How can I maintain a good relationship with my boss after turning down a promotion?

Elaine Varelas guides on how to decline a promotion professionally and gracefully.

Q.  I was recently put up for a promotion by my boss and I declined. The new position would involve 40% more travel, which is impossible with small children and an elderly Mother-in-law for whom I provide care. The problem is that ever since I declined the promotion, my boss has been making my work life difficult by giving me horrible tasks and clients, calling me late on a Friday night, you name it. I am worried that I will be fired. Any advice on what I can do or say to improve the relationship between us, and ensure that I can continue to contribute in meaningful ways and stay employed?
A. Congratulations on being suggested for a promotion. What's unclear is whether your boss discussed this with you before he suggested it to his boss or HR. It’s clear that your boss wasn’t aware of your current personal situation with the demands of balancing work responsibilities with small children and an elderly mother-in-law needing you to be more available after work hours, which would limit your ability to take on that level of travel. Why is that? Many employees, women especially, try to maintain a strict separation between work and home so their employers don’t think anything comes before work. But we know that is not realistic. And being able to talk to your direct manager about what your life looks like now and when you’d like to take on more responsibility is something that benefits you and the company.
So immediately arrange a meeting with your boss and let him know how flattered you are that he had enough confidence in you to suggest you for a promotion. Let him know how disappointed you are that you can’t take on a promotion like that at this time in your life, but that you would love to in the future. Feel free to share the personal reasons that are challenging and why taking a promotion like that at this point isn’t possible.
Express gratitude and let him know how much you value the opportunity to work for him, how much you are learning, and how dedicated you are to the success of your organization. Ask him if there are other ways that you can take on additional responsibilities that don't involve travel that may lighten his load, which may have been what he was after in the first place. Also, reiterate your dedication to your job and the organization.
He may feel that you rejected what he thought was a great gift without him having any idea why you would do that. When you declined the promotion, this may have caused him to question your commitment to the organization and perhaps made him look bad to senior leadership. Once you have an honest and open conversation about your reasoning behind your decision, your relationship should improve. You can also ask him if the projects and calls he has been giving you were horrible, or developmental. Someone calling you late on a Friday night might mean that he values your experience and needs your expertise. And that may not be a negative. Do try talking over all these situations without being accusatory, while also reinforcing your appreciation for being selected for a position with more responsibility. Positive relationships require honest communication, while still maintaining a professional line.