Husband feeling Rejected?

Welcome to this weekly blog post! In this post I’m going to be talking about how to try and help your husband not feel rejected when you say no to intimacy. If that interests you, keep on reading!

So even though the title of this post is “How to Avoid Making Your Husband Feel Rejected,” I want to add a little caveat there. That is, we can never be fully responsible for how somebody reacts to something we do. We can be responsible to read blog posts like this, and to try our best to communicate effectively with our spouses, but at the end of the day, we do our best, and their reaction is up to them. So I wish there was a better way I could have titled this… there just wasn’t. I tried. So that’s the first thing; make sure that you understand that responsibility dynamic.

“We can never be fully responsible for how somebody reacts to something we do.”

Why He Feels Rejected

The second thing I want to make sure that you understand is why your husband is feeling rejected. It’s not because you’re doing anything wrong, you’re a bad wife, or anything like that. You’re really doing your best, and you’re just trusting your intuition and your gut, which is saying “not right now.” But the reason why he feels so strongly around sex is because men – and this is gender generalization so sometimes there are differences here – but for the most part, when men feel that sex is not an option, basically what they’re saying to you is, “Are we okay? Do you care about me? Am I important?”

So it’s not that he is just this pig who is trying to get you in bed, and he wants to fulfill his physical desires, and you just happen to be there conveniently for him. Not at all. He’s really just reaching out in the best way he knows how and saying, “Hey, are we okay here? Are things good? Am I important?” So, just like you would with a good conversation – maybe you start up a conversation and you’re waiting to see if he’s going to take that bait that you’re kind of dropping – which is saying, “Are we on a team and do you support me?”

If he gets into the conversation or maybe you’re doing a project together and it feels so good, it’s not that you want him to sit down and just listen to you blabber and blabber and blabber and just use him emotionally. It’s that you’re actually looking for that connection. So that’s what he’s doing. He’s a good guy, all right? I promise.

Men don’t have the skills to ask you for the reassurance that they’re looking for.

There’s a whole bunch of reasons for that. Primarily because boys around age four stop being taught those relational skills. They are kind of separated emotionally and physically from their parents. I think we’re changing that dynamic in our generation, but definitely we’re still struggling with that. So he just doesn’t have the skills to say, “Hey, am I important? I feel rejected.” So what he does instead is say, “Hey, can we have sex?”

Men also tend to put a lot of their emotional eggs in one basket because they haven’t been taught those other skills of relating to you and asking for reassurance. So all their eggs are in one basket, and guess what basket that is? Yes, it’s the sex basket… whatever that looks like. It’s a lot of pressure on you to meet that emotional need for him, and I’m sorry it’s that way. I know it’s really challenging, and this is something I work so much on with the couples I work with one-on-one and in my program. So I know that it’s a real thing. You’re not just making it up in your head, that sex sometimes feels heavy. It’s because it is.

Answer the Question He Isn’t Asking

So here are my strategies for you, my three-step process that you can go ahead and use to help your husband not feel so rejected when you say no. The first thing is to answer the question that he isn’t asking. I kind of talked about this already. The question he’s really asking is, “Am I important to you? Are my needs important to you? Am I a priority to you? Are we okay?”

So even though he’s not asking that, you can answer that question for him. He might say, “Hey, you want to do it tonight?”, or, I don’t know how he initiates… some people are more verbal about it than others. Some other people you can just tell. You can just tell that they’re a little more… gropier than usual.

So instead of reacting to that and feeling so bad that you don’t want to do it and wondering what’s wrong with you and blah, blah blah, all that crazy stuff that goes on in our heads, you can just answer the question he’s not asking. Just say, “Hey, I’m so happy I’m married to you. I’m really feeling good about our marriage.” I mean, obviously, be honest. But, “You’re really important to me. You’re a priority.” I don’t know how this situation will go down, but if you can find a natural way to say it, that will be really, really helpful to set him up for your no that’s coming.

Let Him Know When

So second step is let him know when. You can say that nice thing and then maybe say, “Not right now.” But then let him know when, because it can feel really desperate. I mean, imagine if you asked your husband, “Hey, can we have a heart-to-heart? I want to connect with you.” And he’s like, “No, not into it.” Then you’re like, “But when?” You’re craving that, and it feels so desperate almost, that connection need.

In the program that I run and when I work with couples, I say, “Scheduling sex is the best thing ever.” That’s how I get around the initiating dance that I see so many couples struggling with. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Who’s going to start? Okay, it’s been a couple of weeks, feeling that pressure. I mean, let’s just get rid of all of that crazy stuff and schedule it.

Now I must say that it’s not as simple as that, so if this all sounds like yes, yes, yes, this makes sense to me, I highly recommend that you check out my program. But schedule it, or just let him know when is the next time. Be like, “You know what? Saturday seems like a really relaxed day. What about Saturday night, or Saturday morning?” Just let him know when it will happen.

Let Him Feel His Feelings

Then lastly, let him have his experience. Some men will kind of go into a little bit of a spiral when rejected, even if you’re doing your best. This kind of goes back to what I was talking about at the beginning where I said you cannot be responsible for his reaction. Nobody is responsible for making anybody feel any way, okay? So sometimes you just need to let him have his own experience and walk away and let him take a breather.

When you’re doing this, you need to reassure yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you, that it just wasn’t a good time, that you’ve let him know when it would be a good time. Maybe you’ve even scheduled it and followed my advice. So you just need to take a little breather because if you don’t, you’re going to get all wrapped up in defensiveness, and you’re going to feel angry and maybe start feeling resentment, and it’s going to to nowhere nice, I tell you.

This pattern played out in my marriage for years, and I can tell you if you go down that spiral, it just doesn’t lead anywhere pretty. So just let him have his experience and reassure yourself. You did your best. You’re a great wife. You’re a great person, and he’ll be okay!

I hope that was helpful for you guys. If you have any more questions about being rejected, pop them in the comments below, and I’ll try to get them answered for you. If you would like to join up the “30 Days to Wanting It More” program, which is to help women who find themselves saying no a lot of the time and may be feeling guilty about it, now is a great time. We’re starting a live round on September 24th, and I really hope you join us!

Talk to you later!

  1. Chandele says:

    Thanks for this Janna! It’s all stuff I *know*… but it’s so easy to get caught up in mom-life and *forget*!

  2. Karen says:

    This is SO helpful Janna, thank you! Simply remembering “he just wants to connect with me” will make such a huge difference! And the analogy of wanting a heart-to-heart to connect with him and him “not being in the mood” was a big aha as well.

  3. JustAWallet says:

    This is great advice, unless your husband has heard no 9 times out of 10 in the past. After awhile he will shutdown, be resentful, and angry. Only reason he won’t walk is because he knows that during divorce he will be lose everything he ever worked for. As of now, I smile and try to remain civil, but the spark has long gone out.

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