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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.

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