October 25, 2013 in Features

Carolyn Hax: Time won’t fix his lack of affection

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: I have been seeing someone very nice and we have a lot of fun together, but when it comes to intimacy, we are always fighting. He is not very loving, is not affectionate (will hold my hand on occasion, and say I look nice, and we will sit next to each other to watch a movie). He does not share any emotions, and if I ask for a feeling, he freaks out and says “no questions.”

He has never been married and takes care of his mother. It’s always his way in the food we eat, what we do, etc. It’s always about what makes him happy.  

I was married many years; I know how to compromise. I lived in an unhappy, uncaring marriage. I am very affectionate and have the attitude we only live once and want to enjoy what two people can share, love and companionship. He thinks it’s wrong to act like teenagers. He has said we are not in a relationship, I’m not a girlfriend, and he hates when I call.

I know I should walk away, but he has my heart and I do not want to be alone. Will time make a difference? – Am I an Idiot?

You apparently have a soft spot for people who treat you like an idiot.

Given that you are a self-described affectionate person and that the only two significant, romantic attachments you describe here are with men who are stingy with their affection – and that’s being too kind – I’m going with: No, time won’t make a difference.

Not because this guy will remain the same (he will), but because you will remain the same: guided by some force to choose cold men only to bemoan their lack of warmth.

This is why therapy exists: to help us recognize, explain and pre-empt our self-defeating behavior. You don’t need it to break up with this guy, necessarily, since I’m hoping you can just repeat “We are not in a relationship, I’m not a girlfriend, and HE HATES WHEN I CALL” (exasperation added) as a mantra when your courage wanes.

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