I have a friend who was dating this great girl. Things were going well, but he had to move away for his career, and they kept up a long-distance relationship. He recently came back to her and they got married, but something had changed. He says that she’s avoiding being intimate with him. She rejects most of his advances and refuses to make any of her own.
He’s worried that she may no longer be in love with him. She behaves like a close friend or a mother, which devastates him because he’s so attracted to her. When confronted, she says it isn't him and that she'll try harder, but can't or won't offer any reasons for her distance.
He's a great guy, but he’s starting to have some real self-confidence issues. He’s finding all these things that are wrong with himself: He's too short, he's too skinny, he isn't handsome enough, he isn't home often enough, he pesters her too much, doesn't buy her enough expensive things, and so on and so forth. He's getting awfully depressed, and I swear he's going to have a hypertensive coronary explosion from all this stress. I don't like to see my friend unhappy like this, and I don't want him to have to come to me with something this serious. Please help me think of something to help my friend.
— Concerned Carrie
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Dear Concerned Carrie,
It's great that you are so sympathetic but honestly, the best thing you can do is to offer your support and a listening ear. The things is, there's really not much more you can do, since this problem is between your friend and his wife. You should encourage him to talk to her more, to get to the bottom of why she is acting so distant and uninterested in him. She's obviously unhappy too, so maybe she'll agree to go to couples counseling so they can work through this and repair their marriage.
If she refuses to talk to him or go to counseling, do you feel like she might feel comfortable confiding in you as a fellow woman and concerned friend of her husband's? Before you confront her, ask your friend if he'd be OK with you talking to her.
If he's not into that idea, just continue to be a loving friend to him. Encourage him to keep communicating with his wife. An emotionally supportive friend is really what he needs right now, so just keep doing what you're doing.