A few days ago, Rishi Monga, 32, received an e-mail from his wife. It was a cheerful e-card with the message, “Today is ‘clean the fridge day’.” By the end of the day, Monga had received 17 ‘creative’ text messages from his wife reminding him that it was his turn to clean the fridge. But all that the messages ended up creating was domestic strife.
“This is nothing but nagging,” says Monga. With nagging going online and mobile, counsellors say several marriages are going offline.
Dr Puneet Dwivedi, psychiatrist at Max Healthcare, says one of his clients approached him with a a complaint recently: the man’s wife had sent him 40 text messages to remind him of a chore. “The man was completely frustrated,” he adds. “People no longer need to be face to face with their spouses to give vent to their frustration,”he adds.
“Nagging is an age-old problem: it is a breakdown of communication between partners,” says Dr Megha Hazuria Gore, clinical psychologist at Max Healthcare. “Yet, communication methods like e-mail and mobile phones have only contributed to the mess,” says Dr Himanshu Saxena, senior psychiatrist at Jaipur Golden Hospital, Rohini. While such nagging might not actually lead to divorce, it can bring spouses frustratingly close to it, he adds.
E-cards such as ‘shopping reminder day’, ‘clean up the clutter day’, or ‘rent a DVD day’ meant to act as subtle reminders actually end up putting the spouse off, marriage counsellors say. “One-odd card is fine, but one too many is simply nagging in another form,” says Prerna Narang, a banker. “And it’s wrong to assume that only women nag. My husband started sending me such cards and stopped only after I told him that they didn’t really make me smile,” she adds.
Nagging might be acceptable to a certain limit, but beyond that it becomes grounds for divorce, lawyers say. “The Supreme Court recognises extreme nagging as cruelty, especially if the spouse casts aspersions on the partner’s character,” says lawyer Deepak Kohli.
And according to advocate Amrit Kaur Oberoi, with e-mail being admissible as evidence in court, “online nagging only makes the case stronger”.
(Names of couples have been changed)