Murphy?s Love: Advice on Intimacy and RelationshipsOctober 17, 2012

Try to be supportive and understanding if a partner is nervous about going under the knife.

My husband promised to get a vasectomy once we were done having children. Baby no. 3 just turned 2, and still, nothing has happened. We do not want a fourth. He has all the excuses in the book ? no time to schedule an appointment, changed jobs so health insurance changed, forgot to follow up with a referral. I?m sure that on some level he?s afraid of the procedure, even though he hasn?t said that. But I?ve had three C-sections, so I have a hard time not seeing him as a very lazy, selfish person. We have a great marriage otherwise, but this unspoken thing between us is taking a toll on me.


Try to be supportive and understanding if a partner is nervous about going under the knife.
I am sorry you are feeling this way and appreciate your situation. Your frustration is completely valid. You thought you had an agree- ment and Husband has been using passive meth- ods to avoid following through. At the same time, I think there is more you could be doing ? particularly in terms of finding out more about his concerns. Sure, he could be afraid of the surgery, but we are just speculating until we get some real data.

You describe this situation as an ?unspoken thing? between you two ? let?s push in on that
key phrase. To get what you want, you are going to have to speak about it, again. But this time I am going to encourage you to be calm (breathe), gentle (use a soft voice), and curious (pause and be intrigued by what he says). Use the therapist?s trick of mirroring what he says, asking him to tell you more about how he feels. Do not inter- rupt and say something angry or judgmental. Ignore the urge to pepper the conversation with ?you should? and ?you promised? ? that route will lead to an argument or, worse, another delay tactic on his part. You need to know the real story behind his behavior, and he?s not going to feel safe telling you unless you make it safe for him to be honest. ?
Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed profession- al counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counsel- ing. Send your confidential question to stacy@

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