Dear Annie: My husband and I love each other very much, but we have grown apart for a while now. I’ve done my best to be a good and loving wife, yet it seems to be hard for him to give me physical affection. He says he loves me and doesn’t want to be without me, yet we physically seem to be 1,000 miles away.
I try to be affectionate, but it seems like it’s “whatever” for him. I don’t feel connected to him and feel like we’re more just friends and partners. Over time, I have given up and don’t bother with being affectionate anymore. We have a young child together, and I don’t want to divorce. I’ve told him how I feel 100 times over the years, and he says that he’ll try in the future. But he never is able to give me what I need.
He also asked why I can’t just accept him for him. I feel like that’s very selfish because I try to cater to his needs, but he wants me to just deal without something that is very important to me. I feel hurt and depressed about it. I told him that if that’s the case, we should focus on our child and that he should not expect anything emotional or physical from me. We agreed to be friends and partners, but he says he doesn’t want that. He wants us to grow close and for me to be his wife. He wants to be able to be sexual with me, too.
I’m angry because it’s been the same song and dance for a long time with him saying this or acting like he’s going to be different. I end up getting disappointed, and on top of that, I feel like it’s disrespectful to be able to have sex with me without being affectionate. I understand people have their love language, but if his lack of affection and connection makes me deeply sad, along with us acting like we’re friends instead of husband and wife, then why can’t he suck it up and do what will make me happy with this one thing? I don’t find it unreasonable for someone to act like they love me instead of only saying it and then telling me they can’t live without me when I’m fed up. — Hopeless
Dear Hopeless: Be hopeful. People do change, especially when you both love each other but seem to be having different ways of expressing it. Perhaps you should both read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman so that you each get a better understanding of how your partner shows love and how they need to receive love. He seems to say that he wants to work on your marriage, so express to him that actions speak louder than words. That if his actions don’t change, it is just empty promises. But your actions have to change as well. You have to let go of the anger and frustration from the past and move forward. If you cannot do that, then it might be time to seek the help of a professional marriage counselor.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit Creators Publishing for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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