ve got to talk about this.” I wouldn’t say it on the phone, because if you call a girl or your girlfriend or your wife and you say “We need to talk,” typically that’s the kind of thing that women say to guys that means, “Hey, I want to break up with you.”
So you’ve got to remember, when you say things like that, because when I was younger, I didn’t know better and I would say, “Hey, we need to talk,” just because I wanted to talk about something, and she assumed I was going to dump her, because, obviously, that’s typically what that means. So, you’ve got to choose carefully some of the words you say, because then you’ll freak her out. But the next time you’re together, you’ve got to say, “Look, just what you said right here. We have a problem in that I don’t feel free in our relationship anymore, because you’re starting to smother me, and you’re getting upset with me, you’re nagging me.”
“And I don’t want to feel guilty about hanging with friends. I don’t want to feel guilty about my purpose and my mission in life. I want you to be my biggest cheerleader and fan and support me in that, and not give me grief or get upset or act needy and insecure because I chose to go and do something without you. If we’re going to continue to stay together and grow together as a couple, you’ve got to give me the freedom to spend time with my friends, my family, get involved with my hobbies and my interests and other things that are important to me.”
“Because one thing I’m not going to do is I’m not going to jump through my butt and change myself into a pretzel just so you don’t get upset with me. That doesn’t work for me. Things were great for the first six or seven months, and this year you have a list that continually grows of things that you’re not okay with me doing. I have a problem with that, and it needs to stop. You’re obviously coming off as very needy and controlling, and I don’t like it, I resent it, and it needs to stop. If we’re going to continue to date and be in a relationship, you’ve got to let me be me.”
“I give you the same freedom to do what you’re going to do. And granted, maybe you’re not as social, you don’t have as many friends, you don’t like to do as many things socially and you’re not as outgoing as I am, but this stuff’s important to me. You have to let me be me, because if you continue down this road, it’s going to end with the end of our relationship and we’re going to break up, because it’s not going to work for me. I’m really not happy with your behavior and you being controlling.”
I mean, you’re going to have to put this into your own words and let her know where you’re coming from and what you expect from her and that she respects your boundaries. And it’s not going to happen with just one conversation and then it’s going to be over, because women always test you. And she’ll say, “I agree, things will be fine,” and you might be good for two or three weeks, and then she’ll probably revert and start doing some of the same behavior.
You’ve got to say, “Look, we talked about this two or three weeks ago, and now you’re getting on my case and jumping on my balls again about something that you promised me, you gave me your word, you were going to address and you were going to let me be me. And now you’re going back on your word, and I have a problem with that. You have to honor your commitments to me. You can’t say one thing, and then a few weeks later go back on it. You’re creating unnecessary drama in our relationship, and I don’t appreciate that.”
You’re going to have to continually call her out, because obviously you’re a year down the road and this has been going on for many months, and obviously you haven’t basically put her in her place. And so, you’re creating a tyrant in your house and that’s no fun.
I’ve noticed the list of things she’s okay with me doing has steadily decreased. Meeting up with friends, playing sports or really doing anything in life without her next to me is getting me nagged to death.
Yeah, so when she’s nagging, you’ve got to say, “Look, you’re nagging me and you’re coming off as needy. And this is your issue, you need to deal with it. Because I don’t want you giving me grief every time we get together. All that does is make me want to spend less time with you. I love you and I love spending time with you, but if half the time we get together you’re mad and upset for me living my life the way I was living it before, I’m not giving up these hobbies and interests. I’m not giving up my friends, and I’m not giving up my goals and dreams to please you. You’re either going to be okay with that or you’re not, but I’m certainly not going to jump through my butt to please you and change, just so you don’t feel insecure.”
I had a similar situation with this, and I’ve spoken about this every once in a while over the years. When I was with my ex-wife, she was constantly accusing me of cheating, or potentially cheating, or there would be a girl that was expressing interest. I remember one time we had a couple staying over at our house that were our friends for the weekend, and after they left, she was like, “Oh, she likes you. She was hitting on you. And you were you weren’t standing up to her. You weren’t.” I was like, “What the hell are you talking about?”
And maybe she was, but I didn’t notice it. I wasn’t paying attention to it. And I said, “Look, this is your issue. You’re needy and you’re insecure, and I’m fucking tired of this shit.” I said it just like that. I was like, “You need to deal with your own insecure feelings, because I’m over it.” And I said, “Knock it off.” She knew I was serious, and she never brought it up again. She never accused me of doing anything wrong or anything like that. And it was because she knew I wasn’t going to put up with her BS.
So, you have to enforce the healthy boundaries, because if you just set a boundary and you just let her violate it, she knows that you’re not serious and you’re not man enough to stand up to her. And therefore, because you’re displaying weakness, she’s going to do more of what’s pissing you off.
I’ve seen guys in the past who have wives or girlfriends that steadily break a man down, trying to control them, until they are a shadow of their former selves. Just a boring dude who sits on the couch with no hobbies or friends, because he doesn’t want to deal with a scolding or a drawn-out fight. I’ve stood my ground and try to take her feelings into consideration. All this has led to constant fights.
Drama free zone, man. This is so important, because whatever you tolerate in your life you’re inviting more of, you’re enabling. And you started noticing this behavior half a year ago, and it’s just continuing to build. You haven’t set and enforced healthy boundaries, and so you’ve kind of created a little tyrant, and you enabled her behavior because you never stood up for yourself. And now you’re so many months down the road and she’s got her hands in every part of your life trying to control it. It’s not going to be like one conversation you’re going to have with her, and then you’re going be able to take your power back and everything will be fine.
You’re going to stand up to her, and put her in her place, and tell her how things need to be going forward, and she’ll probably violate those. It might be a few days or a few weeks, but she’s going to keep doing it, because you’ve allowed her to get away with it for six months. And so, you might end up deciding that you’re going to go away for a weekend and not take her and go do something with your friends or your family or whatever. It’s like, “You can get upset, but I’m going to go do it. I’m going to go hang out with my friends, because you’re suffocating me. I need to be my own man. I love you, I’m loyal to you, I’m faithful to you, but your attitude needs to change because this ain’t working for me.”
And if she knows you’re serious — because remember, the strongest negotiating position is being able to walk away and mean it — and when you set enforce healthy boundaries, especially when she’s jumping all over your shit for no reason, just because she’s insecure and needy, she’s going to have to fix that or else she’s not going to be able to go the distance with you. And she might not be able to. We don’t know that yet.
We don’t know how she’s going to react to this. She might say yes and she might not be able to control herself. And it might just become such a problem over the next year that eventually you’ve just had enough and you dump her and break up with her and move on. That’s why it’s so important to set and enforce healthy boundaries. Because otherwise, you’re creating this problem. You’re throwing gasoline in the fire without really realizing it.
She gets a huge chunk of my time, to the point where I feel it is detrimental to my life, my purpose, and any sort of friends or social structure I’d have outside of her.
That sentence right there, you should definitely tell her that exact sentence. “I feel it’s detrimental to my life, my purpose and any sort of friends or social structure I have outside of you.” Tell her just like that. “You’re making me unhappy treating me this way. It’s causing me to want to spend less time with you. And I know you love me and you want to spend more time with me, but when you behave this way, I just want to get the fuck away from you. Sorry if that hurt your feelings, but that’s where I’m at, and I’m not happy with it at all.”
I love her a lot, but the question is, do I stick around and try and make things work, or move on to someone less controlling and easier to get along with. I feel like I know the answer but wanted your opinion.
Well, you’ve got to set and enforce the healthy boundaries. And if she continually violates them, after you have several conversations with her over the next several weeks or month or two and she doesn’t change, then I’d dump her. I wouldn’t put up with it. And she’ll probably come back, “Oh, I promise I won’t do it again.” It’s like, you take her back and she might be good for a few weeks or a few months, then she’ll go right back to that same behavior. You’re going to have to see what she does.
But the most important thing is you can’t hold her accountable nine out of ten times. It has to be ten out of ten times, five out of five times. You can’t hold her accountable the first four times she does it and hold her feet to the fire on the boundaries, and then the fifth time you let her slide. Because as soon as you let her slide, just like a child, she’s going to take an inch because you let her get away with it, because you displayed weakness, you went back on your word.
So, it’s really super critical important. I’d say give it ninety days, see how she does. And if she gets good for a little while then keeps going back, then I would break it off with her and start dating other women, because some people just aren’t capable of it. Some people are just simply not going to respect you, because they’ve got so many other issues. And that’s not your problem. That’s their problem.
Just like what I talked about with my ex-wife, I literally said, “This is your problem. This is your issue and you need to deal with it. I’m not dealing with your neediness and your insecurity. And I resent you accusing me of doing something wrong, because you’re insecure and I don’t appreciate it.” And if they know you’re serious and they’re happy and healthy and have a good self-esteem, they’ll respect you. And if they belong to the streets, if they’re a lunatic, if they’re a mess, if they have no self-control, it’s not your job to fix or save them. I know it’s harsh, but you’re not going to be happy.
All you’ve got to do is look at your friends. Look at what happened to them. They got totally assimilated. As you said, they’re a shadow of their former selves, and those guys are miserable. We all know people that are like that. They’re in unhappy marriages or in unhappy relationships with their girlfriends, and they’re too much of a bitch to do anything about it. And you don’t want to be one of those guys, because you’re miserable, it sucks. You feel sad for those guys, but they don’t have the balls to stand up for themselves, because they’re too afraid to leave and go find somebody else.
So if you’ve got a question, a challenge or a situation you’d like to get my help with, go to UnderstandingRelationships.com, click the Products tab at the top of your screen and book coaching session with yours truly.
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Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“When a woman is in love with you, she wants your attention all the time. Two happy, whole and complete people who have great, interesting lives come together to share their completeness, not to complete one another. It’s essential in all healthy relationships that we love in such a way that the other person still feels free to be themselves and enjoy their lives, hobbies and interests outside of their relationships. However, when one or both partners start trying to control the other person and making unreasonable demands that they give up their hobbies, interests and friends in order to please a needy lover and prevent arguments and drama, this can lead to the end of the relationship. Relationships are supposed to enrich and improve our lives and multiply our happiness, not control, diminish and restrict our ability to be who we really are.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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