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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist with 20 Years Experience
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Lack of physical and emotional intimacy

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I feel that as time goes on in my year and 5 month relationship the affection is leaving the relationship. I feel sometimes our relationship lacks emotional depth. I am 34 and he is 32. We live about 45 minutes away but it can be an hour and a half with traffic so we tend to see each other Friday-Saturday. We enjoy a lot of the same things and talk about a wide range of subjects. We also want the same things and have similar family, political and spiritual values. But most emotional and even physical intimacy is initiated by me. I don't feel that I am an overly needy women and I'm not demanding of his time, but I do feel that the lack of affection is really hard to deal with and makes me want to be distant and not love him the way I want. Often I will hug him and his arms will just stay limp at his side. He normally solid, firm kisses and he rarely compliments me and tells me how much I mean to him. When I bring up my feelings about what's missing for me he doesn't really want to talk about it and feels like it's an ongoing topic with me. The reason that is is because we never really discuss it. The topic goes avoided and I blame it on me just being a needy girl with her head in the clouds or PMS so I drop it but I do feel that it's fair to expect if I put my arms around my man I should feel his warm embrace in return. Am I crazy? Should I just count my blessings and not focus so much on what I'm lacking? He says he does love me and enjoys our relationship but he's just not a touchy feely type of guy.

Hello, and thank you for posting your question. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist and have been working with couples, married or not, for 20 years. You are not asking too much of your partner at all, nor are you crazy! Certainly most women are more affectionate and need more affection than most men, however, your partner's lack of affection is extreme. As you say that affection has left the relationship, I assume he was affectionate in the beginning; so we know he is capable of showing more than he is now. I would talk with him, without making excuses for yourself or being critical of him, and simply ask for 2 or 3 things from him, i.e., that he initiate a hug or kiss once a day when you are together. In return you could do something for him, his choice, on the same scale, of course. You do not want to make him a 5 course mean in exchange for a hug! It is very important in good relationships to compromise, to listen and honor our partners feelings and needs. You have every right to expect that he do this in regards XXXXX XXXXX need for emotional closeness and affection. I hope this helps; chat back if you have further questions. Take care, Eleanor
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you Eleanor! I think that is great advice. I have expressed to him before that I want us to interact daily and find a way to express our gratigude with each other in some small way daily and he says he hears and appreciates what I'm saying but then things like not returning hugs happen and I feel confused and I feel he deliberately withholds affection the more I talk about it. I'm not sure I want to break up...I don't want to give up too soon, but is it a good idea to take a break? Or could it be I am too available to him so he takes me for granted? Maybe the relationship lacks the tension he needs as a man to pursue me and make sure I never leave?

You are very welcome. You could be right, there could be a power struggle going on with him. Withholding affection deliberately is very passive/aggressive behavior. As you only see one another on the weekends, taking you for granted should not be an issue, and you do not want to be in a relationship where you have to play games to keep your partner's attention. It sounds like you may be wanting to take a break. I would advise talking with him as I suggested and if he is unwilling to make those small changes, then tell him you will need to take a break and think seriously if you can find fulfillment the way things are or if you need more than he can give from a relationship. I think you already know the answer to that question! I wish you all the best whatever you decide, Eleanor

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