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what am I doing wrong?

(35 Posts)
chickenboy Wed 20-Feb-13 11:24:09

my wife and i have been married 13 or so years. i love her deeply and know she does me.
We seem to be stuck i a rut though! The problem is is that I seem to give her all the attention and get very little back.....to the point where it's making me feel pretty insecure and a little down in the dumps....even to the point where im getting a bit grumpy!!

I'm the one who makes most of the effort in the relationship. I'm the one who initiates the cuddles, buys her flowers every week, tries to woo her, initates intamacy (and gets nocked back regularly).

I've mentioned these issue's to her a few times in the past and she just says Im needy, and need to man up grow a pair!!

What should I do? Should I back right off?

LadyPeterWimsey Fri 22-Feb-13 12:38:49

It may be that you need to think a bit more about different ways to express love and affection. Have you heard of the five love languages? There's an article here:

personalitycafe.com/articles/112444-five-love-languages-explained.html

But basically it is a way of thinking about showing affection. I feel most loved when I hear words of affirmation but DH feels most love when shown acts of service. So it is more important to him that I make him a cup of tea than that I do the thing most natural to me which is to say something nice to him. And every time he goes to the shop to get something I really like even when it's horrible outside, I need to realise he is showing he loves me, even though I would naturally feel more loved if he told me how fabulous I am.

Oops! Just seen someone has already mentioned these earlier. Seriously, it is worth a go reading the link to try to find out what 'language' you both speak.

analogue Fri 22-Feb-13 12:27:02

No, this is sad
"to think I've been the one dishing out the love for so long"

Love isn't kisses and cuddles every five minutes. Love is completely different and you've got the wrong end of the stick completely if you think your wife doesn't love you because she doesn't comply with your idea of what love is.

analogue Fri 22-Feb-13 12:23:55

Okay, sounds a different scenario to mine and I understand why you are hurt but some people just aren't cuddlers and don't feel the need to show love through incessant cuddling, especially many years into a stable relationship. As I said above, I would probably hug my OH more spontaneously if the whole thing didn't feel so bloody oppressive and demanding. When I do hug him spontaneously he actually comments on it, which is even more annoying.

If my OH suddenly started giving me the cold shoulder I would wonder what was up too. It wouldn't make me want to start cuddling him out of nowhere though!

Does your wife show you affection and love in other ways? or is there just no spark anymore? Is she cold and distant or does she enjoy your company normally?

There is actually another thread on here about whether or not a marriage was sustainable if there was a meeting of minds and I think this is kind of relevant. I resent being forced to be unnaturally (to me) affectionate and it hurts my marriage, whereas we are fine in other ways.

chickenboy Fri 22-Feb-13 09:42:20

analogue, likewise, my wife could have wrote that!

A few years ago, we had some freinds who were really affectionate. My wife used to ask why were werent more "lovey dovey" like them.(even though we were very close, I then wasnt probably as affectionate). I made a concious effort to change for the better(or not), and show her more attention. For a while this was great, but now it seems to have backfired on me.
I wouldnt say I suffocete her with affection, I'm just the one who tends to give it, because I do love her a great deal.

I came to realise this morning though, since backing off and giving her space, that the affection really has been onesided. Since speaking to her and telling her how I feel, I've not had one cuddle!! But, she has asked me twice, what's wrong with me, because I've not been showing her as much attention!!! Do i really need to spell it out again??

It's quite sad really to think I've been the one dishing out the love for so long.....more fool me I suppose.....

analogue Fri 22-Feb-13 00:23:30

PS If my OH was more normal, my own natural affection would be able to shine through.

analogue Fri 22-Feb-13 00:21:34

For a moment I thought you were my OH, OP. But since my OH has NEVER bought me flowers, then I guess you're not.

My OH is suffocatingly affectionate and the more he demands hugs and kisses (ALL OF THE TIME), the more I get tired of it. It actually drives me nuts and whilst I am affectionate in the normal sense, I find myself never initiating hugs and kisses because I never get the chance, I have them forced out of me day and night and if I don't want to, I am the one with the problem.

I feel stressed out going to bed even, because he always wants to cuddle up and hug and I sometimes just want to be left the fuck alone. But if I complain, I am the one with the problem!!

I have always been the way I am and I have no desire to be more like him, to be honest. I have told him in moments of frustration that if he isn't getting what he needs, then I am not the wife for him. How depressing is that? But no - I am expected to change.

I totally get where your wife is coming from but I don;t know what to say to you because you obviously believe, as does my OH, that you're totally normal and entitled to have your OTT showers of affection welcomed and reciprocated on demand. You think your wife has the problem but maybe she doesn't?

Dottiespots Thu 21-Feb-13 23:41:15

Thats exactly what i said to do yesterday. grin

yes, chill. go with the flow. but she needs LOTS of space, not just a couple of hours. what might seem an eternity to you. bottom line is give her space until she feels she's had enough and she'll start coming to you. but if you never give her enough space to do that you're never going to solve this problem.

chickenboy, i don't think you need to be stand-offish. talk nicely etc. but just don't touch. and you need to do that for possibly weeks, not just one evening.

she's telling you you're being too overbearing. so look at your actions and try to see it from her perspective.

when someone tells you what they're like, the wisest thing is to LISTEN.

chickenboy Thu 21-Feb-13 11:03:37

update.....
I came home with the intent to be nice but not as "in her face" with cuddles etc... to be honest, I was probably slightly cold and standoffish. She asked me what was wrong so I told her how I felt, in the nicest possible way.....Not sure how she took it though? She didnt really say a great deal, other than I keep mentioning this problem and it never seems to go away..I pointed out I't wouldnt be an issue if she showed more affection.. She didnt seem overly cuddly this morning!!
One thing she did say though, was that one reason why she doesnt come to me for cuddles etc or initiate sex, is because I am sometimes overpowering seeking her attention, which never gives her a chance to get in first (so to speak). Its a bit of a vicious circle really because if she doesnt show me the attention, I crave it from her and make all the effort...

Maybe I should chill out, sit back, go with the flow and see what happens...

Dryjuice25 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:01:54

comparison*

Dryjuice25 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:56:49

carefulobserver I'm not going to apologise for the comparion with my ex although I concede that it's not clear to what extent I felt he was similar. Maybe I should have pointed out that ex bought flowers/chocolates/wine etcwhich was nice on the surface. But the reality was, it was palpable that he did expect the sex. He failed to see how other dynamics in our relationship affected my mood to be intimate with him and I was even more resentful because of this. This could be different for the Op but was meant to give him something to think about what else could possibly be the problem. My post was not meant to stick the knife in at all

thanks MNHQ - busy evening, eh?

Yeah cos it's so helpful and nice to advocate having an affair or sexually abusing your partner, isn't it? hmm

It's hard to know what to advise the OP because he's offering flowers and cuddles and trying to initiate sex and being knocked back but he hasn't said anything at all about the general day to day relationship. I think under the circumstances, the 'expecting sex' question is a reasonable one to ask because IME it's very common.

i think treating people with respect is always a good thing. and remain trustworthy, so think that affairs are just a crap idea.

i do think she needs space but not in the way you want to give space. i think you ignore her and back off totally and that isn't what is needed.

i think you need to get a life basically. if you have dc's this is a bit harder. you need to co-ordinate re childcare etc.

but how about your hobbies? start going out with friends, having a bit of fun. organise some social evenings out with your dw and your friends.

focus your attention less on your dw and more on YOUR life.

lifegetsbetter Wed 20-Feb-13 18:20:04

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Dryjuice25 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:10:22

carefulobserver I do have sympathy for the OP's situation. Of course Op didnt give any hints of being entitled. He sounds like a nice bloke who is desperate for love/affection from his wife.

I am only putting it out there awful as it is so the Op could pick and choose introspectively perhaps what is best helpful to his situation. We all don't have the full picture. And yes, some men do EXPECT to have sex with their wives and see it as a right and if denied, would cheat and blame the wife for it. Even you must know this happens. But I didn't say this was the case with the Op.

And if it was the op's wife who wrote the post, we might have a totally different angle/perspective to what exactly is the problem. For all we know, the wife might just have a very low sex drive/ depressed etc and her sex drive might have nothing to do with the op.

From what I have observed, I think the Op needs to find a way to communicate with the wife about this and to make sure he is heard before anything could change....or not.

Or you could just be grown up and non-gamesy and have a proper honest cards-on-the-table discussion.

Dottiespots Wed 20-Feb-13 17:52:09

Mmmmm......Yep....she is definately a bitch. She is taking you for granted, not seeing you as "a man". Sounds like she sees you too much as a brother type figure. Have you not had good sexual relations for a long time? Sometimes women and men need a bit of a wake up call and at the moment you are doing all the wrong things. Stop being so nice. Back off. Dont initiate conversation let her start it but be perfectly polite. Go out a bit and do your own thing. Let her wonder where you are and what your doing. Let her run after you and miss you. She needs to cover the distance between you herself and want to with you for the relationship to grow again. Whatever runs away from us we tend to run towards and what runs towards us we run away from. Its finding the balance.

lifegetsbetter Wed 20-Feb-13 17:38:17

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

What's the rest of her life like, chickenboy? Is she working? Do you have DC? How old? Does she have friends and family who she sees regularly? Go out much? Hobbies? Any health problems?

How about you?

chickenboy Wed 20-Feb-13 17:02:18

the thing is, i dont see myself as showering her with gifts, and smothering her etc.....I'm just a regular guy who loves his wife and likes showing her the feelings i have for her.

I feel she probably takes advantage of this, knowing I'll always pander to her?? I've asked her for more effort on her behalf but it doesnt seem to "sink in" or she takes it as an insult.
It does get to the point sometimes where I think I crave her attention.

I'm at the point now where I think I should totally back off and give her space.....maybe she will "miss" what she had?maybe not?? I dont know?
When I have backed off in the past, she asks me what is wrong? When I tell her, she just gets defensive.....

Needsomeperspective2 Wed 20-Feb-13 16:52:09

Your wife sounds a bit like how I feel about my DH at the moment. My DH is kind, generous, considerate, great with our dd, although I do tend to do more of the practical side of parenting, but not a huge amount more.

But......I do find myself resenting him and pushing him away, and I have found myself saying to my friends that I wish he would grow a pair and man up. For all his kindness etc he can't make a decision himself. He is very accepting of me, never complains, which in a round about way makes me feel like I need to test his boundaries, just how much will he put up with from me before he registers some action. A few months ago i stayed out with friends until 5am and he never even questioned where id been or why id been out so late! i know its not because he doesnt love me, but his complete willing acceptance of me has taken away me feeling like i need to make any effort. i know he'll still be around even if i make zero effort. I know I sound like a complete bitch btw!

As my dd has recent,y turned 6 and I am in my early thirties I have also started to feel like I need a life for myself again. I want to go out and have fun, go dancing with my girlfriends, pop to the pub if an evening maybe. But my DH just seems so boring, and content with the status quo. As much as I disagree with 99% of what lifegetsbetter said, I think for me I do need for my DH to give me a reason to care, give me a reason to think 'hold on, could I lose him?' Without that uncertainty I think relationships can become stagnant. There's a book I am just started reading called mating in captivity, it could be good for you to have a look at?

I would also second what an earlier poster said about being careful that your dw doesn't feel that any physical interaction has an underlying motive in leading to sex. Sometimes my DH makes me feel that I can't be at all affectionate as he will take it as an invitation, which then has to be rejected.

I think a full and frank discussion with your dw is the on,y way forward.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Feb-13 16:32:20

I think you're being taken for granted in a particularlyl cruel and nasty way OP. 'Man up and grow a pair' sounds like the reaction of someone who sees you purely as a sad sap, a thing of contempt and thinks they can talk to you any way they like and you'll still be there, like a faithful hound, asking for more punishment.

Not many happy options available to you from where you are now. Nothing more miserable than being in a one-sided relationship.

carefulobserver Wed 20-Feb-13 16:26:05

Oh, and by the way I think the comment about an ex husband feeling "entitled" to his ex wife's body was completely awful in this context. You have said nothing which makes me think you view her this way. It is normal to seek affection as well as sex in our romantic relationship and to wonder what we are doing wrong when we feel starved of one or both.

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