My husband changed after we moved in together

ask me anything relationship advice Jun 10, 2024
How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It,

Hello. My husband has not even had sex with me the last 6 weeks or barely even touches me unless I initiate it first. My love language is touch, I know his is acts or service and words of affirmation. I have talked to him about the lack of touch lately but he says he isn't that type of guy and he isn't a touchy person. How am I supposed to deal with this or get him to understand. He touches the dogs more than me. I am 51 he is 55 and he we just got married in January 2024 and i moved in April 1st. He wasn't like this until I moved in.

--Suddenly Without Sex

Dear Suddenly Without Sex: What's interesting about your situation is that you got married in January but didn't move in together until April. The sex was there until you moved in. So, it wasn't getting married that triggered his disinterest, it was moving in together. It seems as if you are no longer something to anticipate. You are there all the time now.

First, you wouldn't necessarily have known this would happen, until you moved in together, so avoid criticizing yourself for not seeing this sooner.

However, now that you see it, let's consider what you might do about it.

There are a few perspectives to consider here. On the one hand, from your perspective it seems rather straight forward. You want more touch, he's said that isn't who he is. You've asked him to address your problem, but he has dismissed you. From this perspective, I'd start with working on how to change this. Maybe Ester Perel's book, "Mating in Captivity," will have some good advice.

Dr. Perel talks about the importance of novelty for continued physical intimacy. While the security of a long-term relationship is what many of us seek, that same security comes with a lack of novelty and an emphasis on routine. The idea here is that if you shake up the routine or find other ways to increase the novelty, that will make physical intimacy more appealing.

On the other hand, it will be important for you be thoughtful as you address this issue with your new husband. That's because while men are often not very direct with their emotions, that doesn't mean they aren't having them.

Many men have told me that their main goal in a relationship is to make sure their wife is happy. Assuming this is true of your husband, if you start telling him repeatedly that you are dissatisfied with him, he may start to feel discouraged and ashamed.

I would suggest making it easy for him to make you happy (by being transparent and direct with what you want) and express appreciation for his efforts. This is true for all aspects of your relationship from sex and sexual preferences to which chores you'd like him to do around the house and whether you'd like him to cook or treat you to dinner out. 

If he knows what to do and knows you will appreciate it (because you are generous with your appreciation), you will be amazed at what that can do for your relationship.

I also recommend the book, "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It," by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny. The authors do a great job of explaining the role of emotions and how to negotiate them from both the male and female perspectives. 

You're in a difficult situation and you don't have the answers you need to understand what's going on. I encourage you to be curious and look beyond talking about it (since that hasn't helped). 🩷

If you can relate to this question and want more detailed and focused answers for your situation, consider joining The Loved Lifestyle membership. Check out the details here.

Also, you can submit a question here and if Dr. Julie answers it, it will be published in her newsletter.

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