So today I’m going to talk about how to stop your husband from being disappointed when you say no. I’m talking specifically about your husband being disappointed when you say “no” to sex, because that’s what I usually talk about. But this could be for anything. When you say no to family vacation or say no to making dinner or anything. This is kind of a bait and switch kind of deal. Let’s get into it.
You can never make anybody feel or not feel anything. I’m just saying this again, so you cannot do anything to make or not make someone feel or not feel anything. Your husband can’t do that to you. You can’t do that to your husband. You can’t do that to your children, your coworkers or your friends, your neighbors, your family, nobody. Everyone is responsible for how they feel and their emotions.
So if you can’t really do that, then what can you manage instead? Well, typically I would go straight into communication skills for the male brain. And that works really well when we’re talking about helping your husband not feel defensive or helping your husband not feel like a failure or helping your husband, you know, Yada, Yada, Yada.
Disappointment is really just a reaction from somebody making a boundary that isn’t really in alignment with what you want, right? Disappointment is just like “ah, I wish it was something else.” And if you’re making a clear boundary like saying, “no, I don’t want you to touch my breasts today when I’m doing dishes”, or “no, I don’t want to have sex tonight”, or “no”, whatever it is, then that’s a good thing.
I don’t want you to stop making healthy boundaries. But what I really would like to help you with is the guilt that you’re feeling when that comes up for your husband. When I survey and talk to women again and again, this is what comes up a lot. I don’t want to disappoint my husband. Your husband will be disappointed at some point in your married life. I’m sure you are disappointed at some point in your married life. You might be disappointed that you didn’t marry someone who loved to do laundry or disappointed that you know your husband can’t cook a good chicken breast. Maybe you’re disappointed that your husband doesn’t like to go to the swimming pool with you.
Disappointment is a normal and regular thing and it doesn’t mean that anything really bad is going to happen. So let’s all collectively take a deep breath and we’re going to let it be okay that our husbands are disappointed. It’s okay.
Janna, you told us feel zen and this is really tough. I know. The really big reason why it’s so hard for us is because of a women’s core fear. When I say the core fear of women, I often get a big portion of the women saying, “I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s me”. But then when I take it down a layer and take it down layer and take it down another layer, we find out that is what’s existing at the bottom. For the majority of women, fear of abandonment is really at the core of all of our fears.
“I fear that my husband will feel disappointed by me because then he will not want to spend time with me. Then he will not want to hang around me very much. Then he might leave physically or emotionally.” Now I think women fear more the emotional leaving than anything else. It also ties into our fear that we’re not good enough.
So we don’t want to disappoint anybody because we want to be everything. We want to be super women, we want to be these sexual superstars and these chefs that can just whip up a nice quinoa salad or moms that can juggle everything.
So it’s okay if your husband gets disappointed. You cannot stop anyone from feeling anything. And the reason why the sense of disappointment is so scary for us is that core fear of abandonment and then the secondary fear of not being good enough and not meeting his needs properly.
So what can you do then when you’ve made a boundary and your husband is showing all those signs of disappointment? He is sighing, retreating, complaining, asking why. There’s all sorts of fun things he could do and what do you do then? Well, the first thing you do is to allow yourself to sit with that uncomfortable feeling. And that is something that is at the core of the communication.
I just figured this out with a client this morning as we were having a good conversation about this. So being able to sit with that uncomfortable feeling of your husband doing his thing and you feeling like it’s all your fault. It’s huge. You feel guilty. You feel like he’s going to emotionally abandon you. You probably aren’t intellectually thinking that, but just sit with the uncomfortable feeling. Just let it be. Let it be there.
We’re told so often to just put things away. Don’t feel those those things. Make it better. Be Joyful. Be happy. Fix it. Find a solution. But in this moment, you really are sitting with that uncomfortable feeling. Because if you don’t, you’re going to get defensive. And you’re letting him have his own experience. I’m sure you guys have heard me say that multiple times. Let him have his own experience and you can have yours.
And the second thing you need to do after letting yourself feel that uncomfortable feeling, is to take care of yourself. What do you need? Do you need to go for a little walk? Do you need a breather? Do you need to talk to a friend? Not about your marriage. You aren’t going to be backbiting or gossiping or creating disunity in your relationship. We don’t want to do that. But just to have a good conversation with a friend. Maybe you need that. What do you need to just break free of that pattern of him feeling disappointed and you wanting to fix it and get defensive.
I hope that helps. I hope you men aren’t mad at me by the title. You guys know I love a good male brain communication tip. But when it comes to disappointment, you just gotta let them do their thing and let them have a moment. Let yourself have a moment and then you can circle back and maybe revisit it if it seems like it’s the right thing to do. Or just move on and know that’s life when you’re married and you are going to disappoint each other. That is just the natural fact of at all.
I would love if my husband liked to wear nice clothes. It’s just not part of him. So I am disappointed that I didn’t marry someone who likes to take care of his appearance. He’s got all sorts of other great qualities, but I can be disappointed and it’s not something that he needs to fix. We all go through that.