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Question
I'll try to get to the point quickly. My fiance isnt an affectionate person, I am. Im not always touchy feely, but i do like physical closeness. The reason i am having issues is because she told me she used to be that way with her ex, and overtime, she stopped being that way. She was with him for a while and she was in love with him. I remember her stating at one time, she didnt think she would be able to love anyone the way she loved him, or give her heart as fully as she did to him now mind you, this was in 2009. but Im having such a hard time getting over that, and i feel like her lack of affection toward me is directly related to that.

shes a virgin waiting till marriage, and i respect that. i have been celibate for 2 yrs, and it will be 3 by the time were married, so maybe im needy and i dont know it. but i feel a lack and its personally driving me crazy because i dont know how to act around her knowing shes not crazy about affection, but i just feel like im getting the short end of the stick, and resentment is constantly building daily..

please help me

Answer
Hi - I need to know more clearly what you and she mean by "affection." Spontaneous touching and caressing? Sexual desire? Foreplay? Verbal endearments and love words? From your description, it sounds like you're "resenting" her not seeming to fully commit to you. If so, you face a "Be spontaneous!" paradox: you can't make her want to commit to you or completely let go of memories of her former relationship.  

   Several possiblities:

1] she is protecting herself from losing another loving relationship by not allowing herself to fully commit to you.

2] she is unable to complete grieving her former relationship and/or related dreams and hopes;

http://sfhelp.org/grief/symptoms.htm

3] she inherited psychological wounds from easrly-childhood trauma which are inhibiting her from grieving, committing, and/or feeling and expressing "affection."

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm

If any of these are true, you cannot change them. Only SHE can if and when she's ready to do so. A final possibility:

4] One or both of you isn't able to assert what you need [about "affection"] clearly and respectfully from your partner, and then cooperatively problem-solve your needs as teammates.

http://sfhelp.org/cx/skills/assert.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cx/skills/ps.htm

Overall. I encourage both of you to discuss this honestly:

http://sfhelp.org/relate/mates/danger.htm

If you have questions about any of the above, Anthony, please ask!

Compassionately, Pete

Marriage

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

I can answer questions about choosing a mate wisely, marital communications and problem solving, affairs, same-gender relationships, trust, respect, bonding and intimicy, values differences, boundary problems, grieving, dealing with ex mates, parents, and in-laws, remarriage, separation, divorce, abuse, feeling unloved, codependence, psychological wounds, money disputes, balancing kids, careers, and marital primacy, etc. I cannot answer legal or medical questions

Experience

I've been a professional family-systems therapist in private practice for 33 years. I have specialized in helping people avoid and adapt to divorce, and manage remarriage ans stepfamilies, since 1979. I've studied and taught classes in interpersonal communication for over 40 years, and have presented over 200 seminars on a wide range of human-relationswhip topics to Chicago-area churches, schools, menyal-health agencies, and businesses, and have been featured on Chicago and national radio and TV. I have been married and divorced. I now believe all marital and family problems are caused by five little-known factors - see http://sfhelp.org/hazatrds. This forms the basis of my work as therapist and educator.

Organizations
I now answer "AllExpert.com" questions on stepparenting, communication, and counseling. I belong to "SelfGrowth.com, "Death with Dignity," "Compassion and Choices," and to the online Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) at http://acestudy.org/

Publications
I've published over 200 free Internet articles on childhood-trauma recovery and wholistic health, communication skills, healthy grieving, human relationships (including marriage and divorce), family health, effective parenting, and managing a stepfamily). These articles are in the form of seven free self-improvement lessons (http://sfhelp.org). These articles are augmented by 168 YouTube videos ("gercacn" channel); I've published a book on childhood-trauma recovery ("Who's *REALLY Running Your Life?"), and other books on interpersonal communicactioin skills ("Satisfactions"), remarriage ("The Remarriage Book"), "Stepfamily Courtship", and "Stepfamily Co-parenting" All published by Xlibris.com.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Stanford University (1959); Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from George Williams college (1981); hundreds of hours of post-grad trainng from Northwestern U. the University of Chicago, et. al. in a wide range of human-relationship topics.

Awards and Honors
The state of Illinois licensed me to practice clinical social work in 1981. I was selected twice to serve on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA), and am currently on the Stepfamily-expert panel at Auburn University; I was the Board chairman at a major public mental-health agency in suburban chicago, and was the chairman of the Parent Relations Council for a major suburban High School. I currently have over 500 subscibers on YouTube since I began uploading educational videos in May, 2011.

Past/Present Clients
I've worked with over 1,000 men; women; dating, merried, remarried, divorcing, and redivorcing couples; and whole families. I'm currently 74, semi-retired, and disabled, and I do therapy with people and couples by phone and Internet (Skype).

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