Help! My husband and I want more intimacy in our relationship

Q: I would like more intimacy. My husband is not interested at all. We have been married for 40 years. I struggle with the lack of affection.

I absolutely hear you! Receiving affection when we have a close, intimate connection with someone is a wonderful experience that not only feels good but is also good for us. It floods our bodies with fabulous, feel-good endorphins and does wonders for our overall health. 

However, asking for what we want and need is not easy, particularly for women where a high percentage of them have been conditioned to suppress their needs, particularly sexual and intimate needs. You are certainly not alone in wanting more affection from a seemingly uninterested partner. 

The great news is that we can learn to ask for what we need using positive communication tools. It does though, require practice for us to get confident and comfortable expressing it. What I would love to do is to help empower you to ask for what you would like in a loving and connected way. 

Firstly, pick a time when there is no additional stress or limited time. Ask your partner if you can have a chat about something important to you. Asking him and having him agree eliminates the feeling he may get that he has been ambushed in some way. Start by acknowledging where he is at, for example, “I know the affection and being intimate is not something that you like/want to do, and I understand that”. 

Then lovingly and without blame, let him know that you miss being intimate and receiving affection from him. The key is to then ask directly for what you want, for example, “I would love it if you gave me a hug every morning when we wake up,” or “When watching TV on the couch if we could cuddle together with your arm around me would be wonderful.”

Decide before the conversation what you need and how you would like him to provide it, and then go for it!

You may be surprised that he too would like more intimate connections and just didn’t know how to ask for it or initiate it. 

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