When you've come to the realization that there’s a problem in your relationship and think, “my husband isn't affectionate anymore,” it may seem like it happened all of a sudden. Most likely, however, the affection has been disappearing slowly for quite a while.
Relationships rarely change overnight -- they change slowly over time. This slow change, rather than sudden, can make it very hard to see it happening. Physical intimacy like daily kisses turn into every few days, hugs happen only when forced, and even sex becomes less and less regular. Most of the time wives don't notice that their husband isn't affectionate anymore until the caring is really, really gone.
How The Affection Can Disappear
Sometimes we have a sense that things aren't quite right, but with the busyness of life we often don't pause long enough to really think about it. There's also a part of us that doesn't really want to know or face the painful reality that the affection from our partner is gone. After all, if it's true, what does that mean for the future of our relationship?
Despite how hard and painful it can be, at some point we have to look back and realize things are different. Sadly this reflection is often forced on us by a traumatic event, such as discovering text messages to another woman on his phone, or porn sites on his laptop, or that he's hiding getting drunk (all real-life examples of problems from my marriage counseling). Only then do we start to recognize we don't have sex as frequently as we used to, or he never touches you any more, or you can't remember the last time he said anything nice about you.
Here's a letter from a wife who's starting to become aware of the changes in the affection from her husband:
I'm so confused... my husband isn't affectionate towards me anymore... he cares for me like he cares for his family, but does not love me... He is always happy when he goes out with his friends, but when he goes out with me he always says "lets go home," "I'm tired" or keeps watching the time and I never see a single genuine smile at me. At night, he always wakes up for his friends or for his work for ungodly hours, but when he is free he always sleeps late. He doesn’t want to just sit and talk to me, or cuddle with me and sleep together. Our sex life is also nonexistent. Why isn't my husband affectionate? I don't know whether its true or not, but I think he doesn’t love me. I don't know what I did wrong. How can I make it right because I want this marriage to work? I love him and I cant live without him" –Therese
Why Your Husband Isn’t Affectionate Anymore
There can be many reasons why Therese's husband isn't affectionate anymore and not all of them are bad or are solely about him. Relationships naturally move through stages. Moving out of the honeymoon stage when our partner and intimacy is all we can think about happens to everyone and is normal and okay.
Children and family can also be a big factor. When we have kids the affection lessens as the demands of childcare become consuming. Add to that work and household duties and suddenly time is at a premium, communication suffers, and the priority on affection disappears. Those work and financial stressors can also emotionally drain us and leave little left to give to our partner in the affection department. It's easy for any of us to take the relationship and our partner for granted as other things demand our attention.
When a husband isn't affectionate anymore wives have to be careful not to immediately put the fault all on him. It's very possible that they've unintentionally contributed to his loss of interest. Common explanations I hear from men as to why they're not interested in their partner, even sexually and while they still like and want to have sex, can be her:
- Demeaning comments and criticisms.
- Never being able to please her.
- Her lack of attentiveness to her appearance.
Attraction and physical affection go hand-in-hand, and in order to maintain that affection both partners need to care enough to take care of themselves and their appearance. It's also possible that he's showing you affection in different ways that you just don't recognize.
There can also be some troubling reasons for the loss of affection that men are responsible for too.
- The most common one women jump to is that he's cheating, and that can certainly be a possibility. Maybe he's not cheating yet, but interest in someone else can cause him to be distracted and stop showing affection for you. It’s important, however, not to jump to conclusions or hurl accusations that have no proof. If you suspect your husband is cheating there are signs beyond lack of affection, and you’ll need to find a way to address your concerns in a productive way.
- He also could be watching porn. Unfortunately, if things are difficult in your relationship and the physical affection is missing, many men turn to porn as a way to find sexual satisfaction. This is a dangerous pathway for anyone to go down as porn will exacerbate current problems and create many more of it’s own.
- Still other men may become obsessed with a hobby, such as gaming or golf.
- Or other men, sadly, could be abusing alcohol or drugs.
- It’s even true that many men are depressed and don't know it and this can cause a loss of affection. All of these things can cause men to lose interest in their partners.
The good thing about realizing that your husband isn't affectionate anymore is that it can be fixed. Any of the contributing causes above can be stopped, changed and the damage repaired. If you've lost the affection from your partner, don't jump to the conclusion that the relationship must be dead, first focus on learning why and how you can change it.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published Jan 10, 2015 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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