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.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:20:20

I'm not sure he is emotionally unavailable tbh; I think he finds it hard to express his feelings but if pushed he does.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:21:51

Some people are just not demonstrative by action.

Flojo - I suppose I would try to give it a go but would probably feel very pessurised. I have been with very affectionate, kissy, cuddly men and found it all a bit suffolcating to be honest.

Mind you, I've just scrolled back up and the OP has said he's not very good in bed now that's a different kettle of fish. I am very kissy and cuddly in the sack.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:23:23


LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:25:52

My 'uh oh' was maybe a bit harsh. Perhaps there was no future with the ex because he didn't want that kind of set up with her. Doesn't mean he won't want it for you. I personally would be wary of him coming and sitting round talking to the kids etc. Nice, but a bit of a samey pattern. I would invite him for dinner and dinner only and dress up. I don't think 'hard to express feelings' is deal breaker if he's trying to. Why don't you live together?

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:29:20

Does he make you laugh op, do you get off on each others sense of humour? Now to me that's an important part of a relationship.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:29:33

I don't know; the dcs are part of my life and I don't see the harm in them chatting to him. They've got a dad and are comfortable with the set up.

We often go away for weekends when the kids are with their dad -I'm wined and dined to with in an inch of my life - just no handholding over the table, etc

I'm sounding like a stuck record now!

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:30:20

yes he does make me laugh; that would be a real deal breaker for me if he didn't

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:31:32

Well then, it all sounds pretty good. Do you think you could be a bit more directive with what you like in bed?

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 13:33:31

No one's perfect OP really. The sex thing sounds a bit hmm though

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:33:46

Why don't we live together? We've discussed this. I'm not sure it would work; he would find the dcs difficult on a full time basis and I would find it difficult that he would find it difficult , IYSWIM. We haven't ruled out us moving in together when they are older . Ideally, I'd like him next door...

badinage Thu 06-Dec-12 13:34:23

If good sex and affection are important to you OP, why the hell are you staying with a man who offers neither? confused

I'll never understand why women want relationships with men who can't even meet their basic requirements....

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:37:02

blimey Bandinage, it's not that black and white. Love, loyalty, humour, support , company, shared interests are pretty important too.

dreamingbohemian Thu 06-Dec-12 13:41:03

I don't think people should be forced to be more affectionate if that's not the way they are, but I do think in that case they should probably try to partner up with someone who does not mind not getting that kind of affection.

There have been a few threads on this lately, from people who are married to men who are not affectionate enough -- maybe have a read of some of them, zookeeper, and think about whether you want to be in their position down the road?

Do you want to still be longing for cuddling and decent sex after 10 years?

Maybe he's reserved. Or maybe he's just emotionally selfish (that would also explain the bad sex).

I personally think that no matter how lovely someone is, if you are not compatible when it comes to sex and affection, you are just setting yourself up for long-term resentment and unhappiness.

I would also assume that if he's in his 40s he is not going to change.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 06-Dec-12 13:41:08

Do your children actually like him or do they like him primarily because they like to see you as their Mum happy with her man?.

He still sounds more like a friend than a lover (hence my emotionally unavailable comment. Also he being really affectionate only when he wants sex is also why I mentioned that).

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 13:41:25

It's frustrating when someone is ticking 90% of the boxes to realise that the final 10% is always going to be out of reach. Then you're in the dilemma of whether the missing 10% is really worth getting worked up about or not. In your case, sadly, I think it is. People rarely change - especially when they don't think they have a problem and have told you they're not going to change - and you can waste an awful lot of time 'wishing and hoping and thinking and praying' as the late great Dusty Springfield once put it. You've already invested 2 years being treated like a china doll rather than a woman....

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:44:49

I agree that love, loyalty, support and shared interests are important.

ethelb Thu 06-Dec-12 13:44:59

I'm not an affectionate person myself but MY DP is (the irony) and I do have to make an effort. But i do make that effort as I realise what a big deal that is to him. We talk quite openly about our different needs.

I would be quite offended about all of these pseudo psycoanalysies about the cause of my lack of affection though. Maybe he is just like that.

dreamingbohemian Thu 06-Dec-12 13:45:08


The thing is, OP, you can get love, loyalty, humour, etc., AND good sex and affection. But not if you stay with this man.

dreamingbohemian Thu 06-Dec-12 13:47:27

I have to say, I'm a bit creeped out by your saying that he's only affectionate when he wants sex.

And then he's one-sided when you do have sex. That doesn't sound very loving or caring to me.

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:48:33

All of these comments have really made me think; I wonder if I'm scared of the alternative, which is being a lone mum in her late forties.You don't get any affection then! Life was lonely without him and quite hard.

I don't have - and nor am I likely to have - a queue of men banging at my door - affectionate or otherwise .

zookeeper Thu 06-Dec-12 13:50:32

I have to say he's not creepy in any way Dreaming hmm

LookBehindYou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:52:58

Do you love him OP and is this a deal breaker for YOU? If not, I would continue having a lovely time with this guy and appreciating all the good things about him.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 14:09:59

Your last post suggests you are "settling" OP. Don't do that.

badinage Thu 06-Dec-12 14:12:52

You can get love, loyalty, humour, support , company, shared interests from a friend. You might even get affection. But sex and sexual affection are usually the definining characteristics of a couple relationship. It's fine if neither of those things are important to a couple, but in your case they are.

It's sounding more like 'he's a man and he's interested, I want to be in a relationship - so he'll do'

For an affectionate woman who likes sex, no affection and bad sex is much worse than not having a man at all.

dreamingbohemian Thu 06-Dec-12 15:16:01

I didn't say he was creepy (how would I know?) I just find the idea of a man withholding affection except when he wants sex to be, well, kind of manipulative in a way that creeps me out.

I think in the end it just depends on how badly you don't want to be alone. Personally, I have been alone and I've been in unsatisfying relationships, and I would rather be alone. At least then you can still find companionship and fun with friends and do whatever you feel like doing. Whereas constantly feeling like your partner doesn't care enough for you can really eat away at you.

But who knows, maybe with time you will just get used to it. Only you know how much you can handle.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

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

Register now