Suppose that he starts chatting a lot with a very invasive female colleague.
She frequently texts or calls him in the evening.
You start feeling frustrated with this issue…
What do you do?
Right there you have 4 possible options:
- Talk to him
- Deal with it yourself
- Have a chat with a friend or family member about it
- Call me
You see that talking to him about it is only one of your possible options.
Realize that this might be nothing, right?
It might not really threaten your relationship, so think about it carefully before you bring it up.
If you are not sure, sign up for a sessions and have a chat with me first.
Now, suppose that you decide to speak with him, what exactly do you say?
How do you bring it up?
Here are 3 possible attitudes:
- DEMANDING – “Stop talking with that girl!”
- INSECURE – “Here is how I feel…”
- OPEN/CURIOUS – “I have a question…”
What do you think works best?
In my experience, the last option, the “curious” approach is by far the best way to go because you invite him into an open conversation.
There is no finger pointing, you are not attacking him.
You simply invite him to design a win-win solution together for your couple.
I call this type of discussion a “couple boundaries” chat.
I am going to give you now more details concerning those three possible attitudes.
Let’s start with the first approach: DEMANDING
When you start a chat in a demanding way, you will say things like:
- “I want you to stop…”
- “I request that you stop speaking with her…”
- “I demand that you change your attitude…”
- “It’s either you do it or…”
What are these?
These usually lead to tension and him feeling unsafe.
You challenge him when you say these things.
This type of approach can work in some isolated situations in your relationship but if you use that power too frequently, it destroys the complicity and connection that you have in your couple.
When you are demanding, he has 2 options:
- “Sure… I see it makes you insecure… I will stop connecting with her”
Or go for his second option which sounds like:
- “I don’t remember giving you the right to tell me what to do!!!”
The chances of creating EMOTIONAL DISTANCE when you come up with demands is very high!
It can have a very NEGATIVE IMPACT on your CHEMISTRY and SEXUAL CONNECTION.
Think about this…
How do you think he will feel next time you have sex?
The memory of these emotional threats will still be in him.
Here is what usually happens in him after that:
- He holds back
- He can’t really trust
- Can’t connect
- Feels unsafe
I would only use this approach in extreme cases.
It takes time to rebuild chemistry and connection, right?
You need to recreate comfort after that.
HE NEEDS TO FEEL SAFE TO STAY CONNECTED WITH YOU.
Do threats and demands create that or do they achieve the exact opposite?
In most situations, I would choose for a way softer and collaborative communication style…
Check the OPEN/CURIOUS approach at the end of this article for more ideas.
Let’s have a look at your second possible attitude: INSECURE
Here are some of the expressions you use when you share your insecurities:
- “Please… I beg you… Stop…”
- “It weirds me out…”
- “Here is how it makes me feel…”
- “I feel threatened…”
- “Are you falling for that girl?”
In other terms…
- You express emotional vulnerability
- You admit a power gap
- You share the fact that it hurts you
Here are her possible responses when you express insecurity:
He can go for:
- “Sure, I understand… Sorry”
Or he might say things like:
- “I can’t hold your hand”
- “I am not your mum”
- “You should see your shrink”
- “Your problem, not mine! Deal with it!”
Your insecurity can trigger LOTS of DISCOMFORT in him because he sees your weakness.
It’s hard for him to feel emotionally connected and sexually attracted to you when you appear weak and needy.
Let’s check now the OPEN/CURIOUS attitude.
First check the timing before you speak to him.
You need to have time and space for a 30 min conversation. Don’t start if he’s about to leave for work, if you are having a romantic intimate moment or if you are on your way driving to a party!
It’s better to wait until you are both at home in the evening and you are BOTH available for this chat
Here are examples of how to bring it up:
- “I have a question about our couple… Is this a good time for you?”
- “I face a dilemma and I want your input”
- “I have a challenge and I am not sure what the best solution is… can you help?”
- “I really like what we have… I face a small challenge…”
Here are some expressions that will help you stay connected throughout this discussion:
- “What do you suggest we do?”
- “Yes, let’s design a solution together.”
- “So, what you are saying is…”
- “What do you feel works best for our couple?”
- “So, if a guy, an ex or colleague was frequently calling me or texting me in the evening, you would be ok with that?”
This last one is ESSENTIAL.
You mirror what he’s doing.
You reflect the situation as if he was in your shoes and let him get a feel of it.
Many men feel that what they do is PERFECTLY ok until the situation is reversed.
It’s when the situation is mirrored to them that they often realize that what they do is actually not ok because they would not like it.
Remember that boundaries work both ways.
What’s supposed to be ok for you must be ok for him too.
This means that if you decide to be cool with his hot female colleague texting him at 10pm, he must be ok as well with you having friendly conversations with an attractive male friend.
It makes sense, right?
So, at this stage, there are two directions this discussion can go.
He can either say something like:
- “Oups!… Yeah! You’re right!… I would not like it… Sorry! I didn’t realize… I can see now… I’ll tell her to stop contacting me”
Or he can go for:
- “No problem! I would be absolutely ok with that!”
- “I am absolutely not challenged with you having hot male friends. As long as you don’t sleep with them.”
- “Actually I think that having space for this kind of connections is good for our couple.”
- “I am not doing anything wrong with that girl… She’s just a good friend. I am absolutely committed to our relationship and I would never cheat on you, you know that, right?”
The point is that you now have a CONSTRUCTIVE DISCUSSION and design a COLLABORATIVE SOLUTION TOGETHER!
This is is why this approach is so thrilling… It is because it REALLY creates connection.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM?
You want to emotionally connect, right?
Or do you want to fight, compete and pressure?
You want this discussion to bring you closer, not further apart?
Which of these approaches do you feel creates that?
After reading these detailed scenarios, which of these 3 attitudes do you think work best?
- DEMANDING – “I request”
- INSECURE – “Help me”
- OPEN/CURIOUS – “What do you think?”
In an ideal universe, it would be cool be able to test these various approaches for your unique situation.
WHAT WORKS BEST TO CREATE CONNECTION?
WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOUR COUPLE?
WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU?
Remember that DIFFERENT APPROACHES CREATE VERY DIFFERENT RESULTS!
I tested these approaches a lot in my own life and when advising clients.
My favorite is definitely the OPEN/CURIOUS one.
If you don’t know what way to go, get in touch for a coaching session.
We’ll check your unique situation and design together the best approach.
To your power!