“I’m not happy anymore.” Gulp. It can be terrifying to think about how to talk to your husband about being unhappy. How will he respond? Will it do any good?
That’s why so many women who say they feel unappreciated, unseen, stressed, and neglected still sit in silence. They go through the motions just hoping something will change. If you look online for how to talk to your husband about being unhappy, you’ll probably come across advice on how to file for divorce. But that’s not the only answer. Here are 5 ways to have this tough conversation.
Talk about your own feelings.
It’s really easy to point out his failings or to blame him for how you feel, but stay focused on your feelings. Instead of saying “I feel alone because you go out after work,” just say, “I feel alone.” Instead of “I am tired because I have to do everything for the kids and oh yeah, you snore,” just say, “I’m exhausted.” When you blame your husband, he will naturally become defensive and what you want is for him to hear you.
Just sharing your emotion is awkward, but if your husband cares about you, he will want to know why you’re feeling that way. That’s an effective way to start a conversation.
Talk about what you want instead of what you don’t want.
When telling him what you want to see change, just cut to the chase. Don’t look back. Look forward. If you tell him you feel alone and he asks why, you might be tempted to say, “Because you work all day and then you sleep in the recliner. You don’t talk to me and I want to have conversations and feel like a couple again.”
Instead, try to cut out the blame and focus on what you want to happen. “I feel alone because I want to see you more and spend more time with you. I love you.”
Acknowledge your fear.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable about your fears. You can share fears about why you’ve been holding things in: “I’m afraid that if I say this, you’ll think I want a divorce, or that you’ll shut down.” Or fears about what is on your heart: “I’m afraid of what will happen when the kids move out of the house.”
Remind him you are committed and hopeful.
My husband and I had a blow-up fight on his birthday. We were going around in circles, making zero progress. I said, “Are you leaving me over this?” He said, “No. Of course not.” I said “Good. I’m not leaving you either.” Immediately our attitudes changed. Reminding ourselves of our commitment to our marriage was the reset we needed. Even more important than telling your husband you’re unhappy is telling your husband you’re committed to making it work.
Even more important than telling your husband you’re unhappy is telling your husband you’re committed to making it work.
Admit that you are willing to work at it, too.
A little goes a long way here. Admitting that you have areas where you can be more attentive or loving will show him that you’re not looking for him to solve the problem on his own. Show him you’re a team by saying, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done to hurt you. Please tell me what you need from me because I’m willing to work at this.” Then give him time to digest what you’ve said and ask for a follow-up, “Can we take a day to think about this and then come back together to talk?”
Have you ever had this kind of conversation with your husband? How did it go?