As women, we are often naturally affectionate. It is often not any effort for us to touch someone's arm, offer a hug, or tell those who we love just how great we think they are. In fact, many of us feel that this is at least one reason why we were put on this earth - to enhance the lives of those that we care about and to make it so that they never question the fact that they are loved.

This comes incredibly naturally to us. And that is why it is upsetting and confusing to us when those we don't do not reciprocate. This makes us wonder if they love us as much as we love them. And, if we are seeing this lopsidedness in our marriage, it makes us wonder what it all means.

I might hear from a wife who says: "This used to not bother me as much as it does today, but my husband never shows me any affection. It has been years since he has told me that I look nice. I can't remember the last time he touched me unless he was trying to get sex out of me. It would mean so much to me if I could get a hug that doesn't come before he wants to have sex.  The second that he is nice to me, I know exactly what is on his mind because it is so out of character of him. At times, he's even cold during sex, which makes me feel inadequate. Now, I don't want to be unfair and insinuate that he is cruel to me or anything because he isn't. He takes care of the household stuff that I don't want to do and he is a good provider. I never have to have the oil changed in my car or take out the garbage. So I know that he wants me to feel taken care of. The problem is that I do not feel loved. I don't see that affection that is usually between happy couples. Sometimes, I wonder if there is someone else, but honestly, I can't see it. Because I can't see him treating another woman any differently than me and no woman is going to want him when he acts that way. He doesn't show affection to the kids either so I know that I shouldn't take this personally. But I worry about my marriage. Because it shouldn't be this hard."

I think it would be interesting to see if the husband also worried about the marriage. I'd be willing to bet not, but I would never tell you that you shouldn't worry. Our intuition comes almost as easily to us as our ability to give affection. And it's not uncommon for our intuition to be right. So if something is telling you that there's cause for concern, then I would listen. I did not listen and it led me to a separation. More on that here.)

Why Men Are Just Different: It is very common for men to have difficulty showing affection. They were not socialized in the same way that women were. Because they are going to be expected to grow up and be providers. Women, on the other hand, are expected to grow up to be caregivers. So we grow up in an entirely different way. Yes, these are stereotypes, but they absolutely exist. And that is why it is easier for women to be affectionate. They have been encouraged to do so their entire lives. Little girls cuddle and hug their dolls. Little boys are seen as sissies or as non-masculine if they do this. They are often outright discouraged to do so. And that can be why it is so hard for your husband to show you affection now.

I don't tell you this because I don't want for you to want more. You every right to want more. And I'm going to suggest a way for you to get more. But first, I want you to understand why your husband may be acting in the way that he is. It doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't FEEL the affection. It just means that he has a hard time showing it.

Offer A Reciprocal Arrangement So That You Both Get What You Want: To begin, let's think about what he wants more of - likely sex, if he is typical. You want more affection. There has to be a happy medium. The next time he begins to show you affection and nature takes it course, you might seize the opportunity to make your point. Afterward, you might try something like: "it is always so nice when you are affectionate to me. But it doesn't happen enough. I'd like it if you would kiss and hug me spontaneously sometimes and not always right before sex. It would mean a lot to me and I'd be willing to reciprocate by being the one to initiate sex sometimes. That way, we are both getting what we want without either of us feeling as if we are working so hard. What do you think?"

Now, I know that some people are going to read this and think: "why should I have to spell it out for him like this? Why do I have to be so forward?" The answer is because by spelling it out, you are more likely to get what you want. You can continue on as you are and still feel frustrated or you can take a deep breath and say what you need to say.

Make Sure You Applaud All Efforts: When your husband does do as you asked (he may not do it immediately or with the frequency that you want at first because it's likely to be awkward for him) make sure you show your appreciation and make a big deal out of it. And make sure that you are not withdrawing your own affection out of frustration. You always want to demonstrate the behavior that you want to see from your spouse.

After repeating this process for a while, you should be seeing more spontaneous affection and because he's not having to do all the work sexually, you are likely to see a transformation that will make you a lot happier. If you have tried this very methodically and he's still not showing affection, then you may want to consider whether it is something more.

Honestly, I think that all wives want more affection.  I have found that it takes a lot of work to keep the momentum going.  But after my separation, I understood that this was absolutely vital.  If it helps, you're welcome to read more about how I got my marriage back after the separation on my blog at

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