- Dr. Love in the Media
Not Into Romance
February 2, 1998 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
How can I get my husband to be romantic? I only knew him one month before I married him. People think I'm crazy, but we knew that we had made the right decision. The only problem is that I want some romance!!! Not roses or candy or anything material like that. A nice romantic evening, you know, fourplay and all!!!
Rarely does our sex last more than 30 minutes. It doesn't even have to be sex. Just something surprising that makes me want him more than I already do. He could even surprise me with tickets to the theater or anything. I tell him these things and he just says that he's not romantic. And I don't want to be the one to give him all of the ideas. I don't think he would take me seriously if I did something like surprise him with a picnic or something. He would cooperate, but I don't think it would turn him on. He is so'Not Into Romance'. What should I do?
It sounds like you have tried to talk with him already and his response has been,'I'm not into romance.' Basically, a f.u. response.
In order for a relationship to work, partners must be responsive to each other. When he says that he's not into romance, he is missing a key point. If romance is important to you, then it must be important to him, that is if he wants to keep this relationship.
I would tell him that relationships requires maintenance, and that the maintenance women require is different from what men need. Continue by telling him that women feel loved when men remember what is important to them. Tell him that when he refuses to respond to your wish to be surprised, you feel hurt or wiped out or unloved (or whatever you do feel). Then,I would ask him if this is how he wants you to feel.
When he says, of course not, then you need to work together to find a way for him to be more responsive to you.
If he resists, then you need to find out why doesn't he want to be more responsive to you. Is he angry? Is he feeling controlled? Does he feel that his needs are not being adequately met?
When you find out what his objections are, listen and understand. During this discussion, tell him that you want to make sure that you are giving him what he needs. This will model more responsive behavior for him and it will see to it that his needs are being met (if they aren't, he will be more stingy with you).
And, make one thing very clear, don't make the mistake of giving him what you want (you mentioned above that you had tried to surprise him). Giving him what you want won't make him happy. So, find out what he wants from you and tell him that you want to give it to him (and then follow through in action).
Next, discuss how you can help him respond to your needs while remaining in his comfort zone. If he wants a degree of freedom in meeting your needs, then you can give him broad ideas and let him fill in the blanks. Whenever he responds to your needs make sure that you praise him to the hilt once he responds to your wishes. I spoke above about women's relationship maintenance requirements. While women need to be remembered in words and deeds, men need to feel recognized and appreciated. It is likely that your guy isn't receiving enough praise from you because you are pissed that he isn't romancing you enough. And, it is easy to become trapped in a vicious cycle. No praise, no motivation to do for you, so, less praise, you get the idea.
So, what's the goal here. Talk together, find out his blocks to being responsive, model responsive behavior for him and praise him when he does follow through. Let me know how you make out.
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