What can I do about my man? We have been together for over three years. He is passionate during sexual encounters, but the rest of the time he is very cool and withdrawn. I have asked him many times if it is only sex for him, and he says it is not. He had his two boys late in life – they are 10 and 13 and he is 67. He feels that they are a privilege, and that they are everything to him. I understand and accept that he needs to do what he can for them, as he probably won’t be around when they are in their twenties and thirties. I am passionate and open. He is deep and unwilling to express his feelings. I just don’t know what to do. I’ve tried to finish with him several times, but he comes to me and I cannot resist him. Every time we have this conversation, he says he does not understand what brings this on, although I have told him many times that I need a closeness that goes beyond sex. He does not show affection, except when he wants sex, and this is not enough for me. I tried giving him a book called The Little Book of Hugs and he responded with Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. However, I feel my dissatisfaction goes far beyond this. What can I do?
Liam ext. 9290’s Response:
Eileen, thank you for sending such a wonderful question. I get many inquiries of this sort from ladies like yourself; women of warm and affectionate natures who find themselves in love with men of stiff tradition and honor. These kinds of gentlemen generally come from families or backgrounds that make relating on a sensual/emotional level outside the bedroom difficult. I admit your exchange of books dealing with this particular issue gave me a good chuckle. It was an apt exchange, to be sure, for we are dealing with the age-old conflict between the female need for affectionate sensory input and the male expression of affection via other means… The woman wants to cuddle. The man wants to shovel her sidewalk. The same emotion is being conveyed, but the translation is totally missing the mark.
Now, men are creatures of evolutionary drive and they can actually be quite adaptable. Knowing that cuddles and kisses and boxes of candy can lead to other, more enticing prospects, they will use those methods to achieve a sexual reward. Indeed, some would argue that such advances are used almost exclusively as preludes to mating in most of the animal kingdom…What you have to remember is that for a very long time, men garnered far greater rewards for, say, building adequate shelter, or downing a water buffalo, than they did for holding someone’s hand or writing love poems. With all our modern advances, human beings remain creatures primarily fueled by a dichotomy of reward and punishment. There is very little in life a person ever does that isn’t somehow linked to the attainment of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. A lot of this comes into the world with us, already hardwired into the brain. But make no mistake, social conditioning has a tremendous amount to do with it as well. When you were a child, you were given affectionate touches and cuddles as forms of reinforcement and acceptance. If you did well, you got a hug. Daddy loved you, so he kissed you. When mommy was pleased, she gave you a great big squeeze. On the other hand, your friend was not given hugs and kisses as reinforcers beyond the age of five or so. Good behavior and jobs well done were rewarded with verbal praise, or maybe even nothing more than a lack of punishment. In other words, he just isn’t wired the way you are. Most men aren’t. They have a hard time assimilating themselves into the female perception of affection equals acceptance. In generations past, this wasn’t so much of an issue, since more emphasis was put on survival issues than on idealistic behavior… But a lot has changed since the Victorian era.
As for your fellow in particular, I really don’t believe that he isn’t passionate. I think he just isn’t passionate in the way you want him to be. Your definition of passion is a very narrow and affection-based thing, specific to your own point of view. It feels to me, that in his own quiet and dignified manner, this man is quite passionate indeed. And when it comes to loving and touching you, it doesn’t sound as if he lacks any heat. I think the problem is that you have an idea in your head of what a romantic relationship is supposed to be, and it’s more akin to a case of high school puppy love than mature reality. This situation seems to be afflicting a lot of people these days. A steady diet of romance novels and Jennifer Aniston films hasn’t helped prepare anyone for the cold, hard complications of real life. This man comes around and you have great sex, but there isn’t a whole lot of time for other things because there’s work and kids… Somehow, despite all the chemistry between you two, he still doesn’t manage to rise to your standards of what a “boyfriend” should be, because you’re a grown woman who would rather go steady than have a real lover. In his mind, he illustrates his love for you all of the time. With sex. With his presence. In ways you never seem to notice. So, he really is oblivious when you come at him in a storm of emotion, because he’s not being cozy enough to suit you.
I am not defending his lack of emotional depth… However, I sense that this person is being very misunderstood. My advice is for you to stop and ask yourself if this is really the man you want to be with. There are many more affectionate men around. Ones who will be only too happy to shower you with all sorts of praise and pampering. And most of them will leave you high and dry after they’ve gotten you into bed. This man is slow. He’s quiet and he’s steady. He’s a decent fellow; a hard worker and a good father. His devotion to his children should tell you a great deal about his ability and willingness to love and care for someone besides himself. To resent them would be a huge mistake. As would requiring him to rewire himself at this stage of his life. So take some time and decide if you want to stay with him. If you do, then back off. Trying to alter him with acts of direct and open manipulation will eventually backfire. Embrace the subtle approach. Sensuality is contagious, you know. Just because he isn’t overly affectionate outside the bedroom doesn’t stop you from being so. Kiss him, touch him and hold his hand. I think deep down he’d like to be more affectionate if only someone would take a gentle lead and show him how, without blowing things out of proportion.
Whatever he does, remember to always reward the behaviors you want to encourage. Sexual favors in exchange for passion and affection seems a great way to get more passion and affection to me. You’d be awfully surprised how much you can achieve by not complaining. A woman who knows how to exert very gentle pressure with a pout, and a smile and a nod of understanding will win just about anything she wants from a man eventually. Unfortunately, there isn’t a world full of good men out there wanting to partner with one woman for the long haul, so be sure you really don’t want this one before you push him away.
Psychic Liam ext. 9290