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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
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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This must seem really silly but I dont kn ow what to ask.

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This must seem really silly but I don't kn ow what to ask. I feel that there is maybe something wrong with me in the way I relate/communicate with my partner.

jenhelant : Hi,
jenhelant : I don't think this is silly at all. I think changing the way you say things to him was a good idea. Sometimes just the way we say things can change the way someone responds while still getting our point across. However, this seemed to not work. He still gets irritaed. It must be really frustrating when you are trying to work things out and he is not cooperative. Does he seem to blame you for things and not want to work together to help the relationship?

When he is irritated with something I say, he doesn't seem to consider another possibility apart from the one he is seeing. Not sure if I've answered. We just came back from 1 week holiday together and I feel so confused and upset.

jenhelant : Has he always been like this or is this a new thing?
jenhelant : How long have you been together?

He hasn't always been like this. I wonder whether I have changed on the way I say things and maybe it just irritates him.


We don't live together, each has their own home. We started seeing each other around 6 years ago and broke up twice in between those years. We have been in a closer relationship maybe for 2 or 3 years.

jenhelant : I would not blame yourself for everything, but we all can improve since no one is perfect. Usually people only want their partner to change, so I commend you for looking at yourself. It would be good to analyze the way you say things to see if you are contributing to this change of behavior in him. If you see things that you are not pleased with you will notice and can work on them one step at a time. In our busy lives it is easy to not see our own mistakes, so always is good to take a step back. You can even ask him if there is anything about you he thinks should improve and if he is honest you can then analyze what he says in order to work on those things as well if you do agree. However, at the same time I would analyze his behavior as well. It may not only be you. There may be things that he is going through as well that may be causing these changes. He could be depressed about something within himself and this can cause him to be irritated and less patient, which may have nothing to do with you and may be just due to his own issue. He then may take it out on you since you are there. Could also be a combo of things.
jenhelant : He may need to also look into himself and change a few things. If the two of you are willing to work together on yourselves and your relationship that your relationship together can grow becoming stronger while eliminating these types of issues.
jenhelant : Communication is very important and he needs to be open and willing as well.
jenhelant : He may also have self esteem and security issues if he thinks you are blaming him for everything even when you clearly aren't.

Can you suggest an assertive way to talk to him about these issues. I'm just worried that he'll start saying I'm criticising him. I'd like to find a way that doesn't trigger his defensiveness.

jenhelant : Sure, is there any particular issue you would like help on or just generally what you have explained.

Are you still there? I've had a problem with my computer.

jenhelant : Yes, I am here
jenhelant : No problem

I don't know what happened, I'd written quite a bit and suddenly everything went black. I had to change from internet explorer to Firefox which seems fine at present. God... let me try to remember what I was saying.

jenhelant : Ok Take your time. I hate when that happens to me and it has. I write quite a bit then a technical issue. Then seems to not come out the same. However, sometimes comes out better. I'll be here when your ready!

For example while we were on holiday I think the first time he got annoyed was on perhaps the 3rd day. We were walking along the cliffs (near the sea) and it was dark, I was afraid I kept trying not to follow the path he was on if it seemed dangerous. I think i perhaps spoke many times because I was anxious and I'd say things like 'No!...I can't go that way' 'No, it's dark, it's dangerous...' 'I don't want to go that way, let's go this other way'. Maybe this made him anxious also, he kept saying 'can you trust me?' and the way he spoke became upsetting to me, he said I was catastrophising... I felt he was imposing something on me...How can I mention this to him?

jenhelant : Thanks for explaining. I do understand what you are saying. You were scared and by the way I would have been too! Seems like what made him upset is because you were not trusting him. This could have caused him to become defensive and talk in that manner since he felt as if you should trust him. He may have gotten insulted. However, I do understand sometimes we fear even though we trust the person we can still be scared of actually doing the action. He should be able to understand that and take that into consideration, but at the moment he probably just reacted on impulse and is probably no longer thinking of it, but it still bothers you. If it bothers you a lot I would sit him down and look him into his eyes. Explain to him about that day and how you did not mean not seem as if you do not trust him. Let him know that you trust him a lot, but were truly scared. Tell him you are sorry if he felt that you did not trust him and were making a big deal out of nothing. However, tell him how you would just like him to consider your feelings and that you really were scared. Explain how it hurt your feelings the way he responded and let him know how you felt. Maybe he can be understanding of how you were feeling. In addition to this I would pick your battles to discuss. I would look at the big picture and the relationship as a whole. Take in consideration if he is good in general. No one is perfect, so you may want to choose to discuss the important things and let go some things that can be let go. The way to speak how I explained about this particular situation you can use that as an outline for pretty much any situation.
jenhelant : Not sure if you wrote think I am now having a technical issue
jenhelant : Now I can see you are typing still. Sorry...

Actually when we found our way out of darkness that evening he gave me a hug so I guess he realised I was scared but I wasn't very receptive because I was afraid and hurt by his words and annoyed. I feel really bad since we came back from holiday because he paid for the holiday as a birthday present for me and I don't even know if I've thanked him. Since we returned (3 days ago) I've felt so upset... I've cried everyday and I can't bring myself to even contact him. I feel really depressed...I don't want him to feel guilty for the way I feel...I'm not even sure if all this upset was just because of the way he spoke to me a few times and which really hurt me.

jenhelant : I
jenhelant : Ii
jenhelant : Not sure why I can not scroll up to see your response. I am going to need to switch this to question and answer. Don't worry we can still continue, but will just be to your email instead.
jenhelant : I see it now okay we can stay here then
jenhelant : Try not to be so hard on yourself. It is good that he hugged you. He may not realize what he is doing, so it would be good to let him know these feelings, so he can catch it. Also, as you said it can also be things you are going through that may make you feel more sensitive. Not saying it is right on his part, but when we are already upset within ourselves then we tend to get extra hurt if our partners say something that may have not bothered us otherwise.
jenhelant : Have you been upset in general lately not knowing why?

I only started noticing during the holiday that I got extremelly upset one day when in reply to something I'd said (can't remember what) he said that next time I should go on holiday with my next door neighbour (someone he knows I totally dislike) and he kept going on about it in such a way that I felt I was causing him to have a horrible holiday with me. I thought I was just going to burst into tears, so I went to the toilet and stayed there for a while because I was crying uncontrollably. When I managed to stop crying and washed my face and pretended everything was fine I got back to him and he asked why I had taken so long... he kept asking if I was alright and I said yes. We went into a shop and he bought me something as if he was trying to console me. I then forgot about it and got back to my normal self. However, later in the evening he went out for a walk and I decided to stay in the apartment. When he returned and started telling me where he had been we couldn't understand each other because the way he was telling me he had walked didn't make sense to me. I was happy to just leave that conversation and said a few times that the following day he could show me where he'd been walking but he kept insisting and kept not understanding. He got really annoyed and started telling me that I made it very hard for him, he asked if I did it on purpose, if I just wanted to argue or what, etc I said that I was sorry he felt that way and that was doing nothing on purpose... then we both kept silent and when the lights went off my tears just kept flowing. We were on separate beds because that was the way the apartment was (the beds were too small) but after a while he realised I was crying, turned the light on and asked if I was o.k., I said 'yes', he asked if I was upset, I said 'No'. he later asked what I was upset about , I said 'I don't know'...I could not talk to him, I didn't know what to say. He seemed worried and kept the light on for a while and asked questions a few times but I just could not talk. Since that day I've been getting easily upset. I keep remembering my dad who passed away last year in september, I just seem to think of death and loss. I'm a Nurse and I'm finding it hard to work with ill people, mainly elderly. I come home and one way or another death and negative thoughts come to me.


Sorry it's getting too late for me. I have to go to sleep as it's almost 1AM and I'ver got to get up at 7AM to go to work. Can we continue the chat tomorrow? I'm going to save and exit. Good night

jenhelant : I can not see your response again. I will switch over, but we can still continue the other way and will avoid this issue.
Sorry I could not see your response sooner due to that issue. I will read and respond and we can continue tomorrow at your leisure. Since it will not be a chat I will be alerted in my email when you respond. Have a great night.
I am so sorry to hear about your father's passing. Since it is around the same season this can have an affect on you and why you are extra sensitive right now. This is normal and should pass. There are times where we feel a death of a loved one more so than other times. Your husband sounds like a good man in general. It does not sound like he is doing this on purpose. It seems like sometimes he may say the wrong thing without realizing how much it hurts you instead of handling it a little different. I am sorry about all the crying you have been doing and hope you can start to feel better. He does seem concerned about you when he notices you are crying. I think you should just talk with him exactly how you talked to me. Even if you don't know what to say or think it may be silly then tell him exactly that. It is okay. Just say what is on your heart. I think he will be understanding and will check the way he says things more often. Also, talk with him about your Dad and let him know what you are going through. I guarantee that if he responds as he has been then this talk will only draw you nearer to each other and open up a new door in your relationship. You seem to talk very well to him and not be rude or etc. I would continue this, but just open up more. This seems like something very fixable and just needs more openess between the two of you with your feelings. . Believe me from a lot of things I hear on here you two are in a good place. Sometimes we go through sad phases and that is normal. You also have a reason. I think talking with your husband will take the weight off your shoulders and bring you to a new level in your relationship. Don't worry about it needing to come out the perfect way. Just talk sincere from your heart to him.

I know you are sleeping now, but when you are back we can continue this talk. I will be alerted when you respond, so feel free to respond at your leisure. Tomorrow when you read this I hope you are feeling better and having a wonderful day!


Jen Helant and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jennifer


Thank you so much for your help. You have really helped me, I feel so much better today. I'm satisfied with your answers. I've printed your answers and I feel more prepared to talk with my partner now. He is a lovely person but he sometimes has a way of saying things that truly upsets me (maybe I sometimes talk in the same manner and don't realise). It seems to be hard for both of us to agree to disagree so often we end up arguing because we're trying to convince the other about our point. Also we often seem to understand something different from what the other is saying and he ends up saying that we are not compatible.

If a want to use this service at another time is there any way I can find you again?

Kind regards



Hi Barbara,

I am happy that I have helped and it is my pleasure. You are right miscommunication can cause a lot of issues we really do not even mean or realize. I would love to hear back from you if you come back here. Just type my name jenhelant in the title of your question and it will come to me.

I wish you all the best with you husband. Stay positive and glad that you are feeling better today!

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help,