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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1124
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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my husband criticized my low rise jeans and low cut shirts

Resolved Question:

my husband criticized my low rise jeans and low cut shirts when i bend over. he took a photo to show me how much i was showing in the company of others. it happened. i didn't do it on purpose. yet he wanted me to apologize for it happening. then when i do, he says that i say it like 'oh well' instead of truly being remorseful. it happened, i can't do a thing about it, i can't change that i showed some cleavage. it isn't physically or emotionally hurt him. its something he doesn't prefer. then he says i don't care about his feelings. i see a difference between him flat out not liking something and if it were something that i did that caused him internal angst or grief. this, i don't see as causing him any grief, just that it makes him jealous or something...help...


i feel like he should point it out and mention that i should be more aware of it next time.  it makes me feel like he is more worried that other people might catch a peek of my cleavage, i was a bikini model before, so i'm not a slouch.  then i asked him why it feels like i should be wrapped up in a moomoo now, because he's pointing out when something is showing. and any direction that i take it, be it an example or whatnot, he says that i stray from the actual issue (him being upset and his feelings) and i bunny trail to make it about me and my feelings.  my feeling is that he criticizes instead of compliments.  why would he specifically sift through pics to make me aware of my cleavage showing with the group?  why not show all and casually mention?  i didn't like the way it was presented to me and that was what i was trying to convey to him and he took it as i was trying to 'deflect' the issue and bunnytrail to something else...

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 1 year ago.

jenhelant :

I think you apologized and did the right thing. Do you feel you need to change this behavior or not? He may feel you said it like whatever because he did not feel your sincerity possibly due to the fact of you not agreeing based on what you explained to me. People have different views on this . Some men do not like their women dressing like that is because it can give the wrong impression to other people. They prefer to be more conservative and have you show it shown on the bedroom rather than to the public. It is not about being jealous, but rather preventing possible situations that could be avoided as well as for the woman to be looked at in a light that they should not be looked upon as. Then you have some men that are just jealous and have no reason whatsoever. This type can be out of control and spill out to other areas in life as well, which is not healthy. Lastly, you have the type that doesn't care and actually wants the woman to dress provocative in order to show them off like a trophy.

jenhelant :

It is really up to the individual how they want to dress, so it is good to be honest with him of your feelings. There is no right or wrong and feel it is a personal preference. However, the first reason I mentioned why some men do not like their woman dressing like that is actually healthy. There is nothing wrong with that and it shows care. I think your husband is falling into this category, but you would know better by the rest of his actions as well.

jenhelant :

The important thing is for you both to sit down and have a talk as to why you each feel the way you do.

Customer:

my apology was deemed an actually apology to him. due to my bunnytrailing, it actually led into things that he does that makes me uncomfortable and then he said i was downplaying his feelings.

jenhelant :

This will help you to understand one another's point of view and prevent further problems in the future. You both may need to come to a compromise or agree to disagree.

jenhelant :

Either way what happened already is done. You are right it did not hurt anyone and you did not mean it

jenhelant :

The best thing from here is to move on and discuss for the future.

jenhelant :

I understand

Customer:

we didn't sit down and talk. his feeling was his feelings were not being addressed, i was defending myself and my feelings only. that i don't reassure him...but with what? then he says that i only apologized because it was my last option

jenhelant :

I would try to deal with this situation first that way he does not feel you are looking for excuses, but then

jenhelant :

Let him know that you would like to discuss some things about him that you are not happy with or concerned about. Then go ahead and

jenhelant :

Tell him what those things are without judging or pointing fingers.

jenhelant :

This will stop him from becoming defensive or at least lessen the chances.

Customer:

so today, we are not speaking. he is an hour away working. we likely won't talk about it later. he likely wants me to apologize for 'venom' i spewed last night. and he actually asked me why i am spitting venom because i said the critical things he says to me about my arguing style i heard before in my previous marriage...and the criticizing in the first marriage ended up in it failing


 

jenhelant :

Explain to him and try to work on a compromise as a team for those things as well. The best thing to do is not work against one another to solve the issues, but work together listening to one another's thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

jenhelant :

If you have experience with this then that is good you are aware. Anything said and should be said, but the key is the way it is being said and the timing

Customer:

he says that i don't listen and redirect away from actual issues. that puts me on the defensive. anything i say or do...then he says he's done. or that i'm not listening so he's finished with the topic. basically shuts down...

jenhelant :

So I would encourage you to be honest about your likes and dislikes as well as what you agree and disagree just try and change the way it is said and the timing. This will help his reactions and you will be doing your part. The ball then will be stuck in his hands to actually respond rather than just blaming you for arguing

Customer:

its like he tries to manipulate the situation by shutting down. or not wanting to talk about it. i say what kind of relationship would that give us? and he says he doesn't know. i say it doesn't give us a relationship if we don't talk about it but he doesn't want to because all i am doing is defending my points and giving no credit to how he feels

jenhelant :

Try and analyze if there is any truth. If you feel there is then try and listen better. Remember by you doing your part will actually force him to respond and not be able to wiggles his way out of situations due to just blaming you.

jenhelant :

He would then not be able to do that and would be stuck in the corner

jenhelant :

You will be doing your part and he will be forced to do his or it will then be obvious that he is the one preventing progress

Customer:

its like if i don't agree with him, i'm not acknowledging his feelings. if i say i'm sorry, i can't change it now, i'm being flippant...

Customer:

is it that i can't take criticism?

Customer:

i immediately get on the defensive...

Customer:

i wanted him to present it in a different way...he asks me if i need my ego stroked...

jenhelant :

We don't need to agree, but you can try not to become defensive. There are people who get defensive easily because they feel the other person is against them

jenhelant :

You can think about if you fall into that category

jenhelant :

If you feel you that is good you are aware

Customer:

well, sure. compliments go a lot further than criticizing...why the pic though? that just blows my mind that out of tons of pics that is what he brings up. not that i helped with the project that evening or whatever...then he says of course its great that i help, that i'm involved....but...insert cleavage issue...

jenhelant :

Then you can work on that. When we are aware of our issues, which we all have then they can be worked on , so this is the first step

Customer:

i get it, he wants it covered and you make sense. but i can't change it and he doesn't feel my apology is sincere...which hurts me. he says my tone makes it insincere....my tone

jenhelant :

He may have thought you would not have believed how it looked just by him saying it, so wanted you to understand better that is why he showed you.

jenhelant :

You did your part in regards XXXXX XXXXX

jenhelant :

He will need to find a way to get passed that

jenhelant :

You can not feel sorry about that forever

jenhelant :

He needs to move on from this

Customer:

clarify please?...he will need to find a way to get passed my tone? or do i need to work on my tone.


he says that if i had said things a different way, it would be different but due to my 'tone', it was harsh or whatever

jenhelant :

If you agree then you can take all him how it will change and maybe if he sees you stressing differently that will help him get passed it if that is what you want to do

jenhelant :

You did apologize and he may just need to get passed the fact he didn't like your tone

Customer:

the part that hurts is that he comes out and tells me that i don't mean it....

Customer:

so, what am i to do if i do mean that i'm sorry it happened but i'm not groveling at his feet the way he would have apologized?

jenhelant :

Its done already. If you agree you can explain why your tone was the way it is because you did not realize the situation and was not happy with the pic and you can tel him your sorry if your tone was not sincere, but you truly are sorry. However if you feel your tone was fine them I would we explain that.

Customer:

ohhhh....and then he says to me..."you know what? don't worry this wont happen again because i'm never going to mention it again"

jenhelant :

You did not realize what you wore was a problem, so you could not apologize before.

jenhelant :

This really depends on what you want

jenhelant :

If you want to change the way you dress because you have learned and agree them I would tell him that, but if you do not feel the way you dress is a problem then that is something you would need to explain and he needs to either accept it or not

Customer:

so, what is he doing by sayig that?

Customer:

is that his way of manupulating the situation? by saying he won't ever bring it up again? what does that fix?

jenhelant :

He said that probably because he feels you don't agree, so he feels pointless of bringing it up. He may just leave it alone to not argue, but doesn't mean he will be happy with that situation.

jenhelant :

He seems to think you do not agree

jenhelant :

I would clarify your feelings about it with him. Try to just stick to one issue at a time that will prevent things from blowing up out of proportion

Customer:

ok...so
stick to one topic at a time

Customer:

he will have to deal with not liking my tone

Customer:

i need to not get so defensive thinking he is trying to control me but is concerned
and we have to work through this

Customer:

criticism...i need to listen and be more vocal on things i don't like?

jenhelant :

Yes but in the right way

Customer:

when he brings up something he doesn't like, i mention something i don't like that is similar...should this not happen? am i steering away from 'his feelings' when i do this?

jenhelant :

Make sure you are not judging or blaming even pointing fingers. The way things are spoken ,makes a huge difference

Customer:

i am meerly trying to point out that we both do things that bother each other...but i don't bring them up every single time...

jenhelant :

It can be the same point, but the wording plays a HUGE role

jenhelant :

I would try an activity together.

Customer:

i feel he judges my clothing sometimes...like i am doing stuff FOR attention...but unknowing to me it draws attention. how can i apologize for something that draws attention?

jenhelant :

Write down what you each do not like about the relationship and one another

jenhelant :

Then discuss it without blaming. Decide what you both will agree on to work on together as a team

jenhelant :

And agree on what you both will let go

jenhelant :

This will put your priorities in order and allow you both to focus on the important issues, but while working together and not against

jenhelant :

Also list the positive things as well

jenhelant :

And dwell on those together

jenhelant :

Also, make a list of how you both can be better for one another and focus on that

jenhelant :

About the attention that is what I have explained in the beginning.

jenhelant :

I was in this situation myself and changed the way I dressed a long time ago

jenhelant :

I have realized we can look sexy and good, but classy.

jenhelant :

Any attention from the street is negative

jenhelant :

Those men look at anything that is revealing. It is out husbands that truly love us and want the best for UA

jenhelant :

*us

Customer:

the funny part is the shirt was a conservative top from talbots...


i changed my wardrobe and cleavage still showed...

jenhelant :

They know how men think and do not want for us to be looked upon negatively

jenhelant :

Them that is something that needs to be addressed

jenhelant :

If it was conservative then he needs ton point out what he believes is acceptable, so you both can either agree or disagree.

jenhelant :

At least you will both be on the same page and ,maybe can make a compromise. If generally you dress well and it was am accident

jenhelant :

There is nothing wrong with that

jenhelant :

Accidents do happen

jenhelant :

It was not your intention

jenhelant :

Even with me sometimes I have a tank top underneath a low cut shirt and even that ends up lowering since they stretch overtime and cleavage can show

jenhelant :

It is unavoidable and does happen

jenhelant :

Hr should be understanding to this

Customer:

makes sense...
but there was so much that got thrown in last night. hurtful things said. they cannot be unsaid. things about exs and things about hurt feelings from other stuff. do they also get addressed? should what is done be done and not rehashed?

jenhelant :

Yes it seems like it got out of control. It is done and can just be worked on from here

jenhelant :

Let him know you feel it got out of hand and would like to work through it piece by piece in a calm fashion between one another

Customer:

i feel like if it doesn't get brought up ... its being swept under the rug....but if these things get brought up, it could also be digging a deeper hole and we will have a harder time moving past these issues


 

jenhelant :

Things do need to be brought up to prevent resentment or a blowing up like what happened last night. However, timing and the way it is said is extremely important.

Customer:

he doesn't like to bring up issues unless i bring them back up. i just want us to be back on good terms...sometimes i don't know how to do that. i feel like its gone too far and feelings are hurt...especially his....

Customer:

i understand resentment

Customer:

ok. well, it is what it is. we shall see if he accepts another apology for things getting out of hand...

jenhelant :

Yes things may have been said that may take time to heal. It could take time to get back as it was, but it is best to start off with honesty and apologies as well as explaining why you said what was said and if was truth to it or not in order to discuss it in a healthy fashion

Customer:

ok. thank you for listening.


 

jenhelant :

No problem anytime.

jenhelant :

Feel free to follow up with me even after rating me. It would be my pleasure

jenhelant :

I apologize I saw you went to rate and was unable to. I had my info request still on by mistake. You can try again now. Thank you

Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1124
Experience: I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
Jen Helant and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 1 year ago.
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