i end up feeling like an ignored puppy.
July 16, 2011 10:12 AM   Subscribe

RelationshipFilter: Am I asking too much in asking for nonsexual, nonjokey/tickly affection?

well, it's been almost a year to the day since this question, if you care to read it.

i have been dealing with anxiety and/or depression for several years now, in therapy and trying different medications. my SO always asks what it is he can do for me. i keep telling him that i just need him to be there for me, that i need to him to just hug me or hold me, to just sit next to me on the couch and put an arm around me, to tell me i look pretty or smell nice. he says he tries to make me laugh and i say i know you do but sometimes i don’t need to laugh or be tickled or fake wrestle with, i just want hugs and affection in a normal sort of way. i want to cuddle in bed without having to have sex, i want to have a normal sort of kiss on the cheek, not a jokey slobbery one.

jokey slobbery is ok - but not every time. the only affection i get from him is either jokey/pokey/tickly or sexual. i think he understands what i am saying and he says he’ll try harder but i’m not sure he does.

other advice i’ve gotten on this is that he has to fake it til he makes it. and that’s fine. but this has been YEARS now. he says that when i get in a down period it’s not “me” and he distances himself. then when i get out of the down, it takes him a few days to “catch up” with me, as he puts it. which means he ignores me for most of the time i’m down and then for a few days or a week after i’m come out of it. if he tries to be affectionate with me when i’m down, which is rare, i do not push him away. but he acts like he’s been cornered if i try to hug him for more than 5 seconds.

i’m calling to make an appt with the couples’ counselor we’ve seen before, but that won’t be for a few weeks. i see my own therapist next week.

but in the interim, i’m just trying to figure out and have been for years. i am just asking too much? i’ve learned that he just likes to be left alone when he’s just home from work or just home from the gym, when he’s cranky or tired or whatever. i used to try to get in there but he just pushes me away. i cannot make him laugh the way he can when i’m down.

at any time if i try to seek affection from him, it’s really hard. i will sit next to him on the couch. i will pick his arm up and it around me. sometimes he’ll tickle me or be silly, other times he’ll just let his arm there for a few minutes and then move it away from me because it was “uncomfortable”. if i lay my head in his lap, he doesn’t put his hand on my head or touch me at all. a few weeks ago, he came of his own volition and was being affectionate and i was so very happy. but this is seriously like a few times a year occurrence. i fully encourage it and give affection back and will even say “this is nice” or something. lots of advice says to mirror the kinds of behavior you want to receive, so that’s what i’m trying to do. i don’t make a HUGE deal out of it, though. i just treat it as if it was normal and great.

but mostly, i end up feeling alone most of the time. if i go to meet him somewhere, i don’t get a kiss on the cheek or a hug or anything. or even a “hi [insert affectionate term]”. he doesn’t call me affectionate terms. i call him silly names all the time (sweetikins, honey, dear, or made up silly stuff). he acts like we’re just friends in public. when we go to see people for dinner or what not, there’s the usual hug and/or cheek smooching greeting with the other people and he seems to have no problem with that. it’s at these times i always notice how it makes me feel so good when someone (not him, one of the friends, male or female) looks me in the eyes and smiles and says “it’s so good to see you!” and gives me a big hug. that’s what makes me think that i’m not crazy for thinking this is something people actually do and say to each other. i don’t understand why i he can’t do this with me when i see him do it with other people.

i would just keep babbling on so i’m just ending now. this was much much longer and i keep trying to pare down, but keep adding, so blah. this is my sockpuppet so feel free to ask away, i’ll answer whatever you want.
posted by inmyhead to Human Relations (30 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I think the question you need to ask yourself is: Are you okay with this being the relationship you have for the rest of your life, the way it is right now? And if you aren't okay with that, how much longer are you going to stay in a relationship where you're not getting what you need, after having already spent years waiting for thihngs to change?
posted by Jairus at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2011 [9 favorites]

I can't speak for your SO, but men often think affection leads to sex, and if sex isn't going to happen, why bother? I know it doesn't make you feel any better, but if he comes to you for affection, hoping it will lead to sex but doesn't--he's probably not going to come over for a hug. In my experience, men feel rejected pretty easily when affectionate overtures don't lead to more. I'm not suggesting that you should just like back and think of England, but affectionate cuddling that leads to sex might make you both happier.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:21 AM on July 16, 2011

There are plenty of people out there who are not only capable of offering you the level of affection you desire, but who enjoy giving affection and want to be affectionate towards you. Your SO is not some paragon of affection giving.

I know how hard it is, when you've invested years into a relationship, to say, "ok, this isn't working any more." It feels like you're giving up, like if you just tried a liiiitle bit harder or knew the right thing to say at the right time, it would all immediately get better, so why not just stick it out. It doesn't work like that. Realize that this is The Way It Is And Always Will Be. If you don't like the way it is, you have to leave. At some point, you just have to cut your losses and move on. I think you are at that point.
posted by phunniemee at 10:27 AM on July 16, 2011 [23 favorites]

So, yesterday I hurt my back. I am in alot of pain, hurts to stand up or get out of a chair. A few times, I'd be screaming as I stood up, or leaning against a wall crying because I was afraid I was going to fall down.

My boyfriend of 11 years has made some jokey comments, like contorting himself up and limping around like's the Hunchback to make fun of me. We were laying in bed watching a movie and he kept sticking his finger in my armpit. He may have made a comment about wanting to have sex.

BUT, he also went downstairs and got me a snack. He held me when I was afraid I was going to fall down. He made me coffee and brought it to me on a plate with cream and sugar and a spoon.

Yea, I was a little annoyed at the time that he kept sticking his finger in my armpit, and felt he was being insensitive with the sex comments. But there was love in it, and in all of the other things that he did. I think he does those silly things to make me laugh, and maybe a little bit of not knowing what else to do. When push came to shove, silliness aside, he took care of me.

I share this story because it illustrates that sometimes the jokey parts are how people cope with a bad situation, and just because they react that way does not mean that they don't love you. However, there's more to it than that...is he really there for you in a meaningful way? To me it doesn't sound like he is.
posted by cabingirl at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

It doesn't seem like you're asking for much. I don't understand why some people do this. He says "how can I help you," and you tell him, and he refuses, even though what you're asking for isn't that much. Seems like what you are asking for is for him to just be kind to you. Instead he's afraid of being affectionate in a sincere way and instead has to turn everything into a joke. Is that who you want to be with? Someone who is afraid to show he cares about his SO and that she matters to him? No wonder you feel sad, he's putting out all these signals that basically say "you don't matter." You deserve to be with someone who treats you well.
posted by citron at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2011 [13 favorites]

To be clear, you've told him what you want and haven't just been hoping he'd get the hint and start mirroring your own affectionate behavior? You're not asking for too much, but he isn't going to give it to you.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:49 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your description of your relationship sounds like a good friend's lead up to her divorce. She almost started crying when she saw my husband put his arm around me, because her husband never touched her except for sex. It was both a symptom and a cause of their failing marriage.

While everyone expresses affection differently, and wants a different level of physical affection, this is not working for you. If you want and need hugs and kisses, you are entitled to have them. There are men out there who want to hug you, either because they love hugs, or because they love to see you happy. Go find one.
posted by freshwater at 10:53 AM on July 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

You might find your anxiety and depression lessen or disappear altogether when you get yourself (a) to DC, like you've always wanted, and (b) away from someone who only provides you with half-measures of affection and doesn't work towards achieving shared goals with you.
posted by jbenben at 10:57 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't often say this, I'm a firm believer in trying to work out problems but DTMFA. You've told him what you need from him and even tried to take it from him but he's not willing to even try (at least by the sounds of it). No, you're not asking too much, everyone deserves affection and the kind of non-sexual physical contact (and public acknowledgement) you're asking for is completely normal and the sort of thing most people would take for granted.

To be perfectly blunt, it sounds like he regards you as little more than a house-mate and fuck-buddy. It sounds like he's just not capable of the emotional connection you need (and most of us need). He's deflecting your emotional/affectionate advances with humour - not to get into armchair diagnosis here but it sounds like has issues.
posted by missmagenta at 11:15 AM on July 16, 2011 [9 favorites]

I can't speak for your SO, but men often think affection leads to sex, and if sex isn't going to happen, why bother? I know it doesn't make you feel any better, but if he comes to you for affection, hoping it will lead to sex but doesn't--he's probably not going to come over for a hug. In my experience, men feel rejected pretty easily when affectionate overtures don't lead to more. I'm not suggesting that you should just like back and think of England, but affectionate cuddling that leads to sex might make you both happier.

I don't think gender stereotyping is the solution. I'm a man, and I can't relate to the above descriptions of "men."

OP, this is what your relationship has been like for years, and he has been either unwilling or unable to make the changes you want. This question — which you asked almost a year ago — suggests that he tried hard but just didn't get it.

There is a limit to how much you can mastermind another human being's behavior.

You have to assume that what the relationship is like now is what it will always be like as long as it exists. I assure you that not all men are like this, and you can find a man who will give you what you want. This is not to say that you should expect to find someone who's perfectly attuned to all desires from the outset, with no effort or communication necessary. But you shouldn't need to spend years constantly, desperately trying to get your boyfriend to act the way you want him to act. It's up to you to decide whether you want this badly enough to pursue it by leaving your current relationship. If you stay in your current relationship, you are effectively deciding that while you have this desire, it isn't a strong enough desire to act on.
posted by John Cohen at 11:24 AM on July 16, 2011 [13 favorites]

I hate to say it because I know it's hard when you're dealing with someone that you love, but the best thing you can do is set an acceptable time frame to allow for the change to happen that you're seeking. And you also have to prepare yourself and be ready to move on if your relationship ultimately is unfulfilling. However, I do think that if you love someone, it's not unreasonable to try and work it out.

I think couple's therapy is a great place to really express your feelings. My SO and I both deal with a lot of anxiety issues ourselves, and wane in and out of mild depression too. We both experience many of the affection issues that you have detailed. Sometimes talking about things one-on-one isn't effective, because in our experience, one person or the other always tends to dominate the conversation and then a simple discussion of feelings can become stressed and ineffective. Having a neutral third party there to moderate and help along the conversation has helped us greatly.

Your needs are your own, and you're not asking too much to have them met -- some of the time. But you also have to remember that your boyfriend also has his needs and his emotions to work through, and it sounds like some of those needs include a little space. You're either going to be OK with this or you're not. But I think it at least warrants a discussion to see if there are compromises that can be made.
posted by erstwhile at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2011

Response by poster: cabingirl brings up a good point. and this where i get tripped up. in fact, i even brought this up during our last argument.

he DOES take care of me. in fact, sometimes when he gets all silly and tickly it IS very fun and we have a good laugh. but there's just not a flip side and i feel like there should be...the flip side being genuine romantic affection.

i told him that if i had cancer and was getting sick and depressed because of chemo, would he still back away from me? my anxiety and depression is an illness just the same and sometimes it makes me sick. i also told him that i didn't feel that i could count on him emotionally. if there were a program or medication that cost $10,000 and i needed it to make me "better" for whatever value of better we want to use, i know that i could count on him to come up with the money.

but i can't count on him to just fucking hug me and let me hug him until i let go without feeling how tense it makes him.

this all really sunk in for him, i could tell. he's not completely an unfeeling douchebag. i just get tired of feeling like i'm the one who needs to make all the changes. when he's down, i can't even care for him. except to leave him alone. and that's hard, but it's what he wants. i can tell he's made a real effort to try to be more affectionate, but seriously, am i THIS hard to be affectionate to?

i just worry that it really is all my fault and i'm just such a difficult person when we're home. i don't know. i guess i do just feel like a failure if it doesn't work out and also because i really do like a bunch of stuff about him, but maybe it's not enough. and that's scary.
posted by inmyhead at 11:32 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

i sort of agree - that some people give and receive affection differently and if you've worked this hard on it and you're still where you're at you need to decide if this is ok for the rest of your life or if you need to get out.

but! i'm still gonna offer a little bit of homework for you to try - this was something my husband and i did at the early parts of our relationship because the problem you're having is one i've had in past relationships and both of us wanted above all to be able to comfort each other so we made it a priority.

so! next time you're not even a little down, initiate non-sex cuddling, put him exactly where you want him, say, clearly with no wishy-washy, "i find this comforting." do that for five or six or 10 different things. do this over weeks. repeat cuddle positions and say it again, "i find this comforting."

sometimes it'd hard to translate "i don't find this comforting" into "now this i find comforting." it's a pretty big chasm. the joy of the "i find this comforting" plan is that it's positive reinforcement. you're not pointing out what he does wrong, you're pointing out what is being done right (even if you have to do it the first few times). then when you're down next time, hopefully you can say "can we do [whatever comforting thing]? it would make me feel a lot better."
posted by nadawi at 11:32 AM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

There are nice, thoughtful, cuddly men who can deal with chicks with depression & anxiety issues out there. Non-sexual physical affection is important to you. It's not your SO's thing. This is not a small issue--what else are SO's for if not to provide affection and support to each other? Decide what you want more: your relationship to continue as-is or to find a guy who can give you the kind of comfort you're looking for.
posted by smirkette at 11:39 AM on July 16, 2011

Response by poster: and we have gone to couples' counseling. where he becomes a completely shut out wall up person who talks very quietly and can't express any feelings. or just tries to make jokes the whole time. it's obviously very uncomfortable for him.

nadawi, i will try that. i feel like i already have. i've used examples to him of stuff he/we have done that are what i mean. like the one time he cuddled up to me in bed so far this year with no sexual trying, i pointed out to him in the next few days that THAT was what i am talking about, that that was nice.

he hasn't done it since. and if i try to initiate cuddling, well that goes no where - he doesn't reciprocate. so that's the problem. i DON'T find our cuddling comforting because he does NOT cuddle back.

so i will try more and use the words "i find this comforting" rather than "this is nice". maybe it will help.

and he would be horrified to read any of this and feel terrible about it, but that doesn't change anything. us both liking star trek and cooking is starting to not be enough.
posted by inmyhead at 11:41 AM on July 16, 2011

Maybe he needs to talk to someone alone about how he feels about being touched?

It may be a big deal for him, in a way he can't express vocally or emotionally. Jokey-tickley can be a cover to intermediate intimacy.
posted by stratastar at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2011

Response by poster: i'll stop thread sitting after...yes i'm sure it is a cover to intermediate intimacy. but we've talked about this ad naseum over the last 5 years as well as in couples' therapy. he said he would go to his own therapy but only went once and then said he couldn't find appt times that worked for him.

guess i should bring that up again.
posted by inmyhead at 11:47 AM on July 16, 2011

It doesn't sound to me like you two are simply not compatible and that's difficult but okay. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with either of you. There are other women out there who don't want to be cuddled as a comforting tool and there are men out there who would be happy to cuddle you when you're having a bad day.

I don't think your SO is going to change, the therapy times bit is an avoidance mechanism, and that you've given him sufficient time and warning that this is important to you.

It seems to me that this is a deal breaker. You want/need to be with someone who expresses their love and emotion and who will be physically affectionate. This man is not it trying again to go to therapy will not change him. He may be affectionate but not because he wants to, there is no light switch that will flip in his head. Asking him to change this fundamental part of himself, how he expresses emotion, may be too much to ask.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 12:09 PM on July 16, 2011

after your updates - i know this is hard to hear - but some of the best relationship advice i've received from ask.me is "listen to what he's telling you." he's told you in every way he knows how that this isn't something he's willing to do. sure, sometimes he acts wishy-washy on that and tries, more as a way to keep the peace than to actually fix the problem i'd guess - but, his actions, his inaction, his words shows you that this is just out of his wheelhouse and he's not interested in learning how to make it part of what he can do.

reading your updates and your past questions is just heartbreaking - you deserve to be loved, to be comforted. you deserve to not question your relationship constantly. you deserve to find someone that never has you asking "but seriously, am i THIS hard to be affectionate to?".

maybe with your solo therapist you can bring up the line of questioning - how many of your triggers for depression and anxiety are within your relationship? does his treatment of you encourage you get get out of your slump or do his actions result in you spiraling further? besides the initial shock and sadness of breaking up, how many triggers for your depression would you remove if you broke up with him?

it's terribly sad when long relationships end. i had 2 different 3 year relationships crash and burn spectacularly before i found the place where i feel safe and comforted. it's sort of amazing how much larger my sexual appetite is now that i have a man who cuddles me for love and not just sex.

ask yourself the hard questions, do what's best for you. good luck.
posted by nadawi at 12:13 PM on July 16, 2011 [10 favorites]

Stop blaming yourself! His intimacy issues are not your fault. Him blowing off therapy for his issues is not your fault. Even if you were so difficult to be with that he couldn't bare to even hold you it still wouldn't be your fault. If he doesn't have intimacy issues and its just you that he can't be affectionate with, then he's using you for sex and the small degree of companionship that he needs.

Why are you still trying? I've read your question from nearly a year ago and it sounds like he tried (I guess briefly?) to give you what you need but he's was just faking it and its not the same. He can't give you what you need and what you need isn't at all unreasonable.

Just to be clear IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Please understand that its just your illness making you think that.

Ignoring/avoiding you for days(!) when you're feeling down because you're not 'you' - total douchebag behaviour (unless you specifically tell him to just leave you alone when you're down - but it sounds like the reverse is true).
posted by missmagenta at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

You wanting someone to be something doesn't mean that they can be that something. Sometimes, people just aren't capable. Sometimes, you're in a relationship with that someone.

You need to ask yourself if you're prepared to put up with this or not. If you've been discussing it for five years and haven't reached the resolution you want, then maybe it's time to accept that you're not going to get it.

Also, I don't mean to sound harsh, but this isn't about you. You are not that hard to be affectionate to. He is apparently incapable of being affectionate in the way you want and would very probably behave in exactly the same way no matter who he was in a relationship with. Another guy in a relationship with you might behave in a completely different manner. Don't blame yourself for someone else's behaviour.
posted by Solomon at 1:01 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Since you've been begging for him to behave a certain way for over a year now, and he refuses, why would you think there would be a right way to beg him if only you could discover what that was?

It's inevitable that you're going to be depressed and anxious when faced with an impossible need, which in your case is to control how he treats you and feels about you. Regardless of whether his behaviour is right or wrong, he's a human and not a puppet and you simply cannot make him act in accordance with your wishes.

It seems as though you are desperate to control him (make him show more affection) and you view him as being in control of you (he's stopping you from moving to DC). You have to take control of yourself and let go of him before anything in your life can change for the better.
posted by tel3path at 5:34 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Everyone above has offered some great insight. I don't know that I have all that much to add, but I will say these two things:

Lack of non-sexual, physical affection would ABSOLUTELY be a deal-breaker for me. I've been with men like that in the past, i.e. everything jokey unless it was directly leading to his penis in my vagina. Did not work - I broke up with them posthaste. I HAD to, you see. I couldn't live my whole life that way. It didn't (and this is important, I think) mean that they were OMG BAD PEOPLE, nor did it mean that I was. It meant that I was with someone with whom I was fundamentally incompatible and neither he nor I was ever going to be really fulfilled in that relationship.

John Cohen is not my boyfriend, but I'd like you to go back up and take a look at what he says. He is a guy, and he doesn't think the way that your current guy does. My current BF often functions as my ergonomically correct futon. (I call him that sometimes, and he LOVES it, btw). I can lay all over him even when it's legitimately 97 degrees in this apartment and he loves it as much as I do. We do not always have sex when this occurs. Nor does either one of us even think twice about it when we don't.

Point is, they're out there. We have two sterling examples right here in this very thread (and I bet more to follow). I think, and I don't usually say this but I got to here, that you should break up with him. You will find someone with whom you are more temperamentally suited. They ARE out there. Best to you!
posted by deep thought sunstar at 6:12 PM on July 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

No matter how much you beg, plead and ask him and go to therapy, HE WON'T GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT. He can't or won't, whatever, but this is the guy he is. You can't get different out of him. Either you decide that you want him so bad that you'll live without affection forever, or you find someone else who will give it to you.

(Hint: most guys out there actually will be just fine and dandy with some affection. It's easier to find than a guy who doesn't want to give it. Seriously.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:19 PM on July 16, 2011

I am going to totally disagree with many previous answerers. I think your boyfriend sounds like he is behaving pretty nicely for what must be a pretty unpleasant situation for him. Forced affection sucks. "Do X to my body right now, in Z fashion" -- yecch! I am picturing you making affection this big huge deal, repeatedly laying out the rules for what affection counts, and otherwise making the whole concept of 'affection' extremely unappealing. If I was your boyfriend I would've cut and run. Sorry.

You really don't sound very compatible. There are snuggly people and there are non-snugglers... I really disagree with "He is apparently incapable of being affectionate in the way you want and would very probably behave in exactly the same way no matter who he was in a relationship with" -- I would not be surprised to find out dude was very affectionate with somebody who did not make affection such a loaded issue.

I am repelled by routine neediness and have that bias thoroughly on display here, for which I apologise. But I wonder if your boyfriend isn't like me.
posted by kmennie at 9:20 PM on July 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

kmennie, you are totally right and have actually proved my point. The lack of agreement over this issue doesn't mean that either of them is an asshole or "incapable of being affectionate," etc etc. It means they don't mesh. It was interesting to read your comment - as a rather huggy, laying-about-atop-SO kind of person, it's valuable to get the other side of the issue, as it were.

Thanks for the perspective! :)
posted by deep thought sunstar at 9:40 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Based upon my own experience, I can think of two separate things that may be at play here.

First, he may be like me in that he needs to be in love before he can give emotional affection and snuggles, and that he isn't in love with you. For the longest time, I thought I was simply someone who doesn't like to be touched/share emotions and, when my boyfriends asked for more physical affection/affirmations/support, I hated it, as it felt forced and I'd consider them weak for asking. This would happen with guys who were perfect on paper, and I would try to hold on to the relationship, despite my lack of affection, because I thought I was just naturally a 'cold' person. At the time, I honestly felt as though I loved these guys, in part because I had no idea what it was actually like to be in love. Now, with my husband, I am much more snuggly (still hate being touched in general) and, although I'm not big on words of affirmation/affection, I voice a hell of a lot more stuff than I ever did before.

I feel that, because I am a woman, I had a greater awareness that something wasn't 'right' than many men would. Ideefixe's post hints on the common idea that men just aren't naturally emotional or cuddly and, for them, affection is all wrapped up in sex and that cuddling should lead to sex, but I don't believe that is true, at least not for most of them. I think that because we have these cultural ideas and the high regard for the 'strong, silent type', men (and sometimes women) can find themselves in relationships that seem perfect, but are lacking that spark, that difference between loving someone and being in love with them. It's certainly possible to be infatuated with a person, to want to have sex with them, but not love them.

If your husband is this way (and I've observed it with a few male friends, especially INTJs like me), then you need to be the one to break things off because he probably never will until things get really bad, or he meets someone else who gives him that spark.

The second issue that may be occurring is the difference between your Love Languages. Part of the reason why I was never big on cuddling/words is that I express love and feel loved through Acts of Service and Quality Time. My husband, on the other hand, is Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. Once we realized our differences, we found ways to meet in the middle. Is it possible that your boyfriend is expressing love through one of the these other languages? If he's like my dad and myself, then when he cooks you dinner, fixes your computer, etc he's expressing his affection. Once you recognize what these acts are, then they can feel just as powerful to you as the acts expressed in your preferred love language.

However, in saying all that, it sounds as though you've worked hard to meet him part of the way but he hasn't done the same for you. Recognizing your love languages might help, but the amount of doubt you have in yourself and your own lack of self-worth suggests to me that you would be better off separated - at least temporary - while you work on your self worth. I know cuddling can seem like such an insignificant thing, but if your love language is Physical Touch and you need it to feel loved, that's not something that can be brushed aside. He needs to step up to the plate for that, and you aren't a bad person for leaving him in order to find someone who can give you what you need to feel loved. After experiencing how amazing it is to be with someone who makes you feel loved 24/7, I can't imagine being in a relationship without it.

If you do break up with him and search for a next partner, try to find someone who matches your love language or at least will find compromise with you. It has been my experience (although I am only one person), that communication and feeling loved are more important to a relationship than shared hobbies/interest, although that doesn't mean that you can't get a good partner who matches well in both. I know there are wonderful guys out there that enjoy Star Trek, cooking and cuddling (my husband is one). Good luck.
posted by avagoyle at 10:32 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you are not getting what you need, you may need to go elsewhere to find it. It is achievable.
posted by mleigh at 1:16 AM on July 17, 2011

I acted like your boyfriend is acting in an ex-relationship for awhile at one point. Discussions about affection were had. I know now that I acted that way because I was very depressed and not getting any of the things from E-SO that I needed to be happy in my relationship. At the time, I just thought I was a being a horrible dick and couldn't figure out why. YMMV.
posted by TheRedArmy at 4:20 AM on July 17, 2011

Is affection triggering for him? I e was he abused as a child? It is for a lot of people.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:16 AM on July 19, 2011

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