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DH shows no affection

(17 Posts)
MoreTeaVicar Mon 07-Feb-11 10:13:08

Am looking for a male perspective please. DH is never, ever, ever affectionate with me. I get a statutory kiss goodbye, hello, goodnight and nothing more. He knows I am not happy about it but he doesn't seem to care, no sex either.

He is controlling and sarcastic but that aside, he can be very nice, generous, good father. He has many qualities. Always blames me for everything if we have a discussion about state of our marriage and if I am unhappy then why don't I just leave. He is happy getting on with his life and seems not to be bothered (or can't deal with), me being unhappy. We have 2 DC and he is a great father.

I need some male perspective please on how to deal with DH as I really don't want to walk away and give up. Together over 20years and I look good, run the house and childcare well, he has no need to complain, at least he is not complaining.

Mymblesson Mon 07-Feb-11 16:40:53

I didn't want this to be an unanswered post, but I'm not quite sure what to say that will help.

It sounds to me like he's become disengaged from you to some extent and just lives with you as if you're a friend. How long has he been like this? Has he always had problems showing affection? Is he stressed at work etc?

ABZMike Tue 08-Feb-11 20:13:51

Has this been going this way for long?

Rather than having a conversation that starts of about the state of your marriage, can you try and ask if he is unhappy, or something particularly wrong with him? He might be feeling in a bit of a rut...

No great wisdom I'm afraid...

MoreTeaVicar Wed 09-Feb-11 10:27:57

Basically for 7 years sad. I had pnd and didnt always want sex but he never went without for more than 3 or 4 weeks. Was also on prozac which diminished libido. Told me a few years back that he woukdnt touch me again (he was hurt being rebuffed). Has stuck to his guns pretty well since then. Guess he must only have come near me around a dozen or so times and I have not refused him once. However, I have never initiated anything with him first as he was the one who took his love away and closed down and I cant see through that sad. Is this whats called revenge, come uppance?? Very sad, apart from that part of life we have it all.

ABZMike Wed 09-Feb-11 21:17:35

No expert on this, but would he consider any kind of counselling, or has he just written that part of your relationship off completely?

bobbyzee Thu 10-Feb-11 13:48:16

MTV - by your own admission you have never initiated anything with him. Perhaps now would be the time to do so?

When my first son was born my ex-wife suffered a little from PND and it was very hard for both of us (we were very young - 20 & 19). I didn't know what to do to make her feel better and being constantly rebuffed was soul destroying.

That said we worked through it and despite some extremely unhelpful interference from her mother we got things back on track.

You are obviously older and have endured this for 7 years, but perhaps you taking the initiative rather than expecting him to take the lead may break this negative cycle.

He may be depressed and as Mike suggested ^ some counselling may help (I know it helped me overcome some anger issues in my early 30s) but he has to choose to engage otherwise it is pointless. (To be honest my view on counselling was that if it was good enough for Tony Soprano it was good enough for me wink ).

Good luck.

Pan Fri 11-Feb-11 00:48:32

MTV - this sounds like a 'selfish, I ahve little respect for you' issue. Esp. the lack of understanding bit. And tbh I am doubting the 'good father' bit if he is showing such disregard and a utilitarian approach to you.

It sounds like he has taken all of the power in the relationship, comfortable in knowing you won't resist this. He does sound thoroughly dislikeable from your own account.

Is he depressed? Not in a million years.

Heroine Fri 11-Feb-11 01:05:48

Oh this is really sad - I feel for you. I can't give direct advice, but what I will say is that men are trained very young, sadly in my opinion, to learn the skill of supressing emotion to manage events - even some business text books advocate this and it does sound like he is afraid of the strength of the emotional wave that will happen if he starts to express the love he feels, the sense of abandonment and hopelessness he felt at you 'rejecting' (I ^know% you didn't but it might have felt like this). what feeds into this is that most 'male' problems are 'solved' by switching off emotions, concentrating on practicalities and soldiering on - your boss is a twat, suck it up, your wife hates you and secretly you wnat to cry? = soldier on and get the groceries, you are close to an emotional breakdown? fight through, you feel like your car hates you? - that is illogical captain ignore it and buy a new one... etc etc. which personally I feel is an awful world for men in an increasingly emotional world.

Because I work I also know about switching off the emotion for too long, but I think this is a) a holiday issue b) a serious relationship counselling issue and c) a hidden and agressively buried issue - he needs to feel safe to allow things to bubble out, but he daren't because when he wanted you, you were (reasonably) unavailable and his deep reaction is still not addressed.

He might be controlling and flawed and have forgotten your powerful love for each other, and it might be hard work to recover it, but he needs to get himself back before he can reach out to you - I know that male friends I have just don't work like we do - we gain strength for being nice to other people before ourselves, men are wondrful when they feel them selves and are secure first.

Also, again from really close relationshipos with some male friends that contrary to popular opinion they get very damaged if they feel love and approval has died - even temporarily and are very sensitive for a long time - I know you are not to blame, but this is an emotional reaction that can't work out blame - some guys I know are single ten years after a 'love of their life' left them - not because they are not attracive and attracted but because they are afraid of the long hurt.

I don't know if this has helped and that you understand i am trying tp use emotional understanding to try to deal with something that is also practical so if I am wrong or misguided I hope others can help - love and approval is so important even if 'on paper' you can get through life without it.

Heroine Fri 11-Feb-11 01:08:49

Also it really sounds like he is depressed that he is not the rock he wants to be for you 'Why don't you leave' is part of this and don't discount that he feels depressed.

Pan Fri 11-Feb-11 01:17:05

heroine - he doesn't 'want to be a rock' for her at all. No evidence of that - just fanciful thinking.

Is probably aping behaviour of his own father, or mother, wit hno motivation or commitment to the relationship to change anything.

this is making you miserable, MTV, as you s odescribe. You can't rely on him to make you feel better about himself or you. It's def. a rspect issue, amongst other things.

eeore Sat 12-Feb-11 00:00:58

When you say "apart from that part of life we have it all." part of me is tempted to say well what are you moaning about?

Also alarm bells ring with statements like, "he never went without" and "I have not refused him once".

Does he tell you he loves you?

Does he mean it?

I don't mean in the Jackie sense. Though maybe I do, because I wonder what it is that you want.

"I look good, run the house and childcare well"

Everything appears to be about externals... the Special K lifestyle for want of a better term.

And forgive me for another observation, but it strikes me that women who post on dadsnet asking these sort of questions, are essentially asking, "why isn't my husband the unthinking beast that Angela Carter/Charlotte/Emily Bronte warned me about?"

Have you considered the grief that it caused him to see you going through/suffering with pnd - no blame or guilt in that question.

But honestly have you?

As a long term depressive I understand the joy of the illness, the isolation, the happiness of getting through to the end of another day - and also the guilt of watching days turn into months and months into decades.

The fact is he has stood by you - and despite the challenge of "if you are unhappy then leave", you have stood by him.

There must be something between you to last 20 years.

On a partially related issue, have you thought about taking up a hobby, that really gives you pleasure?

It may just be that when you have more confidence, that you will drop 'the face'.

eeore Sat 12-Feb-11 01:01:43


You are a very wise and compassionate person.

biryani Sat 12-Feb-11 20:05:01

You need to decide what your priorities are. You have stood by him-and him by you-for 20 years, so there must have been something good between you once. What has changed since then? Have you spoken to friends about your relationship and if so, what have they said? Are you perhaps too embarrassed to admit that your sex life is nonexistent? I am! Is there a part of you that wants to hang on to the "Special K" element of your relationship come what may to save face? I'm in a similar situation to you and I have finally admitted to myself that I have the power to change things if I want to, and by making small, everyday changes (such as taking up a hobby, joining a class etc) I can make a difference to my life regardless of DP's attitude towards me. Also, you are trying very hard to live up to your own expectations and although you say DH doesn't complain, I suspect you wish he would show more appreciation and resent the fact that he doesn't.

SilkySilky Thu 28-Jul-11 23:17:10

Bloke needs a kick up the Jacksie. Organise a night out for 2 and spice things up. If he cheers up then whole family benefits.

ineedabodytransplant Wed 10-Aug-11 16:21:48

Silky, when a relationship is like this I think it needs so much more than a night out for 2. Just my opinion, of course.

We were married for 35 years! I was 19, she was 17 when we married. No sexual intimancy for the last 12-13 years. Her choice, not mine I assure you. Tried all the dating nights, gestures, romantic holidays, backing off etc. None of it worked. We have recently decided to go our separate ways.

I am 54 now so guess it's all over for me(and I am not looking for sympathy I assure you on that), but at least I don't get rebuffed now. Hopefully the OP is younger, can either get her marriage back on track or call it a day and have a life.

eeore Tue 16-Aug-11 01:20:48

ineedabodytransplant Silky is just being a misadrist, I shouldn't worry about it.

confidence Sat 03-Sep-11 00:22:57

MTV, this really struck a chord for me:

I had pnd and didnt always want sex but he never went without for more than 3 or 4 weeks. Was also on prozac which diminished libido. Told me a few years back that he woukdnt touch me again (he was hurt being rebuffed). Has stuck to his guns pretty well since then. Guess he must only have come near me around a dozen or so times and I have not refused him once. However, I have never initiated anything with him first as he was the one who took his love away and closed down and I cant see through that.

It sounds like he perceives that you were the one who "took your love away and closed down", by reducing your sex life and rebuffing him. I'm not saying that's how it is, just that people in a relationship can perceive these things very differently from each other. It can be so difficult after childbirth because all the little routines and patterns that a couple know about each other get thrown up in the air. If there's a period of no or not much sex, it can be really hard to get back to feeling easy and spontaneous about who initiates what, under what circumstances you can push, how to read what the other really wants etc. etc.

But if his experience is anything like mine, I think the main thing could be an issue of change in what sex represents, and the power dynamics around it. I say this because you say he "never had to go without..." and it sounds very much like sex became something you gave him, or did FOR him, rather than something that served your own pleasure just as well.

This may not be your fault - it may even be his. But the point is it changes EVERYTHING. When two people have sex because the both want to HAVE SEX, and they are both satisfied by it, then it is a closed episode and neither "owes" the other anything. When they have sex because one wants it and the other is "prepared to give it", then it potentially isn't. A huge bloody great question mark can develop around what exactly they're giving it for, what they expect in return etc. etc.

This can unfortunately make a man feel like sex is the payment he gets for being a good little husband and meeting at least some of the extra expectations that come from having a family. Which, regardless of whether it's justified or which party is responsible, can be a HUGE turn-off. What was once a mutually satisfying shared experience is now a contract he finds himself signed up to, without knowing exactly what price he's agreed to pay for it. And he can respond by effectively saying "fuck you, you can keep your sex".

That's a bit how it was for us, anyway, although thankfully we found our way back from there. YMMV.

[NB: I have to say, I reckon if he can't go 3 or 4 weeks without taking it personally, he's got a pretty woeful idea of the realities of family and child rearing. But that's probably not the point, the point is how it felt from his POV. Probably depends how long it went on like that for, too.]

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