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A marriage lacking intimacy

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 1, 2009 09:52 AM

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Darling if you want me to be ... closer to you ... get closer to me ...

Q: My husband and I have been married for 17 years and we have four children. We met in college and married a few years later. For the most part, our marriage has been a happy one. But one aspect that has been lacking is the intimacy. I don't mean sexual intimacy, but romantic intimacy. Is this something that women need or crave more than men? My husband is not the type to display physical affection (other than sex), even when we are alone (i.e., hold my hand, put his arm around me, rub my back, gaze into my eyes, etc.) His own father is very similar in showing little emotion, so I'm sure some of it comes from growing up observing him. My husband doesn't plan dates -- I'm the one who has find the time, call a sitter, rent a movie, buy some wine, etc. I often find myself watching other couples out in public who look like they are totally enraptured with one another and wishing I felt that way more often, too. However, I often overlook this need of mine because my husband is an excellent father, helps around the house, has a steady job, and is a very social, likeable guy with many friends. I've tried to bring it up before, but it is difficult to tell your partner that you need them to be more romantic. When I say something, he might make an effort with one or two small things, but then that's it. I try to do romantic things for him thinking that might show him what I want, but it doesn't seem to work. Any insights on this? Thank you.

-- Craving Intimacy, Worcester

A: CI, a question: When you plan these dates, does he play along? Does he have a good time?

It sounds like the lack of petting and purring in your marriage isn’t about the 17 years or the four kids. He’s just not a cuddly guy. I’m not scolding you for having needs, but I am saying that your expectations should remain in check. If your husband grew up in a hands-off household and he's never been one for hand-holding, you can’t expect miracles now.

And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but many of the couples you see – the ones who are “enraptured” – have other problems.

The best thing you can do is ask for what you want -- in moderation without being critical. I know you want your husband to be instinctually, proactively romantic, but it doesn’t always work that way. You might have to say, “Mind if we cuddle?” or “Want to have dinner just you and I?”

Also consider that his idea of romance is different than yours. Maybe he doesn’t want wine. Maybe he’d prefer a night of beer and movies or mini-golf and ice cream.

If all else fails, please, have the honest talk. Tell him you feel lonely within the marriage and that you’d love to connect on a deeper level. Tell him that connection doesn’t have to come from gazing and spooning. He might be more open to the concept if it didn’t put him on the spot to plan a date night.

Readers? How can CI get the intimacy she needs? After 17 years, does date night do the trick? Share your thoughts here. Submit a letter to the right.

-- Meredith

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122 comments so far...
  1. So many people write into this column wishing for perfection....it really gets annoying...

    Seems like you want what you DON'T have moreso than what you DO have. You mention great qualities about him, yet your problem is the one thing he doesn't do. Try focusing on what you DO have instead of being spoiled.

    Think of it this way - if he was very romantic, but a poor father - you would be writing in to complain about that....I can almost guarantee it, even though I don't know you. The reason I have confidence in that statement - you are making speculations about other people you don't know that they are so romantic because you saw them out one time...yet you fail to paint the rest of the picture of what could be going on behind the scenes - as Meredith suggests...

    Are you so perfect that he has no complaints about you? I highly doubt it...

    Get over yourself and start complimenting him / focusing more on the great things he does brings to the table, and you may find the romanticism was lost by you instead of him...

    Posted by spaceman June 1, 09 10:36 AM
  1. I think Mere got this one right at the get go. Not everyone has the same level of romance especially with all the things that life puts in the way like work, kids, chores, etc. And yes I think men are less interested in "romance" than women, are there any men on the T reading Harlequin romance novels? It sounds like you have a good thing and if you want more romantic times it is not wrong for you to make it happen if he won't.

    Posted by techdood June 1, 09 10:37 AM
  1. What terrible times we live in and treacherous troubles we encounter – Oh the hardships we must endure. Pull up a cushion baby, grab the remote darling, pass the Tostitos baby cakes and to top it off break some nasty wind sweet cupcake. If you can’t change him, join him.

    Posted by Hoss June 1, 09 10:43 AM
  1. Your quote: “it is difficult to tell your partner that you need them to be more romantic.”

    My response: No, no it isn’t. You’ve known him for 20+ years, been married for 17 years, if you don’t feel comfortable enough to have an honest conversation about needs and preferences with him, then perhaps it’s time to start. The guy’s got too much time on the job to have to be a mind reader.

    Your quote: “When I say something, he might make an effort with one or two small things, but then that's it.”

    My response: Do you verbally praise him for his acts? Do you reward him physically? If not, then he figures it was unappreciated or not necessary and stops. Look, that’s how guys function. If we do something special or put in some extra effort and it appears to be naught, then it generally won’t get repeated.

    Your quote: “I try to do romantic things for him thinking that might show him what I want, but it doesn't seem to work.”

    My response: There is no way this will work. Women doing romantic things for a guy won’t in any way make him think “Hey, I need to light some candles and scatter rose petals on top of the comforter.” It just won’t. I would guess that he doesn’t *need* romantic gestures on your part. Not saying you shouldn’t do them if you want, but it’s just not a need.

    My summary: Most importantly, it sounds like you’re nitpicking. This goes back to the ‘Mr. Right” nonsense from last week. Everyone CANNOT be everything to their spouse/lover. This guy sounds like a good husband, father, friend, and person. So he’s not all lovey dovey and touchy feely, big deal. I’m sorry, but if this bothers you enough after 20+ years, then I have to think something else is going on and you’re using this as a way of coming at him, or maybe you’re just being selfish. In either case, stop trying to change the guy and enjoy your life.

    In the grand scheme of your life together, is this really worthy of a fuss? Worthy of writing into a public forum for advice? If I were him, I'd think it was absurd that you did this rather than telling me directly how you feel.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss June 1, 09 10:47 AM
  1. Why not take turns creating a romantic night out each month. One month, you do all the planning and the next month, he does the planning (babysitter, reservations, etc). But that still doesn't fill in the other days of the month, does it?
    Depending on the ages of your children, can you two find an hour a day or every other day for just the two of you to be alone in the house somewhere without disruption? Can the older children take care of the younger ones while you and hubby have a drink on the patio and watch the sunset together, unwind from your day? It's important that your children understand your need for "mommy and daddy" time. Work with him to make time for the two of you, even if you have to schedule it.
    My father had a similar problem with my mother. He was more passionate, touchy-feely and my mom was cool, unaffectionate, but a devoted wife and mother. It bothered him until the day he died, but I know he loved my mom and no one else.

    Posted by exvermonter June 1, 09 10:47 AM
  1. Ah, the intimacy gender gap. We women think that by SHOWING a man some romance/affection, he will think, "Gosh, I bet that's what she wants. I will reciprocate." The reality is that men think, "Wow, this is great! I wish she would do more."

    And the whole date thing, we think that men don't enjoy the nights out we plan, when the truth is, they are happy (happy, I tell you!) to be doing something with us that they know we will like, because we organized it (in my relationship we worked this out as, I come up with the date night activity, he pays for it, we both enjoy ourselves).

    We (women) must TELL, not just show, a man what we want. "Honey, I want you to hold my hand when we walk down the street, like this." And then take his hand. “I would really like it if you’d do that.”

    It takes a long time to work out the give and take of a relationship, and kudos to you for the length of your marriage and the children produced within it. This kind of intimacy change takes a long time to take hold, and you can’t just let it go if you say something, he does it for a week, then lapses. That’s human nature. If you want what you want, don’t be afraid to remind him/bring it up in a what that isn’t accusatory. Especially if that isn’t his family history, that’s a lot of behavior change; you’re not asking him to do something new, you’re asking him to do something different.

    Be patient with him, and yourself, and don’t feel like what you want is wrong, or a burden to him, or not worth the effort. Won’t it be wonderful if you are consistent with communication your desires, and it brings to your marriage a level of intimacy that makes you happy!

    Posted by Carolyn June 1, 09 10:50 AM
  1. Hey...I think we're married to the same guy!! LOL. My husband is the same way. Its just not in his nature. I have to pretty much tell him " will you hold my hand?" "do you think we could cuddle for a few minutes while we watch this show?" Or I have to grab his hand myself. Its not painful for him. He likes to cuddle, it just isn't his thing to initiate it. In return for this little blip, I get a fabulous guy who works hard, does the dishes, is a great father, funny, insightful, smart and a partner in every way I could imagine. I'm sure, if you asked him, theres something about me that he wishes I would do for him without having to be asked or reminded. No one is perfect.

    Posted by Suz June 1, 09 10:55 AM
  1. My sympathies go out to your husband. A couple of decades of being a good provider, husband, father, etc., and this is what he gets?!? He doesn't hold your hand or do stuff you see on soap operas or read about in fairy tales or trashy novels? For the love of all things holy, you need to get some perspective, get a hobby, or both. Get off his back.

    Posted by Valerie June 1, 09 10:58 AM
  1. Admit it, you've let yourself go over the years.

    Posted by Another Hoss June 1, 09 11:00 AM
  1. I am very angry against all these women who are not satisfied with their husband but who continue to be married .

    Money , husband , hapiness . What else !

    Posted by careme June 1, 09 11:00 AM
  1. I am very angry against all these women who are not satisfied with their husband but who continue to be married .

    Money , husband , hapiness . What else !

    Posted by careme June 1, 09 11:02 AM
  1. Ahhhh...the old "romance" issue. The old "knight in shining armor on a white horse coming to sweep you off your feet" issue. This is an old issue that has perplexed men (and some women) for eons. Craving is likely one of those women who, no matter what, will never be happy or satisfied with her life. I can almost guarantee that within a couple of years she will turn to someone else with the idea that she can get these "romantic" moments that her husband supposedly denies her. It will end badly when she discovers that the romance ends when the fling turns physical.
    This one is way too easy to read.

    Posted by DrK June 1, 09 11:08 AM
  1. The Husband Store
    A store that sells husbands has just opened in New
    York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband.
    Among the instructions at the entrance is a
    description of how the store operates. You may visit
    the store ONLY ONCE!
    There are six floors and the attributes of the men
    increase as the shopper ascends the flights. There is,
    however, a catch . . .... you may choose any man from
    a particular floor, or you may choose to go up a
    floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the
    So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a

    On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1
    - These men have jobs and love the Lord.
    The second floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men have
    jobs, love the Lord, and love kids.
    The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men have
    jobs, love the Lord, love kids, and are extremely good
    looking. "Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to
    keep going.
    She goes to the fourth floor and sign reads: Floor 4 -
    These men have jobs, love the Lord, love kids, are
    drop- dead good looking and help with the housework
    "Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!"

    Still, she goes to the fifth floor and sign reads:
    Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love the Lord, love
    kids, are drop- dead gorgeous, help with the
    housework, and have a strong romantic streak.
    She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth
    floor and the sign reads:
    Floor 6 - You are visitor 4,363,012 to this floor.
    There are no men on this floor. This floor exists
    solely as proof that women are impossible to please!
    Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
    Watch your step as you exit the building, and have a
    nice day!

    Posted by Lenzman June 1, 09 11:15 AM
  1. Tell him seriously that you need this...men are oblivious and im sure he thinks everything is fine and that he is doing everything he is supposed to be...communicate it so you are sure he understands exactly what you need..and what you mean...

    Posted by JCOUR382 June 1, 09 11:20 AM
  1. 7-year-itch or 17-year-itch or mid-life-crisis ?
    you are not alone.Sometimes couples turn to a marriage counselor. Others turn to “self-help” websites like www.SelfGrowth.com. Truth is, much of what you need to learn can be self-taught. You can learn to do what you have to do to make your relationship work by reading what others, have already discovered.

    Posted by Marilyn June 1, 09 11:22 AM
  1. Oh....and by the way,
    To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.

    The first floor has wives that love sex.

    The second floor has wives that love sex and have money.

    The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

    Posted by Lenzman June 1, 09 11:22 AM
  1. Sounds like he's suffering from depression. Tell him to make an appointment with his primary care physician, make him go to marriage counseling, and tell him that you will require a progress report and status from him in exactly 30 days or else you are divorcing him. Enough is enough. You go girl !!!!

    Posted by Universal Women's Answer on this Blog June 1, 09 11:23 AM
  1. there just might be something to the 7/17-Year Itch when it comes to marriage. The more basic question is, how do you stay faithful to the one you married and keep your married relationship healthy and strong so it survives the ups. the downs, and the temptations present in all relationships at one time or another.

    Recognize that continuing and recurring fantasies and infatuations about another person is a strong indicator of something amiss in your relationship with your spouse. These feelings are often associated with a deep-seated problem in your relationship that must be addressed before it is too late.

    “Turn the corner rule” is to address the issue head-on with your hubby. Failure to do so will doom your relationship to the ash-heap of lost love. There is pain to be sure when you address the issues that are destroying your loving relationship, but to not do so will be even more painful,guaranteed!

    Posted by Monroe June 1, 09 11:23 AM
  1. Rico wants you to all know that the weekend was fabulous and he is ready for a week of great advice assuming the letters are decent :)

    Rico's first thoughts as he read this letter was to say stop the whining...but then as he continued reading, including merediths comments he decided to go with the following:

    Rico thinks you need to realize that no marriage is perfect, no relationship is perfect and no person is perfect. That being said, Rico thinks that maybe you could take initiative to hold his hand, rub his back, etc...and maybe he'll respond with some of the same. You are worried about talking about it with him so don't talk, just do it. Communication is more than just words, Rico knows that body language is actually more important and more influential than spoken or written words. Rico thinks you need to step back and realize that after 20 years there is likely not much you can do to change him. As the old saying goes "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".

    Rico has more to say on this: Do not go out and look for that "romance" elsewhere. This is not TV/Movies where you have an affair and everything is magical and then all live happily ever after. Do your children act unromantic? As you said, he got it from his father and surely he could pass this to his children. Rico assumes your children are older or at least close to their teens so don't teach them the wrong things.

    What Meredith says about other couples having their own issues she is 100% correct. Even Rico and his lovely wife can't always agree on everything. It's not about being perfect, it's about being perfect for each other, complimenting each other, helping each other, supporting, etc...If Rico lacks in manners it is up to Mrs Rico to nudge him and help him make the correction...see what Rico is getting at?

    Rico suggests talking to him honestly about his lack of touchy feely shows of emotion and let him know you are going to help him by initiating things expecting him to respond better. Tell him it is for the kids sake (you said he is a good father). If this is not acceptable then maybe you are wrong to stay married to him. Maybe he was the "right one" but not really. He makes money, takes care of the house, the kids etc...but he doesn't take care of "you". If it is his nature and not something deeper in the marriage then he'll respond by working with you. If it is deeper than that and possibly love being lost within the marriage then you'll need further advice/help.

    Was there ever romance from him? Do you show emotion to him? Treat him to some and see what you get back...Rico thinks you will be fine.

    Rico is off to do some work but will check in later. Please write in and let us know more of your thoughts. Rico is curious how this goes...

    Rico hopes everyone had a nice weekend and got outside for some fresh air.

    Love always,


    Reduce your carbon footprint...ride a bike, walk, turn off lights...Love your mother earth, she loves you.

    Posted by Rico June 1, 09 11:23 AM
  1. You can't make him into what you want him to be. How hard is it to get someone to change? Very. It's been almost 20 years and you are still at square one. Men are problem solvers.. they don't think like a woman..never have and never will. Not even those lovey dovey husbands you see in public get it right 100% of the time. Maybe your husband is romantic in his own ways and you aren't seeing it. Sounds kind of selfish and i would leave the subject alone.

    I would maybe look into adopting a pet (a new puppy or kitten) for extra attention and love. Also maybe one of your kids will have a child soon. I think you are just getting upset because your kids are growing up and your husband is getting old and set in his ways. Very typical. I wouldn't worry about this so much.

    Posted by trueluv4eva June 1, 09 11:24 AM
  1. I actually think Meredith and the other commentors have this situation wrong. It's one thing to complain about the guy not planning the dates (I think many guys fall into this category), but quite another to be hurt by a partner who doesn't display any signs of affection, even in private. I can't even imagine what that would be like -- to be married to a man you love who is too afraid or uncomfortable to hold your hand. Everyone deserves physical affection from their partners. I would suggest talking to him about this more and see if how he feels. It'll be hard, but it's worth it. I'm sure there are times when he could use a hug, but just doesn't have the emotional vocabulary to ask for one. How sad. If talking to him is difficult, I would suggest talking to a marriage counselor who can help you work through this. good luck!

    Posted by june June 1, 09 11:28 AM
  1. I really believe that most of us (both men and women) ultimately need the same thing -- to feel loved and appreciated. I don't think that what she craves is flowers and moonlight so much as to feel loved, through touch, through words, through the acknowledgment that she is a special person. She needs her husband to step up -- why is her very fundamental need being subject to so much derision on this board? She's not talking about cheating on him, she's not saying that he is not otherwise a wonderful partner. But there is nothing worse than being lonely while IN a relationship... I agree w/Meredith's advice, you have to ask for what you want.

    Posted by sadiecat June 1, 09 11:28 AM
  1. How true - it's so easy to fall into a blaming game and arguing.
    Learning how to deal with conflicts is definitely a need for all married couples.
    You will have differences - it’s important to learn how to deal with them properly!
    it’s so important to stay on point when you disagree and also to really consider the other persons point of view.
    When you are having a fight with your hubby, stick to "Don't get on the escalator." rule. In other words, don't let things get out of control and use non-violent communication to express their feelings, needs, and wants.
    It’s true, sometimes a small, small thing can go completely out of control. Counseling is a valuable tool for married couples.

    Posted by The Girl June 1, 09 11:29 AM
  1. What you should definitely NOT do is discuss this with him. There's a lot of nonsense out there about how communication is the key to a healthy relationship, but it's all BS! What you should do is avoid having a candid conversation with your own husband, let the issue fester for years, maybe look up some old flames on Facebook and have a desperate affair or two, and eventually engage in a bitter divorce, all the while blaming him for your misery and loneliness.

    But talk to him like a mature adult and communicate your needs? Naw, that would be silly.

    Posted by Rae June 1, 09 11:30 AM
  1. You've been with the guy for 20 years and now you're realizing you want him to be different than what he has been all along? If you want more romance then you make it happen. It sounds like he's a great guy but you are expecting him to be somebody that he's not. Just remember one thing: the primary reason men cheat on their wives is because they don't feel appreciated. If he's been great all along, and continues to be, but you complain because he's not romantic enough then he's going to feel that you don't appreciate all the wonderful things he does do for you and your family.

    Posted by BDK June 1, 09 11:33 AM
  1. What's with everyone attacking the letter writer? She's expressed an issue with her relationship and is looking for advice. It's not like she cheated on or left her husband. She seems concerned and looking for a way to fulfill her needs with him.

    I have no qualms with the letter writer or M's response. I agree that the best course of action is to make romance more friendly to him. Finding a way to be romantic with the things he enjoys too. My wife and I have different ideas of romance and it's much easier when it's something that we can both get into.

    Posted by doubtful June 1, 09 11:33 AM
  1. Wow. A lot of people are being really hard on the letter writer. Why shouldn't a woman get all that she wants out of her relationship? Someday, the kids will move out and they will both retire. What will they have then? I assure you, I am a great Mother and great wife and provider, but my husband still expects a certain amount of "romantic attention". I am in kind of an opposite situation from "Craving". My husband is the one who is naturally affectionate. I am not. I love him. But I am the Mommy to two small children and I have a very demanding job. Most nights, I just want to crash on the sofa. But I still try.

    Posted by BettyB June 1, 09 11:35 AM
  1. I would like for someone out there to show me even one woman who is completely satisfied. That joke about the husband store is dead on. if women would stop having so many unrealistic expectations, and just be happy for the good things they already have, they would be alot happier, and alot less divorce would occur.

    Posted by CountYourBlessings June 1, 09 11:40 AM
  1. @Lenzman...Priceless!

    CI...sorry to be mean but I don't know why you are complaining. Talk to your husband, but by all means do not use accusatory words/statements. He cannot read your mind...

    Funny, I am a woman and just had a conversation about this to some guy friends yesterday...I said, "My gal friends always make the same mistake in that they want their man to 'understand' them, and I tell them it's not going to happen. That's what gal pals are for."

    Posted by indiglodoe June 1, 09 11:41 AM
  1. I think you are in a bit of a fantasy world. All those couples you see out there cooing over each other? This is by no means a sign that they are committed and caring partners. But wait, you already have that.

    Like many others here are saying, you should really count your blessings.

    I have been divorced for years, from someone who was not so committed and caring. Want to trade?

    Any tips on where I can meet a caring and responsible guy, like yours, over 40?

    Posted by Ava June 1, 09 11:42 AM
  1. Everyone is being too harsh is criticizing Craving Intimacy - she is not complaining about a marriage on the ropes - just looking for a little advice - what's the harm in that?...here's mine...
    You say that sex is not an issue, which is great! But it sounds like sex might be a bit too "goal-oriented" - so that's where you can start from - turn the sex act into something a little more luxurious and luminous, not so goal oriented. Show him you crave intimacy first in the bedroom, both before AND after attaining the "goal." As you grow more intimate in the bedroom, I suspect some of that will disperse into life outside the bedroom. Make sense?

    Posted by Bob June 1, 09 11:44 AM
  1. Hi there, I have a similar husband. I have come to the conclusion that you just can't have it all- and appreciate what you have, which sounds like a blessing. No one person can full-fill all your needs. You are very lucky and just have to focus on the positive. There's nothing more that can be done unless you want to ruin your marriage. Force yourself to accept this aspect, and move on. Thats life, plain and simple.

    Posted by Angelaone June 1, 09 11:47 AM
  1. This one is a little difficult because you've said he's been this way all along, it isn't new behavior. I think that men respond better to direct information and requests, not skirting around the issue or "trying" to bring it up. You need to be direct about what it is that you need. After 17 years, I'd think you could have this conversation with him without a problem, but you DO need to let him know all the good that he's done; don't make it like this is so bad because you don't want to negate the fact that he has in fact been a good husband and father. Also, if the end result is that you want more intimacy, then do what it is you want - hold his hand, cuddle with him, plan a date night - if in the end you're getting what you want, then does it REALLY matter that he didn't initiate it? (That's assuming he doesn't kick and scream or run away when you try that.)

    Posted by bumbly-bee June 1, 09 11:48 AM
  1. 17 years of marriage, great father, helps around the house, likeable, a lot of freinds, stop whining. You are really really a needy pain the neck who does not realize how lucky she is. You always plan the dates, is that a big problem, maybe after working all week the guy does not have the time or energy to plan a date.

    You're husband deserves someone who appreciates him. Divorce him immediately and find some metrosexual to date who will hold your hands all the time, plan extravagant dates and also leech off of you and your family and then leave you for a another man a few years down the road.

    Posted by aod June 1, 09 11:54 AM
  1. Got to start making those "I" Statements:
    I like it when you hold my hand, could you do it more often?
    I like it when you put your arm around me, could you do it more often?

    DO NOT make "you" statements:
    You never hold my hand
    You never rub my back

    Women need to ask for what they want. Stop being afraid, or expecting him to "just know".
    The day I learned that lesson was the day my relationships became more successful. My husbadn holds my hand, makes dinner, and does all those things I like. Why? Because I asked.

    Posted by Noel June 1, 09 11:54 AM
  1. May I make a reading suggestion, "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman. He talks about how people have different ways of giving and receiving love, which is I think what you are talking about. You sound like you are a physical type love language, which means you need physical cuddling etc to feel loved. Perhaps you can figure out what type of love language your husband is. The book talks about bridging the gap between love languages and how to hopefully reconnect with your partner. I am single so can't say if it works, but it sounds like an option?

    Good luck!

    Posted by Joce June 1, 09 11:57 AM
  1. I think some of the posters here are being very unfair to CI. It's not like she's saying "he needs to be more romantic or we're through." She's merely asking for help in attaining a level of the relationship that she always wanted but never had. I think it's completely fair for her to ask him to be more romantic, whether it works or not. I'm proud of you, CI, for having the courage to step up and ask for it, many woman in your position with a husband like yours would be afraid to rock the boat and never try for a more romantic relationship.

    I'm not sure if you'll find what you're looking for, CI, but good luck trying to talk it though with your husband.

    And posters, she just asked for advice on having her husband be more romantic. If you don't have advice on that subject you don't HAVE to post. Commenting on every letter is not a mandatory requirement here.

    Posted by come on, people June 1, 09 11:57 AM
  1. Sorry, but I have to agree with the writer. I was married to someone who never wanted to hold hands, hug, kiss, be touched, etc. etc. etc. I always initiated the romantic moves and would be told, "Don't, I'm watching TV." Or doing this or doing that. So, finally, after 20 years, I stopped. And, then he said he wanted a divorce because I wasn't affectionate enough. He did remarry -- and got divorced again. Today, I'm convinced he is either bi or gay because his closest friends are guys, who he spends an inordinate amount of time with. My advice, don't settle.

    Posted by Oceanus June 1, 09 12:07 PM
  1. Unhappiness is bred from desire, the Buddha teaches us. Rhett Butler says, “you are like a child crying for the moon – and you wouldn’t want it once you got it.” Here’s the thing: This whole notion of “gazing into each other’s eyes” and “long walks on the beach” and “insert standard romantic ideals here” is just that: childhood ideals that never grew up. “I wish I had what other people have” is what you say, CI, but what you really mean is that “I wish I had what I THINK other people have.” In other words, some areas of your emotional development just simply haven’t grown up. Personally, if a man tried the whole candlelight and rose petals thing with me, I’d laugh so hard I’d need oxygen. One of the most romantic scenes I can remember in a movie was the bit in Fever Pitch where he gets down on one knee and asks her to come to Opening Day with him. In other words, we ALL have different ideas on what is romantic. And you, CI, are applying your own thoughts and actions and ideals to him. It simply doesn’t work. He isn’t you. And you think, “well, if he did this, I’d get the hint, so if I do this, he’ll get the hint.” What if he thinks its romantic to go to a live boxing match? So he takes you to a boxing match and just doesn’t understand why you don’t think its romantic.

    Here’s an idea: make a list of all the things that you think romance is. Have him do the same. Compare each list and see if you have any ideas in common. If you don’t, see if you have any ideas you can both live with. Go from there. You may never get the “gazing longingly into each other’s eyes” (which, frankly, would be something else that would make me laugh so hard that tonic from the day before would come out my nose) but you may get something much better: romance he’s into. Just because he doesn’t surprise you with flowers and candy doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. And ask yourself this: Do I think the things I crave are romantic because that’s what I’m expected to think? What is your real idea of romance? Explore that as well. And don’t be afraid to think differently. Failing that, learn to be happy with what you have.

    Posted by Anonymous June 1, 09 12:19 PM
  1. Why all the long responses?

    She is being whiny ("after 20 years, it bothers me that he won't cuddle me!") and immature ("I'm afraid to talk about it directly with him").

    Posted by bambinosmom June 1, 09 12:20 PM
  1. Rico is dead on, he gave her advice worth trying.

    Posted by Jane the plumber June 1, 09 12:27 PM
  1. Wow, I'm glad that Mere is giving the advice, not the folks commenting online! Ouch! You folks are downright nasty!

    The needs and wants of people in relationships can vary over the years. Raising children, building a career, etc. can cause a natural ebb & flow.

    If CI wants more intimacy, then that is a real need. Just because her husband is handy with a paint brush doesn't make CI a bad person. It makes CI a person who simply wants more intimacy.

    Certainly communication is the issue. One of the skills her husband doesn't have is mind reading. He doesn't know she has other needs. At this stage, he may be so set in his ways that change may in fact be hard. Also, CI will have to deal with the fact that sometimes all your needs cannot be met by a single person. Excluding having an affair, she'll need to decide what is important to her and if she wants to leave the relationship. I don't think she's at that point just yet.

    Posted by John June 1, 09 12:43 PM
  1. Get in the gym. Lose those fifty pounds. Start eating healthy. Clean out half your closet and drawers and start buying one or two quality garments at a time and start looking like a sexy woman instead of a mom. When you are out and about, the compliments you receive about how great you look from other people will get him to hold your hand while walking down the street. Look in the mirror now an be honest with yourself. If you think you're a "7", then you're really a "5" at best. Tune in to TLC's "What Not To Wear" for some advice on affordable fashion.

    Just because he has sex with you does not mean he's still attracted to you. He needs sex and your his only choice....for now.

    Posted by leykis101 June 1, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Get in the gym. Lose those fifty pounds. Start eating healthy. Clean out half your closet and drawers and start buying one or two quality garments at a time and start looking like a sexy woman instead of a mom. When you are out and about, the compliments you receive about how great you look from other people will get him to hold your hand while walking down the street. Look in the mirror now an be honest with yourself. If you think you're a "7", then you're really a "5" at best. Tune in to TLC's "What Not To Wear" for some advice on affordable fashion.

    Just because he has sex with you does not mean he's still attracted to you. He needs sex and your his only choice....for now.

    Posted by leykis101 June 1, 09 12:48 PM
  1. Craving intimacy has a legitimate concern. Yes, her husband has been like that for nearly 20 years, but perhaps she was able to push aside her needs/wants/desires by making herself busy with her kids, job, life, etc., but now is unable to push aside the disappointment.

    I've been with my husband for a decade. He wasn't very "romantic" with me either. He went so far as to walk ten paces ahead of me on our last weekend away before our first child was born. I had a difficult pregnancy and was 8 1/2 months along. It would have been nice for him to show his care and concern for me by holding my hand and walking beside me. He could not understand what I was so upset about. That is just one example of how our relationship has gone. He too, is a good guy, and I love him very much. It has taken a great deal of time for him to understand that often actions speak louder than words. Just saying "I love you" isn't enough if the actions don't back it up. My husband is trying harder now than ever. Why? He woke up because he has realized that other men find me attractive, and that I have been dissatisfied with his actions, or lack of. I have never cheated, and wouldn't. But, knowing that I could be prized by another has made him more open to change.

    I don't suggest cheating, or purposely making your husband jealous. I do think you should do more things for yourself---make yourself look your best, get involved in activities. Peak his interest by being less available. We all get into ruts, it is the ebb and flow of relationships. Take care of you , and the rest will come.

    Posted by FeelYourPain June 1, 09 12:50 PM
  1. Two words...Pavlov's Dog. You say he likes he sex part, right? So why don't you "reward" him when he does something intimate for you and not give in when he doesn't? That will cure the problem.

    Posted by Kay-Man June 1, 09 12:58 PM
  1. I used to be romantic when I met my wife in college.

    Over the past 15 years, we've had 4 kids and she gained 60lbs.

    I don't hold her hand in public anymore. I will have sex with her, but that's about it.

    Posted by Michael June 1, 09 01:09 PM
  1. Unfortunately, some guys just aren't outwardly emotional. In fact, I'd say that the majority of them aren't. It's not part of their personality. And it's not something that will magically change with therapy. I understand how it may be hard for CI to cope with this aspect of her husband, but it's something that should have been evident after those first few dates back in college. Not sure why it's become such an issue 20 years later.

    Posted by hajjah June 1, 09 01:12 PM
  1. NOTE: PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE. maybe a few degress one way or the other & we mature. but if he wasn't a cuddler 20 years ago, chances are, he ain't gonna start being one now.

    it sounds like your husband has always been like this - you married him 17 years ago knowing it, if its a such a big problem (& clearly it is since you thought enough about it write for advice 2 decades later) then perhaps you made a mistake. why not just be happy you married a good guy, who works hard, is a good provider & father & cut him some slack for not holding your hand more.

    Posted by Polly21 June 1, 09 01:16 PM
  1. [Wow, lots of knee-jerk nasty comments on here today. Is this forum really for malcontents to cr@p all over people? Yes, some questions are inane---"we've been dating 2 minutes but she still talks to her ex so when will she completely focus on me forever?"---however, CI seems mature and not dysfunctional and took the time to write an intelligently-phrased question and provide sufficient background.]

    People, sex does not equal intimacy. Yes, he grew up in an emotionally expressive vacuum, but she may not have. We are humans, not robots, and many humans like affectionate touch and romantic attention. I grew up in that same vacuum, but learned how to be romantic and expressive --even while having other great attributes in my relationship. But that was because I wanted to learn. Sadly, I don't think he does. I don't know what advice to offer other than to continue to advocate for what you need and allow yourself to feel the sadness and loneliness so it doesn't fester (oh yeah, and to not take a lot of these comments seriously. Many are from "regulars" who are consistently vile.).

    Posted by yupokay June 1, 09 01:21 PM
  1. OMG I can't believe someone on here said it sounds like HE'S suffering from depression.... UNREAL!!!

    The guy has ALWAYS been this way and she wants to change him NOW?? 17 years later it's a real issue?? The ONLY thing you can change about a man is the clothes he wears (and that has limits)... okay and they are trainable to put the toilet seat down. Anything else... forget about it. Love him or leave him. YOU made your bed with him.

    Posted by KimberlyM June 1, 09 01:23 PM
  1. Damn,

    I am in the reverse role. I am a husband, decent looking and in above average shape. Make tons of money. Paid off the mortgage, let her stop working etc.

    She is not very romantic at all. No kissing, holding hands, etc.

    She'll have sex once a week but it's sort of the same routine and I feel like I am inconveniencing her. It's kind of like.... yep, just get it over with. Not a turn on at all but for now I have to take what I can get.

    If it was not for 3 great kids, I'd be out looking for some real intimacy on the side. Not just grin and bear it sex.

    Non married men.... Keep your balls man!!!! Learn from me.

    Posted by TheOtherSide June 1, 09 01:32 PM
  1. "Do you verbally praise him for his acts? Do you reward him physically? If not, then he figures it was unappreciated or not necessary and stops."

    You got it right, Hoss.

    Posted by after the rings June 1, 09 01:32 PM
  1. NOTE: PEOPLE DON'T CHANGE. maybe a few degress one way or the other & we mature. but if he wasn't a cuddler 20 years ago, chances are, he ain't gonna start being one now.

    it sounds like your husband has always been like this - you married him 17 years ago knowing it, if its a such a big problem (& clearly it is since you thought enough about it write for advice 2 decades later) then perhaps you made a mistake. why not just be happy you married a good guy, who works hard, is a good provider & father & cut him some slack for not holding your hand more.

    Posted by Polly21 June 1, 09 01:34 PM
  1. Damn,

    I am in the reverse role. I am a husband, decent looking and in above average shape. Make tons of money. Paid off the mortgage, let her stop working etc.

    She is not very romantic at all. No kissing, holding hands, etc.

    She'll have sex once a week but it's sort of the same routine and I feel like I am inconveniencing her. It's kind of like.... yep, just get it over with. Not a turn on at all but for now I have to take what I can get.

    If it was not for 3 great kids, I'd be out looking for some real intimacy on the side. Not just grin and bear it sex.

    Non married men.... Keep your balls man!!!! Learn from me.

    Posted by TheOtherSide June 1, 09 01:35 PM
  1. Men (like me) deal much better with specifics than with abstractions. Telling us that "I need more intimacy" makes our eyes glaze over. It doesn't work.

    What does work is telling us specifically what you want. If you want us to plan one date every week and that this includes buying the wine and making the reservation, tell him that and just that bluntly. Booking the sitter you are probably still going to have to do yourself, do you really want your husband phoning teenage girls directly? How would the babysitters react to that? Or her parents? That's looking for trouble, I think.. My wife and I hold hands walking down the street because she takes my hand. If you need to be told at least once a day that he loves you, tell him that.

    When he does start expressing affection, reward him like a dog that learned a new trick. This can be sex (he likes sex, you said so), a little present, his favorite dish, whatever. But connect it to the demonstrative behavior that you want. It'll start out being a little forced, a little awkward, a little contrived but he'll make the connection after a while and then he'll want to do it. It's just like training a puppy, you need to be very clear about what you want, and when he does it, you give him a treat.

    This is what my wife did ten years ago when she got tired of my distance. I had this stupid concept of what being a good husband and father meant which focused more on what I didn't do (didn't cheat, didn't beat, didn't gamble, didn't guzzle, good provider) than what I did do to make her happy. She got what she wanted but I got so much more.

    Forget hints, forget subtlety, it's lost on us. Men are dogs, we love you and we'll do what you want but we have to be trained.

    Anyway, it worked (dramatically) for us and it's worth a try. Maybe it'll work for you.

    Good luck and don't give up too easily.

    Posted by Tim June 1, 09 01:36 PM
  1. Just more proof that women are either all psychotic or retarded. Why men even get married anymore is beyond me. Lady, do him a favor and leave him.

    Posted by sj June 1, 09 01:49 PM
  1. I don't think it matters what she is asking for.

    She is telling him what she needs and he is ignoring her.

    Posted by Sarah June 1, 09 01:49 PM
  1. Noel is brilliant. Everybody needs to read her response.

    Men are simple and women screw it all up by trying to overcomplicate us. We want our oem to be happy and will do almost anything to accomplish that. We don't like to hear complaints. So instead of complaining, say what you do want. Amazingly, those things will get done.

    Posted by Really Smart Guy June 1, 09 01:50 PM
  1. Is a woman ever happy?


    That's really about all there is to say here. You can be a good friend, husband, father, provider and whatever else in a relationship, and the woman will always focus on what you DON'T do. It's the way they think, and there's no getting around it.

    Posted by Schlippo June 1, 09 01:55 PM
  1. You want to cuddle and he wants to be pleasured 6 times a week... So see- neither of you have EVERYTHING you want!!

    (had to tone down this post. previous one didnt make it on the board)

    Posted by yep June 1, 09 02:00 PM
  1. Your husband is me. My marriage ended in divorce and I would give ANYTHING to go back to a time when it was not too late. Unfortulately your husband does not realize how much these small genstures mean to you. He knows he is a good father and a good provider and he thinks that makes him a good husband. He does not get that it is not enough.
    If he did get it, he would cuddle, and plan dates, and express how much you mean to him. I know he would! It is so darn simple! I wish I could go back and do it but its too late. I wish I could tell you how to get through to him. My wife tried everything, I just didnt hear her until it was too late. Hopefully your husband will realize before it is too late. But i dont know how. Try showing him my comment. I was him and I would give anything to go back and fit it.

    Posted by michael June 1, 09 02:00 PM
  1. This one is just too easy... just too damn easy...

    Get a robot, program it to do all the things you want it to do without having to ask! I want him to constantly be thinking about what I might be wanting or needing. I want him to completely change his way of operating after 20 years because I like what that couple is doing over there... Is it too much to ask that he constantly focus on ways of appeasing my emotional instability and mental derangement????

    Yeah, you should sit down and have a nice long talk with him... about 20 years ago!

    Posted by DJMcG June 1, 09 02:04 PM
  1. "You can't always get what you want - but you find sometimes - ya get what ya neeeeeeeed, yeaaaaaaahhhhhyeeeeeeeeaaahhhhh".....You can't have it all; Go for a walk on the beach together and just gently take him by the hand for starters and there you are walking hand in hand with the one your love - ooooooh..... sounds familiar? Ya want gazing? At home or parked at the Ocean gaze into his eyes and smile & put your hand on his u know what...I guarentee he'll smile & gaze right into your eyes....There, all better now? Sheeeesh, I wish I had your problem.

    Posted by Been around June 1, 09 02:07 PM
  1. It's time you accept him for who he is and stop trying to change him! If he is a great man, enjoy it in and of itself; a great guy is a great thing to have. Think about all that makes him great, and start appreciating it more. No one's perfect, there may be things for each of you that you would rather change in the other person, but don't dwell on them - focus on the positives. Not everyone is "spontaneous", but perhaps the benefit of not being too spontaneous is being more reliable; everything has a good side and a bad side, so look at the good sides of every trait. More often than not, people who go out of their way to do all these things you might call "romantic" are just showing off - looking for attention and approval. So, your guy is more low-key; big deal. Look closely, and you will see that he's been showing you his love all along - by being there for you, taking care of the family, working hard - it's just you're looking in the wrong places, and you don't see or appreciate the quiet everyday devotion that is the very foundation of a long-term relationship.

    Posted by SandyEgo June 1, 09 02:08 PM
  1. Hey,
    Some guys just need a little encouragement (or maybe he's just lazy) .
    Share some articles from women's mags with him about being romantic.
    Get him a subscription to Men's Health, they have monthly articles about ways and places to be romantic.(who knew that doing the laundry could be foreplay?)
    You could set up weekly opportunities for romance for the two of you.
    My wife and I have weekly massage night where we alternate who gives and who gets. Talk to him about romance, it's likely that he's intimidated by having to be creative and doesn't want to be ridiculed or embarrassed if he tries something that you think is silly. Tell him what you like. If he still doesn't get into it, maybe he's just not that romantic of a guy and you need to make a tough descision .Good Luck!
    Valerie X: Get over yourself! One guy burns you and we're all jerks, right?

    Posted by racerkeith June 1, 09 02:10 PM
  1. Men are at such a disadvantage by not watching Oprah, reading Cosmo or talking with girlfriends. First, the couples you’re seeing out and about are spouses cheating on spouses…or married online daters who haven’t told their “match” that they are married. Second, thank god he’s home. Seriously, we build our lives around kids, family dynamics, schedules etc that we all need practice not having all those other responsibilities as a buffer. When it’s just two of you, there’s no one there to bail you out. Being ‘yourself’ happened long ago. I say sit him down and give him a chore: He is responsible for planning an entire evening once a month. You will have no input or preference…It will be his night from beginning until happy ending (pet and purr MG? Wow!). He will tell you about attire a few days before the blessed event and what time to be ready to roll. He will arrange for all child care, kid’s meals etc. You will show him your new Vicky’s Quickie Secret Outfit before the evening so he won’t take too long taking the sitter home. When he comes home, he is still in the driver’s seat. It’s up to him to have bought the candles, arrange the flowers and lock the door. He will have read books, taken the surveys and watched instructional videos on how to spread the karma sutra oil while spelling “I Love You” in French on your freckled naked back. He will be finished with EVERYTHING in 3 minutes so you can watch Conan on NBC at 11:30. He wants banana pancakes for breakfast.

    Posted by valentino June 1, 09 02:10 PM
  1. You can't make him into what you want him to be. You may desire that however that is not how he comes. How hard is it to get someone to change? Very. People are who they are. Instead of trying to make him romantic...try suggesting things that you would like to do. Say honey...I think we should get away for the weekend to a nice bed and breakfast in montana. Then ask him if he would be willing to make the arrangements. Men are problem solvers...they don't think like a woman...never have and never will. Walt Disney and the fairy tale life is great but not realistic. Your husband is a great man without the romance. Remind yourself everyday of the wonderful characteristics he has. Learn to just love him the way you want to be loved and if he catches on great...if not...it's ok. You cannot make a elephant purr. Celebrate HIM, be thankful for HIM, Love HIM. Read the proper care and feeding of husbands. It will help I promise

    Posted by Erika June 1, 09 02:11 PM
  1. I would just continue to be the bigger person and "showing" him exactly what romance is. Romance him how you wish to be romanced. Let him learn on his own how to romance you, because he will feel awkward if he tries to repeat the same stuff you do. It will take lots of time and patience. If he still doesn't catch on, then you may want to consider sending him to a passion party. If you are in Northern California, I would be more than happy to be your consultant/counsellor.

    Posted by Ashleigh June 1, 09 02:13 PM
  1. Well, it IS a man thing. Unfortunately, many times we learn this lesson too late. I almost lost my marriage because of my lack of attention and romance to my wife.
    I call it the "Honey, I love you and I'll let you know if I ever change my mind" syndrome. Many of us men, like myself, were never taught how to be romantic. I learned it the hard way.
    I have a couple of ideas for you. I know that most people don't go to the "sex" shops because they're afraid they'll be seen. Many private lingerie shops have back rooms for that stuff. They have boxes of his/her cards. One for each week of the year. Some are naughty, some are just romantic. Such as "his" card- Draw your wife a warm bubble bath, spread silk rose petals around the tub with some tea light candles. While she's in the tub, give her a massage or foot rub.
    Don Juan DeMarco is a movie with Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando. It's very good for romantic ideas for the hubby. The theme song by Bryan Adams is also VERY good."Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman"
    Here are a few more love songs you could burn for him on CD to get his imagination working. I Melt (Rascal Flatts), The Way You Look Tonight (Elton John), Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton), When I Fall in Love (Nat King Cole), I said I Love You ,But I Lied (Michael Bolton).
    Tell HIM to start writing love letters to you. I promise, even if he's never done it, the words and felings will come. They did for me and I'm dumber than a box o' rocks!
    Good luck!

    Posted by Tugtool June 1, 09 02:15 PM
  1. 1 At spas that offer a Razul chamber, you paint your lover with colorful muds, then sit on tiled thrones under a dimly lit dome, while herb-scented steam rises around you. Soon a gentle rain begins to fall, washing away the mud, leaving you both cleansed and refreshed.
    Couples suites generally feature side-by-side massage tables where a pair of massage therapists works in tandem. The massages are intended to relax muscles and release tension, but the therapists are professional health workers. You’ll have to retire to a private room for your “happy ending.”Luxurious beds, spacious Jacuzzis, fireplaces, candles and champagne are a few of the amenities included in most couples spa packages. Some spas offer private meals ranging from oysters to chocolate truffles. The couples suite may include a secluded outdoor courtyard, often with a private pool—even a waterfall. The perfect place to get in touch with your inner Adam and Eve. Couples can choose from a range of other spa services. Here are a few we find especially erotic. Hot Rock Massage : Smooth, gently warm stones are placed on your body, then run gently along your muscles. Lomi Lomi:In this Hawaiian massage technique, the massage therapist dances during the deep-muscle treatment. It’s a form of Hula!
    Watsu: This massage performed in water frees both the mind and the senses.
    Herbal Soaks: From bubbles to rosebuds, you can design your ideal romantic and relaxing tub for two. Body Scrubs: When was the last time someone scrubbed you all over with a gentle sponge? The ultimate comfort experience. Massage Instruction: Many spas now offer private instruction teaching couples the best techniques to use on each other. Once you’ve mastered the basic moves, the therapist retires to let you practice on each other. Therapy that works for sure!

    Posted by hutchins June 1, 09 02:18 PM
  1. If hubbys into you, he'll start gradually doing what you tell him if you tell him in a warm loving kind manner. After a while, if this is not telling on him, you may try to tell him how very important it is to you (i.e. if it is).
    If nothing happens, then tell him you may have to do some thinking...
    When I met my hubby, he did not know how to be quite romantic but when I gradually started telling him what I want and how important it is to me, he made a big effort. So guys aren't dummies, only if they're into you and you don't make them feel rubbish when telling them, they'd listen. And please make your speech short.

    Posted by nw6girl June 1, 09 02:20 PM
  1. you are somewhat of a dominate female, or if you are not, that is how your boyfriend is seeing you, and your boyfriend could be feeling a twinge of intimidation because he is not in the Drivers Seat, so to speak.
    This could be putting a damper on his being able to open up and be more romantic. It sounds to me like he is feeling like you are in charge and he is just along for the ride. You on the other hand, feel you are being taken for granted, which brings up the final observation, an acute lack of communication.
    If the above supposition is accurate, there is a definite mismatch, and it is for all practical purposes, "All over but the shouting". If not accurate, try allowing him to drive (unless for some reason, he cannot be allowed to). Also try making him feel more like he is in control or at least equally in control. Use your female wiles to make him feel more confident and good about himself and if you can pull the above off, he will become more romantic, as you will be allowing him to be the man he is.

    Posted by Stingray June 1, 09 02:23 PM
  1. My fella used to be a bit crap at romance, firstly i dropped big hints like "I really like flowers no one ever buys them for me" and gradually he took the hint. Then i pointed out all the romantic things i do for him, the little things, the favourite meal etc, now he has started doing things for me and made an effort. We did have a chat about it though and he said it helps to know how im feeling cos he just didnt think i wanted thise things, so in a way if the hints dont work you may have to be a bit more direct. hope this helps

    Posted by nic June 1, 09 02:24 PM
  1. Things You'll Need:
    How to listen to yuor hubby
    Know the address of your hubby's place of employment
    Make a list of your hubby's likes and dislikes
    Set up a babysitter (If you have children)

    Posted by nivekost June 1, 09 02:26 PM
  1. Define romance, exactly. Romance is different for everyone. My husband and I, I think, are very romantic but we don't follow traditional (or as I see them, trite) gestures that might seem romantic. For one, he does not give me flowers (that the cats would eat them on sight is partly to blame, but that's another story.) and both of us are pretty emotionally reserved, especially in public. But we are truly intimate and each of us has become involved in the other's respective hobbies and interests; he's a musician so I became a music writer. I also enjoy figure skating so he accompanies me to the rink sometimes and will skate a little himself. The point is that we show a genuine interest in the other's interests. He's my favorite person to talk to about everything, like current events, politics, school (I'm in grad school and I even convinced him to finish his BA), as well as our interests. The intimacy part takes care of itself. Do the two of you have hobbies or interests that the other may be involved in even if it's complementary? Or are your interests divided along gender lines? If that's the case, do something new that both of you can become involved int. TThen you'll have something to talk about and get enthusiastic about and that in itself could lead to the intimacy you're looking for.

    Posted by Aviatrix June 1, 09 02:34 PM
  1. Wow...Michael..your wife is one lucky lady

    Posted by judgenot June 1, 09 02:46 PM
  1. You know sometimes when my wife gets kinda [nasty], it is really hard to feel romantic. Do I want to hold her hand? Well maybe just to keep her from shoving fatty foods down her gut. But not in a romantic way.

    Let me ask you Craving Intimacy, how's the goods you offering? Are you offering a sexy sweet and tender meal, or are you bitter, needy and whiny? No man will feel romantic after 17 years of nagging and nit-picking.

    You may as well get comfortable with the way your marriage has grown. This is what you built together. It just isn't what you want now.

    In a marriage, so often the wife changes the guy, to be dependable, to be responsible, to be comfortable. There's no going back to the guy who courted you. You already stole that from him years ago.

    Posted by S June 1, 09 02:47 PM
  1. His name was Rico
    He rode a cross-bike
    His wheels were neither slim nor fat, he was always proud of that
    And when he peddled, he sometimes meddled
    But Rico went a bit to far
    The night his wife went to the bar
    He checked his wife’s voicemail, Rico was on the trail
    It was not from her sister Kate,
    But some guy in jail?

    Posted by Copacabana June 1, 09 02:48 PM
  1. "is an excellent father, helps around the house, has a steady job, and is a very social, likeable guy with many friends..."

    If you look at what you don't have, you'll never have enough. If you look at what you do have, you'll always have more. Sounds like she has more than most.

    Posted by J. June 1, 09 02:57 PM
  1. Rico--you are perfection. Thanks for the advice, I will try it myself!

    Posted by cvana June 1, 09 03:01 PM
  1. Only 10% of you even understand what's going on here.

    She wants everything in the relationship to be the way SHE wants it. The letter is a result of 20 years of unsuccessfully trying to convert her husband into either a puppy or into a walking romance novel.

    I for one, would love to hear the letter writer give us the precious details of what she does to fulfill each and every one of of his needs. She evidently is perfect and that is why the biased commentors automatically jump to her defense.


    Posted by Hadie Nuff June 1, 09 03:03 PM
  1. I'm a single guy and I would say this: your husband may not be inclined to be romantically intimate, but he should be inclined to do things that make you feel good - you are his wife, after all.

    There has got to be some way to delicately yet directly tell him how you feel when he does (& doesn't) behave romantically. I'd suggest that you consult an experienced marriage counselor for advise on how to do this . . . communication is everything in life!

    Posted by jBo June 1, 09 03:04 PM
  1. Another perfect example that women NEVER are happy! He is a good father, helps around the house, good provider... so what if he does not hold you hand? Many men, and some women I have encountered, are not the "lovey-dobey" kind of relationship. If it was important for you to have this, how come you waited 17years to bring that up? What you are bored now, and need something else to complaint about? Women, get a hint here, you are not always right. You complaint when men ask for things (yes normally is sex, but there are other things) but then is ok when you want something and ask and we need to give right awayt? Love is a 2 way street -- use it accordingly! There I have said my piece!

    Posted by A Mans man June 1, 09 03:06 PM
  1. Never compare your inside life with the outside lives of others.

    Posted by Eric June 1, 09 03:11 PM
  1. When you are thinking about how to make your husband fall back in love - consider the qualities he admired about you early in your relationship. There’s no denying that both partners change as the marriage progresses and those changes can and do impact feelings. If you were very goal oriented when you two first met and now you are finding it difficult to discover a career or life direction that is something you should work on. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of being extra critical with your spouse. If you were easy going and accepting early in the relationship you need to rediscover that quality within yourself now.you need to start understanding how to appeal to his personal desires, wishes, fears and passions and tell him about yours too.It will naturally draw him closer to you.

    Posted by bizzy June 1, 09 03:28 PM
  1. Guys could care less about "romantic" (non-sexual) gestures made towards them. We just want to be appreciated for our hard work, loyalty, parenting, and all the other juggling that we do on a daily basis. The appreciation can be shown by praise, respect, understanding, and NOT trying to change us. Love us for who we are. Pick your battles over what is part of who we are and what is something we should do better with, then tell us directly, and honestly. Don't gripe to your friends, drop hints, or talk around the issue.

    You tried telling him to be more of what you consider romantic. It's not him. He's not that way. Not all of us are romantic, sentimental, touchy feely, lovey dovey, etc. Many of us are hardened by things we've been through. The extent of which you have no idea.

    I tell my wife about what I've been through in my life, but I don't go into full blown details because frankly, she shouldn't have to hear about it, she couldn't handle it, and I don't want to re-live it. I have scars (emotional and physical), but they are reminders of what I've been through and why I am who I am today. The person she loved and married, by the way. I love and cherish her, but I simply cannot be a softie who suddenly is capable of running down a list of pop culture or marketing created romantic gestures. I do what I can to show my love to her and our kids, but it, more often than not, has to be the way I am capable of genuinely expressing it, as opposed to some phony gesture that her or someone else thinks I should do.

    That's all I've got.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss June 1, 09 03:32 PM
  1. I'm a guy and I don't find her letter to be that bad. Certainly not one deserving of the bashing she is taking here, even from women.
    The bottom line is to stop thinking your husband knows what you want or are thinkng. You want something then tell him what you want. Not just romance, but the specific things that you want. My wife loves to have her hand rubbed and head scratched while laying in bed. Most of the time she will ask me and I am more than happy to do it. Other nights I will invite her to snuggle and I will scratch her head. These things lead to sex sometimes but many times it doesn't. its not always about sex. It makes her feel good.
    I'm not big into the hand holding thing but if we are out and she wants to hold hands then she grabs hold of my hand. I gladly take it and often she will be the one to drop it.
    There are times that she wants a hug and I gladly provide one. I will hug many other times without being asked.
    Since you think he is a good husband and you admit that he isn't a touchy, feely person my guess is that if you ask for these things you want I bet he will be happy to provide them. As for the dates, well you may still have to do that or share in the planning.
    The most important thing is to talk about these things. I'm not a touchy, feely person either, neither was my dad. But I it bothers me to no end when my wife expects me to know how she feels or that she wants something. She doesn't know how I feel or what i want most of the time. You want something, then ask for it. If you don't get it then you have problems. But I bet you may be surprised at the response you get. And with time he may surprise you with some of these things when you aren't expecting it. Just don't think that he finally gets it and will be doing these things all the time. You will still need to ask.

    Posted by Airjer June 1, 09 03:36 PM
  1. There is a chance he doesn't understand that not being romantic = you not feeling valued. Men and women usually perceive things quite differently.
    You could try being REALLY specific about something you want, and see what happens. If you want flowers, or a particular kind, or whatever, just tell him exactly that and see what happens.

    Posted by chanel June 1, 09 03:48 PM
  1. The original poster could easily be my wife, give a take a year or two. Same complaints, same situation. My wife has however communicated what her romantic needs are, and I've not done a great job getting the picture. It's hard to read romance books written by guys that think they are God's gift to women. It certainly doesn't come easy for most of us "real" guys. She recently got my attention with a separation and talk of divorce. As mentioned above, she is partially to blame too with her cold behavior toward me over the last few years. I just pulled farther away and tried to appease her in other ways, but this isn't what she craved. We're early in the process and still separated, but slowly we are working on things. A marriage counselor seems to help, if for no other reason then to show my wife that I care enough to try. It's an easy response to say something like the many comments above that generally say to the ladies to get
    out of the romance novels and appreciate your man for who he is and not try to change him, but instead I'm focusing on observing my shortcomings in the area of romance and communication, deciding that she is worth the battle and worth me swallowing my pride and learning new behaviors. So far, I feel refreshed and challenged with this process. Our relationship feels new again and I'm enjoying the chase. The thought of her with other guys has also brought our a jelous side of me that I didn't realize I had. Her sexy new wardrobe has certainly fired my
    desires to be more romantic. Sometimes we guys fall into routines, and you (th original poster) may need to really light a fire under him to get what you need. My hunch, is that if I follow through with these changes in our lives, that my wife's heart will melt again and I'll get far more in return then what I invested....
    BTW, Valentino has the post of the day....

    Posted by TD June 1, 09 03:50 PM
  1. that's a bunch of HOGWASH.The notion of a non-romantic husband is mostly a FALSE STEREOTYPE that husbands are unjustly saddled with.Both you AND your hubby must take personal responsibility for supporting and encouraging both the chasing and the getting caught.You really just take each other for granted, assuming that the relationship can handle the neglect.openly acknowledge the emotional void you are feeling and your desire to try to improve things.Romance is a decision.If you haven't caught our drift yet, it's about unselfishly putting your hubby and your relationship first. That is plan. That's why you'll find that it works!

    Posted by Calle June 1, 09 04:00 PM
  1. Rico's advice is great. Seriously, right to the point and simple enough for people to actually follow. Then again, the readers here mostly aren't the brightest bulbs so maybe he should be writing somewhere else? Maybe NY where the people are smarter!!!

    Posted by Fan of rico June 1, 09 04:05 PM
  1. I'm alot like your husband, although definitely have a romantic side. I'll be brutally honest - If you are overweight or otherwise less less desirable than the women he sees on a daily basis, then that could be the problem. Do you best to look good and give him some incredible sex.

    Look good and be as exciting as you can be in bed. It may not be fair, but that's the way it is.

    Posted by Jim June 1, 09 04:06 PM
  1. I agree with lots of people who say that you have it good, and while it's hard not to have it perfect, you should put more effort into appreciating the good. Sometimes the perfect doesn't turn out to be so nice as you'd like.

    But you're not communication with your husband. And I think maybe the best way is to get to couples' therapy. This sounds like it's a really hard topic for him to deal with, so having a moderator helps a lot. My spouse and I have been going to couples' therapy for two years now. Not everyone who goes has big problems. Marriage unhappiness can start very small, but it often grows. And if he won't go, maybe you can see a specialist yourself. You take your car for a tune-up. Sometimes your relationship needs a tune-up too.

    Posted by problem child June 1, 09 04:08 PM
  1. Wow, talk about men beating up on a woman because this one hits close to home doesn't it. Must be a lot of unromantic men out there - who get pretty defensive when one of their own is called on I (just another woman who wants a perfect marriage.....come on...what an infantile way to dismiss her message). Intimacy is an important and not unreasonable request for anyone, especially in something as supposedly important as a marriage. Men complain when they don't get enough sex (should we jump on them for wanting everything). Women can certainly complain when they don't get intimacy. And - I find it hard to believe he is really all of those other good things (Father for instance - don't you have to tell your children you love them, don't you cuddle them when they are small, don't you think about planning special days with them, how hard is it to transfer that to the most important person in your life - your spouse). You can only blame your upbringing until you get to be 21 or so and then you have to change what you don't like about yourself. There is something deep seated going on here - and I'll bet you some warning signs a long time ago.

    Posted by orcamjh June 1, 09 04:09 PM
  1. After you are done snuggling with that guy from the gym make sure you clean up before you go home to the father of yoru kids...and make sure the guy wears a condom so you don't have to explain how you got pregnant even after hubby had the operation.

    Posted by Joe the Plumber June 1, 09 04:12 PM
  1. CI, I've been in your shoes!
    The answer lies within.
    I find I am most dissatisfied w husband when I am placing too much emphasis on the importance of romance/marriage in my life.
    When I go out and do the many other things that fulfill me, the little problems at home seem less important.
    Take care of you!
    Think of husband as a handsome accessory to your self-fulfilled life!

    Posted by catherine June 1, 09 04:59 PM
  1. It sounds like he's just comfortable in his marriage where he is.

    Just tell him you'd like to spark things up and be romantic again like you might have been when you first met.

    Plan a romantic night out alone. Focus on each other. You have a lot of kids, so I'm sure the attention between you two has lost focus and has meandered to the kids.

    You should have one night out a week or every two weeks where you can just focus on each other.

    I'm sure things can get stale when you get comfortable, but that's not a bad thing! Comfort is a very underrated emotion, and I think it often gets overlooked and masked as "boredom" or an indicator of a problem.

    Posted by Mikey "Insane" Monkeypants June 1, 09 05:00 PM
  1. I have some experience with this type of situation. I, too, am married to a guy who isn't romantic. Guys don't need that stuff, but women do. I bet he really wants to make you happy, but just doesn't know how to do it. After my husband marginalized our 20th wedding anniversary, I found it necessary to address my feelings. We talked about it, but I don't think he got it. So, I wrote him a note (the first part of the note was very positive--telling him all the wonderful things about him that I love). The second part of the note explained what I needed from him but wasn't getting. After I gave him specific situations and ideas for being romantic that would make me happy, he totally got it. So, my advice is: If you want something, ask for it; be specific and be kind.

    Posted by beenthereB4 June 1, 09 05:24 PM
  1. Men are sore for a reason: In today's day and age, many married women cheat when they aren't getting the romance they feel they deserve. Blame it on selfishness, unreasonable expectations, media glorification of cheating, or even Internet-enablement, it happens and it is pretty common.

    Posted by Dennis June 1, 09 05:35 PM
  1. Together read the book The Five Love Languages... it'll help him understand what you need, and you understand what he needs.

    Posted by ian June 1, 09 07:57 PM
  1. Meredith, post this or not, this is a message requesting your attention. You need to start being a bit selective about what goes out here. There's a lot of offensive stuff (i.e, #96 as an example of one particularly disgusting post). If you can't manage to do that, I am seriously thinking about filing a complaint with the Globe's Managing Editor or the Globe's parent company. This is one of the worst displays of foulness I've ever seen on a blog, and it has no place whatsoever on a site that is accessible to any child at any age. This column today should be entitled "hate mail" instead of "love letters" because it's full of hating. Shame on you.

    Posted by disgusted June 1, 09 08:29 PM
  1. I am the original poster and I just want to say thank you to everyone who wrote in offering suggestions. I did come away with some new perspectives and ideas that I can try to implement. To some of you, I want to say that I do appreciate, respect, and praise my husband often. I also eat well and stay fit. I don't pretend I'm perfect, and I don't expect my husband to be either. Thank you to all the posters who didn't treat me like a criminal for wanting a deeper connection with my husband!

    Posted by CI June 1, 09 08:31 PM
  1. Dear CI, The responses I have read to your submission are absolutely horrifying to me. I would hardly be surprised if you have found yourself suddenly very, very depressed. Please be careful how much of that drivel you take to heart. The fact is, intimacy is something everyone single one of us wants - men and women - but to women it comes more naturally to identify and pursue. In your husband's case, he probably learned his lack of it from his dad, but given that he cares so much for you and your family, there is no reason that he wouldn't want to want to explore with you how to be more intimate. Check out the book, False Intimacy by Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg . Give it a whirl, it's very insightful.

    Posted by Random Sage June 1, 09 09:44 PM
  1. Get in the gym. Lose those fifty pounds. Start eating healthy. Clean out half your closet and drawers and start buying one or two quality garments at a time and start looking like a sexy woman instead of a mom. When you are out and about, the compliments you receive about how great you look from other people will get him to hold your hand while walking down the street. Look in the mirror now an be honest with yourself. If you think you're a "7", then you're really a "5" at best. Tune in to TLC's "What Not To Wear" for some advice on affordable fashion.

    Just because he has sex with you does not mean he's still attracted to you. He needs sex and your his only choice....for now.

    Posted by Universal Misogynist's Answer on this Blog June 1, 09 10:49 PM
  1. THANK YOU # 88.
    Now, for the rest of the audience, the majority of the male respondents need to rewrite the letter- substitute yourself for the writer and replace the words 'intimacy' and 'romance' with 'SEX'. Now, is this looking more like a legitimate concern? Or is it still a whiney all-about-me letter? Ha ha.

    Question: Do you guys realize that most wives jump into bed (often) for their husbands when what they would prefer is a cuddle or affectionate comment? Guys, if you were denied the sex part like this woman is denied the affection part, you would be freakin' out. It's about needs and caring enough about your partner to make an effort. Try it for a change/

    Posted by sushidog June 1, 09 11:30 PM
  1. #56 sounds like my husband.

    After the kids come and real life hit couples intimacy can fade and over time its hard to reconnect unless you do something about it. Intimacy for some is a learned thing. Tim is right. I thought intimacy wasn't that important early on in my marriage. But later, I realized it was an important missing element.

    Even if you've never had great intimacy, as a couple you can bring this into your lives. He has to understand how important it is to you and that should make it important to him. Intimacy ranks high for women, just like sex ranks high on the scale for men. If only guys could understand that with intimacy their payback is tenfold. Women respond - we can't help it!

    My husband did come to understand the importance of intimacy (I'm not talking sloppy stuff mind you) and we explored this during a 'reconnection' phase in our marriage, and it was the best thing we ever did for our relationship. We've never been happier (even after 20+ years). Intimacy adds so much warmth and good feelings in the relationship that it carries over into other areas.

    May I recommend a book that may help, 'His Needs Her Needs'. The author is a little over the top, but it is a book that helps couples learn about the importance of paying attention to the relationship and offers suggestions at building a healthy, happy and strong relationship by forcing couples to really analyze their relationship. Over time we lose focus on our relationship and reconnection or making a new connection with a partner can reinvigorate the relationship. I am living proof and never placed too much importance on intimacy years ago; it became important when we decided to give our marriage a second chance. It wasn't easy, but I cannot tell you how rewarding it has been and only wish we had done this much sooner.

    Posted by marj June 1, 09 11:35 PM

  1. She doesn't feel loved. And that sucks. And you tell her to suck it up, just walk through life feeling lonely and unloved while married?????? Just take the security and be happy with that? Wow. Heartless advice. I've been married for about the same amount of time and I feel for you. It stinks to think you'll never have, for the rest of your life, that passion, the great feeling you had when you were in love and someone was in love with you. Nope, just this dull passionless existence from now on and you're supposed to be satisfied with that. You have to think, the men are probably pretty unsatified as well, dont you think? When couples first date, they're all over eachother. They must miss it too. Here you are not even 20 years married, and if you stay together for life, you've got another 15 or 20 to go and then you die. Kinda makes you wonder what all this push for marriage is all about. Sure, it's good for the kids, I guess. I guess. Makes you wonder. Would life be more fun if we kept breaking up and going out again like when we were younger, and that on-top-of-the-world feeling you get when you're in a new love. WOuldn't it, if you all are honest, wouldn't it be fun to have some hope that you'd have that again in life?? come on . I bet everyone married this long, male and female, feel that way. ahhh, to be young. I hope you find a solution. It's a very very very common problem.

    Posted by married June 2, 09 12:05 AM
  1. "To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.

    The first floor has wives that love sex.

    The second floor has wives that love sex and have money.

    The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited. "--------------------------doesn't say much for men. Basically says they are shallow and dont give a crap about anyone but themselves. Who cares about the kids, huh? Who cares if she is a good mother, or smart, or interesting, or intelligent. Who cares if she neglects the kids, if she's a good homemaker who busts her butt keeping your house clean, clothes washed, cooks, all those old fasihon things are the crapload of work ,well, that means nothing to you, who cares. You just want sex. No value in any other part of her. Nope. . She just need to have sex with you. Wow. Men sound like real jerks by your definition. ----and here's a shocker for you...women dont tend to want sex with men they are not attracted to, no matter if it's their husband of not. And some shallow intattentive unappreciative man is NOT someone you're going to be attracted to, so you're attitude DOES have ALOT to do with your sex life, eh?

    Posted by believe me June 2, 09 12:20 AM
  1. I'll be brutally honest - If you are overweight or otherwise less less desirable than the women he sees on a daily basis, then that could be the problem. Do you best to look good and give him some incredible sex.----pretty amazing that everyone is beating up on her for not being happy, yet the advice to her is that HE is not happy because after all SHE does, it's not good enough, all that he REALLY cares about is that she looks good and gives him lots of sex . Ok, here's the kicker, if he's a slug, some unpassionate blob, how attracted is she going to be to him??? what is she supposed to do? Watch movied or find some other guy she is actually attracted to, get all worked by up him, and then jump into bed with her husband and pretend the's THAT guy???? what a fiasco. Hey, all you guys complaining 'oh women are never happy", probably sitting there with your love handles and receeding hairlines and as exciting as a pet rock, ya think maybe YOU'RE one to talk about not being satified with what you've got???? how attractive are YOU to your wife, huh?

    Posted by just sayn June 2, 09 12:26 AM
  1. I think most of the responses above are all about the writer and very little about CI. Immediately discount all the answers that say all men are a certain way or all women are a certain way. That's just lazy thinking. If you look around carefully, you will notice that people come in all flavors. Therefore, what I'm discussing below are possibilities and may not apply to your situation.

    I don't think wanting some physical expressions of expression is unreasonable. We are social animals and we are programmed for that.

    One problem which seems likely is that your husband has been trained NOT to show affection. I've been told by someone who works with both immigrant kids and kids raised here that, compared to others, American males just aren't very physically affectionate. Kids from other cultures really have a hard time adapting to that. Your husband may have had his own desire for contact beaten out of him. Possibly even literally. It happens. That doesn't mean he doesn't on some level want it, and maybe it can change, but it may make him a little uncomfortable if there's no "cover" like, say, sex. Or (hint) a massage for a tight muscle? I'm sure you get a sore neck, elbow, or something from time to time. If he takes care of this for you, make sure you tell him how good it made you feel. Of course, also, offer to do the same for him.

    I think the people who are talking about sexual attractiveness may be way off base. Maybe other guys think differently, but in my experience the longer you've known someone, the more important their personality is and the less important appearance is. The most important sex organ is between the ears.

    One thing to be sure of is that you're thanking him for the things that he already does that you're enjoying. Perhaps you're already doing this, but if not, I bet it'll warm things up at home a bit.

    Someone mentioned "I" statments earlier, such as, for example, "I would like it if you held my hand more often" as opposed to "you should..." or "you never....". That's probably a good idea.

    Another thing that's important is that you both have other kinds of support outside the relationship. It sounds like he's got those friends, which is good. However, I hope you do too. If not, you may seem too needy. You should have some kind of hobby that gets you out of the house, or a group of friends that you play cards with, or a gardening club or something. Whatever you're interested in. Most likely these should be women friends, although that might not necessarily be a big problem. (My s.o. has some male friends from her music group, and that's fine with me. However, your hubby might not feel the same way, I suppose. It would be nice if people didn't worry about these things.) If there's something you've always wanted to do, and you start doing it, I bet it makes you more attractive. Happy people often are. Of course you should support your husband's friendships to a reasonable extent as well.

    I suppose your husband doesn't like some kind of couples dancing, but if he does, the two of you should do so at every opportunity. If you don't know, find out! And be open about just what kind of dancing. Or perhaps there's some sports thing you both like. Doubles tennis isn't touching, but it's working closely together in a physical way, which may help things. Rent a tandem bike sometimes? Anything you both like where you would act as a team.

    Think hard about whether one of you is depressed, perhaps chronically. That can really tear the heck out of a relationship, particularly if one (or both) partners can't deal with it. (I speak from experience.) If so, counselling and possibly even medication may be called for. If it's needed and medication works, the problem will still need work, but you'll be amazed how much easier it is to do that work. Or maybe there's some other problem of that sort, although you haven't given any reason for us to think so.

    This probably isn't something that can be turned around overnight, but maybe in a year or so the two of you can make things a lot better. Let's hope so.

    Posted by mr touchy feely June 2, 09 12:46 AM
  1. Without a doubt, the dynamics of this relationship cannot be described in a 150 word letter. Two fish in a fishbowl. When one of the fish has concerns about their life in the aquarium, they should not ask those of us on the outside looking in. They should speak directly, respectfully, and honestly with the other fish. Read these comments for entertainment, perspective, and possibly constructive criticism. Talk to your husband and take action together to improve your lives together.

    Each of our lives is a circle. When we enter a relationship, the circles converge. Some times the circles overlap a lot, some times not as much. It changes as life goes on, kids enter the picture, jobs demand more time, aging parents demand more time, etc., etc. The key is to keep part of your own circle from being overwhelmed by your partner's circle (we need to maintain some portion of individuality and have our own time), but to also let your partner know when you really need to have the circles overlap more. It sounds like at this point in your life, you need him to be more actively, emotionally, and physically involved in your life. Tell him.

    Posted by Hoss's Shrink June 2, 09 08:23 AM
  1. I'm a guy, but here, in these posts, I see some of the most miserable, lazy, dispassionate and flacid men I can remember. No one cares what you've been through Hoss. Fake it if you must. You do it everyday at the office. The lady is looking for a little romance. It's like a guy looking for a tuna sandwich. No wonder the schizm between men and women is so vast. You boys want someone to sugadadiggie, but you can't even prime the pump. You don't want to know half the crap your wife's been through, you self involved leach.

    Posted by boggie nights June 2, 09 08:38 AM
  1. HE'S A LOSER!

    Posted by ibid June 2, 09 09:07 AM
  1. My ex was the same way. His family was the same way. I tried very hard to make it work, but he just has intimacy problems. We have separated and I have to say that I am much happier alone than with someone who cannot even make a knowing eye contact across the room when one of the kids does something cute or predictable and such.

    Posted by knottedin85 June 2, 09 09:30 AM
  1. Hi CI,

    A late posting, but I just want to let you know that you can and absolutely should try to connect with your mate on a new level. Neither my husband nor I shared the idea that intimacy we important. It wasn't until well into our marriage (20years) that I began to see how the lack of intimacy deepened a wedge that couples experience durng those 'raising children' 'working' and 'managing life' years.

    Another book I'd like for you to consider reading is 'His Needs, Her Needs'. While the author is adament about following a specific plan for making a marriage healthy in terms of shared interspectives, I do believe he offers insight into what it takes to nourish a marriage and protect it.

    My husband and I contemplated divorce, but decided to take a chance and analyze our relationship to make it better. Intimacy was an important element of that reconnection journey. We are 3 years into this reconnection and are so much closer now than we have ever been during our very, very long relationship. Trust me, intimacy will (as you realize) improve everything - it opened up so many doors we didn't realize were closing. What a better person to fall in love with than somene you already love.

    I will never understand why people are so quick to look at long-term relationships as drab, boring and just not worth the effort and only something new will bring happiness. For us, it was like falling in love all over again - never thought that was possible. We incorporated a lot of new things to bring us to a new level of intimacy and we became so much more engaged as a couple that people who didn't know us thought we had a spark as though we were 'lovebirds' - very funny thought. Intimacy made a difference in the depth of our relationship and shouldn't be thought of as something trivial. It's a win-win on both sides of the relationship scale.

    Posted by marj June 2, 09 10:15 AM
  1. CI, These responses are completely horrifying. Especially the people who are saying, "Things aren't as sucky for you as they are for me, so shut up and appreciate it. no one will ever change" Um, THAT attitude is exactly why so many marriages are in the pits. Giving up on a marriage, and hopes and dreams for intimacy, is absolutely ridiculous. Your desires are completely valid. YOUR DESIRES ARE COMPLETELY VALID.

    I suggest a few things: 1) Start with date night. Ask him to plan one and you plan one. Praise the HECK out of what he plans. if there is a SHRED of romance in what he plans, thank him for it. 2) Be direct. Honey, could you buy me flowers? I love flowers. They really make me feel loved. 3) DO you have a mutual male friend? If you have a TRUSTED mutual male friend, who is married to a mutual woman friend, have him suggest to your husband a small romantic gesture. Suggestions might come better from another guy who "gets it."

    The problem is that for women, not having to SAY anything is most of the romance. But I'd do it anyway. I also second the Love Languages book, as well as "For women only" and "For Men Only." www.fltoday.com also has some great date night resources... like "Simply Romantic Nights," which has cards with date night ideas that are adventurous and fun. They can take the stress out of planning a date for your husband!

    Posted by rws June 2, 09 10:34 AM
  1. Perhaps after so many years of marriage the odds are about 60% chance the husband has found intimacy elsewhere to supplement this marriage and keep it going and does everything else right in the marriage for the same reasons.

    Posted by cj June 2, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Hoss-
    When your wife is finding her new and improved man, you'll be sitting in some bar wondering what happened...what could I have done...if I only had another chance. By then it's too late. Maybe chickie #2 will let you be alone with your feelings. How can a smart guy be so dumb? You're the cliche for stoic men. Oh...and it's the money that's keeping you in the game right now. The tantric sex your ex will be having with her new man will more than make up for the possessions.

    Posted by bye-guy June 2, 09 10:57 AM
  1. Superfluous nonsense aside, Hoss has hit upon a key point: CI mentioned her hesitancy to discuss it further with her husband, a man she's been romantically involved with or married to for over two decades?

    There is a reason why this relationship/marriage is in trouble, and it's not because after all this time, he's still not cuddling, still not holding her hands as they stroll around the mall, and still not rubbing her feet. Think about it.

    Posted by Dr. Tom Davis June 2, 09 01:57 PM
  1. An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
    if you know only CI side of the story, who;s tell you about her husband ?

    Posted by evil June 2, 09 03:48 PM
  1. Do what make you, don't live with regret; and you can't force someone to do something they don't want to do. Life is way too precious to supress your needs.

    you donot want to have any more of your hubby's children ? but from someone else? did your hubby tell you he doesn't want anymore children? is this a decision both of you agree on together ?Sometimes, the bonds we may desire are just not meant to be. Is he selfish or a constant liar which is something you never wanted to be a part of ?

    Posted by crsyatl June 2, 09 04:16 PM
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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