Not Enough Affection
August 14, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
My boyfriend and I have been together for 11 months. We get along great we are best friends. The only issue I have is he doesn't show me the affection I need. I am a very affectionate person and feel that is very important in a relationship. How can I address this and what are your thoughts?
My first question is whether your guy used to show affectionAffection is defined as fond attachment, devotion or love. Couples are most compatible when they are equally matched in terms of their needs for displays or expressions of affection. (in order to win you) or was he always a little limp in the affection department?
Let’s tackle the first issue first. If he used to be affectionate and he’s become lazy of late, my first question is have you discussed the issue with him? Does he know that you need more affection? If you haven’t yet discussed the matter, then we can’t assume that he knows anything is the matter! When you talk to him, use my X, Y Formula (fully outlined in my book Till Death Do Us Part). Remember, don’t attack, blame, complain or criticize him. Simply state what you need and how much it means to you. In many cases, this solves the problem.
If he doesn’t respond after you make your needs clear, then we have to dig deeper to find out why he’s withholding from you. Is something not working for him in the relationship? Is something bothering him at work? Is he depressed? Does he feel that you’re not meeting his needs? Generally when we feel properly fed by our partners, we want to give back to them whatever they want from us. When a partner withholds, it can be a sign that he/she is feeling jipped.
Now let’s move to another possibility. Maybe everything is fine for him in the relationship and he’s simply fallen into what I call the Caveman Courtship routine, otherwise known as my Big Bang theory. Let me spell it out for you. The caveman did whatever he needed to win his female. He’d show off, prove his strength and prowess, fight off competitors, etc. But once he banged her over the head with a club and dragged her back to his cave, the challenge was over! His conquest was won, and he could just sit back and watch the sports channel. In this way, modern day men aren’t very different from cavemen. Your guy may be taking you for granted because he sees you as a done deal rather than the prize that he needs to keep happy if he wants her to remain in his life.
What if you made the radical shift to begin focusing on what you deserve and not putting all your emotional eggs in one basket. Consider being busy sometimes when he wants to see you, meaning don’t reward his neglectNeglect occurs when you or your partner ignore the other person's needs, feelings and wishes. Neglecting someone is the ultimate expression of anger, a way of punishing the other by withholding,...(Click for full definition.) by being so available to him, go out with friends and/or take a course. If this doesn’t wake him up, you could consider dating other men. I’m not telling you to play games, issue threats or try to make him jealous. I’m just talking about your being responsible for getting your own emotional needs met. When he feels that he isn’t the only game in town for you, he will fight to bring you back to front and center—if he wants to keep you.
I just want to explore one other possibility: that he was always limp in affection department. If this is true, then you need to do some soul searching to find out why you chose a guy who doesn’t give you the affection you say you want. When you read my book, Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First), you will understand that we humans tend to choose partners who repeat the familiar pain or deprivation of childhood because: 1) familiar pain is preferably to the unknown and 2) because we are unconsciously trying to heal the Old Scars we suffered in childhood. If this is your case, and you have chosen a guy who doesn’t have it to give, once you heal your Old Scar, you may no longer want a partner who deprives you of this vital affection. In which case, you may decide that he isn’t the right boyfriend for you!
I have given you the complete blueprint for resolving the various possible causes of your problem.
Let me know how you make out!
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