Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

lovely but unaffectionate DP

(101 Posts)
zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 12:28:34

That's it really; I have been with my lovely DP for two years. We don't live together but we see each other three or four times a week. He is thoughtful, unselfish, caring, funny, kind to my dcs etc but physically unaffectionate.

The only time he shows any affection is when we're in bed and he wants sex. Otherwise it's a peck on the lips when we meet and another peck when he leaves. He wouldn't think to hold hands with me when we're walking along or snuggle up to me when we're on the sofa or anything like that. If I hold his hand when we're out (or in for that matter) it just doesn't feel right because he clearly isn't comfortable.

As he's so lovely in other ways I've overlooked it but recently it's become more and more of an issue with me as I love handholding, hugging and all that stuff. I've mentioned it a couple of times and he says he loves me ;it's just the way he is and that he does "try" confused but he's just not affectionate.

I don't want to make a huge issue of it because I think then it would all become a bit forced and I wouldn't want to hurt him. However I am beginning to feel very resentful and almost tearful about it because I don't think he'll change and I wouldn't want to separate

Has anyone any experience of this/suggestions? I've never had unaffectionate dps/boyfriends and I've no idea how to deal with it tbh.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 12:38:05

I think you have to overcome your fear of hurting his feelings and explain just how important physical affection is to you. Explain that you feel rejected by all this cold-shouldering. If he makes more of an effort in order to please you (and he could very easily do that) that would be a positive outcome. If still brushes you off with 'it's just the way I am' then I think you have to accept that no matter how thoughtful, funny and kind he is you're simply not compatible. No-one's perfect but if there's something very important on which you don't agree, then that's a 'deal-breaker'.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 12:41:00

Thanks Cogito; I think you're right; perhaps that's why I'm reticent to really frankly tell him it's making me feel quite miserable sad

FlojoHoHoHo Thu 06-Dec-12 12:46:08

When u do see him 3 or 4 times a wk, what do u do together?
Don't u put a film on and snuggle up on the sofa etc? Or does he just back away when u do?

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 12:50:15

You have stressed all along how lovely he is, so does it really matter if he's not hugely demonstrative with a cuddle? Also, my DH was like this and it bugged the hell out of me but over time it changed when we married etc. And there are times when he's hugely demonstrative and always at exactly the right moment. I would not tackle your dp about it just now if he's doing everything else right.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 12:54:49

He comes to mine for dinner, chats with me and the dcs, does odd things around the house, helps them with anything I struggle with (maths for 11 year olds, anyone?) Reads the papers with me, surfs the net with me, just companionable stuff. He's very easy company. Sometimes we watch a dvd. I snuggle up to him and he rolls his eyes in a jokey manner as though I'm some over-affectionate labrador.

I used to find it quite funny, but now it grates

We go out once or twice a week, usually for a meal alone or with friends, all of whom think he's lovely. when we're out he's really attentive, but he just doesn't touch me volutarily.

I've asked him if he likes me touching him and he says he does. confused

FlojoHoHoHo Thu 06-Dec-12 12:58:37

Ummm how about buying aromatherapy kit for Xmas for him? Candles, massage oils etc?
Is he affectionate in bed? Or is it a quick, needs must occasion?

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 12:59:19

Yes Lookbehind; twice when I've been in tears over different things he's hugged me and he has always been there for me if I've needed him but I'm not sure he's going to change, or even if I should be trying to make him change.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:01:12

he's not great in bed, if I'm honest. Again feels all abit one sided

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:01:36

Some people are just not comfortable with this type of intimacy. I'm rather the same. I don't like my "space" being invaded.

If it's something that you really need and can't compromise on then maybe he's not the one for you.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:03:02

It just seems such a shame as otherwise he's great.

GordonIsAMor0n Thu 06-Dec-12 13:03:13

Sounds like it is 'just the way he is' although this of course doesn't mean you have to accept this for yourself!

What is he like in bed? As in, afterwards? Does he cuddle you then?

I wouldn't say that my boyfriend is massively demonstrative... although he holds my hand/cuddles me/strokes my leg when we are sat on the sofa watching a DVD and he likes me to link arms with him when we are out and about - although is not big on hand holding. So... not as perfect as i'd like but then...who is?

I think you need to look at this as a 'package'... what does he bring to your life? Are you happy with him? Does he tell you he loves you?

Oh and ask him why he is uncomfortable with it. What is the reason? This may help if you know

Pickles77 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:04:19

I'm sorry to say this sounds like
An ex of mine. Eventually it grated on me so much I became really bitter about it.. I felt almost rejected- it did split us up as I'm very affectionate

GordonIsAMor0n Thu 06-Dec-12 13:04:23

Sorry - X post.

I am thinking he is just not a demonstrative 'sensual' person. Probably rooted in his upbringing somewhere along the line

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 06-Dec-12 13:04:52

What do you get out of this relationship now on an emotional level?.

He sounds to me more like a friend than a lover.

What is his relationship history like?.

Such emotionally unavailable men do not change.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:05:43

I've asked him why he's uncomfortable with it; he says he's just not used to it; he says his ex was never affectionate towards him. I wonder if he liked it that way.

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:10:17

Well the friendly behaviour rather than lover behaviour would bug me and I wouldn't like that. I guess if you have dc it would be hard to switch things round to dating more. Maybe unintentionally this has become a bit homey rather than a relationship?

FlojoHoHoHo Thu 06-Dec-12 13:10:29

If you've asked him why hes uncomfortable, then presumably he knows u want more affection than he's been giving so far, and still hasn't made an effort? That doesn't sound good. It sounds like he isn't taking your feelings in to consideration. Being lovely in a practical sense is one thing but being emotionally there is another.

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:11:48

Fine if he's not used to it but it has to start somewhere. I don't really buy that excuse. Is he improving at all?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 13:11:49

'The ex' is a rubbish excuse. If you were to move onto another boyfriend tomorrow you wouldn't suddenly be undemonstrative just because he'd been that way with you. I think when he originally said 'it's the way I am' you should take that on face value. He's totally uncomfortable with physical intimacy and ... sadly for you.... takes no pleasure in it and doesn't think it's necessary except as a precursor to sex. As I said upthread, he could really easily be more demonstrative if he wanted to be. He's choosing to be the way he is.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:11:52

I wouldn't class it as being emotionally unavailable at all. I'm very affectionate in other ways. Just because I don't want to lie on someone whilst watching the telly, kiss people when they want to kiss me, hold hands etc. doesn't mean I can't have an intimate relationship.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:12:06

Oh and I'm female by the way.

FlojoHoHoHo Thu 06-Dec-12 13:15:23

clipped but if u knew it was important to your DP you'd do it right? Or at least make smaller changes in the right direction over time til u got used to it?

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:15:45

Thanks for all your replies.

I have said to him that anyone seeing us would think we were friends not lovers; he seemed quite shocked by it and said that as far as he was concerned he was in an loving relationship but that was a while ago and he hasn't changed.

I've raised it a few times since and he just says the same; that he loves me, fancies me etc but that he's quite a private reserved person and is not used to showing affection. There's a kind of "this is the way I am" about him.

A while back he said he'd try and he was affectionate for a day and that we should keep talking and listening (his words) to each other which was lovely but he's back to" normal" now.

should it be this difficult??

He's in his forties, in a very demanding job, has no dcs and his last relationship ended after 7 years because his ex saw no future with him..

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:17:56

Uh oh...

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: