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You Asked: There's No Affection in Our Relationship

You Asked: There's No Affection in Our Relationship

Dear Sugar,

My wife and I have been married for 13 years and we have four kids. I don't feel as if she loves me anymore. She does not show me any affection and only goes along with what I initiate. I will occasionally stop her throughout the day to give her a hug or a kiss, but she never initiates it. She never tells me that she loves me unless she is responding to my "I love you." For our anniversary, I put love notes around the house and in her car so that she would see them through every event of her day and I bought her a dozen roses. She said thank you, but that was it. I didn't even receive a hug or a kiss!

The only time we ever have sex is if I make the move. This has been going on for the last five years. Before that she would at least show some interest in me. When I try to talk to her about the way I feel she turns it all around on me and it inevitably leads to a huge argument. I tried for years not to let it bother me, but it really is starting to affect me as I am always thinking about it and hoping she will initiate just a simple kiss or hug.

— Missing Kisses Kevin

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Dear Missing Kisses Kevin,

Obviously, you and your wife have been together a significant amount of time and I'm sure raising four children is not nearly as easy as it is rewarding. Your wife sounds very unhappy, which may have more to do with her role in life rather than her feelings for you. Unfortunately, this isn't something that's likely to get better on its own, and if you wait until your children grow up, it's possible the distance will be too great to fix.

Your attempts to talk to your wife have only led to arguments thus far, but don't give up — you need to be able to have a conversation about this. I'd guess that pointing all this out to her leads her to feel inadequate in her role as wife, but also resentful to have another demand on her life. Instead of telling her what you need from her and what she's doing wrong, let her know how you're feeling and how you see it affecting your relationship in the long term. Preface the conversation by asking her to recognize that this isn't an attack on her; you just want a few minutes to voice your feelings. Ask her to do the same and find out if there's anything you can change about your behavior that might make her feel more satisfied in your relationship.

Realize these problems won't be fixed overnight. In fact, it may take months and months to figure out. I would definitely consider couples therapy to break through this sooner rather than later. Of course, this is something you'll need to discuss together, but an open forum for communication may illuminate issues that neither of you are able to recognize right now. I wish you luck.


Join The Conversation
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 8 years
Consider renewing your vows. Don't underestimate the power of doing this. She will remember those feelings you both shared, how special your first wedding was...and by offering to stand in front of everyone you know now and renew those vows it will reveal that your feelings are even stronger now. Renewing those vows brings new opportunities. Sometimes starting over and reinventing your relationship is a great gift. I do not know any woman that would not be flattered and overwhelmed that you would "do it all over again" for her...and ready to promise to make the next years better than the ones you have already shared. If either one of you can't even think about renewing vows then you both need some help beyond an advice column. You both have some work to be done and marriage is a team sport. One person cannot carry the whole game. Often women feel they are carrying the whole load at home and the men feel they are carrying the whole load financially. Each needs to recognize each other's value in a relationship. Some people assume that couples renew vows only after one has strayed from the marriage bed...which is very wrong. Relationships grow and change. Letting your children see you exchange vows will show them that no matter how hard things get in life, that commitment is renewable and grows. Allowing children to take part in the ceremony reminds them that every individual in a family is important and that value does not change as time passes.l Seeing marriage as evolving and changing, stronger still after what life throws at us, is an example our children need to see. It is also an opportunity to rediscover each other again. That passion changes and gotta stoke the fire sometimes.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think this a symptom of being together for a long long time. i know that with my fiance, there are times that i'm less responsive or affectionate to him, and it has nothing to do with him, but more about what's going on with me. when i get bored with my life, then i don't want to be touched and when i'm upset with myself for things going on, i put affection on the back burner. it's hard, but i think that it's something that IS fixable. like it was said above, you can make this better but it's not going to be an overnight change.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
It sounds like there is something on her mind. Talk to her about it and tell her that you want to be able to fulfill her emotionally and physically. Don't make it about you or she will get defensive. I know that when I'm not really felling intimate it can be really overwhelming when my husband asks why I'm not kissing or hugging him or telling him I love him enough. Just make sure she knows you are there for her. I guarantee she will appreciate it more. There may be something she wants to discuss with you , but doesn't feel she can communicate effectivley because she doesn't want to have to worry about hurting your feelings. Even if she tells you something that you don't want to hear, try to remeber that you want to make her feel comfortable and just listen.
talanted08 talanted08 8 years
All these answer have come out to be a good reason on what you should do about this! I use to hear that from my man about how I'm not saying I Love You or kissing him as much as I did! The reason behind that was b/c I felt I had to much going on with kid's, school and work! He wanted to be intement but I was either feeling to tired or had a project that was due that following week! You have to look at it in both way's b/c it may not be just her it may be the thing's that she's dealing with as well! Like Janine 22 said.... come at her in a way that she wouldn't feel like it's her fault. Make her realize that your wanting to be the man that she fail in loved with in the beginning! What your doing with the little surprise is a start but you have to make her realize that your not going any where and if she feels that she needs some space then go to marriage counseling! Try something b/c to me it sound's like your a good man and she would be a fool to lose you! Keep ya head and stay strong!
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
When you talk to her about it, preface everything with "I feel..." Don't use any blaming words, like "you make me feel" or "you are doing this..." I think you guys should consider marriage counselling. Good luck to you.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
There could be soooo much going on...just talk to her and if she won't talk to you about it, then suggest a counselor or religious leader if you have one. Otherwise, there's no way for us to judge. Something could be wrong with her, or she may know, or thinks she knows something about you. :SHRUG: Best wishes...
stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
You seem to be blaming the entire situation on your wife. The way you describe it, when you brought up the lack of affection with your wife, she "turned it all around on you." Sounds to me like she was giving you reasons why she's no longer affectionate with you, and you blocked it out because it was criticism, and you didn't listen. Stop being selfish and take a look at your wife's perspective. Clearly, she doesn't want to be affectionate with you because she has issues with some part of your behavior. Perhaps you're not helping her enough with child-rearing or household chores, or you're not being emotionally supportive. Now, instead of listening to your wife's concerns and addressing your own shortcomings, you're insisting that you are blameless and your wife is just being irrational, and you're still demanding affection and sex from her. Sounds a little ridiculous to me.
candace87 candace87 8 years
Marriage Counseling.
designerel designerel 8 years
Sorry to hear of your troubles. Sounds like your wife might even be battling depression? It's a definite possibility. I get the feeling though if you ask her about it she might blow up at you. So maybe try and stage an intervention with her family (have they noticed her distance too?) or close friends.
LikeThoseShoes LikeThoseShoes 8 years
wow... pardon all of my spelling errors. lol
LikeThoseShoes LikeThoseShoes 8 years
Hey Kevin! Have you tried making a "Date Night" or going on a vacation without your kids? I think you've done a pretty sweet job leaving the notes. that sounds awesome... Maybe just try and respark that flame but just the two of you going out. Do something spontanious. Take her to a carnival or out dancing. Hopefully that works. If not maybe write her a letter letting her know how you feel because talking abviously isnt helping. If all else fails as if she would agree to see a marriage couselor. Good Luck!
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